[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 10-1

10. EXID – DDD (덜덜덜) [Full Moon]
Despite Solji’s current health hiatus, EXID still came back in 2017 with two full mini-albums. While the first title track was a nice departure from their usual sexy pop tunes, DDD brought us the return of that sultry and explosive flavour that EXID has become best known for. DDD is probably my favourite offering from them since 2015’s Ah Yeah and features a similar structure to that song. It has the catchy instrumental refrain and an exciting chorus that helps to bring the energy of the song up. It’s definitely their most sensual title track, which fits them perfectly.

09. Shannon – Love Don’t Hurt [Love Don’t Hurt]
Love Don’t Hurt is actually the only full English song featured on the list. It definitely has qualities of American Pop, with its more programmed R&B sound and I absolutely love it. The song has a sadness to it that is only elevated due to Shannon’s amazing vocal abilities. Amber (from f(x)) also features on a verse, but I think this song would’ve been better as a full Shannon offering. Her voice, especially in the final chorus, really pushes the song to the next level.

08. BtoB – Missing You (그리워하다) [Brother Act.]

Although I’ve known BtoB since their debut and have listened to a few songs, they didn’t really interest me that much. It wasn’t until I heard this song that I really started to look into their ballads more. The group is definitely made up of some capable vocalists and its great that the group is able to pull off both upbeat and slower tunes. Missing You is probably my favourite ballad of theirs. It’s absolutely haunting and a little bittersweet in its delivery. It definitely captures the mood of missing someone and the boys know exactly how to emit the right amount of emotion into it.

07. BoA – Spring Rain (봄비) [Spring Rain]
I’ve listened to BoA since 2004 and she has been a staple artist that I have gone back to whether it be her Korean or Japanese releases. Spring Rain was a nice surprise and certainly her best song since Call My Name in 2013. I wish it was promoted more as the song is gorgeous. The subtle beat tied with the floating synths and gentle piano really bring an ethereal atmosphere. It’s that push into the chorus with the heavier percussion that really elevates that part of the song. Quite emotional and charming.

06. T-ara – What’s My Name? (내 이름은) [What’s My Name?]
Despite all that has happened since T-ara’s bullying scandal in 2012, the girls have continuously come back strong (except maybe 2016, where I didn’t quite like the song they brought). Grabbing on to the trend of tropical house, What’s My Name? keeps T-ara current. It’s not the showstopper that Number Nine or Sugar Free was, but it is such an earworm and has some really clever and interesting quirks. The hook played with the synthline in the second half of the chorus is a cool fusion, while the airy harmonies and odd background vocal moments really helps to make the song fuller. It has since become one of my favourites from the group.

05. ASTRO – Crazy Sexy Cool [Dream Part.02]
ASTRO has consistently released strong title tracks and Crazy Sexy Cool has been their strongest yet. While the song starts rather calm, it gains a bit more energy once the prechorus comes up. The intro into the chorus is euphoric and brings a nice funk sound that keeps the song going. That blasting bass really drives the song and the melody does a great job riding just above it. It’s their most mature offering yet, but it really keeps that bright pop quality that their other material also features. It’s rather gorgeous and has a great charm to it.

04. DIA – Will You Go Out With Me? (나랑 사귈래) [YOLO]
Despite Produce 101 and I.O.I featuring Chaeyeon (and Cathy), DIA has still taken quite a bit of time to take off. Their releases in 2016 were decent but really lacked some character and showed the group jumping around with different sounds. I really felt like 2017 helped bring a sense of a stability and the addition of two new members really brought a new charm to the group. Will You Go Out With Me? was the first introduction to these new members and really brought something new. It has that cute, innocent vibe to it, but the whole song is insanely catchy. It reminds me of AOA’s Heart Attack in the sense that every part of the song features a load of catchy hooks. It’s just intoxicating.

03. SONAMOO – I (knew it) (아이) [HAPPY BOX Part.2]
While SONAMOO started 2017 with a bright pop song, the latter half of the year brought in an entirely different feel and sound. The first part of the HAPPY BOX project came with a fun 80’s inspired tune, but it’s I (knew it) that really brings the needed energy and quality. The latin-inspired dance tune does a great job of blending the latin flavours with contemporary dance-pop and it really shows off the strengths of the girls. It’s dramatic, exciting and brings something not heard by other groups. The melody is catchy and the girls sound absolutely amazing and each of them is able to show of their own charm. I love it.

