Feature

The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 70-61

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Links to old reviews will be provided when applicable, though those ratings may be somewhat out of date.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 // 80-71

Full Archive Here


70. H.O.T – We Are The Future (1997)

Embracing the techno dance style of its era, We Are The Future smoothed H.O.T’s rough edges for a propulsive piece of first-gen K-pop. Its influence continues to loom large over the industry, and its sweeping chorus will always be a classic.


69. BTS – Blood, Sweat & Tears (2016)

A hypnotic blend of tropical house and moombahton, Blood, Sweat & Tears sidesteps its trendy origins with a series of gorgeous vocals and lush instrumentation. When looking at this generation of K-pop, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more iconic opening line than Jimin’s airy introduction. (full review)


68. Seo Taiji & Boys – I Know (1992)

As the birth of modern K-pop, I Know‘s impact cannot be overstated. But beyond that, it’s just a hell of a good song. Seo Taiji & Boys fuse New Jack Swing with alternative rock and hip-hop to create a thrilling blend that remains as potent today as it was twenty-eight years ago.


67. BTS – Dope (2015)

The ultimate BTS hype track, buoyed by a twisted instrumental sample that explodes from the most intoxicating builds the group has ever given us. It’s a sound and structure that has been overused by many groups, but Dope represents its powerful, unrelenting pinnacle.


66. NCT Dream – My First And Last (2017)

The brilliantly bright My First & Last reinvented NCT’s youngest unit as purveyors of classic, throwback pop music. Its impossibly sunny chorus and driving beat combine to forge moments of true K-pop perfection. (full review)


65. Super Junior – It’s You (2009)

It’s You‘s repeated vocal ad-lib acts as a rhythmic through-line, but the song’s knockout punch comes courtesy of its surging chorus, which delivers one one of the most cathartic melodies of any SM Entertainment group. Though Super Junior may be more well-known for their “hook” songs, It’s You offers a deeper sentiment.


64. Golden Child – Lady (2018)

Lady goes full-on melodramatic, hanging a timeless melody over a gorgeous, piano-led instrumental. Its transition from verse to pre-chorus is absolutely killer, cascading with cinematic grandeur while retaining a taut pop structure. (full review)


63. Astro – Hide & Seek (2016)

Hide & Seek is a perfect distillation of Astro’s bright, poppy sound, melodic heft and ebullient spirit. The song is a rollicking good time, never slowing in its pursuit to deliver one sing-along hook after another. (full review)


62. Kim Sungkyu – 60 Seconds (2012)

60 Seconds is positioned as a killer blend of Infinite’s propulsive, melody-driven sound and Sungkyu’s modern rock edge. It remains my favorite title track from one of my favorite voices in K-pop. It’s just immensely satisfying all around.


61. Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – I Got A Boy (2013)

A Frankenstein tapestry of song fragments, I Got A Boy is one of the most complex, genre-smashing singles in Girls’ Generation’s entire career. You’ll either love or hate its abrupt transitions in sound and melody. I happen to find it as irresistible as it is fascinating.


NEXT: NUMBERS 60-51

42 thoughts on “The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 70-61

  1. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 80-71 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. This list is shocking by its own!
    Golden Child Lady? I thought it rank higher!
    BTS Blood , Sweat And Tears? I thought it wouldn’t come on this list! (And It also became a legendary song? Woah!)
    But seriously , though Astro is the first real loss I actually cared about!
    Peaks:
    Seo Taji & Boys Peak: 68 ( Peaked Song: I Know)
    NCT Dream’s Peak: 66 (Peaked Song: My First and Last)
    Astro’s Peak: 63 (Peaked Song: Hide & Seek)
    Kim Sungkyu’s Peak: 62 (Peaked Song: 60 Seconds)
    I am scared at this point since The competition seems tough!

    Like

  3. yay MFAL!! it’s still the best song that the entire NCT project has spawned by a long shot imo, even compared to the rest of NCT dream’s excellent discography

    i totally forgot how much i love 60 seconds that reversed piano in the beginning is iconic… though i still think i love the answer the most out of sunggyu’s material, it’s one of my go-to songs to cry to lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. .

    Oh, I love so many of these.

    BTS Blood Sweat Tear was easily in my short top 30 list. Not Dope anywhere, idkw I didn’t have Dope on the long list, maybe because i had Fire on the long list. Back when they were good.

    Thank you for some SuJu early 2nd gen love. I am eagerly waiting to see where Mr Simple and/or Sorry Sorry land. They have to be on the list, yes?

    “Lady” is my favorite Golcha song. Its very sophisticated for a group that was so young at the time. Also, Astro, yes good stuff there!

    I kept the Infinite / Kim Sung Kyu “60sec” along with “Between You and Me” on my list through successive waves of trimming both finally succumbed at about 40 ish. This is quality pop singing, people! This is what it sounds like, take note! Effortless transition through all his registers from chest through mix to head to falsetto. And he sings it just as well if not better live.

