TIME magazine recently listed what they thought are ‘Essential K-Pop Tracks’ beyond Psy and his music. Let’s just say it was the most ridiculous list, of its kind, I’ve seen in a while. As a Kpop fan of 6 years I’ve decided to put together a list of my own with songs that I feel are truly necessary in defining Kpop.
5. Wild Eyes
Shinhwa is Kpop’s longest running boy band, debuting in 1998. They are undeniably a part of Kpop history. This list wouldn’t be complete without a hit by them, and that hit is “Wild Eyes.” Watch any performance of this song and as soon as they appear on stage sitting in chairs fans go wild (no pun intended).
This song is pretty played out for Kpop fans after the Wonder Girls’ promoted it for nearly 2 years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t über important to Kpop. It was the first song by a South Korean artist to make it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which led to the Wonder Girls’ touring the U.S as the opening act for the Jonas Brothers, and star in their own Nickelodeon movie.
3. 거짓말 (Lies)
Big Bang is arguably the biggest boy band in Kpop today. “Lies” may not be the groups biggest hit to date, but it was the song that started it all.
Before “Gangnam Style” came along, Girls’ Generation held the title of most Youtube views among their Kpop competition with the MV for “Gee.” As the most popular girl group in the game this song is group most recognizable hit, even among foreign fans.
1. Gangnam Style
Whether you loved this song or not, “Gangnam Style” has become the representative hit for Kpop to foreign listeners. People keep trying to define Kpop without this song, and I think that’s all kinds of wrong. “Gangnam Style” is the first Youtube video to ever get 1 billion views, it topped music charts in over 30 countries, won awards at the 2012 MTV EMAs, The AMAs, MAMAs, and the song has allowed Psy to perform for the President Barack Obama at Christmas in Washington. “Gangnam Style” put Korea on the musical map!