Feature

The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 80-71

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Links to old reviews will be provided when applicable, though those ratings may be somewhat out of date.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 // 90-81

Full Archive Here


80. 2NE1 – I Am The Best (2011)

As a hype track, I Am The Best represents the peak of what YG Entertainment has to offer. Attitude and charisma fuel the track, but that elastic beat is a modern classic, and a perfect foil for 2NE1’s unflagging bravado.


79. Boyfriend – Love Style (2012)

Take everything that was great about 80’s power pop, throw it in a blender, and you’ve got Love Style. Each refrain, and every punchy rhythmic turn, could have functioned as a lesser song’s entire chorus. It’s just hook after hook after hook.


78. Shinhwa – This Love (2013)

This Love‘s anthemic club sound stands as the definitive highlight of Shinhwa’s post-enlistment material, pulsing with dancefloor bliss. It uses a well-worn pop/EDM structure to tremendous success, building to a sky-high, euphoric chorus.


77. Sunmi – Heroine (2018)

Heroine moves from sultry and beguiling to slap-your-face commanding with effortless finesse. As you would expect from K-pop’s most magnetic diva, Sunmi sells both moods with equal ferocity. (full review)


76. Bigbang – Lies (2007)

Lies was the first indication that Bigbang would grow into more than a typical r&b/hip-hop trend-follower. The song’s melodic, propulsive chorus became emblematic of its era, quickly growing into an angsty K-pop classic.


75. After School – Shampoo (2011)

Shampoo‘s lush, shimmering trance beat is instantly recognizable, underlining a gorgeous, wistful hook that perfectly showcases what After School (and producer Daishi Dance) are capable of. It’s one of those songs that just envelopes you.


74. UP10TION – Tonight (2016)

There’s something so effortlessly jubilant about Tonight‘s brass-kissed instrumental and goofy, funk-driven chorus. It’s stuffed to the brim with playful moments — endlessly endearing and impossibly catchy. This is what K-pop summer sounds like! (full review)


73. Taeyang – Eyes, Nose, Lips (2014)

Eyes, Nose, Lips is the modern Korean R&B ballad to end all Korean R&B ballads. From the moment its ultra-dramatic piano intro crashes in, the song takes hold, pulling us deeper into its raw, emotive melody.


72. Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Gee (2009)

Certainly SNSD’s most iconic single, and one of the best-known songs in all of K-pop. There’s no denying the power of Gee‘s bubblegum blast, which spawned countless cover dances and helped kick-start a legendary career.


71. Shinhwa – Perfect Man (2002)

The pinnacle of Shinhwa’s SM Entertainment material, Perfect Man encapsulates the millennial boy band sound, pulsing along a polished, strings-assisted funk groove. But the real star is the song’s megawatt chorus, which is among K-pop’s most iconic.


NEXT: NUMBERS 70-61

36 thoughts on “The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 80-71

  1. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 90-81 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Nick , I think you have heard of the ATEEZ voting , Which do you prefer , Inception or THANXX? I am more Inception , personally
    So , yeah at this point We have started the legendary songs for Nick.
    Peaks:
    Sunmi’s Peak: 77 (Peaked Song: Heroine)
    After School’s Peak: 75 (Peaked Song: Shampoo)
    UP10TION’s Peak: 74 (Peaked Song: Tonight)
    Taeyang’s Peak: 73 (Peaked Song: Eyes , Nose and Lips)
    Shinhwa’s Peak: 71 (Peaked Song: Perfect Man)

    Like

    • I did listen to them, and neither knocked my socks off unfortunately. I haven’t voted yet, but would probably lean towards Inception. I hope both songs impress me more in full.

      Like

      • I really don’t feel the same way honestly , even though THANXX does not sound like something I’ll pull myself out to listen to , Inception is amazing! From a mid-tempo to a propulsive dance track is what it looks like right now to me from the preview so I hope it doesn’t pull back the tempo

        Like

        • I’m glad! I’ve learned never to judge an ATEEZ track from a simple clip, so I definitely still have an open mind.

          I don’t get “propulsive dance track” from the Inception clip — more like moody EDM mid-tempo. But, I’d be very happy to be surprised!

