Whether you call them TVXQ, DBSK or Tohoshinki, these guys have one of the most prolific, enormous discographies of any k-pop artist. I could have easily split this into two lists — one for the five-member group and one for their current two-member configuration. But, I gave myself a challenge. And at nearly 100 music videos/singles, that’s an understatement! Some great tracks had to fall by the wayside (I’m looking especially at you Wrong Number, Something and Scream), but in the end it all shook out easier than I would have expected. The group is just as well known for their grand ballads as their dance tracks, but you’ll notice that my list is almost entirely uptempo.
10. Fighting Spirit Of The East (2006)
Of all the group’s ballads, Fighting Spirit goes the biggest with its steady build to a full-on choir. Cheesy as it may be, it’s bound to rouse anyone’s spirits.
9. Purple Line (2008)
A slinky, beat-driven dance track with a percussive chorus that hits hard. Its winding melody fuels each second with a healthy dose of staccato hooks.
8. B.U.T (BE-AU-TY) (2011)
Transferring their clipped, Yoo Young-Jin produced style to Japan, B.U.T is short on melody but heavy on personality. Its rapid-fire, labyrinthine delivery gives it an otherworldly appeal.
7. Mirotic (2008)
Likely the group’s most iconic release, casting a wide influence for years to come. Its jerky, unbalanced verses give way to a grand chorus that swirls with mystical synths.
6. Android (2012)
A harbinger of the sound TVXQ would continue to display over the next few years, Android bursts out of the gate with a heavy electronic beat and a chorus that feels like pop perfection.
5. Athena (2010)
Perhaps the most obscure single on my list, Athena sees the guys tackling a bombastic piece of rock-opera grandeur. It’s TVXQ at their most rock-influenced, backed by a symphonic instrumental that absolutely soars.
4. Balloons (2006)
DBSK were rarely a “cutesy’ group, but this ultra-melodic slice of aegyo proved they could master any genre. Great songs endure for years, and Balloons‘ mega-watt chorus has become a modern classic.
3. ‘O’ – Jung.Ban.Hap (2006)
The template for much of what junior group EXO released in their first couple years. O‘s propulsive, guitar-fueled beat is only surpassed the the track’s immense, layered chorus that crashes in with jagged intensity.
2. Catch Me (2012)
The high-water mark for TVXQ as a duo, and perhaps the best use of dubstep elements in any k-pop song. Catch Me‘s electro-dance beat mixes sweeping production elements into a near symphonic euphoria. Even at four years old, it remains one of the biggest-sounding dance tracks the guys have ever given us.
1. Rising Sun (2005)
What to say about one of the most influential k-pop tracks of the last fifteen years? Sure, this Yoo Young Jin produced, beat-heavy mix of rock guitars and operatic grandeur existed before, but it never sounded as ambitious as it does in Rising Sun. It’s the original “frankenstein song,” cobbling together a dramatic brew of disparate elements into something so gigantic and perfectly constructed that it informed a decade of k-pop to follow in its wake. There’s more raw energy spun off from the track’s ever-evolving structure than any other song they’ve recorded, and it remains a potent burst of excitement eleven years after its release.