Best K-Pop Songs Of All Time

South Korea is known for its entertainment industry. The Korean music industry, dominated by K-pop groups, plays a big part in this impact on pop culture.

Today we are here to look at the best K-pop songs ever. Some are big hits, and some should have received more views than they did.

“Butter” by BTS

Song year: 2021

As the biggest band in k-pop (and in the world overall), it seems appropriate to start the list off with BTS. “Butter” is one of the band’s newest hits, rocking a sensationally catchy chorus. The song stands out amongst the band’s immense catalog by showing the boys still manage new and unique performances after all this time.

While “Butter” is one of the band’s top hits, this won’t be the last you’ll hear about BTS today.

“Gangnam Style” by PSY

Song year: 2012

Next, let’s go at the beginning. Not the beginning of K-pop, but back to the song that effectively brought the genre into the mainstream of the west and shook the industry to the core.

Gangnam Style may not reflect what K-pop is today, but the song is undeniably one of the most influential songs of all time. At one point, it was the most viewed video on YouTube, spawning countless trends and memes behind it.

“I’m Your Girl” by SES

Song year: 1998

As one of the oldest songs on this list, “I’m Your Girl” is a real industry pioneer. It showcases the incredible vocals that SES hosts alongside some formidable rap sections in between.

Be My Baby by Wonder Girls

Song year: 2011

A hit from one of the more obscure groups out there, “Be My Baby” stands out. The group takes after a more American R&B style rather than their Korean roots.

“Roly Poly” by T-Ara

Song year: 2011

T-Ara is a group with a lot of different sounds. They have taken inspiration from the full range of fast-beat Korean hits and slower, more methodical music.

“Roly Poly” takes Latin counter rhythms and utilizes their style to the fullest potential. Roly Poly runs with its strengths in one of the most extended and most theatrical hits out there.

“Candy” by HOT

Song year: 1996

“Candy” shows an early example of k-pop’s emphasis on choreography. While many singers can perfect their vocals and make exciting noises, not all singers are great performers. “Candy” showcases some enthusiastic and fun dance moves from an era when this wasn’t as well organized.

“On” by BTS

Song year: 2020

“On” marks the highlight of the long history BTS has with their critics. The song takes on the idea that you will always have haters, even at the peak of success.

“Boo” by IU

Song year: 2009

“Boo” is a clean song from 2009’s biggest idol, IU. This track is relatively tame, but it comes from a time when that was all too uncommon amongst k-pop.

“Kill This Love” by Blackpink

Song year: 2019

Blackpink is ranked as the most popular girl group in k-pop. Their catalog consists of many Korean songs rivaling the gold standard that is BTS, and “Kill This Love” has had no small part in that.

“Kill This Love” takes an elastic electro-pop banger and matches it to a empowering message. The song is about how toxic relationships aren’t always easy to identify and leave.

Everybody will meet someone with bad intentions or someone they just don’t get along with throughout their life. This song tells listeners that it is ok to prioritize your well-being and cut toxic relationships out of your life. This message resonates with fans, as many can relate.

“Fake Love” by BTS

Song year: 2018

The famous visuals of this song’s music video couple perfectly with its strong theming. “Fake Love” is a song about how your love won’t last if it isn’t real. The piece coincides with the message to love yourself for who you are, which inspires many listeners.

After all, you can’t fake who you are to yourself.

“Boombayah” by Blackpink

Song year: 2016

“Boombayah” is one of the all-time best k-pop songs. The thrilling beats and powerful sounds make for an incredible earworm k-pop fans shouldn’t miss.

This song is much less bubbly than most other Blackpink songs, and this contrast helped put them on the map.

“Sorry Sorry” by Super Junior

Song year: 2009

Super Junior boasts an astounding 11 members. This band has more than the average two groups combined.

“Sorry Sorry” is their most significant hit because it uses the group’s size to its fullest potential. This song is chalked full of hiccuping and varied vocals.

“Go-Go” by BTS

Song year: 2017

“Go-Go” is a surprisingly severe song for its sarcastic and silly appearance. “Go-Go” is about possessions and how many seek to use objects and materials to find fulfillment.

While owning things that make you happy can be great, “Go-Go” reminds you that wildly jumping from thing to thing might be an unhealthy way to cope with problems.