          Like

          • yeah , Propulsive was not what I mean but………. you know it keeps buliding energy , bit by bit so I hope I’ll be blowed away by THANXX , It doesn’t look promising

            Like

  3. So I tried to make a list last night, starting with a long list, and it nearly killed me as I tried to prune it down through successive prunings. At best I got it down to the top 30, and then I quit well before getting down to top 10. I mean, I know an unbiased list of top 100 of all time has to include classics like for example, Brown Eyed Girls “Abracadabra”, or even Psy “Gangnam Style”, even if I don’t listen to those much at all. But where to place them? I am dead.

    Take this one here today for example: I have other Big Bang (Fantastic Baby and BBB) on the top 30 short list. “Lies” was such a big break-through hit for them though, that and Haru Haru, but I hardly ever ever listen to either, and neither made even the long list of 150-some.

    Taeyang “Eyes Nose Lips”, yes absolutely, but higher ranked maybe? Everyone has sung this one.
    GG I’ve got “I Got a Boy” instead of “Gee”, but Gee is fine too. Once upon a time Gee was the standard example of what a kpop GG sounded and looked like.
    2NE1 “I am the Best” is in my top 30 short list.

    Like

    • It ain’t easy, I’ll tell you that! That’s why I put off doing this for so long.

      Luckily, I had a lot of personal data to draw from at first (play counts, song ratings, etc), but to some extent all of that flies out the window when it comes to the personal rush a song may (or may not) give you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m thinking that if I had to start over doing a ranking, which I won’t, I wouldn’t start from my list and my audio files but from exports of Gaon and its predecessors from the past years. Prune out a fair number of the ballads and OST which stuff the Korean charts. And then add my humble bias to cut it down to 100.

        Like

  4. so far this list has driven home for me just how much kpop has declined because of the industry’s overwhelming drive to produce trendier, trappier, more “international” music (i.e. catering to international fans’ taste, or using western songwriters and producers).

    the newest song among these 10 is heroine, and even that’s from 2 years ago and has a classic 80s throwback sound with no trap breakdown.

    as a longtime kpop fan, it almost feels like the kpop “genre” is a different one entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This stood out to me also. Though I only became a kpop fan between 2013-2015, I find that I actually prefer a lot of songs from a little earlier, say 2010 up to 2016. It does feel like kpop as a whole has gone into an entirely new era since then.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Shampoo’s just… magical. A 10/10 song if I’ve ever heard one.

    PD. I guess Wonder Girls didn’t make the list, did they? I thought maybe I Feel You could’ve had a spot somewhere in the #90s, #80s…

    Like

  6. I guessed 10 out of your 10 picks (sort of) correctly ( top 80 to 50)! This time your picks are almost entirely stone cold classics!
    I Am The Best is almost a decade old. It was and still is a gateway-to-kpop song for so many fans, I never cared for it tho.
    Gee was my gateway to kpop. I’d place it a tad bit higher for obvious reasons.
    Shampoo and Love Style are songs I absolutely ADORE. The former would definitely be in my top 20.
    Tonight is around the same place for me.
    I like Heroine and both Shinhwa songs quite a bit, tho none would even make it into honourable mentions.
    I never cared for Lies (or *almost* all Big Bang songs) but I understood its importance for Big Bang’s career.
    Eyes Nose Lips is that one kpop classic I always skip through whenever wherever. I dislike ballad in general, but Eyes Nose Lips is wayyy too overplayed to the point of it being… grating. There’s this one bookstore I visit daily (or *used to* visit daily, because ~pandemics~) that plays this song >10 times every. single.day.

    Fingers crossed for more Girl’s Day, SKZ, and Snuper!

    Like

    • Yeah , I feel like it tumbled town some ranks because we are now starting 10/10 songs , And Dalla Dalla was never there in The Legendary Inauguration Ceremony but Tonight is here so I might be wrong

      Like

  7. It’s too bad “Heroine” seems to be remembered by less people compared gashina and siren, the song itself is a great examples of gradual builds songs. It’s just so satifying hearing it hits the chorus everytime.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 70-61 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  9. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 60-51 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  10. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 50-41 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  11. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 40-31 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  12. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 30-21 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  13. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 20-11 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  14. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 10 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  15. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 9 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  16. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 8 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  17. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 7 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  18. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 6 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  19. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 5 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  20. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 4 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  21. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 3 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  22. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: Number 2 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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

Leave a Reply to lumnitzera Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.