This is part two of my top/best/favorite K-pop songs 2010 (part one is here). While I found many songs of the year disappointing, there were definitely a few that caught my interest.
Get ready to view my girl group-centric top 10 list! I didn’t intentionally chose mostly girls, but rather it just turned out that way. For many groups, this was their year after debut, and they had settled into a good pattern for their respective teams. I think many of the guy groups had decent songs, but they didn’t reach the same level of K-pop classic-ness for me.
Most of the songs on this list are of a similar caliber. They aren’t the kind of songs you’d bring home to share with your mom, but they’re great for when you’re just having fun.
- 10. f(x) – NU ABO
I was ridiculously obsessed with “NU ABO” when it was released. It’s a pretty silly song (mysteric?), but when I get in the mood to listen to it, you better watch out. We’re talking marathons of JUST this song. It just screams to be blasted loud and proud. No need to question what “NU ABO” is, even. Just sit back and enjoy. I think that’s one of the things that makes this a really good song for me. I love that it has different levels, like how the bridge is broken into two parts. GORGEOUS. Lovelove Luna’s singing in it as well.
It might not even matter that this song is full of bizarre-o made-up words. It’s just that brand of awesome that makes me forget about such things.
- 09. T-ara – 너 때문에 미쳐 [I Go Crazy Because of You]
Let’s start of by saying this video has the most scene changes of probably any MV ever, but if you ignore that… the song is so hilariously fun. It’s not a sincerely good song, but it’s definitely enjoyable to listen to it. I defy you to not get the “oh oh oh” chorus in your head. I liked other songs T-ara released throughout the year, but none matched up to the addictive quality of this track.
YOU ARE MY SLAVE~
- 08. 4minute – I My Me Mine
I actually really liked “Huh” best at first, but “I My Me Mine” won me over as soon as they started promoting it. First of all, it’s an insanely catchy track–I still get it in my head all the time. What really clinched it for me was the dance. For some reason I love watching it, and I made a point to see every live performance (in part one I noted that one group besides miss A caused me to do this, and here it is! 4minute). These girls are great performers and they do this song so well. It’s completely enjoyable, whether I watch or listen.
I appreciate 4minute for being a great K-pop music fix. They actually released a lot of solid music in 2010; even their non-promoted tracks were pretty decent. I’m hoping to hear more fun music from them in 2011.
- 07. Kara – Lupin
I had a really hard time choosing between this and Kara’s “Jumping,” but only one could be chosen (“Jumping” is worth checking out if you haven’t heard it yet). I listened to “Lupin” so much early in the year. I like how it has so many different aspects to the song; it adds an interesting feel to it. The verses are dynamic and interesting, but the chorus takes it to a new level (as does the bridge). I don’t know if I’d like them separated. It’s best how it is. I suppose my favorite thing about “Lupin” is that it’s a fun song that is so utterly Kara. I’m so happy that Kara has a distinctive sound now, and that it’s a good one. Every time they release something, I’m so excited to find out what it is. They’ve become a strong group that’s worth the attention.
- 06. Epik High – 바보 [Fool] feat. Bumkey
Out of all of Epik High’s “Epilogue” songs, this is the only one I find myself returning to. It’s just SO ridiculously lovely and poignant. I haven’t been able to find a great translation, but from what I know, it’s about a “love-fool” who can’t find a way to confess his love. I adore the music and the entire rhythm of the song is amazing. I just need Bumkey (who is in 2wins. INSERT RANDOM PLUG OF HIM SINGING TAEYANG’S “I NEED A GIRL”) to sing to me for the rest of forever and I think that would complete me. And yes, Tablo and Mithra also decently manage to contribute to my love for this song.
- 05. 2NE1 – 아파 (SLOW) [It Hurts]
HOLY MOLY, this song has been severely abused since it was released. I’ve listened to it to death. I wasn’t a big fan of “To Anyone” in general, but this song has always struck a chord with me. It’s so heartfelt and beautiful. Sometimes I just put it on repeat and listen to it all by itself. Is that weird? Who knows. It’s just that good. One of my only gripes about this song is that the music is SO lacking. It almost sounds like karaoke or a bizarre midi track sometimes. However, I can overlook that because I love this song sosososososo much. I feel a little embarrassed by the lack of Dara, but maybe that’s what makes this song so amazing? Dara is great in moderation, but the other three definitely have better vocals (I still love Dara; don’t get me wrong. She just has stronger talents in other departments). I actually love Bom’s first chorus. Loveitloveit.
