EXO are undoubtedly the biggest kpop group of this era. They were also the very first group I listened to back in 2012 when I became interested in the genre. Since then, they’ve suffered through more than their fair share of drama, losing three of their original members. Their sound has also changed a bit, but they can always be counted on to deliver high wattage, big budget pop music.
10. Miracles In December (2013)
Exo’s most gorgeous ballad, fueled by the interplay between its gentle verses and soaring chorus. Billed as a holiday song, it’s effective no matter the time of year.
9. Monster (2016)
Taking the icier, more militaristic side of their sound to a new, hip-hop infused high, Monster‘s sledgehammer chorus hits hard. (full review)
8. Overdose (2014)
A dense, claustrophobic brew of inventive production elements, the track is anchored by its singalong hook and skeletal trap beat.
7. Call Me Baby (2015)
Bursting out of the gate with skyscraper-high energy, Call Me Baby reinvents new jack swing for the modern era, infusing a swirling hook and clobbering beat.
6. Lucky One (2016)
Over an addictive disco beat, EXO sound more loose and playful than they’ve ever been before. That addictive flute sample is undoubtedly the song’s MVP. (full review)
5. What Is Love (2012)
The group’s first major display of their vocal prowess. None of their slow jams has come close to bettering the mysterious, downtempo funk found here.
4. Mama (2012)
Likely to split opinion due to its dramatic, atypical pop production, Mama stands as a sterling example of everything high budget kpop can be. It’s exhilaratingly ambitious in its epic sound.
3. Love Me Right (2015)
One of the funkiest tracks the group’s ever produced, Love Me Right is a streamlined thrill-ride through the best that dance pop has to offer. The freewheeling chorus is as bright and alive as they’ve ever sounded.
2. Growl (2013)
Their most iconic song, and one of the best known kpop tracks of the last few years. On its own, the addictive beat would be enough to land solidly on this countdown, but paired with its charismatic vocal and thumping hook, it’s almost unbeatable. The extended stage version is essential listening.
1. History (2012)
I can’t imagine that this would be at the top of everyone’s list, but for me History is EXO at their prime. Part of that is due to the fact that this was the very first kpop song I ever loved, but even with nostalgia removed, it holds up brilliantly to this day. The jagged funk of its beat and those commanding, layered vocals in the chorus sound new and fresh every time the song plays.