Looking Back: The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2009

Monthly Round-UpSince the start of The Bias List in January 2016, I’ve always looked back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists each month. Now, it’s time to look even further into the past, one month at a time. And, yes, the top three rankings count toward The Bias List’s personal artist scorecard!

January 2009 Overall Thoughts

I’m turning the calendar back to 2009, when K-pop was a very different place than it is now. It’s almost like visiting an alien world, but you can hear familiar building blocks within these older songs. During this time, K-pop didn’t yet garner endless international attention, which makes research on each month a little trickier than the years previously covered as part of this series.

January of 2009 wasn’t stuffed with big releases, but it delivered two absolutely iconic tracks. Girls’ Generation’s Gee is about as classic as K-pop gets, and was likely an entry point for many fans. On the other hand, you might not be familiar with the group T-Max, but if you’ve watched even the smallest amount of Korean variety, you’ve no doubt heard Paradise. Initially popularized as the OST of Boys Over Flowers, it’s since taken on a meme-worthy status of its own. As a piece of music, it’s pretty schlocky, but it certainly deserves a fond mention.

This month also gave us the debut of girl group After School and soloist Taegoon. Only one of these acts would go on to have long-term success, but both songs have a fun 2009-specific sound. And though I try not to give Bigbang’s Seungri much attention (for obvious reasons), I’m not going to pretend that his solo debut Strong Baby isn’t a total jam. Ironically, its highlight is a hilariously over-exaggerated introduction from bandmate G-Dragon.

Honorable Mentions

T-Max – Paradise (video)

Taegoon – Call Me (video)

Untouchable – Tell Me Why (ft. Hwayoung) (video)


3. After School – Ah

2. Seungri – Strong Baby (ft. G-Dragon)

1. Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Gee

14 thoughts on “Looking Back: The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2009

  1. After School’s Ah Takes the cake for me, Then comes Paradise and Gee. It’s funny because I normally hate songs like Gee, but I guess Girls Generation are a group which can pull it off.


  2. I’ve got nothing for this month. But I will add that for a long long time, SNSD “Gee” was considered to be a classic entry point must watch for “What is kpop, done girl style”.
    SNSD has always been best at legs legs legs baby. The costumes aren’t that overtly sexy, not by western standards, but show off the legs so well.

    Liked by 1 person

      • This throwback feature and your year-end lists have been helping me to discover many gems. I have listened to the top three enough to have my own opinion on them.

        AH is one of the most popular AS songs but I just can’t get into it. The chorus is an earworm, that’s for sure, but the rest of the song is mid.

        GD’s intro is so funny, like “show them what you got BRUH!”, he’s way ahead of his time. The song is fine, the mv? Yikes. Aged poorly.

        Gee is a classic, there’s no question about that. It’s a bit lightweight for my taste, but every part of it is irresistible. Taeyeon’s adlibs at the end of the song are my favorite.


  3. Pingback: Looking Back: The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2009 | Rap Star Media

      • I once attempted to do this (inspired by you) for 2004. I never published the lists, and have since lost them, but I made them from January to October. It was pretty difficult to find most of the songs, some were near-impossible. To me, the most surprising thing was that songs usually got their first music-show win months after arriving. Example: TVXQ’s Hug came in January, but got its first music show win in May if I remember right.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Gee should theoretically sound terrible. I hate the trend it follows, and I never was a big fan of it. Still, it sounds somehow better now than when I first heard it. Shows you, good music writing is key to making classics.

    (Now if we could only let many modern songwriters get the message)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry, off topic but with the amount of potential April is giving us I feel like it will be on par with the classic renaissance moments in the future and will cement itself as one of the BEST K-pop Months of All time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have ENDLESSLY thought about the kind of group After School might have been had they stayed in/on this sound scape and their debut stage of Playgirlz & Ah – where Kahi’s hoop earring falls off between the songs – is truly a kpop classic to me.

    By the time ‘Gee’ came out I was definitely laser focused on WG instead so I didn’t get that same experience of joy with it until much later.

    Liked by 1 person

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