SJ’s Top Picks – Essential K-pop

Published in K-pop  
BTS at KCON LA 2016. BTS at KCON LA 2016. Photo courtesy CJ E&M.

This month, we’re launching Seoul Journal’s top K-pop picks – A list of tracks every K-pop fan should have on their playlist! Every month, we’ll be rolling out a list of songs to die for, songs that can’t be forgotten. We’re mixing it up, giving you new chart-toppers, classic hits and some surprise additions. So if you haven’t heard these, click on the link below each link. If you have, hit replay!


Highlight’s Plz Don’t Be Sad

After reinventing themselves as Highlight, the boys from BEAST are still burning up all the charts with their new release “Plz Don’t Be Sad.” An upbeat number that is guaranteed to play in your head for days on end; it proves that the boys, who are now creating music under their own independent label, are not to be taken lightly.


GOT7’s Never Ever

Beats, beats, beats. The right beats at the right places while you have GOT7 ruling your heart with “Never Ever.” Looking like the perfect bad-boy lovers, the song features the boys belting out an addictive chorus with a kind of intense swagger that fits perfectly well with the sleek, suave music video. Trust us, no one is forgetting these guys anytime soon.

BTS’s Not Today

There are many reasons to love BTS, but the first reason is that they started out as, and remain, the most socially aware K-pop group of our time. The anger and assertion that propelled songs like “N.O.” and “No More Dream” to the hearts of millions are back in the song “Not Today” where the boys combine a stomping, pounding set of beats with a sharp, aggressively-styled choreography. BTS puts their foot down in favor of positivity (“Today We Will Survive” ) and even as they are depicted in the video as being shot while running away, they don’t fall, and stay fierce. These boys have already made history, and it looks like they won’t be stopping.


CNBLUE’s Between Us

The band’s first release in a long time is low on the rock and high on the pop, but it's still as enjoyable as ever. Paced with a decent amount of electronic influences, the song makes you want to stand up and sway as if you’reat one of their live shows. Needless to say, this comeback is anything but a disappointment.

TVXQ’s Why Did I Fall In Love With You

One of those songs that broke hearts when it was released, TVXQ’s beautiful tune will haunt your late nights even after all these years. The five boys who became gods of K-pop when they began and quickly helped the Hallyu wave take over the worldwith this song about losing love,which will remind you why you fell in love with Korean music in the first place.

2PM’s Without You

7 years old and still so good. This is one of 2PM’s signature songs that older K-pop fans will remember all too well; this song portrayed the agony of losing love while being drenched in the rain in a dingy, dilapidated background. It was impossible not to fall in love with the band, and just as impossible to pick a bias in 2PM.

4Minute’s WhatchaDoin Today

Before disbanding, 4Minute gave us more than just Hyuna. One of their gifts was this incredibly catchy number that came with one of the most eye-popping music videos of the year. Bright colors, funky dance moves and some slightly ditzy antics make this song fun for both the eyes and ears.

APink’s Let Us Just Love

The ladies in K-pop certainly know their “aegyo”, but very few girl group’s come close to being as good at it as Apink. This song, in particular, is adorable in its expression of a young girl’s love for a boy who was her only one. As part of the soundtrack for the hugely successful K-drama “Protect the Boss,” it will make anyone reminisce about their young teenage yearsand remember the joys of young love. For any K-pop fan, this song will be an instant pick-me-up.

SNSD’s You Think

No K-pop list is complete without the queens of K-pop. In You Think, they show off a rare, confident persona, lashing out against somebodywho seems to think he’s “cool.” As SNSD aptly puts it “You ain’t cooler than me.” Their black, latex, classy costumes, gorgeous choreography, and their vocal performances all come together to create a fabulous anthem for any girl who needs to dismiss a fool from her life.

Victon’s EYEZ EYEZ

To quote the first youtube comment under their official MV for ‘EYEZ EYEZ’, Victon is “full of handsome boys and talent”. They may have just debuted last year, but they are already making a permanent space in the hearts of K-pop fanatics. This song slithers into your ears and stays in your head for hours after. You’ll see what we mean when you keep hitting replay!

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Seoul Journal




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