02. PENTAGON – I Like It [DEMO_01]
PENTAGON has easily risen to become my favourite of the new boy bands that have come out in recent years. It feels like each of their title tracks has gotten progressively better. I Like It was my favourite of 2017 because it recalls the more melodic and dramatic style of the 2010’s instead of the recent trend of the instrumental choruses. I Like It is insanely gorgeous. Written by leader Hui, the tune is like a ballad in dance form. The chorus is insane with its haunting use of background vocals to elevate the song and memorable melody lines. The final chorus definitely thrusts things to a higher level and takes things to a level not many other groups were able to reach in 2017.

01. Brave Girls – Rollin’ (롤린) [Rollin’]
Rollin’ isn’t as “insanely gorgeous” as the the last track, but there is something so sincere about this tune. It follows the trend of tropical house and doesn’t really change things up. Instead, it just brings a solid tune that brings a sort of emotion that is difficult to find in other songs. The verses are short but memorable and the chorus brings in some clever and exciting hooks. It’s that synth line in the instrumental that brings the much needed energy to the song though. It’s simple, but beautiful and really brings a sense of being carefree and bright. No song has been gotten as many replays from me as this in 2017.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 20-11

20. G-Dragon – Untitled, 2014 [Kwon Ji Yong]
A lot of BIG BANG stuff is hit or miss with me and I haven’t really followed much of their solo stuff outside of the occasional tune. Untitled, 2014 really surprised me though. A piano-focused pop ballad, the song is absolutely stunning and emotional. The lyrics talk about a failed relationship that he wants to revisit. While the lyrics are a bit cliche, it’s sung in such a genuine way that it really elevates the song. Not the mention the melody is really beautiful and it really dips and gives a bit of unpredictability. Definitely one of G-Dragon’s strongest tracks.

19. Sunmi – Gashina [Gashina]
One of the biggest hits of the year, Gashina was Sunmi’s return as a solo artist and it is a great re-introduction. It plays on that synthpop sound, but has some clever aspects to it. Certainly, the visual aspect of the song is what really catapulted it to fame, but the song is still a solid listen. Sunmi’s voice fits really well here and she is able to give an attitude-filled performance. While the song relies largely on a drop, the synth line is catchy and works well with the repetitive hook.

18. SNUPER – Meteor (유성) [Meteor]

SNUPER really took things up a notch in 2017. I absolutely loved Back:Hug and Meteor, which made it really difficult to decide which one I wanted to feature. Meteor ultimately came out on top because of its sleek play on tropical house and intense moments. The chorus melody is really catchy, but it’s the hook in the second half that really steps things up. The harmonies tied with the pulsating music really blend together so well and help to create something more mythical. It’s a juggernaut of a tune.

17. Girls Next Door – Deep Blue Eyes [Idol Drama Operation Team OST Part.2]
Produced by B1A4 member, Jinyoung, the song certainly has the charming synthpop sound that he has become more well-known for. Backed by a number of different girl group members, Deep Blue Eyes brings an interesting twist with its fun and unpredictable hooks. The whole song has some really stellar parts and every section in memorable. Definitely the highlight of the song is D.ana rap that comes up halfway through the song that surprisingly fits the song so well. The only thing I wish it had was someone with the vocals to really elevate the song to the next level, but it’s still a solid listen.

16. Girls’ Generation – All Night [Holiday Night]
Although the group had a rocky year despite it being their 10th Anniversary, Girls’ Generation definitely came back with something fun. Out of the two promoted tracks, All Night was my favourite as it had a maturity to it that really fit the group’s changing image. A catchy dance-pop tune, All Night brings a bit more attitude and really helps each member to stand out. The odd drop into the chorus and the gorgeous middle eight are the highlights of the song. I do wish there was a bit more of Taeyeon as her voice really helps the song pop.

15. SF9 – Easy Love [Breaking Sensation]
Easy Love was a nice surprise for me. While the SF9 had three comebacks in 2017, it was definitely the strongest for me. Roar was a pounding hip-hop inspired tune and O Sole Mio had some great latin elements to it, but it’s the full-fledged dance/pop Easy Love that really grabbed my attention. The verses aren’t the most memorable, but it’s that intense and exciting chorus that really takes the cake. The melody is really stunning and it is surprisingly emotional in its delivery. The ending where it really takes things up a notch really highlights its strength.

14. Taeyeon – I Got Love [My Voice]
Taeyeon has remained active as a solo artist and despite the comeback with Girls’ Generation in 2017, she also released two (and a half) albums. I Got Love was the pre-release to her first studio album and it is the type of song that really changes things up. It’s definitely more on the upbeat side of things and has a heavy beat and interesting drop that keeps the song moving. What I love is how confident Taeyeon sounds singing this song and that build up she does into the twangy drop really shows her vocal prowess.

