Tuesday, December 31, 2013

KPOPALYPSE's 30 favourite k-pop songs of 2013

Well, k-pop's 2013 certainly sucked a huge amount of dick in terms of music quality, definitely a downgrade on 2012, with most established groups releasing songs of incredible suckiness.  However, there were also some jewels amongst the turds for those who cared to wade through the manure, and here's my roundup of the jewels for 2013.

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Be aware, this post is BIG so before you click "read more" make sure your computer or phone can handle about 30 embedded videos plus pictures and GIFs.

A few things to know about this list:

1.  Only feature songs with an accompanying MV are on this list, just to make it interesting, otherwise I'd just link all the songs from f(x)'s "Pink Tape" and IU's "Modern Times" albums and then call it a day, which would be accurate, but boring.

2.  Christmas songs are ineligible for consideration (because they have their own separate blog).

3.  Unlike every other goddamn best/worst of 2013 list going, this list is for the full year from January 1st 2013 to December 31st 2013 inclusive (although you may see it come up a few hours before schedule due to timezone differences).  Yes I actually waited until the end of the year to publish my list, to give every song fair consideration, imagine that.

4.  Obviously this is just my subjective opinion on these matters, and I've never met a single person in my lifetime who shared more than about 35% of my overall music taste and opinions, so if you're violently opposed to anything you're about to read, don't worry, so are plenty of other people no doubt.  Just because I'm musically educated doesn't mean that my music taste is any better than yours.  Not many people think like I do about this shit so try not to lose your faith in humanity and go on a shooting spree at your local school, or anything like that.

So now that we know you're (probably) mentally fit to cope with this let's get started.

30.  Sunmi - 24 Hours

Part of the problem with k-pop in 2013 is that so many songs didn't know what they wanted to be, mixing and matching styles like your drunk aunt at a clothing sale.  A mixture of styles isn't a problem in itself, unless you start blending and mixing styles that don't really fit together just because they happen to be trendy right now, like the light feel of electro-pop with the heavy feel of dubstep (see: every second k-pop comeback in the last 12 months).  JYP being a bit more retro-minded actually got it right though, by going the non-trendy route and inserting a tango breakdown instead and it fucking works, complementing the song beautifully.  WUB WUB WUB WUB would have been too much for this beautiful, breathy 80s electro-pop anthem.  There's a lesson here, [every other producer in k-pop ever]!

29. Wassup - Wa$$up

Plenty of people hated this song and probably are wondering right now what the hell it's doing in my "best" list instead of riding high on the "worst" list... but the reasons why people hate this song mostly have nothing to do with the song itself anyway, which I'm pretty sure most people didn't even listen to.  If you go through the list of objections that people have to "Wa$$up" you get:

1.  They promoted their debut song as a "twerking concept", but there's no twerking in the MV
2.  The MV looks cheaply made
3.  The dance moves, fashions and fake tans look ridiculous
4.  Some feminist bullshit about the girls being exploited or whatever
5.  The video/girls look "trashy", whatever that means
6.  The girls can't/don't rap or sing that well

1, 2 and 3 are all true but have nothing to do with the actual song, 4 is just crap because everybody of both genders is exploited in the music business so if you care about that sort of thing just stop listening to music completely you dumb whore, 5 is just you being a cunt because other people are looking hotter and having more fun than you in life and 6 doesn't matter because it's not the kind of song that requires proper rapping or singing anyway.  Every k-pop song is a soundalike of something, and "Wa$$up" is a soundalike of 80s breakdancing music where the chanted vocals and sub-par rapping was never anything more than just a bit of audio decoration.  (Promoting as a "twerk group" was an unfortunate misstep as twerking music is actually a lot more languid and sounds nothing like Wassup's song.)  If you close your eyes while listening to "Wa$$up" and forget about the way it was promoted and the incredible ugliness of the whole thing, what you've got is the best 80s-breakdance-movie-inspired k-pop song ever written which actually surpasses a great deal of music from the early 80s breakdancing popularity explosion.  If you don't believe me, go and search some of that original music up and you'll see what I mean - most of it hasn't stood the test of time whatsoever, but "Wa$$up" has the same retro feel while also sporting modern updated production - something k-pop is very good at doing.

