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Top 100 K-Pop Singles (90s-2010s): 10

Updated: 12 hours ago



It's finally here- the top 10!


Before we get started, I like to thank those who have been keeping up with the series. It was quite a conflicting project from start to finish, but this was a fun challenge for me as a blogger. As I've mentioned, there might be future changes to the top 100. However, most of the songs featured so far are tracks I'm pleased to show as K-Pop's best.


While there might be some switches, there's one set I'm fully on board with - my top 10. I confirm that these singles and their placements are where they need to be. Nothing needs to be changed.


Also, I'm switching gears here. Instead of looking at all the 10 singles in one post, I'm taking a page from The Bias List's book and reviewing each track day by day. It's the top 10 after all. Plus, this is a good presentation of how I attach to a song.


From beginning to end, I'll be looking at each section of the song and pointing out what stood out to me.


For most of these tracks, I won't be reviewing the second pre-chorus and chorus unless something catches my ears. Usually, those segments sound the same.


Again, thanks to those who kept up with this project, and let the top 10 begin!

 

Honorable mentions

100-91

90-81

80-71

70-61

60-51

50-41

40-31

30-21

20-11

 

10. Infinite- Be Mine (2011)


 

Opening

Right out of the gate, Be Mine opens up with a spacey synth over a ravey beat before a funky guitar comes in. At 0:15, the track explodes into an other-worldly sound, filled with potent strings and a screeching electronic.


First Verse

The first verse doesn't stand out too much but gets the job done as a sneaky build-up. While there are some fun instrumental choices, the vocals are front and center, highlighting the compelling voices of L and Woohyun. This section doesn't drag out too long and offers wonderful vocal melodies.


Pre-Chorus*

You probably notice the asterisk above. Well, that's because I wanted to bring extra attention to the pre-chorus. This is the section that caught my ears immediately. Over a building instrumental, Sungjong and Sungkyu give us, what I believe is the best pre-chorus in K-Pop history!


I love how Sungjong and Sungkyu stretch out the word "geurae," which is probably why this pre-chorus is effective. Another fun highlight is Sungkyu belting out the word "ttaemada." Simply outstanding!


Chorus

The payoff is immense here. Each member's vocals are layered into one, singing captivating melodies with the word "eo" acting as a powerful motif. The instruments also play a part in this awesome chorus, specifically the funky guitar and screeching electronic.


As if that wasn't enough, the guys repeat the same melodies (different lyrics) for more authority. To speak more about the vocals, it has an 80s harmony with a little bit of Backstreet Boys' influence. It's a spectacular mixture of nostalgic sounds!


Post-Chorus

After that massive chorus, the string section comes back to add more intensity alongside Sungyeol's repeated line of "do you hear me?". It doesn't stop there, as Hoya and Dongwoo offer more variety with their rapping. A handful of modern K-Pop songs struggle with adding a gripping rap performance, but this is an example of how to do it. The rapping matches well with the instrumental's magnitude.


Second Verse

The second verse isn't that different from the first verse. One thing I noticed, though, are the few bursts coming from a rock guitar during Sungkyu's part. It wasn't visible during the first verse, so it's a cool little change the track was willing to present.


Breakdown

Instead of implementing a typical vocal-focus bridge, the song went 180 and turned into a breakdown. This is a tight 15-second instrumental showing without vocals. With an alien-like synthesizer and a vigorous rock guitar, Be Mine's goal here was to be more than just a listening experience.


Climax

After the instruments took control, the harmonic vocals reclaimed the spotlight to deliver one final display of the towering chorus. The vocals are higher in this segment.


For the final 15 seconds, Dongwoo and Hoya return to dispense longer rap performances over the reappearing strings, creating the perfect closeout for Infinite's breakout song.

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