13. Produce 101 – It’s Me (Pick Me) (나야 나) [It’s Me (Pick Me)]
It’s Me (Pick Me) really came with a lot of anticipating considering the amount of popularity the first season’s “Pick Me” had. I was definitely satisfied with the end result as the song is an absolute powerhouse. The EDM sound paired with its insanely intoxicating hooks really brought something that could have only been accomplished on this scale. The synth lines are clean and memorable, while that pick me hook in the drop really help to bring some contrast to the more intense vocal delivery of the rest of the song. It’s just so fun!

12. HyunAh – BABE [Following]
HyunAh hasn’t really wowed me for a while. Not since 2014’s Red have I felt that she has had a song that truly shows her strengths. BABE is her strongest song in years and really captures that middle ground of HyunAh’s sexy image and cuter personality. The song isn’t the type of song that really makes you interested at first and at times, the hook is a bit odd, however, it definitely has replay value and it is the type of song that gets stuck in your head after a while. It’s a really showcase of her.

11. Wanna One – Energetic [1X1=1(TO BE ONE)]
Wanna One came off with huge popularity from Produce 101 and their first release would really be looked at with much anticipation. Unlike I.O.I’s “Dream Girls”, which felt generic but a bit bland, Energetic does a good job of bringing the mainstream sound with a solid delivery (I love Dream Girls btw). It’s execution is so streamlined, but the whole song is solid. The dramatic start that swings into that intense chorus and right into some chill rap breakdowns, the song just knows how to bring it on all fronts. Not to mention it features some strong vocalists that really pump the song up.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 30-21

30. Bangtan Boys – DNA [Love Yourself ‘Her’]
Probably BTS’ most ‘mainstream’ sounding song, DNA has garnered mixed reception from the group’s fanbase. With that said, I absolute love it. I’ve rarely enjoyed their more hardcore “hip-hop” songs, but their pop tunes are always stellar. DNA is a slick EDM pop tune that brings that current structure of a drop for its chorus. Things can get a bit generic, but the song has such great energy and the synths and whistling keep the song alive. It’s a fun play on a more recent sound.

29. Akdong Musician – Dinosaur [Summer Episode]
Dinosaur is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never really listened to AKMU’s other music, but this is something I could get into. It takes that popular tropical house sound, but cleverly works with it. It’s lightweight and focuses on a “ooh ooh” refrain. I just love how laidback the verses are and how the energy really propels forward once the chorus hits. It has a sense of melancholy to it as well, which gives it a nice edge. While it doesn’t really have that flushed out chorus, everything is executed so beautifully. The lyrics are also really fun and a nice twist on usual subjects.

28. Uhm Jung Hwa – Ending Credit [The Cloud Dream of the Nine]
Although Uhm Jung Hwa has been around for nearly 30 years, she has still been able to reinvent herself in a way very few veteran pop stars can. Ending Credit is an absolutely haunting midtempo dance-pop tune and one that caught me left field. It’s not as flashy as current pop tunes usually are, instead relying on the subtle beat and light synths. However, that melody is so hauntingly beautiful that it keeps making me want to come back. It’s something only Uhm Jung Hwa could really pull off in K-Pop.

27. TWICE – Likey [Twicestagram]
TWICE is such a force in K-Pop that I was wondering why it was taking so long for the group to pull out of that overtly “aegyo” phase. While Likey does have that cuteness factor, there are a lot more mature elements and it really helps that the song has such a strong base to it. Every part of the song has hooks and each part is memorable. I find myself enjoying every section and not waiting to get to the next part. The best part of the song though is that fantastic arrangement. The instrumental breakdown before the final chorus really brings things to life.

26. I.O.I – Downpour (소나기) [Downpour]
I wasn’t particularly impressed with this song when I first heard it. A lot of idol ballad songs tend to sound a bit forgettable to me and it takes me a while to warm up to the ones that are quite strong as they tend to sound so similar to others. Downpour isn’t reinventing things, but it sure is a solid piece. It starts off rather gentle and slowly gains speed. The best part of it is that gorgeous chorus melody, which is especially great at the end with Yeonjung belting it out.

25. Hyolyn & Kisum – FRUITY [FRUITY]
With SISTAR’s disbandment, there was definitely uncertainty with how things would play out. Fortunately, Hyolyn came back with this light-hearted summery pop tune. It’s absolutely intoxicating and one of the few songs that could really give me that “this is summer” kind of feel. Both Hyolyn and Kisum do great and each shows of their charms here. Especially with Hyolyn, we hear something a bit more held back and something that really works with her great tone. It’s a bit fruity and simple, but FRUITY is a great tune.