28. Girl's Day - Expectation

"Expectation" isn't Girls Day's best song, but it's definitely their best song of 2013 and also one of the best songs that any k-pop group two years old or more has managed to pull out of the hat over the last 12 months.  Lots of fuss was made over the sexy video but the well-written melodies, great arrangement (something k-pop really lacked in spades in 2013 thanks to the influence of a certain other song) and Girls Day's typically synth-heavy audio production were the real stars.  I don't have much else to say about this one so here's a picture of Girls Day's Yura.

They're worth 1000 words, don't you know.  Pictures, I mean.

27. Im Chang Jung - Open The Door

A cover of last year's song "Open The Door" by Wonderboyz, Im Chang Jung's version improves on the original drastically by keeping more or less the same backing but replacing the standard k-pop idol rapping with actual melodies that are worth listening to, giving the song the extra depth it needs to stand out from the crowd.  The MV is funny but also a bit unfortunate as it's going to draw "Gangnam Style" comparisons - I showed it to a few people who don't follow k-pop at all and their reactions were all the same: "is this the only type of video Koreans know how to do?".  PSY did k-pop no favours at all when it comes to being taken seriously on the world stage, but then perhaps it's best that people don't take this kind of thing too seriously anyway as taking way too much shit way too seriously seems to be a road to mental illness for a lot of k-pop fans.  Cheers, Im Chang Jung.

26. Henry - Trap

Believe it or not, a lot of Super Junior fans don't like Henry, the Canadian/Asian addition to Super Junior's Chinese/Korean subgroup Super Junior-M.  I'm not sure why this is.  Maybe it's just simple-minded racism, or maybe it's extremely complex and twisted fangirl insanity, or maybe, just maybe, it's got something to do with Henry debuting with a song better than anything Super Junior themselves have managed to churn out since 2009.  A great piano intro and an equally great chorus help this song through some of the duller verse sections, overall it meshes together nicely and the result is the best song SM has given to a male artist this year, by a fairly wide margin.

25. Seungri - Gotta Talk To You

Every member of BigBang released solo stuff in 2013 and most of it was complete fucking crap.  Someone actually asked me not long ago which comeback I preferred: G-Dragon, Taeyang or T.O.P to which my reaction was along the lines of "Seungri shat all over them".  How could someone forget about Seungri's great song?  The whole thing both looks and sounds smooth-as-silk, the addition of a snippet from the "Hard Remix" version at the end of the MV is inspired, and the odd bit of sneakily-included fanservice for those keen to relive Seungri's recent sadomasochistic sexual escapades was surely appreciated by his target audience.

Not a dry vagina in the house, I'm sure.  It's all really very fucking good and why YG can't deliver songs of this quality all the time instead of the devastatingly poor nu-school crap they've been churning out for the most part lately I'll never know.  I guess they all want to be "cutting edge" and shit.  I wonder how that's working out for them.

24. After School - Heaven

This song for the Japanese market is what After School's mundane Korean comeback song "First Love" should have been.  The video even includes an intro with the backing track from "First Love", which shows that the aforementioned song works just fine as an intro to something better but not as an entire standalone song in itself.  At the one minute mark the song "Heaven" starts proper and it's about three times the speed not to mention three times as interesting as anything on After School's entire "First Love" mini album.  I guess After School are saving their decent material for the Japanese yen these days and given the currency exchange rate who can blame them.  The song is so good that it almost makes up for the lack of anything worthwhile from Orange Caramel this year.  Also it's great to see my #1 k-pop bias Raina looking good in a sexy concept for a change.

