These are a few of my picks for the best k-pop songs of 2016. This year had a lot of phenomenal entries, so it was difficult to narrow the list down to a concise ten. Note that they’re not included in any particular order (at least I tried to make it an even playing field), and my preferences may differ from yours, so if I missed out on a group I apologize.
With that out of the way, here are my picks for the top 10 k-pop songs of 2016!
10. Boombayah by Blackpink
Blackpink has been on fire this year, effectively serving as one of the best debut bands. All of their tracks are good, but Boombayah is the song that really started 2016 off right for this powerhouse girl group. Oppa!
9. Fire by BTS
Talk about another group who has had a phenomenal run this year. BTS managed to work their way into the hearts of k-pop fans all across the globe, and for good reason. Their high-energy performances and charismatic tracks like Fire really help set them apart.
8. Dynamite by VIXX
I like VIXX, they put a lot of effort and energy into their music, and they seem to produce at least one song I like each and every year. While Dynamite may not rank high on my list of favorite VIXX tracks, I really love the video and the overall finished product. It’s upbeat and catchy, two main staples in the k-pop genre.
7. Hard Carry by GOT7
This track had one of the best dance performances of the year (pulling in second behind EXO’s choreography for Monster). Not only that, but there’s just something about the chorus that pulls you in and makes you want to get up and dance. I look forward to seeing more of GOT7 in 2017.
6. Hate by 4MINUTE
This was definitely one of my favorite music videos from a girl group this year. Hate released in the opening months of 2016, and proved that it had definite staying power. I’m sad that 4MINUTE hasn’t gained more traction over the years.
5. Cheer Up by TWICE
You knew it was coming! Cheer Up by Twice is hands-down one of the cutest offerings from a k-pop girl group this year. The song is infectious and will put a huge smile on your face. It’s literally impossible not to fall in love with this song.
4. Fighter by MONSTA X
I won’t lie, I have a major Shownu bias, and I honestly feel that he deserves more of a spotlight in Monsta X. However, there’s no denying the group as a whole is talented as hell!
Fighter is reminiscent of an 80’s boxing soundtrack and I absolutely love it. If you haven’t gone down the Monsta X rabbit hole, now is definitely the time. Be sure to check out their rooftop performance of Hero and come back and let me know what you think. Heh.
3. View by SHINee
While other k-pop groups fell in line with straight pop or hip-hop, SHINee went more of a vintage route with the grooving single View and their video for 1of1 looking like a visual transition of from 1960-1990 (it’s pretty trippy).
I love to see groups experiment with their sound and image. If I had to pick who did that experimentation “best” this year, it’d be SHINee (no one else came close). View has become a fast favorite of mine, due in part to that damn catchy chorus.
2. Waking The Inner Demons by Taemin
Speaking of SHINee, Taemin takes the award for best music video, best solo performance, and the shiniest member of SHINee (I apologize for how lame that sounded). This guy is seriously talented, and a born performer at heart.
I hope Taemin continues his side solo projects in addition to working with SHINee. If you need any further proof of Taemin’s star power, check out his performance at this year’s MNET awards.
l. Monster by EXO
Best song of the year? Best group of the year? Best EVERYTHING of the year? No matter what your new biases may be, there’s no denying that EXO has rocketed up the k-pop totem pole. It’s amazing to see the group who debuted with songs like Mama four years ago evolve into a reliable hit machine with tracks like Monster, Lotto, and Lucky One.
Additionally, EXO-CBX is still charting with their first single Hey Mama, proving that even if you separate three members from EXO, they still dominate the k-pop realm. Hats off to EXO, you guys are seriously superhuman!