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The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 90-81

In celebration of The Bias List’s fifth year anniversary, I’ve embarked on my most ambitious project yet. After years of hemming and hawing, I’ve finally ranked what I consider to be the best 100 songs in K-pop.

There will never be a definitive list of this nature, because it’s impossible to rank something that’s inherently subjective. Please feel welcome to agree, disagree, argue and justify, but at the end of the day know that this list is personal. If we happen to share a similar taste in music, it may match closely to your own list. If not, I hope you enjoy reading (and discussing) anyway!

Links to old reviews will be provided when applicable, though those ratings may be somewhat out of date. 

Countdown Archive:  Honorable Mentions // 100-91

Full Archive Here


90. SHINee – Why So Serious? (2013)

Why So Serious sees SHINee tackle stadium rock in their own bright, impossibly charismatic style. It’s fueled by just enough goofiness to keep it from collapsing under its own weight, highlighted by a soaring chorus that takes full advantage of the guys’ powerful vocals.


89. Kara – Mamma Mia (2014)

Mamma Mia‘s shimmering, disco-tastic arrangement and relentless chorus hit right from the get-go, unveiling a furiously fun instrumental riff for the ages. It remains one of production team Duble Sidekick’s best ever dance tracks.


88. SHINee – Replay (2008)

Replay‘s breezy, laid-back summer beat remains utterly infectious to this day, and stands as one of the most unassumingly iconic debuts in K-pop history. Sometimes, simple and groovy is best.


87. GOT7 – A (2014)

A‘s bright, retro beat underlines GOT7’s most successful melody — evoking summer and youth in an effortless distillation of what makes pop music so irresistible.


86. JYP – Honey (1998)

Honey propels forward on the explosive funk of its brass riff. Park Jinyoung’s music has been sleeker and sexier, but he’s never commanded a song as strongly as he does here. This is an immortal jam, as fresh and exciting now as it was in the 90’s.


85. NCT 127 – Highway To Heaven (2019)

Like so many of my favorite tracks, Highway To Heaven harnesses an “anything is possible” propulsion in aural form. It’s a pop tonic, culminating in a glorious power note that begs you to keep driving down that endless road. (full review)


84. G-Dragon – One Of A Kind (2012)

Over a spare, elastic beat, G-Dragon shows us exactly why he’s one of Korea’s most interesting rappers. One Of A Kind holds surprises at every turn, anchored by the sheer force of his impish personality. (full review)


83. Snuper – It’s Raining (2016)

It’s Raining surges with sonic drama, from its emotive verses to the titular, disco-tinged refrain that opens the track. Stuffed to the brim with drum-fills, blasts of brass and touches of guitar, this is K-pop at its streamlined best. (full review)


82. Lovelyz – For You (2015)

For You sidesteps the quirkier sides of Lovelyz’ music, embracing a full-throated, classic pop sound. It’s built on a densely packed instrumental that surges forward as the track’s hopeful, ebullient chorus reaches sky high. (full review)


81. Infinite – Destiny (2013)

Infinite’s first title track apart from producers Sweetune, Destiny pulses with an injection of new energy. It’s a taut, edgy dance track that never lets up, propelled by the group’s breathless performance. (full review)


NEXT: NUMBERS 80-71

37 thoughts on “The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 90-81

  1. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 100-91 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. .

    And right about now is when I think about starting a short list of the dozen or two songs that would be in my list if I were to make a list because HEY YOU CRAZY Why so Serious would be like TOP TEN FOR ME!

    SHEESH!

    Highway to Heaven would be at best Honorable mention.

    No comment on the others, they are fine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, I agree! The bridge in Why So Serious stands as possibly my favorite in any K-Pop song, and the whole song couldn’t be any lower than the top quarter of my list. I had to remove it from some of my playlists so as to not overlisten and kill my enjoyment.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The Peaks are revealed to be that Lovelyz and GOT7 have peaked in
    the countodwn.
    GOT7’s Peak: 87 (Peaked Song: A)
    Lovelyz Peak: 82 (Peaked Song: For You)

    Like

    • After a little more research , I learnt that JYP’s Peak is also there. Honey must’ve grown more than You’re the one.
      So………..
      JYP’s Peak: 86 (Peaked Song: Honey)

      Like

    • Yeah Sadly Apink is not in this list , Apink’s Peak is hush ( I think) and it ranked 41 in his Top 50 countdown of 2012 and B1A4’s Baby good night ranked 18th in the 2012 countdown so.. yeah

      Like

  4. Ooh nice picks! Kara’s and both SHINee’s songs would most likely end up in my top 25 and top 50 respectively, GOT7 and JYP would be around the same place for me.
    NCT127, Snuper & Infinite a bit higher.
    Lovelyz gets honourable mention.

    Like

  5. I finally got into Infinite earlier this year, and…

    … do you ever get a little twinge of despair, knowing there may never be another singles run quite as bulletproof? Just the perfect convergence of performers, creative team, and a time in musical history that allowed it. Sigh.

    I digress, though – I’m familiar with 6 of today’s picks, and excited to dive into the rest. Highway to Heaven and It’s Raining, in particular, are two of my all-time faves.

    Destiny was a bit less immediate for me than a lot of other Infinite tracks, but I’m glad I let it grow – it’s such an important, pivotal moment for them.

    Like

    • it wasn’t voguing, it was waacking. and iirc it was a success for them, after adding Youngji to the group (if that’s what you meant)

      Like

  6. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 90-81 | Rap Star Media

  7. Mamma Mia chorus is still one of kara’s best. The chord change in the “let’s go” would probably makes for a good adrenaline rush that are needed in workout playlist.

    Also, honey is awesome. JYP definitely have a good amount of songs that stands the test of time very well. Guckkasten version of honey also rocks hard:

    Like

    • Same reason why Kara “Lupin” killz me every time: that key change at the chorus. They just don’t do key changes anymore in kpop in the 3rd gen these days. Every other 2nd gen lead single back then would have a random key change that was thrilling, and at times bonkers but somehow worked.

      Hear hear on the JYP! JYP is all old skool song writing, with real melodies and actual hooks and more traditional structure, so his songs become very adaptable, vs other songs which rely heavily on a certain timbre hook with a very particular instrumental to sell it. (For example, yesterday’s Pink Fantasy release, which is nothing without the instrumental.)

      Like

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