Usually when After School goes sexy it suits Raina like an elephant suits a motorcycle so I'm glad they got closer to the mark this time, although she still looks best in Orange Caramel's preppy school/air hostess/maid jerkoff salon outfits or whatever.


That's her smiling at you, while you fap.  Do it, do it for Raina.

23. Ladies Code - Hate You

I'll tell you that one song that you won't find anywhere on this list is Lee Hi's "Rose".  When it came out I thought "Rose" was decent enough to be a contender for this list, but then nugus Ladies Code released "Hate You" and that was the end of that for Lee Hi.  I'm all for soundalikes if they improve on the original (and that's honestly what idol k-pop is all about and has been ever since its inception) and "Hate You" is basically "Rose 2.0" so Lee Hi can go suck a fat cock (when she's old enough ahem).  Where "Rose" kills the momentum "Hate You" builds it.  Where "Rose" drifts off into insipid vocal wank territory "Hate You" sticks to straightforward melodic catchiness.  Add a decent (and decently creepy) MV and some girls that are actually of fappable age and it suddenly becomes very hard to justify clicking on that Lee Hi link.  Don't do it.  "Hate You" is better.  Those of you who do it anyway just to spite me will soon be back, clicking on "Hate You" to wash your ears out with something that actually sounds decent.

22. Lee Jung Hyun - V

I didn't even know who this fucking woman was so I had to look her up on Wikipedia because I suck.  Turns out she's some actress or whatever and has starred in a bunch of cool stuff, but I don't really follow actresses so I didn't know any of that.  All I know is that this song fucking rocks.  The guitar is an inspired addition and the whole arrangement has a nice economy to it that's lacking in a lot of pop music lately - it doesn't fuck around and gets straight down to the business of shaking your ass.  Try to listen to this and not move some part of your body along to the beat, good luck.  Then tell me that someone who isn't even on this list at all had a better song this year with a straight face.

21. HISTORY - Dreamer

Another nugu group with a shitty name (and not the last one you'll see on this list), HISTORY's debut song was actually great and seemed to me like the sort of thing JYP was trying to do with 2pm's latest songs but didn't quite manage to pull off.  The ambitious Queen-esque vocal harmonies really made this song stand out, and it's a shame that HISTORY weren't able to recreate them live, but then neither could Queen, which just goes to show that these sort of things are essentially a studio-only creation anyway.  Add to this some genuinely different backings and a building song structure that actually goes somewhere cool instead of hinting at awesomeness and then flatlining halfway through, this was one of the only "structurally experimental" tracks in kpop this year where the experiment actually paid off.   Or at least it paid off in terms of the song quality if not sales or whatever, but then I don't really give a fuck about sales, this list is "favourite k-pop songs" not "most money-felching-from-your-anus k-pop songs".

20. Nine Muses - Wild

I never followed Nine Muses much, I always thought their songs were kind of failures at least to my ear (whether they were commercial failures or not, I don't care about, as previously mentioned).  Then "Wild" came out and I had to reassess that opinion.  I can't recall exactly what new romantic 80s pop song "Wild" is ripping off, and I don't really care, because I'm almost certain they've done a far superior job than whatever the original is.  If I've got a choice between a bunch of 80s dudes with permed mullet hairdos, bad eyeliner and denim jeans dancing awkwardly to some pop song with a shithouse over-reverbed 80s mix, or nine ridiculously hot girls singing and dancing in super-coordinated fashion to a soundalike version with more streamlined melodies and arrangements plus sleeker production, that's an easy choice for me to make.  One of the things I like about k-pop that initially made me a fan was that it seemed to take what was good from pop music in the 80s (the focus on melody and harmony carrying the song structure, something that western producers have largely been ignoring since about 1990) and combined it with the things that are good about pop music making in 2013 (better production technology and production fashion).  "Wild" is a great example of this.   If I completely lost you there, don't worry - just know that this song is good and that if you missed out on it this year, you should click the video and check it out.

