And just like that, 2017 disappeared in a flash as we welcomed the new year this week. Overall, it had been a generous 12 months of music releases and in this list, we take a look at each month of K-Pop songs over the course of the year with a grand total of 40 tracks featured on our list of the Top Songs of 2017! Last year was filled with an overwhelming sense of bittersweetness for many reasons and we all wish our readers a bountiful year.
AKMU – “Last Goodbye”
One of the first comebacks of the year and it’ll be a long wait until we get to hear new music from the loved sibling duo! The song deals with the aftermaths of a breakup, the lingering feelings of remorse and bitterness of a ended relationship. They have this knack of creating relaxing and relatable songs, they both can enchant their listeners with their fans during their own parts, but when combined their melodies never fail to act as a refreshing breath of fresh air.
“Just by being next to you
I was happy
Don’t take even that truth
And make it into a bad memory”
NCT 127 – “Limitless”
With the ever-rotating sub-units from NCT, we’ve had releases from NCT 127 and NCT Dream last year. There’s a new style to SM’s music, which is shown more clearly that there’s no solid concept that’s attached to this particular unit. We might dare to say that this might be their mildest title track to date and while we did like ‘Cherry Bomb‘, there was something about ‘Limitless’ that gradually drew you in with it’s infectious beats.
“The light gets stronger
As it spreads through the darkness”
CLC – “Hobgoblin”
They caught attention during their debut days with ‘Pepe‘, though struggled to remain in the spotlight with their future releases. However, they started off the year right, especially with the creative input from Hyuna for this comeback, it readily pushed the resident girl group from Cube Entertainment into the center stage at the start of the year. ‘Hobgoblin‘ drew in the spotlight for the girls from international fans with the sudden 180 shift towards a girl crush concept.
“Look at me
Stop acting so tough
You’ll regret it later”
2NE1 – “Goodbye”
Penned as being initially written for Minzy following her departure, the emotional letter was later transformed into what had became the girls’ final offering to their fans on January 21. It showed just a small glimpse into what their music would have been like, if the trio had carried on. However, while there are examples of groups who had lost members along the way, there wasn’t something quite right with seeing just CL, Bom and Dara. Like there was a piece missing which is needed to complete the picture. Though as fans hold onto the parting words from the song, we too hope to see the girls reunite again, “Until the day we meet again. Goodbye,”
“Nothing lasts forever
When winter passes, spring will come again, you know this
Just don’t go”
TWICE – “Knock Knock”
They’ve been catapulted into fame following their success from last year, currently recognised as being one of the leading girl groups domestically. The girls are clearly filling in the gap for one of the top female groups as they serve up catchy songs like ‘Knock Knock‘ and ‘Likey‘ that never fail to climb up the charts in Korea. We’re curious to see how the nine member group continue to grow in the upcoming months!
“No need for that gold key or get lucky
If you truly mean it everything’s gonna be okay”
Taeyeon – “I Got Love”
This was an unexpected pleasant surprise from the powerhouse SM singer. She’s known as having one of the biggest voices in K-Pop and we’ve been able to see her growth since her debut in Girls’ Generation over the last decade and with Taeyeon also embarking on a successful solo career since 2015. It was a certainly a treat to see her testing out the waters of an unused concept.
“As if drunk, I’m lost in a dream, in you
Can you believe me”
Code Kunst FEAT. G.Soul & Tablo – “Fire Water”
This could perhaps be a hidden gem amongst all of last year’s releases and we would recommend listening to the full album too. This track in particular ‘Fire Water‘ from the HIGHGRND artist serves up a great R&B tune and coupled with the raspy vocals from soloist G.Soul and Tablo’s ever thought-provoking raps really ties any loose ends with the song.
“Memories of the past become white like ash
Scattering around this city like snowflakes”
GFRIEND – “Fingertip”
Next up, we introduce this year’s crowned winner at the MTV EMA’s for ‘Best Korea Act‘, which is also the first time a girl group to win this award since it was introduced back in 2013! GFriend proved to be a true contender in the industry, despite the odds that were stacked against them for being from a small company. They continued to impress with their performance in ‘Fingertip‘, which was released in their 4th EP ‘The Awakening‘.
