Feature

The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 60-51

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Links to old reviews will be provided when applicable, though those ratings may be somewhat out of date.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 // 70-61

Full Archive Here


60. TVXQ – Why (Keep Your Head Down) (2011)

Why is a stomping thunderclap of the classic TVXQ sound, reinvented for two performers after the group’s messy reconfiguration. Its hair-raising vocal riffs and impish, sinister rap wouldn’t work in lesser hands, but Yunho and Changmin bring home the song’s intensity with utter conviction.


59. Brown Eyed Girls – Abracadabra (2009)

Few girl group songs have been as enduring or influential as Abracadabra. From its new wave-inspired bridge to the instantly recognizable electro beat, it’s the group’s most iconic moment and a walloping dance track. Even after a decade, its jackhammer hook feels fresh and vital.


58. Bigbang – Haru Haru (2008)

Haru Haru is the pinnacle of Bigbang’s work with Japanese producer/DJ Daishi Dance, drawing on their hip-hop style but draping it in melodramatic pop melody. The dynamic beat and repeated piano sample give the track an immensely satisfying “tears on the dancefloor” oomph, fueled by the group’s expressive performance.


57. ATEEZ – Wonderland (2019)

Wonderland fully harnesses ATEEZ’s pirate aesthetic for a modern “hype track” reinvention of the classic sea shanty. The track offers boundless intensity and commanding vocal turns, flipping expectations by structuring its verses as rowdier and more grandiose than its droning hook. (full review)


56. BTS – I Need U (2015)

I Need U was the moment when BTS fully embraced their own musical perspective. From its gorgeous harmonies to the crushing, dubstep-influenced instrumental, the song surges and crests like few others. It remains the most emotional piece of music the group has given us, paving way for a series of releases that would build from its incredible quality.


55. Seventeen – Don’t Wanna Cry (2017)

Borrowing elements from western EDM trends, Seventeen improved upon the genre with the majestic, emotional Don’t Wanna Cry. It was the first real departure from their usual funk-driven pop, and could have been a complete disaster. But, it managed to inject an incredible sense of resonance into an overly-familiar format. (full review)


54. VIXX – Error (2014)

Error stands as the most bombastic, emotive pop that VIXX ever put their name to. Each and every melodic turn sweeps in with full grandeur, lending the track a larger-than-life, almost operatic, quality without sacrificing its taut K-pop structure. It’s the culmination of many dark, high concept ideas from the group, and acts as the perfect climax to their thrilling discography.


53. B1A4 – Solo Day (2014)

Few Korean tracks have so perfectly captured the feeling of lazing at the beach, or driving around with the top down on a sunny day, as expertly as Solo Day. B1A4 have always delivered fantastic final-minute crescendos as part of their deceptively simple pop songs, but the gorgeous harmonies that close this track may be their most satisfying.


52. Akdong Musician – 200% (2014)

200% was Akdong Musician’s splash into the K-pop world, and it perfectly encompasses what’s so amazing about their quirky sound and undeniable star power. The song’s playful blend of acoustic hip-hop is unmatched, feeling as effortless as it is flawlessly crafted. It’s a genius debut, and sounds nothing like any other song within the industry.


51. Seventeen – Mansae (2015)

The explosive Mansae proved that Seventeen were here to stay. It’s a perfect collage of everything that makes the group exciting, from the charismatic, ever-changing verses to the punchy, shout-along chorus. When fans complain that they want the group to return to their debut-era sound, it’s because of pop stunners like this. (full review)


NEXT: NUMBERS 50-41

38 thoughts on “The 100 Best K-Pop Songs of All-Time: 60-51

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

  2. .

    I have no complaints here.
    Maybe perhaps BEG “Abracadabra” slightly higher as it was that year’s huge viral hit.

    (But wait, what where when are T-ara going to pop up on the list. I would expect “Lovey Dovey” and/or ‘Roly Poly” at some point . Also =my favorite= Orange Caramel.)

    (Does this mean Seventeen could possibly have 3 on the chart? eg Very Nice. Oooh, very interesting to ponder. Also expecting possibly one more TVXQ “Rising Sun”, although “Love in the Ice” is so often covered it could also make an appearance.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Woah! This list was……….. Woah!
    So Many amazing songs!!
    most of these songs would be in higher places for me!
    Peaks:
    Brown Eyed Girls Peak: 59 (Peaked Song: Abracadabra)
    BTS Peak : 56 (Peaked Song: I Need U)
    Vixx’s Peak: 54 (Peaked Song: Error)
    Akmu’s Peak: 52 (Peaked Song: 200%)

    Where the heck is EXO? Will they come in and destroy the groups? My bet is that they will , so. yeah! And did Keep your head down grow more than Before the dawn to you.

    Like

  4. Waiting for EXID to make an appearance.
    I think this was the end for some older groups…Or Sechs Kies or GOD would still be able to snatch a spot? Seems difficult.

    Like

  5. i’m predicting that we’ll see more b1a4, beast, and infinite from here on up since there has been an ominous lack of these groups in the lower half of the list haha

    Like

    • … and EXO!

      *nonsensical Gregorian chant has joined the chat*
      Careless, careless
      Shoot anonymous, anonymous
      Heartless, mindless.
      No one who care about me?

      Also Kara! I’m predicting Mr. will be somewhere in top 50-30, “Step it up step it up dasi shijagiya” for top 20!

      Like

      • i don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion but i think mama in exo’s top 5 best songs… i would give anything to hear kpop go screamo again it pleases my inner emo middle schooler

        Like

  6. Woah we got so many post-2013 songs here!

    Abracadabra is one of my all-time favourite kpop songs. Top 25 for me. Also Gain. This woman has been my girl crush for what a decade? Gain ily!
    I absolutely LOVE 200% and Keep Your Head Down. Top 50 for me.
    Mansae is an incredible song, but feels miles away from being Very Nice-incredible. It will still make the cut tho.

    B1A4 gets honourable mention.
    In two years time I’ll probably like Wonderland a lot more than I do now.

    Don’t care for the rest.

    Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a 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.