Hello, and welcome to the first official episode of my brand new segment Wednesday K-pop! with Liliana. Once a week, yours truly will tell you all about her second obsession, with an intention of luring more and more people into K-pop, as well as expressing herself throughout her biggest hobbies.
Today I will rant about the most iconic K-pop songs of all time.
How is a K-pop song defined as iconic? What songs are already listed as ones? Which has the potential to become the next iconic tracks? Hit the “Continue reading” to know the answer!
What makes a K-pop song ICONIC?
You know that there are those pop songs that you can call iconic, immortal, and such on? Same applies to K-pop. From K-pop perspective, a song can be called iconic if:
- It managed to become a trademark song of that specific artist, a.k.a. when someone mentions the artist name, exactly this song pops out in your head;
- It received lots of recognition from all kind of listeners for its lyrics, song production or anything else;
- It’s been covered by hoobae (younger, less experienced) artists for endless times;
- You can recognize that song even without being a fan of the artist. Including dancing to this.
In K-pop, it’s easy to get people’s attention if you have a very nice, easy-to-follow, so-called signature move in choreography, and/or there are addictive repetitive, easy-to-remember lyrics (considering how Korean sounds totally foreign for all non-Korean speakers). So in the list I’ll have below, you will see those similar trademarks that actually made these songs iconic.
Please take note that these are my personal preferences within all those iconic tracks existing in K-pop world.
Some of most #iconic K-pop songs of all time!
SNSD (Girls’ Generation) – Gee
This song basically blew up the whole K-pop world in 2009. It has too many iconic moments, from ‘crab dance’ to chorus lyrics. This song was covered endless times by both girl groups and boy groups.
SNSD (Girls’ Generation) – Into The New World
Another iconic song by SNSD that gives everyone shivers and feelings every time you listen to it. Being their debut song, the lyrics of Into the New World can be interpreted in many ways, be it a personal message from you to your beloved one, or to the whole nation. After the impeachment of Park Geun-hae this year, this song raised up on charts once again due to its lyrics:
I love you, just like this
The longed end of wandering
I leave behind This world’s
In the many unknowable paths
I follow a dim light
It’s something we’ll do together to the end
Into our new world
Also, this song is a must-cover one for all girl groups and trainees. I cry every time I hear this song.
2NE1 – I Am The Best
When you talk about iconic K-pop songs and artists, you cannot miss 2NE1. Debuted in 2009, these four ladies broke all possible stereotypes of a girlish, lovely, and cute groups, bringing strong hip-hop and r&b songs, and wearing heavy make-up that doesn’t look innocent at all.
Always wanted to self-appraise? Turn this song on, it’s perfect.
Wonder Girls – Nobody, Tell me, So Hot
There were times when Wonder Girls and SNSD (Girls’ Generation) were seen as ‘rivals’: they both debuted in 2007, they both were very successful groups, they were releasing songs back to back. They constantly had performance battles at year-end shows, and both groups collaborated with a huge amount of other artists.
Wonder Girls were famous for bringing alive the retro sound, and even after the change in their style and transformation from a dancing group to a musician band, their songs kept that retro vibe. Too bad that Wonder Girls just disbanded after celebrating their 10th anniversary.
Actually, exactly these ladies got me into K-pop, while SHINee (mentioned below) and some other artists fixed my fate as a hardcore K-pop fan.
Super Junior – Sorry, Sorry
You definitely know why I mention this song. Too iconic. Too hard to resist to listen, dance, or sing along with it. It’s impossible to count how many times it was covered by other artists.
Super Junior are absolutely NOT SORRY for making you addicted to their most iconic track.
TVXQ! (DBSK) – Mirotic
Too sexy to resist. Once you listen to it, you will forever come back to this song, because it’s endlessly good. Vocals. Instrumentals. Visuals. Choreography. The overall greatness of TVXQ a.k.a. DB5K in unbeatable. This is one of two must-cover songs for all male trainees, alongside Sorry, Sorry by Super Junior.
Brown Eyed Girls – Abracadabra
These ladies started the trend of sexy concept in K-pop. Before that, there were mostly lively, bubbly kind of tracks put on constant rotation, so when BEG brought up Abracadabra, everyone was shocked at the level of sexiness going on in the MV. Especially when you see the strong LGBTQ+ feature. In a very conservative South Korea, god damnit.
2PM! – HANDS UP!
Six beast-dols (idols with very manly image) of 2PM will sure enlighten your boring party with their addictive track called Hands Up! You won’t want to do anything else but Put yo hands up, put yo hands UP! Pu-pu-pu-pu-pu-put~
BIG BANG – Fantastic Baby
Did you know that BIG BANG had to perform this song for FOUR year-end shows in a row from 2011 ’til 2014? Yep, you go to annual MAMA awards in Hong Kong, and these boys will definitely perform Fantastic Baby for you there. They could’ve performed that for a lifetime if only their next bop called BANG BANG BANG didn’t come out to replace it.
But you basically won’t be able to resist the BOOM SHAKALAKA. Trust me.
SHINee – Ring Ding Dong, Replay (Nunan Neomu Yeppeo)
While the first song, Ring Ding Dong, by SHINee is mentioned the most as the song that got people into K-pop, Replay (Nunan Neomu Yeppeo) is a song that make you a complete SHINee fan. Replay, alongside Into the New World by SNSD, is considered as the best debut song of all times in K-pop.
Here you go, the list of SOME most iconic K-pop songs of all time. Sure I could list them all, but it would take too long. And yes, before you wonder, I intentionally left PSY’s “Gangnam Style” out of this list.
But make sure to comeback tomorrow, as I will continue this topic by mentioning songs that are on their way or have all potentials to become next iconic songs on the Wall of K-pop Fame.