“Mic Drop” by BTS

Song year: 2018

ARMY, which is how BTS refers to their fans, agrees that “Mic Drop” is one of the best songs out of the long-time favorite band. “Mic Drop” is likely the most satisfying revenge story in k-pop.

The song seeks to respond to the critics of the band’s uprising. Many thought an R&B-focused k-pop group would be too silly and wouldn’t make it. BTS has continued to embrace this unique hook and has come out on top as a more than successful group.

“Step” by Kara

Song year: 2011

“Step” stands out because of its unique blend of 80’s rock and European pop music. The song frequently swaps between the two tunes while maintaining a sexy and unique hip swing. The fluidity of these dramatically different elements says a lot about the group’s ability to incorporate many ideas.

“Run Devil Run” by Girls Generation

Song year: 2010

“Run Devil Run” manages to do the impossible. The song takes nine different singers and tends to only do one solo throughout the whole song. This might end in a messy glob of overstimulation to a lesser group. Still, for Girls Generation, it ended in a massive hit.

“Ugly” by 2NE1

Song year: 2011

“Ugly” quickly makes the list of the best kpop songs. This bop has often been described as “bubble-pop,” a subgenre of exciting and uplifting pop music. “Ugly” takes all that is good about 2NE1’s vocals and turns them into a unique and catchy chorus.

“Don’t Know What to Do” by Blackpink

Song year: 2019

Taking a page from Taylor Swift and many other famous pop singers, “Don’t Know What to Do” tackles the pain that is a breakup.

Everybody goes through breakups. It is just part of dating and finding out what you like. This song fuels its upbeat energy with the feelings of rage and frustration that come from these unpleasant heartbreaks.

“Curry” by Norazo

Song year: 2010

“Curry” makes this list less so because of its fluid rhythms and catchy beats but more because of its humor. Norazo is a bit of a comedy band, which is as unique as odd to the k-pop world. “Curry” is Norazo’s funniest song yet, going on to describe recipe tips that can incorporate pickled radishes.

“Dope” by BTS

Song year: 2015

“Dope” might not be the most unique or inspirational song, but it is still BTS at their best. “Dope” takes k-pop and focuses on a surprisingly underrepresented aspect: the music.

Many songs from any genre forgo appealing vocals and solid rhythms in favor of a stronger message or better performance. “Dope” takes k-pop back to its roots and reminds the audience what music is all about.

“As If It’s Your Last” by Blackpink

Song year: 2017

As one of the most popular k-pop groups, Blackpink will naturally host a handful of the best kpop songs of all time. “As If It’s Your Last” stands out as the group’s all-time catchiest and most fast pace sound.

One could argue this song is the height of Blackpink because it demonstrates the strength of their quick vocals.

“I Need U” by BTS

Song year: 2015

“I Need U” is an excellent reminder that everyone needs a friend.

While everyone has problems that can feel suffocating, “I Need U” reminds listeners that that is a part of life. Hardship and the issues related to growing up are something everyone goes through, and you can find comfort through hard times with loved ones.

“Eat You Up” by BoA

Song year: 2008

“Eat You Up” is the stand-out classic from multilingual singer BoA. While most k-pop groups struggle to tackle the dense Japanese market, this singer managed to do it. Topping the Japanese charts for over a year, BoA and her hit song have genuinely done something special.

“High High” by GD & TOP

Song year: 2010

This famous collaboration puts the pop in k-pop. Pretty boys from TOP team up with G-Dragon to make some of the fastest party music. The song speeds up throughout to create some of the most immeasurable dance music from a k-pop group.

Watch out for the big drops throughout the song, as they’ll get you right back on your feet.

“Whistle” by Blackpink

Song year: 2016

“Whistle” coincides with “Boombayah” as the debut of Blackpink. The song takes an unwanted k-pop sound, such as whistling, and runs with it. This creates a truly unique piece of music with many sounds not found in other Korean songs.

“Blood, Sweat and Tears” by BTS

Song year: 2016

“Blood, Sweat, and Tears” take BTS’s famous combo of hip-hop and pop vocals to the next level. Truly a diverse song with many different elements, this hit serves as a great song to satisfy many fans. This song has satisfying vocals, some quick rapping, and a cohesive music video to glue the performance together.

