As SM Entertainment’s original girl group, it’s hard to overstate just how successful S.E.S were when they debuted in the late 90’s. Long before “cute” was the girl group template of choice, the trio built their name on a catchy blend of hip-hop and 90’s r&b. Their music stretched into the early 00’s before a lengthy hiatus saw them expanding to solo works. Here are their best title tracks.
10. U (2002)
Fueled by the crunch of electric guitar, U is an encapsulation of its ultra-processed teen pop era. Even so, its polished hooks and angular production stands out.
9. Twilight Zone (1999)
Initially diluted by an overuse of autotune, the beguiling Twilight Zone rights itself for the ultra-impressive, layered chorus.
8. Shy Boy (1998)
Taking heavy influence from the stuttering, Timbaland-esque beats of the era, Shy Boy presents a dance floor-ready take on the girls’ early sound.
7. Love (1999)
Opening with an extended vocal riff, Love soon transforms into a restrained mid-tempo bounce with spikes of unexpected power.
6. I Love You (1998)
All breezy harmonies and sweet sentiment, I Love You doubled down on the group’s successful 90’s sound with one of their most memorable refrains.
5. Be Natural (2000)
Later covered by Red Velvet, the slinky Be Natural is one of the group’s sexiest songs. But more than that, it offers a dynamite showcase for their impressive r&b vocals.
4. Just A Feeling (2002)
S.E.S’s most upbeat single, Just A Feeling provides a jolt of early 00’s dance-pop with a jubilant, sing-along chorus that finds the girls in blissful party mode.
3. Dreams Come True (1998)
To kick off promotions for their second album, the girls opted for a cover of a Finnish hit. Dreams Come True’s hypnotic synth riff and trip-hop beat come together to create atmospheric magic.
2. I’m Your Girl (1997)
S.E.S’s debut track is quintessentially 90’s, melding a mid-tempo hip-hop beat to a sugar sweet pop chorus that has proven to stand the test of time. It’s as iconic as first generation girl group k-pop gets.
1. Paradise (2017)
It’s not one of the group’s signature tracks, nor did it make much of a splash when it was released earlier this year. But Paradise is the perfect reunion comeback, pulling influence from S.E.S’s original sound while updating it with the power of modern production. The layering in the chorus is to die for, as is the addictive New Jack Swing beat. There are very few groups whose late-career material would make it to the top of a singles countdown, but Paradise is an essential encapsulation of everything that makes S.E.S amazing. (full review)