Top Ten K-pop Singles Revisited: Super Junior

Top Ten K-pop Singles Revisited - Super JuniorI first launched my “top ten songs” feature at the beginning of 2016, right as The Bias List was getting off the ground. Because of this, many of the lists created that year are in desperate need of revision. New material has been released since then, and my opinion has changed on older songs.

With that in mind, it’s time to look back at some of these lists and make some changes.

First up is Super Junior! If you’re interested in the old list, you’re welcome to check it out here.

10. Twins (Knock Out) (2005)

Super Junior came punching right out of the gate, throwing down the gauntlet with Twins’ aggressive dance rock assault. Though it’s a cover of a western pop song, Twins thrives on its distinctly K-pop energy. (full review)

9. Don’t Don (2007)

Don’t Don’s heavy guitar distortion may surprise those who have grown used to Super Junior’s more subdued sound these past few years, but this early era was defined by over-the-top bombast. Don is ridiculous in the best way possible, culminating in a dramatic violin solo courtesy of Super Junior-M member Henry. (full review)

8. Black Suit (2017)

After several years away, Black Suit saw a modified version of the Super Junior line-up return with gusto. The track’s forceful dance beat and big band influences feels perfectly-calibrated to the group’s charms, merging refinement with crackling pop energy. (full review)

7. A-Cha (2011)

At this point in their career, Super Junior were churning out angular, rock-infused electro-pop with ease. A-Cha is a highlight of this era, pulsing along distorted electronics, staccato vocals and a satisfying headrush of a chorus.

6. Devil (2015)

Devil is effortlessly smooth, befitting an act in their tenth year of activities. From its catchy guitar riff to that breathy, sing-along chorus, the track showcases a group comfortable in their own skin, embracing their status as K-pop legends. (full review)

5. Sexy, Free & Single (2012)

One of Super Junior’s funkiest singles (as well as a veritable meme machine), Sexy, Free & Single fuses airy melody over a scuzzy electro beat to brilliant effect. Its synth lines are absolutely gorgeous, complimenting the guys’ ultra-rhythmic performance.

4. Mr. Simple (2011)

Mr. Simple bounds forward on an icy synth riff and galloping beat, unyielding in its single-minded intensity. It’s unlike any sound you’d hear in other music markets, using its harsh repetition to its advantage. The song plays like a coiled spring, hiding groovy surprises around every corner. (full review)

3. Bonamana (2010)

Super Junior had much to live up to after the unprecedented success of Sorry Sorry, and Bonamana smartly builds upon that song’s charms. It may not feel quite as iconic, but every element is turned to eleven, climaxing in a mammoth, chant-along chorus that leaves you hungry for more.

2. It’s You (2009)

It’s You harnesses the strongest melodies in Super Junior’s arsenal, gently building to a chorus that can only be describes as “surging” and “majestic.” The song knows how to use dynamics to its advantage, pulling back and rushing forward to offer ultimate pop song catharsis.

1. Sorry Sorry (2009)

Sorry Sorry has become so iconic that it’s easy to consider it more of an experience than a song. But, that would be doing its flawless production and walloping hook a disservice. There’s a reason this smash has stood the test of time. It’s cool and aloof, yet sharp and imposing. The rhythmic chorus is pop perfection, tracing the lines of the groove with a sense of confidence that only a group as skilled as Super Junior could pull off with such ease.



15 thoughts on “Top Ten K-pop Singles Revisited: Super Junior

  1. I haven’t listened to many Super Junior singles but I’ll rank the ones that I have.

    1. Black Suit
    2. Mr. Simple
    3. A-Cha
    4. Bonamana
    5. Sorry Sorry
    6. House Party
    7. Devil


  2. Yay! It’s here! It’s funny to see how much opinions can change over time. I’m glad It’s You moved up- that would be my top 1 or 2 as well if I were to make a similar list (but I think I am far too indecisive to ever make one lol). Twins, Mr. Simple, Devil, and Black Suit would also probably be on my list. I’d probably have to include Mamacita as well, for sentimental reasons lmao. If Burn the Floor was a title track, it would also be very high up there.

    Btw, the fact that you had Superman on the original list is so validating haha. So goofy but I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I agree that I’m not sure it would be in my top 10 though. But who knows, I feel like my favorite songs change daily!


  3. ‘Sexy free and single, I’m ready to bingo!’ LMAO

    Don’t don will always been my favorite because it’s my first SJ song but the top 5 can’t be denied, even if I’d swap ‘it’s you’s place with Don myself


  4. Ah, yassss. Thank you, Nick!

    I have a top 15, in honor of 15 years, and also because I couldn’t make it shorter.