19. f(x) - Rum Pum Pum Pum

Definitely NOT the best song on f(x)'s fantastic "Pink Tape" album, but still one of the best feature tracks of the year, f(x) would have fared even better on this list had SM decided to hand the MV torch over to "Airplane" or "Step".  As it stands "Rum Pum Pum Pum" is still great and something genuinely different for k-pop - a song with oddball modal melodic riffs and no chord progressions at all, yet featuring tons of singing, vocal harmonies everywhere and hardly any rapping.  Even more astonishingly, Amber's token four bars of rapping actually sounds good this time around, or at the very least it's in Korean this time so as a non-Korean speaker I'm not aware of how cornball and cringeworthy it might be to a native Korean speaker (tru dat, you know she got it).  SM's oddball marketing/song allocation strategy for f(x) seems to be paying off in spades, and I sure as hell breathed a sigh of relief when this song came out and it was actually decent, given how many incredibly disappointing k-pop comebacks it was surrounded by.  I then started breathing sighs of a different kind when I saw Sulli in those suspenders and black "geek" shirt.


As if there wasn't enough reasons to watch the damn video over and over.  I didn't get a lot else done the day that this came out, and it made me feel nostalgic for the days not so long ago where I'd feel this way about a new k-pop song every other week.

18. BESTie - Love Options

This year my "Love Options" increased by one, as another terribly-named nugu group BESTie released one of the best pop songs this year.  Oddly enough it came from the pen of Bravesound, the AC-DC/Cannibal Corpse of k-pop producers (in terms of releasing basically the same song over and over and just sticking a new name on it) getting back to their hi-NRG roots and surprising everybody, including their critics and maybe even including themselves.   More proof that anyone worrying about their bias and not paying attention to the nugus this year was missing out on where a lot of the quality songs were hiding.

17. Hong Jin Young - Boogie Man

Hong Jin Young is certainly no nugu though, and while this song isn't quite as good as "Love's Battery" (especially when the godlike Orange Caramel do it, hnnnnng) it's definitely a notch up in terms of production and still a pretty fucking good modern-day trot excursion.  Also correct me if I'm wrong but is Hong Jin Young not completely sexy as fuck?  Look at the age rating on this video in the top right:


She's so nice that you have to be twelve years old just to look at her in Korea even when she's fully clothed.  My god what does she have to do when she picks her sister's kids up from school, wear a fucking burqa to stop rivulets of jizz plugging up the school sewer system?  Of course this has no bearing on the song quality but I just wanted to mention this.

In other news it says a lot about the sorry state of idol k-pop in 2013 when trot performers are getting so high on this list.  THEY'RE CATCHING UP, FOLKS.  LIFT YOUR GAME.

16. Rania - Just Go

I imagine by now that the people behind Rania have chalked them up as some kind of failed east/west k-pop hybrid experiment, but there's no denying that they at least had the songs to succeed.  Rania took out the #1 spot on my best-of list for 2012 and while "Just Go" isn't quite up to that lofty standard it's still pretty fucking decent and worthy of your time a lot more than whatever other bullshit you were probably highly anticipating this year that fucking sucked.  Listen to it and tell me I'm wrong.  I was playing this on my radio show the other day and dudes who fucking think k-pop is ridiculous were singing along to the chorus of this shit because they just couldn't help themselves.  If that's not the sign of a great k-pop song I don't know what is.