24. SEVENTEEN – Don’t Wanna Cry (울고 싶지 않아) [Al1]
Although I’ve enjoyed quite a few of SEVENTEEN’s songs, their title tracks have always been a hit or miss with me. Fortunately, 2017 saw the group really step it up with Don’t Wanna Cry. A beautiful EDM tune that really brings a more Western feel to the forefront, there is something so robotic, but emotional about this tune. The chorus is repetitive and laid out in a way that seems relatively simple, but it is just so effective. Everything around it does a great job of highlighting that piece and it actually comes off as a rather heartbreaking tune.

23. LOONA (KimLip) – Eclipse [LOONA (KimLip)]
LOONA has really brought it this year and each of the individual girls has been able to give their own colour to the overall project. My favourite has definitely been Eclipse. A gorgeous R&B-inspired dance tune, I’ve been missing these flushed out choruses. It’s sensual, sexy and slick and KimLip’s airy vocals float right above everything. She’s not the strongest singer, but her nasally voice works wonders in this ethereal song and it blends so nicely with the powerful beat, synths and layered background vocals.

22. April – April Story (봄의 나라 이야기) [Prelude]
April has had a good year this year. Despite the loss of a member, they returned with two more and have shown an evolution of their sound. While I absolutely adored Take My Hand, April Story is definitely the strongest tune from the girls this year. A beautiful winter pop tune, April Story takes on a more mature form, but keeps the youthfulness of the group. The thumping beat with the soaring synths tied with the emotional lyrics and melody really help to showcase a different side of the group.

I was a bit slow to get on the REALLY REALLY train. I’m pretty sure by the time I got into the song, it was already well passed summer and actually heading into the cold. Definitely the “it” song of tropical house in K-Pop for 2017, REALLY REALLY showed a return of WINNER’s prowess with a tune that’s totally crafted to be a huge hit. Despite the song’s sweeter lyrics, the song seems to have a more melancholic sound to it. It works gorgeously though. That hook heavy chorus is so simple, but well-executed that it’s impossible to not get it stuck in your head. It’s truly a powerhouse.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 40-31

40. HIGHLIGHT – Plz Don’t Be Sad (얼굴 찌푸리지 말아요) [CAN YOU FEEL IT?]
Despite the issues that BEAST had when they left Cube, the group’s return as HIGHLIGHT is definitely something to be happy about. Although I did enjoy quite a few of their songs, BEAST never quite grabbed my attention. Plz Don’t Be Sad is exactly what I was looking for though. Unlike the darker sound they released in 2016, this tune is so fun and upbeat. Every part of it is exciting (although the lyrics could have been tweaked a bit). The cheerful chorus that mixes some catchy hooks with a more melodic edge really works and helps to create a full experience. Their other releases in 2017 were also quite strong.

39. AOA – Excuse Me [Angel’s Knock]
2016’s Good Luck did very little for me. Although it was meant to infectious, the hook just seemed too obvious and a bit lackluster compared to the run the group had from 2013 to 2015. While Excuse Me isn’t going to be that classic jam, its retro vibe definitely switches things up. The repetition can be rather bearing at first, but it is certainly an earworm and is worked around cleverly to not focus entirely on it. While others haven’t taken too lightly to the random rap break, I find it helps to break the song up a bit.

38. VAV – Venus (Dance with Me) [VENUS]
VAV debuted in 2014, but have failed to really find their footing. With a revamp in 2017 that included a number of member changes, it seems as though VAV has finally found that spark. While the group released a solid four tunes in 2017 with Ryan Jhun, their comeback Venus (Dance with Me) was the song that really grabbed me in. Funk is one of my favourite genres and Venus is one of the strongest examples in K-Pop. That wicked bassline that keeps the song going really brings some refreshing life to the song, while the brass mixing also helps to fuse things into a catchy and unforgettable tune.

37. Red Velvet – Red Flavor (빨간 맛) [The Red Summer]
Red Velvet seemed in a weird place last year with the weak reception of One of These Nights. Although Russian Roulette helped to bring the spark back, 2017 saw the group really take off again. Red Flavor was undoubtedly one of the hallmarks of 2017 K-Pop with its summer freshness and dance-pop catchiness. Definitely something that could be by girl group Little Mix (it was originally crafted for them), it has that spunky element to it that only gains power as the song progresses.

36. The Boyz – Boy (소년) [THE FIRST]
The Boyz boasts a staggering thirteen members. While there have been numerous groups with this number in recent years, it is still quite a large amount. Unfortunately, Boy fails to really help distinguish the members from one another and instead we get a hectic bouncing of member to member. Fortunately, Boy is still an excellent song. It really grasps that youthful vibe that the group has going on and it does have its charm points. That booming and swift chorus comes and goes, but it has so many twists turns that it keeps the song flowing and interesting.