    1 Hey Mamacita naega ay yay yay yay yaaaaaaay
    2 Black Suit
    3 No Other
    4 It’s You
    5 This is Love
    6 Super Clap
    7 Sexy Free & Single
    8 A-Cha
    9 Bonamana
    10 Mr Simple
    11 Sorry Sorry
    12 Devil
    13 Spy
    14 Oppa, Oppa / Rokkugo
    15 Miracle

    The last two:
    SJ have performed “Miracle” at every Super Show and concert since forever. If the set list is at least 3, one of the songs performed will be Miracle.

    Oppa Oppa – you think your biases are funny crazy, yeah D&E perform this one dressed as ketchup and mustard. And its a hell of a fun song. The alt cray cray is Rokkugo. If SJ don’t drop into a rousing rendition of Oppa Oppa, they do Rokkugo. After a stunning turn all singing a cover of Let It Go, all dressed in drag as Elsa, where do you go from there? Why, Rokkugo of course.

    Here is the ketchup and mustard, y’all can google SJ Elsa yourself as there are a lot of fancams. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LloLMZlnLXQ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mamacita #1?? That is SO VALID! Also, putting Oppa Oppa on there is pure taste as well- only reason I didn’t mention that one is because I feel like D&E deserves its own list lol.

      But yeah, give me all these goofy af performances and MVs any day over all the “dark”/take-themselves-too-seriously boy group concepts that have been popular the last few years.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, and this is where your tag name meaning is revealed!

        Yes! I think that Mamacita is a classic Only Super Junior song. (Oppa Oppa being another Only SuJu example).

        First of all, it’s a solid pop song – the chorus hook is so hooky that you hear the song once, you know the song. The song is its own kind of high concept song, but with tongue firmly in cheek. It isn’t the high art concept or deep lore or dark or fun summer or angst concept – the song and video created this concept in kpop and owned it. Olde West. The Watermelon. The Crown. Just close your lips shut, your tongue! It plays it out once, does it well, and then calls it good. Still owns the concept – other groups have tried western theme more recently, but did not succeed because they just didn’t commit fully to the retro-50’s western Bonanza-style camp required. Its like the kpop version of the Disney World Hoop-Dee-Hoo dinner show.

        The dance is also hooky. It has the classic SuJu strategy of keeping the dance clever, repetitive, and simple – simple enough that for the major steps the audience could follow along in any shape they are in. Finger point, drop to deep 2nd position grand plie, twist the feet back and forth, hand knocks head, shift and repeat with other hand. There. How many other dances from other groups can you describe in a sentence? Shinee Ring a ding (but not Lucifer)?

        The lyrics are very sharp and pointy – the group is essentially telling off their own fan club to mind their own business. But then THEN months later the fan club responds by being so personally offended by Sungmin’s marriage that they get him essentially kicked out of the group. (… and the K-ELF still go on for pages about how They are the Victims here.) So life mirrored art here, the watermelon, the crown.

        But to deliver it, the boys have to muster all their charisma. Its not a very rangey song, but it is full throated singing with a lot of acting. The performer has to have the mojo to sing their line clean and clear, and act for the camera beyond the usual wink. The performance requires stage presence in spades.

        Also worth noting, as per their usual, SuJu sing it without a backing track on the verses. The choruses are usually sung as a chorus, so there is a backing track for the chorus that they all sing along to. As they rotated through their military service who covers whose original lines changed often. They’ve performed this song with anywhere between 5 and 9 members and they didn’t record a new backing track each time. Kyuhyun’s and Ryeowook’s parts in particular got passed around to Yesung, Donghae, Leeteuk, and others while they were away.

        So to sum up, I can’t think of any other group who could deliver a song like this besides Super Junior. So it’s the top for me. Plus I love to sing along to it.

        BTW, there is also a Japanese version.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes yes I agree with all of this! I appreciate that you put into words all the things I feel but am not articulate enough to describe, haha. I am far too indecisive to really decide on a ranking but this one is definitely up there. Of course, “Close your lips, shut your tongue” is my favorite ever line from a K-Pop song though. Genuinely laughed out loud the first time I listened to it, in a good way.

          Overall I think this just reminds me of why I like them so much in the first place- they don’t take themselves too seriously but they do have serious talent and good music. So I agree that only they could pull off some of this material!

          Liked by 2 people

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