“Gee” by SNSD

Song year: 2009

As one of the older songs on today’s list, Gee had less to compete with. While modern k-pop fans might find this song to be a bit underwhelming, its video is truly exciting.

Gee sets the tone for a lot of later hits by depicting a shy girl and her innocent crush. This wholesome tale is quite cute and catchy.

“I am The Best” by 2NE1

Best Korean songs

Song year: 2011

2011 is likely the biggest year for k-pop to date. As you can probably tell by this list, 2011 pumped out many of the hottest songs in the genre. “I am The Best” is argued by many fans to be the best song to come out of this monumental year.

Between its strange patterns and incredibly fast chorus, this song is truly the best.

“Bubble Pop!” by HyunA

Song year: 2011

As you may be able to guess by its title, this song contains a lot of onomatopoeia. Its upbeat and catchy pop nature perfectly encapsulates what the title promises. On top of its musical reference, this song also stands out because of its comic book roots.

The music video for this song utilizes a bubble filter reminiscent of old-school comic books with popping text.

“Growl” by Exo

Song year: 2013

Growl is the top-of-chart track that put Exo on the map.

K-pop is a fast-paced industry with some of the harshest music competition in the world. Groups are constantly tasked with creating new and interesting music without sacrificing quality or visuals.

As a testament to the quality of “Growl,” Exo is frequently asked to perform the song on-stage, even almost a decade after its release.

“Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” by Blackpink

Song year: 2018

“Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” forgoes a heavy message and complex theming in favor of a well-paced dance song. While not the most challenging piece in the industry, this song is an absolute bob that will make even the stiffest individuals want to get up and dance.

“Psycho” by Red Velvet

Song year: 2019

Similar to the legendary BTS, Red Velvet blends a mixture of Korean pop and R&B. This song makes a real mark for the girl group by utilizing their unique harmonies to create a piece that effortlessly switches between its mixed beats.

“Kick It” by NCT 127

Song year: 2020

NCT 127 is a group that focuses on noise. Some k-pop artists take to a softer sound in an attempt to appeal to a more widespread audience. NCT ignores this norm and makes their music consistently loud and aggressive.

While some of their music might be harsh on the ears, “Kick It” sits at the proper interval. Its exciting and impactful noise makes for a thunderous experience without bowling over the eardrums.

“God’s Menu” by Stray Kids

Song year: 2020

“God’s Menu” is quite similar to the aforementioned “Kick It.” Its loud and aggressive themes make it an exciting venture, not for the weak of the heart.

“God’s Menu,” however, stands out because of its production. Stray Kids have made it a priority to maintain some creative liberties in their music, and “God’s Menu” is a song you can hear their difference in.

In an industry full of manufactured control, it is a breath of fresh air to receive a simple message from some artists.

“Lucifer” by Sinee

Song year: 2010

Drawing inspiration from the western boy band “NSYNC,” “Lucifer” hit the mark. This song attempts to remix an old classic and take a new spin on that idea. Coming from an album of the same name, you can imagine this was their big hit for the year.

“Middle of the Night” by Monsta X

Song year: 2019

Monsta X created a unique flavor in the industry by creating an entire album in English. While releasing songs with bilingual lyrics or multiple versions is not uncommon, doing an entire album is.

“Middle of the Night” leads this group of songs on the 2019 album through its themes of intimacy and change.

“Any Song” by Zico

Song year: 2020

While k-pop has been popular on TikTok from day one, Zico was the first to take advantage of the platform.

“Any Song” was created to utilize the prevalent dance challenges featured throughout the platform. The “Any Song Challenge” hashtag remains one of the most used tags ever.

“Four Walls” by f(x)

Song year: 2015

While not quite as prominent today, 2015 was an excellent year for f(x). Their hit “Four Walls” lacked any signs of stumbling and is performed beautifully by their diverse group of performers.

“La Di Da” by Everglow

Song year: 2020

Like some of the other 80’s inspired Korean songs on today’s list, “La Di Da” is heavy on the synthesizers. The song takes the era’s famous electronic noise and flips it on its head for an appropriately modern Korean take.

“Black Swan” by BTS

Song year: 2020

“Black Swan” demonstrates what it means to be a k-pop group. Despite the astounding wealth and fame, BTS still attempts to make meaningful music that sends a message instead of just cashing in.