    There it is, SNSD “I Got a Boy”, just because it has to be on a list like this. bum bum bum bum.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you ranked Dope higher than BS&T given your old rankings (even if I vehemently disagree), but Danger fell right off when it was originally between them. Granted those rankings are old but still. Ahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, a lot of my older rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. But even as I post this “all-time” ranking, I know that it’s fluid — at least to a certain degree and especially in the lower half of the countdown.

      Liked by 2 people

    • This ELF was also happy to see the love for “It’s You”. I might have swapped out “No Other” for “It’s You”, but really no complaints at all coming from this corner. (and the thought that SuJu could possibly have 4 songs on the list tickles me.) (More? idk, Mr Simple and Sorry Sorry should be up there, but Nick’s personal favorite is “Devil”. I personally have a soft spot for Hey Mamacita ay ya ya ya ya ya, but I am usually alone there. “Black Suit” is also tragically under-rated.) Ooooh the possibilities!

      Like

  6. I was making my own top 20 list and it’s so difficult to finalize and I’m sure its going to change by the time I comment next time. For me, it consists of songs before 2018 only as longevity is a very important criterion. And surprisingly my list contains only 8 title tracks and 8 bsides along with 4 soloists, but as u said this list will contain title tracks with mv I would have to search my playlist again. But this list is so much fun, I am currently revisiting my HOT and Seo Taiji’s playlist and its so much fun.

    BST and I got a boy would rank higher while some songs from previous rankings would end up here. But currently, our choices in the top 100 don’t seem to differ much.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I see a serious lack of (early) EXO here…

    I love three of your picks:
    MFAL, the best Dreamies output by a long shot. I also love Haechan’s vocal on this thing.
    60 Seconds, one of the (very) few excellent kpop group member’s solo songs out there. I LOVE Sungkyu’s voice, and I also happen to be biased for L. As always my guy looks absolutely ravishing.
    Hide & Seek, the best Astro song by a long shot. It’s sad to see they’ve only been given crappy craps these daya.

    LOVED IGAB when it came out, but I and every kpop fan around me really played that song to death. I don’t actively search for that song anymore, but I don’t skip it either.
    BS&T is another decent song, but ultra pretentious MV (the “guess what went through oppa’s head while he was staring at some random architecture for too long” type), *some* ultra annoying fans, and J-Hope’s grating “wonhae manhi manhi” always get in the way of truly enjoying this song.

    Don’t care for the rest.

    Also why so productive? How? Do you know any secret finger workout?

    Like

    • On productivity:

      Summer – as a school librarian, I have summers off so there’s always more time for writing.

      Summer in pandemic – even more so! Sayonara, any social plans I might normally have…

      July’s release schedule – it’s been really packed so far. Every day I think there’ll only be one or two songs, a couple more drop by surprise. It’s hard not to fall behind. I already have multiple buried treasure and J-pop posts waiting in my head to put down in writing.

      Features – this is entirely a self-inflicted thing.
      My mind: “Why, yes, let’s just do ‘top 100 all-time,’ on top of ‘summer of K-pop,’ on top of ‘looking back!'”
      But, it’s all a lot of fun so I can’t complain.

      Like

    • Noooo, J hope’s wone mani mani is the highlight for me.

      Agree with the mv part bcoz that pause in the middle is not something I prefer, then again if going by mvs I would seriously reconsider many of the iconic songs.. the elements, superpowers, double identities, symbolism of many of the groups like BTS , EXO , GOT7 ,NCT, SKZ etc just confuse me.

      I understand you on the “annoying fans” part but I have learnt to ignore the fandoms because otherwise I won’t be able to enjoy popular groups… They can declare world war for all I care (I hope not).

      Liked by 1 person

    • .
      Wonhae manhi manhi
      Wo nay money money

      I have playlists of songs I would sing if I were ever to be on a singing show (which is to say never), and Blood Sweat Tears has been on and off and on and off it. And the reason it comes off the list is the chorus. You can’t sing the song through with Wonhae manhi manhi as is, you have to do something to it. The best I got after many car trip attempts is to do a descending line to mimic Suga’s descending first verse line. But then what to with so many repeats! (This is where I usually mention “Rock Me Amadeus”.) Also, trying to intone “chocolate cheeks and chocolate wings” with a straight face is challenging. And so, off the list goes again.

      For the video, I only watched it a couple times so I don’t really care what oppa was thinking as he stared meaningfully at the wall or tree or something.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 70-61 | Rap Star Media

  9. Glad to see IGAB here. At first I was really put off by the sudden changes in the song, then it grew on me as every SNSD song eventually does, now I realize that it is in fact a pretty good hallmark of kpop, both in setting a trend and its actual execution. It has a really good, catchy chorus that I think perfectly encapsulates what SNSD is about.

    Like

  10. Oof you know the competition is tough when tons of your fav songs are at the bottom half.

    If ONF ain’t making it at least two songs I’m gonna be mad haha. jk

    Like

  11. When each of these songs is 10/10 and would be in my personal top 50

    Also I am happy you are putting 1st generation acts also! 🙂

    Like

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