“Though I waited for
This moment for a long time
I’ll be calm so no one will know
So no one will even notice”
GOT7 – “Never Ever”
It’s been interesting to see how different this group has turned out in contrast to their debut sound. Now, it’s evident that they’re striving for a more mature concept with ‘Never Ever‘ and from the meaningful lyrics, they’ve recognised that they were in the wrong and owned their mistakes. They certainly raised up important topics such as self-acceptance like with ‘Just Right‘ and that could be one of the reasons why they’re very popular internationally and especially over here in Europe.
“I was lost for such a long time
But don’t worry now, I won’t ever leave again”
MONSTA X – “Beautiful”
MONSTA X has been regarded as one of the underdogs in the industry. While the group’s fanbase continues to flourish with every release, they’ve earned a reputation for being known for their tough concepts. Though, last year they did change things up by showing varying sides of the members, for example with ”Newton‘ which almost made us think we were watching a different group. With the unmissable aggressive love song ‘Beautiful‘, it’s just another prime example of MONSTA X showing their strengths as a group.
“Like a thorn on a flower
I know I’ll get pricked but I want you”
WINNER – “Really Really”
This served to be the make or break comeback track for WINNER, which would have seen whether they would continue to be a successful group or to plummet down the ranks. Through a turn of events, following the initial period of support from their fans, ‘Really Really‘ drew more popularity and proved to be a hit both in Korea and on a international scale. It’s the perfect summer track, an easy-on-the-ears song that can easily turn into an earworm track.
“The most beautiful thing in my eyes right now
Is you lady
If my feelings for you were money
I’m a billionaire”
Dreamcatcher – “Good Night”
They’ll be the first girl group to venture out on a European Tour this year. On April 5, the rookies returned with their 2nd Single Album ‘Fall Asleep In The Mirror‘. Much like with the M/V for ‘Chase Me‘, there’s a darker element involved with there was being a supernatural concept present. We have to say that main highlight of this group is that despite their rookie status, their videos make them all look like a well put together, seasoned group of artists.
“In the endlessly repeating nightmare
Stay trapped like this forever
Like my very own doll”
IU Feat. G-Dragon – “Palette”
On April 21, the critically acclaimed soloist returned with her 4th Studio Album. The title track ‘Palette’ is a reflective piece, following in the pattern of her past track ‘Twenty Three’ in 2015. It talks about the journey of self-acceptance, personal growth and reaching a stage where she has a better understanding of herself as IU opens up about learning more about herself at the age of 25.
“I got this I’m truly fine,
I think I know a little bit about myself now”
Jonghyun Feat. Taeyeon – “Lonely”
Looking back at this release in consideration of this globally successful artist’s passing in December, Jonghyun had the gift of being able to turn his life experience into songs that went on to gain worldwide success and this enabled him to convey the constant whirlwind of emotions that he endured into his music. And with ‘Lonely‘ this was no exception. One of the greatest gifts that he could leave his fans and all those who deeply admired him is his music, which will forever live on in his memory.
“I don’t want to make it obvious to you
I’m used to just holding it in”
DAY6 – “Dance Dance”
They’ve been active for 12 months, faithfully and consistently releasing new music over the course of the year. We’re sure all the hard work will have paid off as they’ve gained new fans during the unique project. It certainly helped others to see different sides of the band and effectively helped each of the members to grow as artists.
“Dance dance with me
Till you get dizzy
Till you become a mess, nobody cares”
VIXX – “Shangri-La”
They’ve always been a group to watch since their debut days and we can’t help but appreciate VIXX with ever-changing and unique concepts. And with ‘Shangri-La‘, we thought the infusion of traditional and modern music that brought together Western and Eastern sounds worked very well. And we can only wonder what they’ll decide to do with their upcoming music this year and what direction they’ll go in terms of concepts!
“I wanna fall into this dream
You came to me
Only to me”
iKON – “B-Day”
It may not have been iKon’s reigning year following their inactive domestic schedule in 2016, but they certainly didn’t forget to bring the party over during their comeback on May 22 with their single album ‘New Kids: Begin’. ‘B-Day‘ is an upbeat, high-energy track that pretty much sums up what iKon’s all about, a bunch of boys who like to have fun and evidently like to party ‘like it’s their birthday’ and have questionable dance moves on occasion during the M/V.