The beautifully melancholy song reminds k-pop fans that music is a form of art and that greatness can’t always be forced.

“Hype Boy” by NewJeans

Song year: 2022

Trend cycles are the time it takes for pop culture trends to circulate. With the rise of social media, these trends have been able to circulate at higher speeds than ever before. The Y2K trends of the early 2000s are already beginning to come back into fashion, and NewJeans has taken notice.

“Hype Boy” has put the newly debuted NewJeans on the map by utilizing the Y2K nostalgia and resurgence. The music video’s aesthetics have properly mimicked the era it seeks to revive.

“Fancy” by Twice

Song year: 2018

“Fancy” takes the incredibly popular “girl next door” hook and runs with it.

As many fans of k-pop already know, a lot of the charm of the genre comes from romantic and sex appeal. Many k-pop artists are not allowed to date publicly and have been blacklisted for taking on a serious relationship.

“Fancy” capitalizes on the hardcore fanbase and takes its members down to earth. The energizing melodies perfectly accompany this theme to make a catchy and satisfying tune.

“Replay” by SHINee

Song year: 2008

SHINee has been a frequent industry innovator known worldwide for its experimental sounds. This has been true even as early as their breakout song, “Replay,” back in 2008.

This song wastes no time introducing unique and new sounds to the audience and the k-pop scene as a whole.

“Waiting 4 U” by SoolJ feat. Suh Ga Young

Song year: 2011

Suh Ga Young leans more on the rap side of the spectrum vocally. His urban style and quick-paced music serve as a strong selling point.

“Waiting 4 U” demonstrates this better than any of his other songs. It takes what he is best at and focuses on quick-paced rap.

“Fallin’ Flower” by SEVENTEEN

Song year: 2020

Contrary to their name, SEVENTEEN has only 13 members in their group. While smaller than the initial implications, that is still a big boy band.

It can be hard to maintain success when there are so many members in your group to keep track of. Nonetheless, SEVENTEEN has managed to remain one of the largest names in the titan of industry.

“Fallin’ Flower” is another song to famously break into the Japanese market, which is always a challenging feat. Beyond that, the music still stands on its own merit through its astounding vocals.

“Want” by Taemin

Song year: 2019

Taemin could be argued as the most successful solo artist in the industry. While many k-pop titans attempt to make their mark and start a solo career, SHINee’s Taemin is likely the more successful at this venture.

“Want” is the breakout hit that helped to make Taemin a stand-out name, and it’s no wonder why. The song tackles some topical themes of the k-pop industry’s cleanliness.

“Stay” by Blackpink

Song year: 2016

Blackpink often swaps between its sweet pink side and serious black themes. “Stay” certainly leans into the former by creating a powerfully sweet and wholesome song about staying with loved ones.

“Bapsae” by BTS

Song year: 2015

“Bapsae” is a catchy song that tackles themes of ageism. Many young people feel they have a disadvantage in life compared to those who grew up in the twentieth century. The song sends a message that this problem needs to be addressed without sacrificing musical appeal.

“Haru Haru” by Big Bang

Song year: 2008

“Haru Haru” is a real artsy piece. The song takes on a unique spin on a breakup.

The music video showcases a breakup in which G-Dragon’s love interest has moved on quickly after their breakup. The video utilizes a sepia filter found in older movies, likely as an intentional art direction. This makes the video stand out as a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

“Love in Space” by Cherry Bullet

Song year: 2022

This song takes the high-speed synthesizers of the 80s and modernizes them. Amping up the themes of the inspirational era tenfold, “Love in Space” succeeds in making a simple yet satisfying sound.

“Pop!” by Nayeon

Song year: 2022

“Pop!,” not to be confused with “Bubble Pop!” is the breakout single for singer Nayeon. This song benefits from its catchy chorus and festive themes.

Over the last few years, many k-pop songs have been trying to tackle more serious themes and take a slower tone. “Pop!” breathes fresh air into this timeline by making one of the most positive and exciting singles out there.

Top K-Pop Songs Ever, Final Thoughts

There you have it. These were all of the best kpop songs to have been released to date.

Whether you’re a hardcore ARMY or a diverse fan of many groups, you’ll find that each and every entry on today’s list deserves its spot and popularity.

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