B1A4 are one of my absolute favorite groups in kpop. They’re also one of the most underrated. Because their music is often sunny, youthful and incredibly melodic, they don’t always get taken as seriously as many of their peers. It’s a shame, because the group boasts one of kpop’s best composers in leader Jinyoung, and they’ve released arguably the strongest singles run of any group their age.
10. Baby I’m Sorry (2012)
If the song didn’t insist on shoving vocoder autotune down our throats, it would have been much higher. Even so, there’s no denying the melodic power of the aggressive hook, or the anthemic refrain that closes the track.
9. OK (2011)
The group’s sugar-high debut, with a full on power pop melody and punchy production. Not their most sophisticated song, for sure, but it goes down easy.
8. Sweet Girl (2015)
The guys went for a pitch-perfect 70’s funk/disco pastiche and nailed the sound and sentiment, even if the laidback, groovy production never fully connected with the general public.
7. Beautiful Target (2011)
A jubilant, cartoony piece of bubblegum pop. Its cheesiness nearly takes it over the line, but that infinitely hummable chorus anchors the song’s more ridiculous moments (of which there are many).
6. Happy Days (2015)
This is B1A4 returning to the energetic, bombastic pop that makes them so special. It’s a shame that the song remains unknown to many outside of Japan. This should be the sound and vibe they tackle for their next Korean comeback.
5. Baby Good Night (2012)
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Baby Good Night for the coolest children’s song ever. And it would suffer from this sense of the juvenile if it wasn’t for that unshakable melody and bouncy, carefree production.
4. Tried To Walk (2012)
B1A4 at their pensive best, and a sharp turn from the silliness of Baby Good Night. In some ways, it feels like the Bigbang hit that Bigbang never recorded, but that yearning hook is all B1A4.
3. Solo Day (2014)
Solo Day split opinion when it was released, but I’ve always found it to be a vastly underrated piece of summertime, singalong pop. Few Korean tracks in recent memory have captured the feeling of lazing at the beach, or driving around with the top down on a sunny day, as brilliantly as this.
2. Lonely (2014)
This is probably the closest battle for the top spot in all of my countdowns, because I consider B1A4 to have had two distinct peaks in their career thus far, and they just happened to come one right after the other. Lonely is one of my favorite ballads in all of kpop. Its melody, production and general aura are all absolutely flawless. The song also has the group’s best build, just before the last chorus.
1. What’s Happening (2013)
Tied with Lonely in merit, but eking out its number one placement due to its uptempo nature, What’s Happening is a bombastic, impossibly catchy burst of power pop. Every bit of it is a hook, from the sing-song rap segments to the punchy, anthemic chorus. Pop music doesn’t get much better than this in any country, and kpop has rarely felt so young and alive.