15. SPEED - That's My Fault

Forget your B.A.Ps, your G-Ds and your Block B's, CCM's resident boy group SPEED had the ultimate "midpaced k-pop idol track with a shitload of posey fake-ass tough-guy rapping in it" song this year.  Being a non-Korean speaker I'm in no position to talk about rap quality, but I can tell you that this song works for me for these reasons:

1.  Producer Dublekick's typically old-school quirks (clearly chosen to match the song's historical theme) give the song a nice anthemic quality and help soften the rap pose which would be far too grating with an ultra-modern electropop style production

2.  The songwriters sensibly hand chorus duties over to Davichi's Minkyung, providing much-needed melodic lilt and fapability

3.  Did I mention Minkyung is hot

Of course being a CCM release it has a ridiculously high-budget long-ass drama version in two parts that is really good and you should check it out if you haven't already and you've got a free hour or whatever, and some tissues.  It's essentially just a tarted-up rap song, but my god, what a sexy, funky, melody-rich tarting-up it's gone through.  Also Minkyung is hot.  Not sure if I mentioned that before or what but it can't hurt to restate this important point.

14. Delight - Mega Yak

"Mega Yak" from nugus Delight (wtf with these names but whatev) is an aggressive synth-driven face-masher of a song that has a modern sound (maybe a little too modern, I could have done without those "stop" bits and the dubstep drop but hey at least it actually fits for once), vocal excursions that aren't wanky enough to sink the ship, tons of variety in a short timeframe, and most importantly it sounds...

...FUN, goddammit.  I consider that cap the k-pop equivalent of Public Enemy wearing clocks all the fucking time, because just like rap fans needed to be reminded "what mo'fuckin' time it is", K-pop fans need to get seriously reacquainted with the concept of fun.  FUN is something that so many k-pop fans have forgotten how to have, what with their endless whining about "where's my comeback" when their favourite group comes back every 18 months bare minimum, "why is she wearing that" when she'll wear something completely different tomorrow, "my bias didn't get enough singing parts" when they all sound the fucking same anyway, "I can't listen to that group anymore because they're so fake" when the entire fucking music industry worldwide is based on illusion, etc etc.  Pop music is supposed to be about fun, so have some and stop being a cunt about everything.  Listening to this song will help, or maybe it'll just make your ears bleed, but that's a win/win as far as I'm concerned.

13. Tiny-G - Miss You

When Tiny-G first appeared at the end of last year, I thought to myself that surely "short" isn't a great concept for a k-pop group.  To get a picture of how short they are, here's Tiny-G standing next to Nine Muses.  Given this selection, would YOU pick one of the girls in the front?


...but then I realised how many insanely devoted Boram fans there are and thought "hmmm... I guess this could work - but they'll definitely need better songs in the future".  "Miss You" is one of those better songs, and has one of the most insanely catchy choruses of 2013.  You'll be singing this fucker in your head long after the song is over.  Even more astonishingly, the girls look hot in the video, but I guess that's due to the same size differential effect that the AV industry exploits - male pornstars tend to be short because average penis size doesn't decrease with height, so people who look resoundingly "meh" in real life can often look great on camera as long as you don't stand them next to incredibly tall people.  Fuck it - all aboard the Boram Express.

12. Global Icon - Beatles

2NE1, you've officially reached your use-by date, go home.  Some nugu group nobody even gives a fuck about just out-2NE1'ed your last two years worth of back catalogue.   Not to be outdone by Delight in the "hey our group name is stupid and our debut song name is ever stupider" stakes, 2013 newbies Global Icon (commonly and wisely shortened to just "GI") committed marketing double-suicide straight out of the gate with both a "tomboy" concept and a band and song name designed to be as Google search-unfriendly as possible.  People can argue all day about the gender politics and fapability of this group's image but at the end of the day "Beatles" was a great moody little dance song (those sonar ping and wind noises plus a rare example of intelligent use of hard Autotune all doing wonders to enhance the ambience and therefore the mood) and that's what matters for this list.  It's a pity GI didn't follow it up with anything worth a damn.

