It’s finally time to take a long overdue look at the singles from one of k-pop’s legendary performers. Honestly, BoA has released so much music in both Korea and Japan, that this list has been revised several times over. I think everyone’s choices will probably be unique to them, but for me, I’ve found that her best music comes in spurts, with a couple of specific years standing out as her peaks. Her Japanese discography dwarfs her Korean output, but its general quality hasn’t been quite as consistently excellent. But whether you agree or disagree with my ranking, there are dozens more hits to explore after listening to these ten.
10. First Time (2014)
The most recent track on this countdown, and one of BoA’s most anthemic pop melodies. Those filtered background vocals help its chorus come to euphoric life.
9. Only One (2012)
A midtempo dance track that brought BoA’s music into a new era, with its emotive performance and shimmering instrumentation.
8. No. 1 (2002)
One of BoA’s most iconic, enduring tracks, and proof that k-pop could take what was working in the west and transform it into something all its own.
7. Hurricane Venus (2010)
After a string of overseas releases, Hurricane Venus’s triumphant brew of warped vocals and powerful production proved that BoA was here to stay in her native Korea.
6. Copy & Paste (2010)
Copy & Paste’s seesawing synth refrain is one of her most memorable, and it perfectly anchors this attitude-fueled, idiosyncratic electro-dance track.
5. Moto (2005)
A synth-drenched hip-hop dance track that melded retro elements to a loose, funky break beat that allowed her to fully showcase her powerful choreography.
4. Shout It Out (2014)
Though she’s released far more singles in Japan than Korea, few have been as instant and irresistibly fun as Shout It Out. It may have been released later in her career, but she looked and sounded more youthful than ever.
3. The Shadow (2012)
The strongest dance single she’s released in the past decade, and a criminally underrated entry in her discography. Its nearly constant stream of staccato vocal delivery transforms its otherwise steady beat and feels like Korea’s answer to Janet Jackson.
2. Girls On Top (2005)
Produced by the legendary Yoo Young-Jin, Girls On Top best represents the fierce hip-hop side of BoA, and features one of her most commanding vocal performances. Its slinky dance beat allows ample opportunity for her to lace every line with an almost tactile sense of funk.
1. Atlantis Princess (2003)
Though there have been more aggressively produced and performed singles in BoA’s career, none matches the emotional and melodic warmth of Atlantis Princess. Its second verse, which incorporates a gorgeous swirl of background vocals and symphonic flourishes, might just be the most resonant moment of her entire career. It’s a total classic, and represents BoA at her most inclusively uplifting.