“We’re a swarm of bees
Coming in like it’s our birthday”
SURAN Feat. Dean – “1+1=0”
We couldn’t help but feature this next track, it’s too good to leave out. It seemed like a well matched collaboration between Suran herself and Dean. The track has chilled undertones which correlate with the lyrics which emphasises on having a balance in your life and not letting work override your day. As the saying goes, “Work Hard, Play Hard’, it’s essential to remember self-care to avoid burning yourself out.
“Why do you only care about work?
The sun and the moon, day and night
There is always balance in the world
So you need to rest, yeah”
Pentagon – “Critical Beauty”
This group has certainly been paving the way for themselves last year, keeping busy with three comeback albums in 2017. Though, there was something about ‘Critical Beauty‘ that had caught our attention and teased of the group’s potential. We could go as far as saying that this was one of their best releases of 2017, it gave us old-school vibes and showed off their effortless charm in the M/V.
“Don’t look at me like that
Stop asking me
Where did you learn to smile like that”
BLACKPINK – “As If It’s Your Last”
With the immense success of their debut songs in 2016, it was a slight disappointment that these girls were only able to release one track throughout the whole year. However, if you’re familiar with how YG Entertainment works in regards to music releases, you’ll know all about delays, delays and more delays. BLACKPINK got more exposure on the Hollywood scene by featuring in ‘Justice League’ with ‘As If It’s Your Last’, which went on to being the #1 most watched K-Pop video on YouTube last year. So all in all, given that they only had one song, it was still a relatively successful year for them.
“Kiss me like it’s a lie
As if I’m your last love”
Heize – “Don’t Know You”
She holds a place of being one of the biggest soloists in the Korean music industry. Heize has been active since 2014, though success has seemed to be following her since 2016 and through 2017 with the soloist achieving numerous all-kills. ‘Don’t Know You‘ is a definite earworm song, it’s catchy and just simply an infectious track to listen to!
“I really didn’t know
And I was just picking out your gifts
But that wasn’t what you wanted”
Crush Feat. Beenzino- “Outside”
Next up is a needed song from Crush! While it feels like summer is a long way away, when you listen to ‘Outside‘ it sounds like a warm sunny day or the kind of song that you’d listen to in your car when you’re about to embark on a long car journey for a day-out or a holiday. There’s a number of smooth R&B songs on this list and this is one of them, we’ve had this on replay on a number of occasions last year and will most likely be played several times in 2018.
“Don’t wanna care about the eyes on me
Who cares, who cares”
Jessi – “Gucci”
She’s never been one to mince her words, especially in her latest EP ‘Universe‘. It had been a prolonged wait since this was released in July last year, but Jessi obviously wasn’t here to play with her title track ‘Gucci‘. Even with initial opening seconds, it’s almost like to announce that royalty has arrived. She remains unapologetic and proudly displays her fierce I-Don’t-Give-A-F***-What-You-Say-About-Me attitude.
“All the way to the top, that’s my mission
Kiss my ass, competition”
KARD – “Hola Hola”
They’ve been a group to watch, even before their official debut last year in July. And within 3 months of ‘Hola Hola’ being released, they extended their World Tour to include stops across Europe. The co-ed group’s show in the UK ended up being sold-out, which only goes to show their international popularity. With ‘Hola Hola‘, it was an instant hit with it’s summer vibes.
“We’re looking at each other and smiling
It’s so nice, will you give me this happiness
Everyday, just like this?”
EXO – “Ko Ko Bop”
There’s always a level of anticipation whenever the news picks up that EXO will be having their comeback. After the release of ‘Ko Ko Bop’, a fan’s video turned viral which went on to be later known as the #KoKoBopChallenge. They’ve been one of the reigning K-Pop groups since 2013 and EXO were the first group to reach new heights on the UK iTunes chart, ‘The War’ peaked at #3 and later on the repackaged album went on to chart at #2! There’s definitely without question an abundance of support for this group over here in Europe!
“No matter what anyone says, don’t listen
Just be beautiful as you are right now”
Girls’ Generation – “Holiday”
They commemorated their 10 year anniversary with ‘Holiday Night‘, it’s an achievement that many groups don’t get to experience. Though, while the promotions were promptly cut short, the girls still brought their fans the gift of new music. For the longest time, they were and they still remain to be one of the biggest girl groups in K-Pop. With ‘Holiday‘, it brings back memories of the good old days in K-Pop, it makes us feel nostalgic about their past releases. It’s unknown when the girls will reunite once again, but when that day happens, their fans will still be waiting for them.