- 04. SNSD – Run Devil Run
This was my JAM this year. It’s one of those “forget men” songs. I loved seeing SNSD go for a more sexy, kick-a look, rather than their typical cute/sweet/beautiful. The whole song is fun for so many reasons, really. Hearing the Ke$ha demo made me realize who sings it makes a huge difference. SNSD’s version is simply superior. It has fire and sass and I LOVE IT. I wish SNSD would go with this style more often (although I wouldn’t expect them to all the time) because it’s an interesting change from their usual look/sound.
I did like “Oh” to an extent (it actually surpassed this song in listens, probably due to the fact that “Oh” was released earlier), but it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth (oppa-loving overload). “Run Devil Run” just leaves me smiling. If I recall correctly, “Oh” was intended for the oppas, while they dedicated “Run Devil Run” to the unnis. If that really was their intention, it worked for me!
- 03. Rainbow – A
If this song didn’t make it on this list, it would be a travesty. This song is the epitome of K-pop; if you cut it with a knife, it would bleed bubble-gum, unicorns, and alternating question marks and exclamation points (ie. “?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?”). Part of me is embarrassed to admit that I love this song so much, but seriously: who cares. “A” brings me (and colored most of my 2010) rainbowy happiness. It’s so addictive, and it really introduces Rainbow as a group to which people need to pay attention. They might be a big group and in the same company as Kara, but they are completely different from anything out there. I see you wondering about quality, but this is K-pop we’re talking about! These are the perfect prismatic princesses. Hate all you want, but this song absolutely RULES. I was actually tempted to put it in first place due to it’s unabashed frilly goodness. JUST AAAAAAA. OHOHOHOHOOOOOOOOOOOOH. I will forevermore belt out the nonsensical chorus every chance I get.
What’s your “silliest” favorite of 2010? Did your opinion of Rainbow change after they released this or “Mach”? For me, Rainbow has improved so much since their debut.
- 02. GD & TOP – 뻑이가요 [Knock Out]
As I mentioned in part one of my list, I originally had “Oh Yeah” as my favorite GD and TOP song. I was trying extremely hard to be diverse in my song choices, but I couldn’t help it in this case. “Knock Out” was a song that grew on me; since they performed it first in November (MAMA ’10), until the point when I had time to fully listen to the album version, I slowly became accustomed to the sound. I liked “Knock Out” initially, but the real love came later. Understanding the lyrics and seeing the video only increased my love exponentially. First of all, the song has an INCREDIBLE rhythm to it. It’s hypnotic. I love the dynamic between GD and TOP in this song because it outlines so much I love about them. They work together and bounce of each other like they’ve been doing it forever (and they kind of have). It’s fantastic. I’m in love with the whole swagger element of it all as well–it’s so Big Bang (and of course, it’s completely GD and TOP). I honestly could go on and on. It’s just one of those songs that makes me love K-pop eternally.
- 01. Taeyang – I Need a Girl feat. G-Dragon
I think Taeyang has had better songs, but this one is just so much fun that I fell in love with it pretty easily. It’s fluff. It’s cute. It’s the kind of thing you listen to when you’re in a good mood; even if the subject matter could be depressing (being single–it’s all how you look at it), but this song almost makes it funny. Taeyang sings it beautifully as well. He has that rich voice that makes it smooth and lovely. The G-Dragon feature is perfection! Taeyang and GD always make a good mix for me (and performances without GD felt lacking). 내 말을 듣고 있니 (“are you listening to me” lyrics from the song)? I need this song and it needs me too. I originally decided there was no way that this song could be listed as my favorite of the year, but I just can’t see any other song topping it. Last year it was easy for me to choose Taeyang’s “Wedding Dress” for the top spot, but this year it was VERY difficult. I ended up choosing “I Need a Girl” based on my great affection for Taeyang and his whole promotional period. I definitely enjoyed his performances/music/everything the most, even if none of it was perfect. For me, “I Need a Girl” encapsulates the fun and excitement of summer, and it stands out as a track that I will remember as distinctly 2010.
I always find myself scrambling to listen to all those songs I overlooked throughout the year, on the off chance that I’m skipping something amazing. However, I can’t be a super music-listening machine. This list includes all of the things for which I had interest, because I’ve decided THAT is a key component of this kind of thing in the first place. I do wish I listen to more songs than I did, but I’m making progress yearly (expanding out and trying new music).
I hope you enjoyed the list, and I have to say I’m optimistic about this year. Big Bang, for one, is something I’m excited about. It’s actually just a few days until Seungri’s solo mini-album is released, so that should be interesting. I’m not totally up-to-date on what’s coming out this year, but no matter what, I know some good songs will make an appearance.
What were your favorites of 2010? Are there any you think deserved to be on there that I didn’t include?