35. Joo – Late in the Morning (어느 늦은 아침) [Late in the Morning]
Joo has been on of my favourite ballad singers since her debut. Although her recent stunt on the survival show, The Unit, has shown that she has versatility, I still find her fragile voice works best in these simple ballad tunes. Late in the Morning is not an explosive and passionate song. It’s a gentle and calming tune that is more fitting for a rainy day. It’s the vocal performance that shows off Joo’s emotional yet sweet tone that really gets the work done. She really captures the emotion.

34. Dream Catcher – Chase Me [Nightmare]
One of the most surprising debuts of the year, Dream Catcher is actually the re-debut of girl group MINX. What makes the group so different is the choice of music they chose to come back with. Instead of the bubblegum synths or EDM beats, we given something more in tune with J-Rock. The piano line that plays helps to create a haunting foundation for that blast of guitar. The chorus is absolutely infectious and really makes me think of an impactful anime opening theme.

33. IU – Palette (팔레트) [Palette]
Slowing things down again is IU’s Palette. IU got into controversy over 2015’s Zeze, but 2017 saw her return to music and despite what happened a few years ago, she still showed she is a powerhouse. Palette brings us a gentle mid-tempo R&B-influenced pop song that focuses on self discovery. It really sounds like something played in Korean cafes, but there is something that really keeps it afloat and not lost in the sea of the majority of these tunes. IU’s airy vocal delivery and G-Dragon’s rap really help bring the star power and they both make the song so believable.

32. GFRIEND – FINGERTIP [The Awakening]
GFRIEND saw the peak of their popularity hit in 2016. Unfortunately, while their tunes were beloved, the group found scrutiny coming from those who wished the group change up their sound. FINGERTIP keeps a lot of the same aspects of some of their other songs like Navillera, but brings a great 80’s funk vibe to it. It’s definitely more mature than their past songs. With that said, it has some really great points. That explosive and catchy chorus tied with Yuju’s classic vocals really carry the song a long. It’s their strongest title track yet and I hope they bring back this sound.

31. DAY6 – You Were Beautiful (예뻤어) [SUNRISE]
2017 saw DAY6 go on a twelve month promotion cycle with every month bringing fans two new songs. You Were Beautiful was released as the title track for the February single and what a haunting tune it is. Unlike the more upbeat tunes that surrounded it, this one was definitely the prototype a lot of DAY6’s ballads followed. It’s an emotional pop/rock ballad that really captures the emotions of a break-up. The soaring chorus with its towering percussion and haunting synths really help to highlight the strong vocals the band can put out.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 50-41

50. 2NE1 – Goodbye (안녕) [Goodbye]
Yet another top-tier group saw their demise in 2017. Although 2NE1 has been absent since 2014 due to a drug scandal, it still took three years before we could get another tune. Goodbye is an absolutely gorgeous song that really encapsulates its title. The more guitar driven tune is a nice return to the group’s ballad style of Lonely and Missing You. The verses are a bit dreary, but still have life in them. However, the melody in the chorus really brings the needed emotional. It really sounds like an end to a great group.

49. Samuel – Sixteen (식스틴) [Sixteen]
Samuel didn’t make it into Wanna One, but he definitely showed that he has a strong fanbase that will follow him. Debuting solo is a risk, but Sixteen showed that he has the potential to be huge. Sixteen is a tropical house tinged tune that has a bit of that mellow vibe going on. The verses aren’t bad, but it’s that twisting chorus that really grows. I wasn’t impressed at first, but the song has definitely consistently on my playlist since its release. I just wish they didn’t autotune his voice so much.

48. NU’EST W – WHERE YOU AT [W, Here]
NU”EST had a huge year in 2017. When it looked like they weren’t going to go anywhere, the group appeared on Produce 101 and soon hit is big after. Although Minhyun was the only one who ended up in Wanna One, it actually proved to be a good thing as the rest of the group continued to release music as four. WHERE YOU AT was the perfect return. It has the mature vibe of their last few title tracks, but updates things with something more mainstream EDM. That dramatic chorus backed by Baekho’s passionate vocals really allows the song to soar. It’s a bit generic, but a solid tune nonetheless.

47. Heize – Don’t You Know (널 너무 모르고) [/// (You Are Cloudy)]
Heize has exploded in popularity over the last year in large part due to her moody R&B/pop blend. While she initially came on the scene as a rapper, her vocals are unique and emotive, which lends itself well to the type of music she does. Don’t You Know brings something a bit more upbeat, but still with that Heize touch. The pulsating and progressing beat really keeps things moving and I love how well everything blends with her voice. The rap break is also a welcomed change that adds even more energy to the song.

