My Favorite K-pop Songs

Everywhere you go in Korea, you’ll hear K-pop songs. They’ve become so popular that you actually hear them around the world. K-pop or Korean pop is a musical genre from South Korea that is popularized by idol groups. It plays a major part in the Korean Wave or Hallyu (한류) that’s sweeping the globe.

I am far from an expert on K-pop. When I like a song, I take note of the title and artist then add it to my playlist. The most memorable songs are the ones that are associated with a special event or experience. Nevermind the lyrics, these songs I play again and again to keep me upbeat and to remind me of good times.

Here are my favorite K-pop songs from the past 3 years of living in Korea:

1) Hey Mr. Big by Lee Hyori

Hey Mr. Big is the song that got me turned on to K-pop songs and more importantly, K-pop Youtube videos. It’s catchy and Lee Hyori (이효리) is so sexy, you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off the video. Perfect tan, great toned body, wonderful smile…just wow!

Lyrics in English and romanization

My husband understands my fascination with this beautiful woman. ㅋㅋㅋ

Source: Google Image Search

Image Source: Sodahead

Sources: Google Image Search

When she offers you soju, it’s impossible to refuse! ;) (Images Source: We Want Kpop)


2) Oh! by Girls’ Generation

Not satisfied with just one pretty girl? Here’s nine!

Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) released the song Oh! in late January of 2010. This song introduced me to another meaning of Oppa (오빠), which is a respectful term used for men older than you. Though when said in a flirtatious intonation, it becomes an endearment that girls call older men they’re romantically involved with.

Lyrics in English and romanization

3) Run Devil Run by Girls’ Generation

While Girls’ Generation were cutesy in Oh!, they are badass in Run Devil Run. This song is so catchy, it got stuck in my head many times. Whenever I need to goad someone into running faster, this is the song that comes to mind.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

4) Nobody by Wonder Girls

The word ‘nobody’ was never the same after I heard the song by the Wonder Girls (원더걸스). Every time I hear the word nobody, I immediately think of this song’s chorus and I almost always say ‘nobody, nobody but you’! The video is so funny with JYP running out of toilet paper. Who hasn’t been in that situation?!

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

5) Abracadabra by Brown Eyed Girls

Cross your arms and sway your hips! Abracadabra by the Brown Eyed Girls (브라운아이드걸스) reminds me of my friend Tonita, who would dance whenever she heard this song. It also reminds me of my friends dancing at the third bar (or was it fourth?) of my bachelorette party. Fun times.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

6) Ring Ding Dong by Shinee

Now here’s how guys should shake their hips! Shinee (샤이니) has many popular K-pop songs but Ring Ding Dong is my favorite of theirs. Fantastic? Elastic? Forget the lyrics and just enjoy the beat and the pretty boys.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

7) Sorry Sorry by Super Junior

Have you ever tried to apologize to a friend for a not-so-serious offense? It’s never easy to say sorry but doing it the way Super Junior (슈퍼주니어) does will make it seem like a breeze, sexy even: rub your hands together, move it from one side to the other, and say ‘sorry, sorry, sorry’ at the same time.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

8) Roly Poly by T-ara

Roly Poly is the best K-pop song that you can line dance to. The video reminds me of Saturday Night Fever but instead of John Travolta, we get the pretty girls of T-ara (티아라).

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

9) I Go Crazy Because of You by T-ara

I Go Crazy Because of You is another song by T-ara that I like. Like Girls’ Generation, they shed their cutesiness and show their darker, badass side in this video.

Lyrics in English and romanization

10) Good Day by IU

Two years ago, I enrolled in a kickboxing class at a Taekwondo academy. I was the only student so unfortunately they had to cancel it after my 3-month session. Every kickboxing class started with running laps around the studio. They had a playlist of K-pop songs that they play every single time. Good Day (좋은 날) by IU (아이유) is the most memorable song of them all. It kept me pumped and has stayed on my exercise playlist until now. Lee Ji-eun (이지은), better known as IU, was 17 when this song was released. Such an amazing voice for such a young artist!

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

11) Black and White by G. Na

Black and White by G. Na (지나) is another song from my kickboxing days. I was lucky to have been taught by at least 2 instructors for kickboxing. One of them was a Taekwondo black belter visiting from Norway. She and I became fast friends and whenever we hear this song, we would mimic it as we run laps around the studio. I also remember timing our punches to the beats of this song.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

12) Tonight by Big Bang

Tonight by Big Bang (빅뱅) is the only K-pop song on my list that has a distinct rap influence. The Las Vegas scenes in the video reminds me of countless weekends spent in Vegas with my sisters. I especially get nostalgic with the opening scene–it’s what I miss most about living in the United States: driving and mostly deserted roads in the desert.

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

Baker’s dozen or lucky 13, if you will:

13) Gangnam Style by Psy

Gangnam Style by Psy (싸이) is the most popular K-pop song in the world right now. Many people are tired of hearing this song but I still like it. It has a distinct rhythm and it always makes me want to do the horse dance! As of 2013, the music video is the most viewed Youtube video of all time. It’s funny and quirky but it also reminds me of many things in Korea. This video probably garnered more interest about the country than many tourism marketing campaigns. It’s simply brilliant!

Lyrics with English translation and romanization

What is your favorite K-pop song? Please share the video link in the comments below.

For your viewing pleasure, a fun dance number by robots created by DSME:

Songs featured in the video: (1) Again and Again by 2pm, (2) Abracadabra by Brown Eyed Girls,
(3) Sorry Sorry by Super Junior, (4) Ring Ding Dong by Shinee,  (5) Ah by After School, and
(6) Choryeon (초련) by Clon (클론)

All videos embedded in the post are in this Youtube playlist.

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  1. I love this list! I am in need of some fresh K-POP recommendations. My favorites are still Hyuna – Bubble Pop, f(x) – Hot Summer and Miss A – Bad Girl Good Girl.

  2. I’m also a huge fan of Lee Hyori. I’m with you 100 percent..she is is so sexy. That’s not all though, she’s environmentally conscious and animal rights activist. I too understand your fascination with her. :-)

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