Top 100 K-Pop Singles (90s-2010s): 2

Updated: May 20

Honorable mentions
















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2. SHINee- Sherlock (2012)



I consider this the best K-Pop opening.

After a year without a Korean comeback, Minho re-introduces the group with the infamous repetition of "SHINee's back" over a rubbery bass. What follows next is incredible.

Reminiscent of Michael Jackson, SHINee peels off one by one over a stabbing brass to display an ear-grabbing intro.

The latter half of the opening is perfect for award shows, presenting a powerful performance over a funk-driven, brass-stabbing production.

First Verse

Jonghyun doesn't sing his lines - he chews them!

His presence is overwhelming. Jonghyun's potent vocal delivery deserves the spotlight, but his smooth transition to Onew is equally impressive.

As Taemin steps up, beautiful vocal harmonies appear. I also like how Onew and Key distribute their lines after Taemin.

Then, this occurring theme emerges within my top five- no pre-chorus.

The brass and rubbery bass vanish, allowing Jonghyun to return with a swirling production. The best moment happens next with Key and Jonghyun. After Key sings "du gaeye dap," Jonghyun responds with a soaring "du gaeye dap."

Then, over a minimal instrumental, Taemin supplies a stomping build-up with vibrant synths joining the party.


Like The Chaser, Sherlock's vocal blend during the chorus hits like a tsunami. We're not listening to a typical pop song. We're experiencing a Broadway show!

Every word is met with sheer force during this forward-marching atmosphere. As the guys near the end of this fantastic chorus, they reward us with a mighty "yeah."

Second Verse

The second verse is short but entertaining. Notice how Minho and Key don't succumb to over trending rapping? Over a chirpy synth, the guys lay themselves as loose and charismatic.

Jonghyun comes back with a hair-raising "sorido eopshi," seconds before Taemin closes this 18-second verse with a quick "soyongdoricheo."


The only prominent instruments during the start of the bridge are the chirpy synth and marching-band percussion. Both create a distinct instrumental.

Onew's vocal delivery is punchy, while Jonghyun's delivery is stretchy.

However, Minho's "binnatta sarajeo" takes the crown. The combo of the robotic binnatta and whispering sarajeo is ear-grabbing!

Brass stabs return, but we're not in the final chorus yet. Instead, Taemin and Jonghyun provide back-to-back melodies in a free-flowing build. Some might expect the hook to emerge, but this build-up led to another segment.


I love the loosely aggressive raps from Key and Minho. Their rhythmic deliveries match well with the rubbery bass. Listen closely, and you can hear chants of "go" giving this breakdown a boosted energy.

I also love how Key stretches out "gu" in "nugudo" - Minho does the same with "ge" from "chajanaegesseo." Both are perfect for concert-goers to do the same.


I like to focus on the final minute of the climax.

After the third chorus, a Broadway-Esque finale appears - it's an epic showstopper!

Over a stomping percussion and celebratory brass, Minho lets us know that "SHINee's in the house." I probably didn't need that reminder, given how enormous SHINee's presence is. But, his announcement is perfect for this moment - we're just having a grand time!

Sherlock ends with the legendary "give it up, give it up, give it up for SHINee" from Key and Jonghyun. You can only think of this as a response - give it up for SHINee indeed!

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