Debuting with YG Entertainment in 2014, sibling duo Akdong Musician are the very best act to come out of competition series K-Pop Star. Their acoustic pop sound pulls in a seemingly endless mix of genres, bursting with creativity and a sense of boundary-pushing inventiveness. Despite only having three proper studio albums to their name, they’ve released just enough material for a top ten countdown. (For further listening, check out the gorgeous Time and Fallen Leaves, which didn’t qualify for this list given its lack of a music video.)
10. I Love You (2013)
A relatively inauspicious debut as an OST release, the wistful I Love You is a straightforward teaser of the brilliant pop music AKMU were about to unleash.
9. Bean Dduk Bing Soo (2013)
Though created as a promotional track for shaved ice, Bean Dduk Bing Soo is notable for being one of the most dance-oriented songs the duo has recorded.
8. The Tree (with Yang Hee Eun) (2017)
A duet with folk pop legend Yang Hee Eun, the moving Tree unfolds on an emotional bed of majestic harmonies and lush production. (full review)
7. Re-Bye (2016)
Taking a jazzy approach, Re-Bye’s baroque pop melded AKMU’s quirky sense of melody with inspirations from decades past. (full review)
6. Like Ga Na Da (2015)
Only Akdong Musician could make a song about the Korean alphabet so addicting. Like Ga Na Da’s playful verses give way to a rousing, sing-along chorus with charm to spare.
5. Last Goodbye (2017)
A stripped-back folk-pop ballad, Last Goodbye has an air of finality to it, propelled by its soaring, melodic chorus and reflective verses. (full review)
4. Melted (2014)
The first time AKMU showed us just how deep and emotional their music could go. Melted’s melancholy strings and piano paint a slow-burn melody that’s as affecting as it is gorgeous.
3. Give Love (2014)
The third single to be taken from their incredible debut album, the bright Give Love is sunshine in a bottle, spinning energy off the duo’s playful interactions and the melody’s improvisational shifts in structure.
2. How People Move (2016)
The dynamic How People Move harnesses an unending supply of ideas and throws them at the listener all at once. Impossible to classify, the track’s wide genre shifts encompass hip-hop, classical, pop and jazz with an addicting sense of energy and verve. (full review)
1. 200% (2014)
Though not their first released song, 200% was Akdong Musician’s splash into the k-pop world, and it perfectly encompasses what’s so amazing about their quirky sound and undeniable star power. The song’s playful blend of acoustic and hip-hop is unmatched, feeling as effortless as it is flawlessly crafted. It’s a genius mainstream debut, and one of the best k-pop tracks of the last five years.