[kpop] 2013 retrospective: top 10 singles

I always claim I am out of kpop, but I never really left. Limiting SHINee to three spots, here are top 10 singles sung by Korean artists that I have (embarrassingly) played the most this year. Note that this list is only based on play counts– if I were to do a top 10 based on my actual judgment, this following list would be very different.

10. Rum Pum Pum Pum, f(x): Finally, a girl group manages to crack my listening habits. f(x) shed most of the cute with Pinktape, and the result is a solid electro album.

9. Coffee Shop, CNBlue: Blame Lee Jonghyun. Nonetheless, the rest of the album was lackluster and sounded increasingly similar to their previous work. I am getting worried that CNBlue is running out of ideas.

8. Black Pearl, EXO-M: I panned XOXO when it came out, but I still kept it in my library. I rediscovered it this fall and have fallen in love since, and also gotten a lot angrier that some of these amazing ballads were not given to SHINee. Shawol through and through, eh? Nonetheless, EXO-M continues to surpass my expectations, and I think vocally (not counting the rapping) possesses the edge over EXO-K.

7. Tail of Hope, BoA: BoA’s Korean releases have been bores lately, hopefully she can come back with an upbeat track like Tail of Hope or perhaps another dance track.

6. Break Down, Super Junior M: Super Junior, the lords of the mindless dance tracks, i.e. the stuff I listen to when I do problem sets.

5. Growl, EXO-M: The most surprising song of the entire year, and most likely the best kpop single of the year.

4. Trap, Henry: I am a sucker for the piano instrumentals and Taemin sounds gorgeous. I reviewed it here.

3. Symptoms, SHINee: Sex personified in a song. Too bad it never comes out right on lives, more often than not because of Jonghyun. It really kills me.

2. Beautiful, SHINee: I played this more than Excuse Me Miss, and I am really puzzled.

1. Dream Girl, SHINee: One of the best produced tracks out of the SM masterminds. I said once before that Sherlock is the most representative of SHINee as a group out of all their singles. Considering only the vocals and instrumentals, it would have to be Dream Girl. Clean and sharp, without much other frills.


8 thoughts on “[kpop] 2013 retrospective: top 10 singles

  1. ‘Sex personified in a song’ – that’s exactly what I thought when I heard Symptoms (my brother and I refer to it as SHINee’s baby making song xD). I was a little surprised that lyrics weren’t suggestive at all, but then again I shouldn’t have been…SHINee never really sings about things like that, even if it’s only implied. I think you and I have similar music taste, considering your top 3 are just about the only Kpop songs I’ve loved this year. I haven’t even seriously listened to SHINee’s new releases and I’m supposed to be a Shawol.

  2. Love your list! I’ve been out of the loop of Kpop for the past year as well (but not completely out of it apparently lol) and a lot of your top 10 has been stuff I thoroughly enjoyed too. I’ve ESPECIALLY been loving Black Pearl from EXO. I love the gradual buildup of intensity throughout the song. The only difference of opinion is that I prefer the EXO-K version of the song. I also second your choice of Dream Girl. It’s not my favorite from SHINee, but it is solid and I think it demonstrates their growth as a band whilst still retaining their signature sound. Trap (Taemin does sound amazing on it) and Break Down and Growl are all wonderful songs too.
    I like Symptoms, but for some reason, I’m not head over heels for it. I guess that’s just my peronal opinion though =)

    • thanks!!

      Ah, I totally feel you when you say “Symptoms” isn’t your favorite. I can’t stand “Stand by Me” and songs like “Colorful” but they’re really such favorites with SHINee fans. >_>

      have a great holiday :D

  3. I have yet to listen to pinktape despite all the great review, simply didn’t have time :( But I do hear a little of the previews and thought that it was quite good, maybe I should listen to it soon. And you’re not the only one who’s worried of CNBlue. They were one of the first kpop group I listen to. I like their work before, but when I try to listen to their new album, I was just like ‘I thought I have listen to this before, is it just me or the tune is kind of similar with their previous song?’ It was a little disappointing :( Hopefully they could producing something better next time. I love dream girl too, though it’s not really my most favorite. But I don’t understand with some people who said that SHINee’s title track is all disaster after lucifer. Well, maybe for Why so serious, but dream girl is good. Oh well, at least for me, people opinion over music is always vary anyway :)

    • ah, you should definitely listen to Pinktape sometime, especially if you liked SHINee’s recent works! (: You’ll definitely like at least a few songs.

      Hm, I think Lucifer was a pivotal point in SHINee’s popularity but in terms of song / vocal ability, it’s definitely not a high point. Choreography was great though! Definitely the first choreo in which SHINee really astounded kpop.

      I agree with you, perhaps their later singles are not as popular as Lucifer but only Why so serious? was pretty bad.. and even so.. after listening to it a lot, you kind realize how amazing all of their voices are in it despite the bad song. It’s really a pity.

      Have a great holiday (:

  4. Michelle, love the list (more so your sassy comments on the list) and I appreciate your honesty in admitting that you limited SHINee to three spots! I agree about BoA and “Growl” – random question, have you listened to anything by Ailee? Even though I’ve been out of kpop for awhile I stumbled upon some of her music which I really liked.

    Happy holidays and if you’re not on here for a bit I hope you have a great New Year! I also hope you’re doing well with school and economics and piano and all the other facets of your busy life. (:

    • the embarrassing thing is that if I didn’t limit SHINee to 3 spots, it would have been 9/10 SHINee, seriously. I’m really guilty of listening because they’re SHINee, and not because it’s really great music. This whole list was based on numbers– what I’ve listened to most, which skews towards dance music because I always listen to dance music while doing work– but if I did something like the “best tracks of 2013”, it would have been much different.

      From what I understand, Ailee is more R&B and has a more soul-ful feel, while I definitely don’t dislike that by any means, I don’t tend to listen to it. But I haven’t really listened to her seriously, so I’ll make sure to try!

      You too! I hope you have a great rest of the holidays and manage to relax C:


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