46. MIXNINE – Just Dance [Part 1]
Produce 101 has had a huge effect and has sparked an outburst of several other idol survival shows. MIXNINE was one that popped up recently that was headed by YG Entertainment’s Yang Hyun Suk. Unlike Produce 101 that focused separately on girls and boys, MIXNINE has to bring a tune that mixes the two. Just Dance surprisingly does a great job of that. It’s a bit more simplistic in its execution and the chorus doesn’t have an in-your-face attitude about it, but that slick and mellow melody does wonders. I love how everything blends together so well and the vocals are surprisingly fluid.

45. NCT Dream – My First and Last (마지막 첫사랑) [The First]
I haven’t really been able to get fully into NCT yet. With that said, a few of their songs just seem to quietly sneak into my lists. My First and Last is a huge improvement over last year’s Chewing Gum. There is a bit of an odd transition between the verses and the chorus, but that chorus is to die for. The melody just seems to throwback to boy band’s of the 90’s, but it still keeps things fresh with the fun beat and clever harmonies. It isn’t a song that really hits you, but it easily grows.

44. ODD EYE CIRCLE – Sweet Crazy Love [Max & Match]
LOONA has shown a gradual rise in the quality of their work despite the group not actually “debuting” yet. ODD EYE CIRCLE is the second subunit and consists of members KimLip, Choerry and JinSoul. While their first release, Girl Front, was a fun and upbeat pop tune, Sweet Crazy Love tones things down with something a bit more sensual. What I love about this song is the number of synths and just the breeziness of the overall feel of its execution. The girls aren’t power vocalists, but their airy voices fit nicely with the more mellow tune.

43. BLACKPINK – As If It’s Your Last (마지막처럼) [As If It’s Your Last]
Unfortunately, BLACKPINK only came back with one new song in 2017. Good thing the song was such a strong tune. As If It’s Your Last is a bustling pop tune that mixes things up with some hip-hop elements. The biggest stand out of the song is that transition into the full-on pop chorus. It’s become much less jarring the more I have listened to the song and it really works to bring the energy up. I love how explosive it is and while I’m not the biggest fan of the rap break, everything still works well despite its general messiness.

42. BLACK6IX – Like a Flower [Like a Flower]
BLACK6IX would easily count as a “nugu” boy band as they have yet to gain a sizable fanbase. With that said, they have easily released some the best songs this year. Their debut, Please, was an emotional rollercoaster and tropical house follow-up, Like a Flower, brings an interesting twist to the overplayed genre. The verses are a fun blend of rap and singing, but the chorus steals the show. Although it has that signature instrumental break, the group plays things up with the melody and is able to blend it so the whole song doesn’t depend on just that. It’s a haunting tune and I hope the guys continue to bring it.

41. EXO – Ko Ko Bop [THE WAR]
EXO changed things up this year with something a bit more reggaeton. While a lot of people were surprised by the change, I was thoroughly impressed. Ko Ko Bop definitely benefits from the high production quality as everything flows so well into each other. I love the laidback nature of the chorus, but the energy is still able to come through with that hip-hop instrumental break. It’s a surprising twist, but it helps the song not get too monotone. It doesn’t have the same power as a lot of their past title tracks do, but I find it’s a good change in sound.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 60-51

60. Crush – Outside [Outside]
Crush has been at the forefront of popular K-R&b for the last few years. His slow R&B jams have left a lasting impression and has helped to influence a change in sound for the general vibe of the music outside and inside the idol industry. Outside is a bit different than his usual material as it is more fitting of summer with its upbeat sound. I love the dance beat added and it really adds a lot of life to the song. The chorus is a bit bare, but the hook is really well executed. It’s an interesting take on the summer sound.

59. SISTAR – Lonely [Lonely]
Speaking of summer, SISTAR also saw their disbandment last year. A really sad time as the group has been a staple hit maker since their debut in 2010. Lonely is a departure from the group’s usual title track material and has elements that would be heard from the subunit, SISTAR19. With that said, Lonely is a bittersweet but beautiful song. It has an acoustic vibe that keeps it up to date, but it plays on the more upbeat style. The signature Hyorin driven chorus is especially sweet and something that will be missed.