“I’m feeling good, I’ve waited for this day
Like the moment we first met
We met again”
Wanna One – “Energetic”
It’s been little under 5 months since their debut and they have rapidly growth in popularity in the fastest time for a group. Wanna One were clearly fully embraced with open arms since last August when they officially became a K-Pop group and they have already firmly left their stamp on the industry. They’ve one of the most successful rookie groups and we can only imagine how much more success they will achieve this year.
“Until the moment my heart stops
I’ll protect you, I won’t go away
This isn’t just a momentary promise”
Sunmi – “Gashina”
It provoked our thoughts of how well received this song would be prior to it’s release, following the news that she did not resign with JYP Entertainment. There wasn’t a doubt that she couldn’t do well by herself as a soloist, as she had previously shown that she could with ‘24 Hours‘ and ‘Full Moon‘. However, it was more than apparent that the general public supported ‘Gashina‘, especially once the choreography was unveiled which led onto many dance covers and attempts from her fellow colleagues in the entertainment industry. There’s something about Sunmi that’s naturally enchanting and we look forward to hearing her new release later in the month!
“Fine, I’ll forget you
I’m gonna live like a flower, I’ll be myself
Can’t nobody stop me now
No try me”
BTS – “DNA”
Undeniably one of the biggest songs in 2017, it was the first comeback song since the group crossed over to the US for the Billboard Awards and they suddenly became a hot topic not just amongst K-Pop fans. In September, it all seemed like a blur of records being broken, some previously set by the group, to countless articles being typed up in an attempt to try to keep up with the constant flow of news surrounding them. Many Western news stations were wondering ‘Who Were BTS?’. Now, say a few years ago, not many would have been able to predict this insane level of success that they’ve been receiving. Though, the fans, BTS’ ARMY’s, ever remained faithful and their fans in the UK even did what was previously thought to be impossible and got them to #1 on the UK iTunes album chart. What we can definitely say about BTS is that they’ve really become a unstoppable group.
“I recognized you as soon as I saw you
As if we’ve called each other
The DNA in my blood is telling me
That it’s you who I’ve been looking for”
Bolbbalgan4 – “Some”
We have our second and last duo featured on this list and it’s the adorable Bolbbalgan4! They’ve captured the hearts of many in Korea and we can definitely see why. ‘Some‘ is a great track to listen when you want to relax, especially after a stressful day. You only have to listen to this song or even any of their past releases to know that there’s something refreshing about this duo. The M/V really is just a bonus to have, to see the cute antics throughout the video!
“Isn’t this how love starts?
Maybe it’s like hanging half my heart on you
Even though it feels like you’ll reject me
I’m gonna give it a try once more”
NU’EST W – “Where You At”
They took a risk in 2017. And while they’ve temporarily lost a member, their appearance on the second season of Produce I.O.I showed how desperate they were to continue making music and to remain connected to their fans. Of course, the decision to be contestants on the show could have easily made or broken the group, however it was not in vain as NU’EST W have now returned to the spotlight as the general public in Korea have moved to support their efforts. Since their debut, they had their first #1 on a music show last year and they also featured on the UK iTunes chart for the first time. It’s great to see that their company has been giving them more attention following their influx of success, especially given that the location shots on the M/V is the best they’ve ever had. We look forward to seeing another year of triumphs for NU’EST W.
“Even if it’s hard, I’d like to see you in my dreams today
Even from the ends of the earth
If only we can hold hands
Even if there’s no tomorrow, I’m alright”
Taemin – “Move”
There’s something spellbinding with Taemin. Since his solo debut in 2014, it’s been a journey seeing him continue to evolve as an artist, he comes across as a natural, seasoned soloist in the sensual M/V for ‘Move‘. It’s clear from watching the music video that he’s effortless when he dances, almost as if it comes naturally to him like he’s just breathing. Taemin is a natural born performer and had really blossomed since he debuted at the age of 14 with SHINee.
