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Top 100 K-Pop Singles (90s-2010s): 20-11



We're almost done with the list! Before we dive into the last set before the top 10, I have some things to say first.


I feel that this list needs to be updated in the future. I'm sure that's no surprise to anybody since ranking songs can change any day. I should've used more time to finalize my rankings, but this is something I wanted to do for quite some time after seeing a couple of blogs doing this. Besides, two months without any posts? That can't happen.


At the end of the day, this is just for fun and a presentation of songs that I enjoy. Still, I think 85-90% of the tracks here are safe to be in the top 100.


I believe these singles are great choices for my list. All of them have met one or all of my criteria. It's just a matter of positioning that could change in the upcoming days. I'll let you guys know when my list gets updated.


For now, I present to you the last set before we get into the top 10. Enjoy!

 

Honorable mentions

100-91

90-81

80-71

70-61

60-51

50-41

40-31

30-21

 

20. Seo Taiji and Boys- I Know (1992)

I Know took influence from the West to blend hip-hop, new jack swing, and alternative rock to create a thrilling piece of 90's music. However, it's not just the production here that's important. To put it simply, we refer to this as the song that gave birth to modern K-Pop. Because of that, this is not only K-Pop's most iconic moment but also K-Pop's most important moment.






19. Infinite- Last Romeo (2014)

I'm pretty sure some people won't think much about Last Romeo other than it's an explosive pop single. But that's exactly what it wants to convey. The song is filled with dramatic excitement from beginning to ending, delivering a bombastic instrumental with a remarkable chorus right in the middle of it.






18. SHINee- View (2015)

I reviewed this song for a special collaboration. To summarize, View is an amazing deep house track that's perfect for the summer! It wasn't released during the season, but make no mistake that its breezy, addictive sound is ideal for it.






17. SHINee- Lucifer (2010)

In contrast to the last single, Lucifer is just an energetic track. It's a perfect example of taking a western trend and turning it into an other-worldly creation. Its frenetic sound is suitable for the guy's vocals, showing their capability of performing a dynamic piece of pop music. There's rarely a time to catch a breather in this one!






16. Infinite- She's Back (2010)

Something about She's Back hearkens back to simpler days. Its production is robust with warmth to it. Every minute of the track is an adventure, and that chorus is something to die for. The guys deliver hearty melodies over ecstatic instrumentation.






15. GFriend- Navillera (2016)

Navillera provides a tight instrumental and unrestraint energy. The song offers plenty of highlights, yet the chorus lies as the single's greatest moment. The bridge/breakdown section also deserves a special shoutout.






14. GFriend- Rough (2016)

Perhaps no single can encapsulate GFriend's overall sound other than Rough. The song is filled to the brim with a passionate production, courtesy of the vocals and strings. Its chorus and orchestral refrain are instant classics, but the real treat happens after the bridge. Rough builds up to an incredible electric guitar-fueled breakdown before diving into a thrilling climax, led by Yuju's hair-raising vocals. Not only is this GFriend's best single, but it's also one of K-Pop's best girl group songs in history!






13. Infinite- Paradise (2011)

Paradise has to be one of the most unique songs in K-Pop. Opening with soaring strings, the track comes back to Earth for a controlled verse, but you can feel its build-up. Every second of the verse and pre-chorus slowly leads to a chorus that you wouldn't expect on first listen. Its main refrain offers vocal melodies that are Bee Gee-esque, showing the musicality of a group that knows how to distribute a high-quality sound.






12. Kara- Step (2011)

You already know Step is going to be a banger from listening to its opening synthesizer. This is an incredible example of a song guiding its verses and pre-choruses into an explosive chorus that is inspired by the 80s. Most importantly, the first 2:37 of the track sets up an immensely satisfying climax that doesn't happen enough with today's girl groups. That is why this single is one of the best K-Pop girl group songs of all time!






11. EXO- Mama (2012)

This is EXO's official debut song, and I just have one question - how? They don't even sound like rookies! Of course, we were exposed to the group through their pre-debut tracks, but still. Mama is a very ambitious single, and I love it! This is what I want a song to offer - an escape from reality, and that's exactly what this monstrous music presents.


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