ONF were one of the many boy band debuts on 2017. Coming from the same company as rising girl group OH MY GIRL and popular boy band B1A4, ONF has big steps to fill. Fortunately, their arrival was much appreciated. ON/OFF is a stellar debut song that throws us into a fun mix of pop and dance. It isn’t particularly in-your-face, but has some really clever aspects to it that help it grow. I love the chorus and while it is a bit bare, the cute synthline is a great inclusion that helps things flow right into the short vocal piece. One of the strongest debuts of the year.

57. MONSTA X – Beautiful [The Clan Part 2.5: The Final Chapter ‘Beautiful’]
Last year, MONSTA X released quite a few songs but didn’t really have a song that impressed me as much as 2015’s Hero. Beautiful is certainly their strongest piece since due to its mix of hard-hitting hip-hop with a pop twist. I absolutely love the opening rap and it really helps to bring the energy up. While the pre-chorus does a good job of building things up, it’s that lush chorus that stands out. The pop melody over the messy and heavy arrangement is a really interesting contrast that works out quite well.

56. Mamamoo – Yes I Am (나로 말할 것 같으면) [Purple]
Mamamoo had one of my favourite songs last year with their throwback to the 90’s, Whoohoo. Decalcomanie was also a stellar tune and the group proved they had the hits in them. Yes I Am is a nice return to the brighter sound that the group had with You’re the Best and Um Ah Oh Yeh. The quirky arrangement with its odd synths, heavy beat and funky synth line bring a lot of excitement, but it’s the group’s vocal performance that stands at the forefront. The girls sound great and as confident as ever. They are able to play with their vocals unlike many other groups in K-Pop.

55. LABOUM – Hwi Hwi (휘휘) [Miss This Kiss]
To be honest, I couldn’t really see the appeal in LABOUM before Hwi Hwi. Their songs were largely on the generic pop side, but seemed to lack that push to bring it to the next level. Fortunately, Hwi Hwi is such a stellar tune and the subsequent Only U was also a really fun summer song. Even going back into their discography, I found they actually have some pretty catchy songs. Hwi Hwi brings that more straightforward pop sound. It’s the type of song that any group could perform, but it’s just so strong and fits so well with LABOUM’s colour. The chorus is absolutely amazing and so catchy with the fun whistling intertwined in the music.

54. A.C.E – Cactus (선인장) [Cactus]
At first, I wasn’t really feeling A.C.E’s music. Although I did review it and I did enjoy the songs, the songs never really stuck for long. However, I realized after a while that I would always find them in my playlist. Cactus is my favourite of their two singles. It does hardstyle so well and unlike Callin’, I feel like the melody is actually able to keep up with the explosive chorus. It’s something that I would fit better with the sound a few years back, but it’s quite strong and helps the group stand out.

53. Subin – Circle’s Dream (동그라미의 꿈) [Circle’s Dream]
A bit of an unexpected tune that came out in 2017. Dal Shabet’s Subin had already started a solo career in 2016 with some digital singles, but I didn’t pay attention until this stellar piece Circle’s Dream is a gorgeous relaxing tune. It’s simplicity of the melody is the best part about it and I love the light and airy pop sound it has. My favourite part is the second verses where Subin brings a bit of power to her and she sounds as confident as ever. It has a female songwriter touch to it and its the type of song that just grows on you.

52. K.A.R.D – Don’t Recall [K.A.R.D Project Vol.2 “Don’t Recall”]
I wasn’t quite sure which song to put of theirs since they released so many singles this year, but Don’t Recall is certainly one of the group’s strongest. Although the song has the group’s signature tropical house tinge, it manages to stand out for its more melancholic vibe. I don’t think it’s as memorable as Oh NaNa, but that chorus is definitely impactful. The chorus is gorgeous and the swing into the instrumental riff really in the second half really helps to elevate the emotion of the song. All the members also sound exceptional.

51. S.E.S. – Paradise (한 폭의 그림) [Remember]
I love S.E.S and I’ve loved the recent revival of older K-Pop groups. The best part about Paradise is how it really brings that S.E.S sound but with a contemporary twist. The underlying R&B influence throughout the song, especially in the verses really sounds like something the group’s would’ve done in the early 00’s. With that said, there is still something about the melody that makes me think of J-Pop as well. It’s bright and really captures the group’s sound. The girls sound fresh as well.

[Special] 2017 Top 100 K-Pop Songs 70-61

The reason I really enjoy YESTERDAY so much is that it is different from the usual Block B promotional track. The group is mostly known for their hard-hitting upbeat tunes that have a heavy hip-hop flair. While YESTERDAY retains some of that hip-hop vibe, it changes things a bit by giving us something that leans more towards pop. Not only is the song a different twist, but it’s just so catchy. The raps keep the song afloat in the verses, but it’s that chorus melody that really makes the song such an earworm. The hooks are simple, but well-placed.