“Your moves captivate me
Your elegant gestures, secretive looks”
EPIK HIGH FEAT. Lee Hi – “Here Comes The Regrets”
It had been at least three years since we had a new album from this group and they did not disappoint. There’s an array of artists featuring on the list of tracks for ‘We’ve Done Something Wonderful’, and each track is beautiful lyrically and musically. We would leave another recommendation to listen to this album, as it’s definitely not one to be missed. We’ve included ‘Here Comes The Regrets‘ because it’s quite frankly a haunting song to listen to, and it gives us chills due to the raw emotions lingering behind the lyrics.
“God I know you’re up there
But I needed You down here”
Seventeen – “Clap”
We had thoroughly enjoyed seeing the level of growth from this group last year. They’ve gone on leaps and bounds since their debut and we were impressed with how well-put together the songs have been, in terms of the compositions, lyrics, choreography and the M/V’s with ‘Don’t Wanna Cry’ and the sub-unit projects along with of course ‘Clap‘. There’s a heck of a lot of talent within this group and we’ll looking forward to seeing more of their releases this year.
“It’s alright, it’s alright, these things happen
Things get all tangled up
Like earphones in your pocket”
Block B – “Shall We Dance”
This song marked the first comeback for Block B last year in November and the release of their EP ‘Montage‘ also earned them their first entry on the UK iTunes chart. The track ‘Shall We Dance‘ gives us old-school vibes, it’s not something that they’ve covered before. And that’s something that we appreciate about Block B, throughout their career as a group, they’ve offer a diverse level of music that can appeal to everyone.
“When morning comes, people are getting tired
But this is only the beginning, party is not over
Stop worrying, come closer
As if you’re only living for this day”
Red Velvet – “Peek-A-Boo”
They’ve gone above and beyond last year and with each release, they’ve progressively turned more mature and grown up each comeback. It’s been more of a gradual mix of ‘Red’ and ‘Velvet’ comebacks, which was very interesting to see. With their past releases ‘Rookie‘ and ‘Red Flavour’, the former started off with a sugary sweet concept and the latter matching perfectly around the summertime, though there were fan theories that there’s a subtle supernatural theme that’s later explored with ‘Peek-A-Boo‘. The girls’ latest title track on the other hand may come across as their typical pop song on a first impression, but seems to hold a darker meaning in the M/V and are clearly not as innocent as they appear. Red Velvet has continued to show themselves as a versatile group.
“I like new things, they sparkle
Everyone’s like that, right?”
BTS – “Mic Drop” Steve Aoki Remix
Following the global success from ‘Love Yourself ‘Her’‘, it’s not taken us by surprise that BTS had broken through the glass ceiling as they scored their first #1 single in the US with the Steve Aoki Remix of ‘Mic Drop’. It hadn’t been done since Psy with ‘Gangnam Style‘. The track also went on to peak at #5 in the UK, which has now become the highest charting K-Pop song for a group. The official track features US rapper Desiigner and there was a revamp of the lyrics to include more English parts, which definitely appealed more to their international audiences.
“You thought I was gonna fail but I’m fine, sorry
Sorry mom, your son’s doing too well”
Hyuna – “Lip & Hip”
The soloist returned for the second time last year with her latest track ‘Lip & Hip‘, which was released as a thank you gift to her fans. She returned bolder this time around since ‘Babe‘ and followed through with the sexy concept that has been attached to her since ‘Bubble Pop‘. It’s an infectious song and Hyuna evidently isn’t afraid of doing whatever the hell she wants to do. That kind of confidence isn’t something that everyone has, so we admire her for that reason.
“Today, I’m the queen queen queen
Just standing next to me makes you the king king king”
DPR LIVE – “Martini Blue”
DPR Live was one of the last artists to have a comeback in December last year and also the last but one artists that we’ve featured on our list. He’s proven to be a popular hit over here in the UK with a sold-out show and from his most recent song ‘Martini Blue’, it’s a easy-on-the-ears R&B track to help you through the early days of January.
“Whenever things are hard
I wanna hold you tight”
B.A.P – “Hands Up”
To finish off this list, we’ve featured B.A.P’s latest title track. It’s evident that they’re no longer pushing for the typical idol releases. Though, they’ve always had meaningful lyrics about social injustice and revolting from previous tracks ‘Bad Man‘ in 2013 to ‘Wake Me Up‘ during early 2017, so this isn’t anything new. B.A.P have always remained true to themselves and have now turned into one of the underdogs in K-Pop with much of their music being underrated.
“Believe in yourself this moment
Put your hands up to the sky
Toward your dream, hands up”