In honor of Wonder Girls’ excellent new single, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at their long career. But before we do, I have a k-pop confession to make: before Wonder Girls reconfigured as a band, I just wasn’t that into their music. I know I’m in the minority here, since they’re considered one of the genre’s most iconic girl groups. But even though their retro-flavored albums might not have always been to my taste, it’s hard to deny the strong singles’ run they’ve had. Here are the best of the best (presented with more than a little bias!)
10. This Fool/Stupid (2007)
Its playful synth and bursts of percussion add a unique element to This Fool‘s attitude-infused midtempo bounce.
9. So Hot (2008)
The first time Wonder Girls would flirt with this specific synthy sound for a title track, So Hot represents a subtly addictive peek at what’s to come.
8. Tell Me (2007)
Highlighted by its chirpy, earworm hook, Tell Me subverts 80’s electronic pop in true Wonder Girls style, offering one of their most enduring choruses in the process.
7. Irony (2007)
Characteristic of the era, debut song Irony borrows much from the staccato style of turn-of-the-century American pop/r&b. But the real star is that slinky chorus.
6. Like This (2012)
Not since Tell Me had they released something so simple in melody but so effective in delivery. Despite its spare production, the vocals give the track a sense of soulful warmth.
5. Nobody (2008)
One of k-pop’s most iconic songs, expertly melding the old with the new. It would unfairly establish the group as a throwback/retro act, but also deliver one of the genre’s most recognizable hooks.
4. 2 Different Tears (2010)
Up until their 2015 reinvention, 2 Different Tears was their most convincing and addictive 80’s-infused moment. The production feels more fully fleshed out than anything they’d yet released, and the hook sticks like crazy.
3. Be My Baby (2011)
If Nobody was their entry in the 60’s/70’s inspired girl group sound, Be My Baby became its big budget successor. The track sparkles with a renewed energy, marking the girls at the peak of their commercial power.
2. Why So Lonely (2016)
The second foray into their newly established band sound, Why So Lonely‘s psychedelic mix of reggae and alternative rock packs more of a punch than first apparent. (full review)
1. I Feel You (2015)
The song that reinvented the group, and a track that reignited my interest in them. For me, I Feel You is so far ahead of any other song on this list, utterly perfecting the icy coolness of 80’s synth pop. It’s one of the best tracks of 2015, and comes from the best full length album that year. It’s amazing how fresh a throwback can sound when the melody is perfected and the vocals match the era so flawlessly.