Welcome to this new segment! Where we will feature the best 100 K-Pop songs of all-time. This segment is to be updated every decade. As not all legendary songs fall in one year.
This is a personal and at the same time an objective view on the best songs in South Korea. Please be reminded that no such list is really bias free and all of this is my PERSONAL OPINION. This is not a FACT, this list is an OPINION.
Let’s just get started with the rules!
- This list includes all forms of Korean pop, dance, electronic, R&B, rap, hip-hop, alternative, experimental, and/or rap.
- Excludes Korean classical, indie, trot and/or other non-mainstream/commercial music.
- This list is exclusive to only singles, promotional singles are excluded.
- ONLY KOREAN SONGS, no crossover/international singles are allowed.
Song Quality (65%) + Personal Experience (30%) + Others (5%)
#20 – Butterfly (LOONA)
Year: 2019; Genre: Electronic Pop
Butterfly is a reimagination of the electronic genre for Korean music. The introduction of EDM fusion has been very limited in the popular Korean market, but LOONA has made its mark on besting some of the most thought-provoking material on the new genre. Butterfly flourishes on its strong message of flying a dream.
#19 – You and I (DREAMCATCHER)
Year: 2018; Genre: Rock
You and I is a goth masterpiece from the queen of contemporary rock themselves, DREAMCATCHER. You and I focuses all its energy on giving that gigantic, roaring and collosal hook coupled with an unrivalved instrumentation, and fine performance skills. You and I will forever be a benchmark in Korean rock history.
#18 – Rough (GFRIEND)
Year: 2016; Genre: Rock
GFRIEND is the only group to have done a trifecta of music. Crossing pop, rock, and electronic, nobody just beats them when it comes to versatility. Rough still remains as one of the most marvelous releases in Korean music history, coming at a time music was slowly losing its artistic value, GFRIEND single handedly pushes the hardest genre to sing, rock, to the centerstage.
Rough provokes the current trend of safe rock ballads, rock compositions and lyrics. Rough hardlines on understanding the song using empathy and sheer emotion. It is a deeply personal song for anyone who hears it.
#17 – New World (ONF)
Year: 2020; Genre: Experimental
New World is a truly new world for music. This recording does not conform to standards of any genre known to man, truly it is an experience rather than a song. New World boasts its magnanimous orchestral backing, string filled sections, choral symphonies, hefty vocal performance, and the contemporary trance electronic ambient field that wraps the song around. It is a true spectacle of music and no one will ever to top this song for a very long time.
#16 – Good Evening (SHINee)
Year: 2018; Genre: Pop
Good Evening is a very personal song about catching up to someone, but its also a very hopeful song looking toward the future. Good Evening is a masterpiece simply because of how authentic and indescribably emotional the whole composition feels it transcends music itself and you are transported to nirvana. This song is more of a journey, a journey that you’ll think every now and then.
#15 – View (SHINee)
Year: 2015; Genre: Deep House
Love is as simple as life can exist. So is View by SHINee, it explores the human sense and how love amplifies our capability to yield such nuanced interpretations to the one we love. View is an ultimate love song that cannot be achieved in our lifetimes again. View is a composition that only works when you feel the soul in it. View is as much a living song than it being inanimate.
#14 – O-Union (TVXQ)
Year: 2006; Genre: Experimental
TVXQ never fails to amaze the listening experience. O-Union is an experimental fusion of rock, hip-hop, R&B, and trance music. The ideas of Hegel are used as the thematic backbone of the song, which tantamountably just makes it a worthwhile listen. O-Union is full of utopian elements and is a song that will rarely come to us again. It is simply an underrated magnum opus.
#13 – Save Me (BTS)
Year: 2016; Genre: Electronic
Save Me is a plead for help. A song full of desperation, exasperation and tension. Save Me is one of BTS’ magnum opuses that fills the listener with darkness and empathy. It is a very interesting song in such a way that BTS themselves haven’t done a very straightforward electronic song like this, ever. In the end, the only answer could be salvation from everything, and that is what BTS teaches us.
#12 – It’s Raining (SNUPER)
Year: 2016; Genre: Electronic Pop
It’s Raining is unfathomably full of regret, reflection and anger within itself. It is inherently triggering the human element with the way it is delivered, it is being repelled by the existence of itself. It’s Raining is a tantamount success to the production skills of Sweetune and singing skills of SNUPER. This is SNUPER’s best.
#11 – Blood Sweat and Tears (BTS)
Year: 2016; Genre: Electronic Pop
Blood Sweat & Tears was very close to entering the Top 10 songs of all-time list. That is in fact because of its fantastic and unbeatable production which emphasized melodic fluidity and cohesion, but not losing its artistic creativity and ingeniousity in delivering one of the most though-provoking lines written in music. BTS is a power to behold and Blood Sweat & Tears remains one of the best written and produced songs of our generation.