K-Pop is one of the few international genres that places more focus on groups than solo acts, but when a single artist does make it big, they often burst into the stratosphere. Such is the case with Rain (Bi), who set the standard for male soloists everywhere. He is not only a Korean star. He’s a star who has conquered all of Asia. His lengthy discography is home to many classics, but here are my favorites.
- Special shout-out to 2010’s Hip Song, which would have made it onto the list if it had been given a proper music video.
10. Free Way (2006)
Rain’s original Japanese material hasn’t always lived up to his Korean output, but the bright, breezy soul of Free Way is definitely the highlight.
9. How To Avoid The Sun (2003)
How To Avoid The Sun’s shuffling beat and atmospheric synths create the perfect midtempo soundscape for Rain to push his early material into sexier territory.
8. I Do (2004)
In many ways, I Do is the quintessential boy band track. But Rain’s smooth, commanding vocals wash over the song’s more derivative moments and transform into something quite special.
7. Handshake (2002)
A delicate ballad highlighted by its emotive, melodic chorus. In many ways, it became the initial template for Rain’s softer work.
6. Bad Guy (2002)
5. 30 Sexy (2014)
After an extended break, 30 Sexy’s insistent dance beat and falsetto-led chorus refreshed Rain’s music for a new (and even more international) audience.
4. The Best Present (2017)
Bringing things back to basics, the mature, hyper-melodic Best Present casts Rain as the elder statesman of k-pop and proves that his smooth r&b sound is timeless. (full review)
3. Love Story (2008)
Though relatively simple at its core, it’s hard to imagine how Love Story could have been better executed. From its sweeping orchestral elements to the gorgeously layered chorus, it’s a definite highlight among Rain’s ballads.
2. It’s Raining (2004)
Armed with significant success from two hit albums, the dynamic It’s Raining shot Rain into the stratosphere. It also marks a turning point in his sound, offering an aggressive urban dance beat that had only been hinted at before.
1. Rainism (2008)
His biggest hit, and most enduring classic. Built on a series of pulsing, staccato hooks, Rainism stutters forward on an addictive energy that seemed to predict the future of k-pop. Of all his singles, it feels like the biggest blockbuster moment, stuffed to the brim with dance breakdowns and iconic hooks.