69. OH MY GIRL – Coloring Book (컬러링북) [Coloring Book]
OH MY GIRL were on a roll in 2016 with three comebacks. Unfortunately, 2017 wasn’t the best year for them. Their only comeback wasn’t as well-received as their previous material and the group eventually had a member drop due to health reasons. I absolute love Coloring Book though. That bouncy beat really have some retro vibes to it and I love the build-up to the chorus. The pre-chorus is especially great. While the chorus is a bit different with its more dragged out melody, I still feel it’s a fun twist and it really grew on me.

68. Cosmic Girls – I Wish (너에게 닿기를) [From. Cosmic Girls]
Secret was my favourite song last year and I was expecting a lot from the girl group. I Wish does continue that sound with something a bit on the cuter side and while I wasn’t a fan initially, it did eventually get to me. I do feel like the chorus could be fleshed out a bit more, but it’s still really catchy and I quite like the verses. It’s like a fluffier version of Secret. For some reason, it has its charm.

67. Romeo – Without You (니가 없는데) [WITHOUT U]
While I did enjoy the more “Sweetune” dance/pop that Romeo was doing, I did feel like Without You was a nice way to bring in something a bit more mainstream. It’s a bit more generic in its sound, but there are some fun quirks to it. I love the hooks in the chorus and the guitar that lays under the music really brings a bit of rock to the song. It’s all a bit inoffensive, but its still relatively memorable. It’s a catchy tune and something I wouldn’t mind hearing them continue with.

66. The Unit – My Turn [My Turn]
Produce 101 was a runaway hit the last two seasons, so it was just a matter of time that other survival shows would pop up. The Unit, which focuses on idols who have already debuted, came out with My Turn. A nice combination of female and male vocals, the song is a straightforward dance/pop tune, but it has some interesting twists to it. The transitions between the male and female parts and the eventual combination of both at the end are really fun. The melody is also intoxicating and I love the tropical house style of the music.

65. Lee Haeri – Hate That I Miss You (미운 날) [H]
Lee Haeri of girl group, Davichi, finally had her solo debut almost 10 years into her career. As expected from someone from a group most well-known for ballads, Haeri came back with a ballad. While the pre-release single was something a bit different, I actually like that Haeri came back with this kind of tune. It’s a bit more on the generic OST/Korean ballad kind of sound, but the melody is quite nice and Haeri’s voice really carries the song. She sings so effortlessly and her voice is so beautiful that it really draws me into the song.

64. JBJ – Fantasy [FANTASY]
JBJ features several members from the popular show, Produce 101 Season 2. Despite not making it into Wanna One, this group was formed and also found some success. Fantasy reminds me of mid-00’s K-Pop with its more dramatic sound. The verses are a bit forgettable by themselves, but its that powerful beat that keeps things moving until it gets into the chorus. The chorus isn’t particularly in your face, but it has an attitude to it and I quite enjoy the melody and the clever arrangement.

63. CLC – Hobgoblin (도깨비) [CRYSTYLE]
Debuting with some more along the lines of “innocent”, CLC came back in 2017 with a bang. With 4minute’s demise in 2016, CLC took up the reins and came back with something that really screams 4minute. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought so. With that said, it’s such a fun song and the group is able to bring it. The chorus is relatively simplistic in its delivery with its use of hooks, but it is quite catchy and the attitude really brings up the energy of the song. It’s unfortunate that the group went the 80’s route with their second comeback of 2017 (although I liked it as well).

62. HELLO VENUS – Mysterious [Mystery of VENUS]
HELLO VENUS debuted with such a cute image in 2012, but that overt sexy phase from 2014-2015 was quite a (nice) surprise. Mysterious continues that sexy sound, but it does so in a more “mysterious” way. It doesn’t really push it forward, but relies on the girls’ vocal performance to really capture the attention. That’s not to say the song is weak. It’s a bit more on the generic side, but it’s still really well done. The melody is catchy and the repetitive hook is definitely an earworm.

61. Park Ji Yoon – Without You (그러지마요) [parkjiyoon9]
One of the biggest stars from the late 90’s/early 00’s, Park Ji Yoon is one of my favourite Korean artists. However, compared to the R&B infused pop tunes she sang in the past, since her comeback from hiatus in 2009, she has gone a slower route and a large amount of her songs have been ballads. Without You reminds me a lot of 2009’s In a Faded Memory with its large focus on the piano, strings and her vocals. I love this kind of style and its gorgeous. Ji Yoon’s airy vocals work so well with that beautiful melody. I wish the ending was pushed even further than it was, but it’s all a very touching tune.