11. T-ara - Number Nine

Having now accepted their true calling as the Howard Stern of k-pop, T-ara's "Number Nine" MV shows the group engaged in various esoteric magic rituals designed to curse netizens with the fate of never having any power over the group ever again or amounting to anything worthwhile in life... who am I kidding, netizens already have that destiny clearly mapped out for them.  But more importantly, "Number Nine" is a typical Shinsadong Tiger dancefloor stomper as good as last year's "Sexy Love" and while the pop-cultural reference and true meaning of the song sailed right over most people's heads, this song undisputably rocked and that was all that mattered.

10. Nine Muses - Gun 

Another song from Nine Muses which sneakily borrows from an 80s pop song that I can't recall, but once again who gives a fuck when the result is this good.  It's nice to hear a pop production where the songwriter isn't scared of the guitar carrying a bit of melodic riffing, and with quality songs like these Nine Muses are going to easily eclipse a certain other nine-member girl group, who certainly didn't put out anything even close to this standard in 2013.

9. SPEED - It's Over

It's rare for a song from a guy group to climb this high in my favourite songs list, but a quick bit of research showed that Shinsadong Tiger wrote the thing so I guess I shouldn't be shocked.  I think that maybe he uses that time while his car is parked for two idols to fuck in as extra practice time to hone his songwriting and production craft.  He's probably got a portable keyboard under the dash and when Xiumin rails Chorong up the butthole in the back seat he's there in the driver's cabin trying to ascertain the pitch of her screams and making melodies out of the result.  It's possible, but however he's doing it, it certainly works and definitely explains the phrase "it's over, it's over tonight" which is probably what Chorong said when Xiumin came and accidentally got some jizz up her nose.  I'm really not into guy groups at all but I'll make an exception for a great song no matter what, and "It's Over" won me with an infectious chorus, a cool Tron-esque music video, great driving rhythms, a breakdown that actually makes sense, and Minkyung from Davichi being hot (again).  This is basically 2PM's "Again And Again" except punchy and tough instead of limp-wristed and boring.

8. T-ara - Do You Know Me?

Let's start off by getting one thing straight that confused a lot of people when this came out; the MV above is actually for two completely separate (but related) songs.  The song "Do You Know Me?" starts at 3:25, and the slow track that begins at 0:05 is actually "Again 1977", which is essentially the "ballad remix".  I can confirm that these are intended as separate songs as I have the "Again 1977" mini-album and that's how they appear there, as two separate tracks which are not segued.   I don't really care for slow-ass ballads so "Again 1977" can go jump in a lake for all I care, but "Do You Know Me?" is classic T-ara of Wae Ireoni standard and if that's not good enough for you then I guess it must suck to be you.

7. Tren-D - Candy Boy

Here's one I bet you didn't expect and mostly didn't even know about.  When I first clicked on this I didn't expect such an awesome song either, but then that's why I trawl the nugu videos, to find shit like this.  This would have been a massive hit if an established group did it instead of some girls who are so unknown that they can roller-blade and dance outdoors with cameras around and everybody just gets the hell out of their way and clears right the fuck out in an orderly fashion.  The actual song starts at 1:41 if you want to skip all the preamble bullshit, which I'd certainly advise as the sooner you hear this amazingly cool song the better.  This song would have sat very nicely on a Crayon Pop album, and while I don't want to be one of those annoying "this song that I like should have gotten more attention wah wah wah" cunts, this song that I like should have gotten more attention.  Wah wah wah.

6. IU - The Red Shoes

If the opening track from IU's great "Modern Times" album "Love Of B" was the feature track with the MV it may have nearly snaffled the number #1 spot for best song, but whoever makes the decisions at Loen HQ went with "The Red Shoes" instead and it's certainly not a bad second choice.  Of course, lots of ludicrous plagiarism controversies then ensued, which were all fucking retarded because IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A RETRO ALBUM THAT SOUNDS LIKE 30s AND 40s MUSIC, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT YOU DUMB SHITS.  Music back then was actually a lot more derivative than it is now, how do you think it even developed into what we have today, by people copying and adding minor variations, not in massive huge leaps.  Pop music evolves slowly.  Anyway those people with a working brain cell didn't worry about any of that crap and just listened to "The Red Shoes" and enjoyed it, and what a great song it is - the verses are a little dull but that chorus makes up for it and has got to be just about the chorus of the fucking year and way better than anything else IU has done... ever, really.  Except some of the other tracks on "Modern Times".

5. T-ara & The Seeya & F-ve Dolls & SPEED - Painkiller

CCM are scooping up a lot of the "best" category this year and it's because their favoured songwriters still largely seem to know how to write music and aren't suckling at the withered teats of "dubstep drop 101", "pointless structural fuckery", "let's add this fucking annoying synth noise for no reason" and other ridiculous trendy bullshit like everybody else was in 2013.  In this collaboration song, they demonstrate how to do a ballad right - by speeding the fucker up until it's not really a ballad anymore.  Ahhh, clever.  Not to mention the vocals are economical - if someone like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey got hold of a song like this it'd probably go at about 35 BPM, be full of semi-improvisational wank and would make you want to bash yourself to death with a shovel.  Just sing the melodies the way the composer wrote them you fucking twits.  Masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of but it's also nothing to be particularly proud of, and just because you can do it doesn't mean the whole world wants to watch and hear.  In this song the CCM boys and girls show all those diva vocalists how music as opposed to vocal masturbation is actually made and the net result is a quasi-ballad that is not only listenable but one of the songs of the year.

4. EvoL - Get Up

I could be just a little biased here because EvoL have a Australian member in the group (Hayana, who sings at 0:49), but then I really wasn't impressed at all with this relatively nugu group's 2012 debut song "We Are A Bit Different", so maybe not.  "Get Up" is a vast improvement though, it has just about everything a girl group song needs:

1.  Hot girls
2.  Implied castration
3.  Some chick who sounds like Zelo from B.A.P's sister
4.  Punchy sounds
5.  Less than 3 minutes in length

The last one is important.  Better to cut it a little short and leave people wanting more, than to drag on and make every fucker sick of it.  Something a lot of other pop songwriters could learn.  One of the main reason I hate on ballads so much besides vocal masturbation is song length.  If you cram the same amount of lyrics into a slower song, the song goes longer and gets more boring.  This song is rocking and EvoL keep it short, sharp and shiny so the punchy but repetitive rhythms and melodies don't overstay their welcome.  It's a perfect length for a song like this.

3. F-ve Dolls - Can You Love Me?

Formerly 5Dolls, they're now called F-ve Dolls because there's now six of them, so they can't use the number five anymore, so they've censored out a letter to make it more accurate, get it?  Haphazard k-pop naming logic prevails, nevertheless the outstanding quality of the recently reconfigured F-ve Dolls "First Love" mini album is one of the best kept secrets of k-pop.  Apart from the screechy and unlistenable Roly Poly clone "Soulmate #1", every song on it is gold.  With the second feature track "Can You Love Me?" F-ve Dolls made redundant about 50% of all girl group's entire back-catalogues with the kind of ultra-light and breezy suspended harmony floating groove that Apink and Secret always threatened to do but never quite managed.  Then just when you think the song can't get any more awesome, underage whipping-post and cyberbullying target of every k-pop fan ever T-ara N4's Dani appears and drops a fast yet silky-smooth vocal melody (which isn't a rap - the notes are pitched) that FLOATS OVER THE TOP OF THAT SHIT LIKE A FUCKING DOVE FROM THE HEAVENS.  By the time the second chorus kicks in this song has scored so many goals that all that's left to do is masturbate over new member Seunghee who has boosted the average attractiveness rating of this group by something like 1500%.

KKS, all is forgiven: keep adding extra members to your groups all you fucking want.

2. GLAM - In Front Of The Mirror

Since modern idol k-pop is sucking incredible amounts of horse rectum lately to the point where trot performers can actually realistically compete and release better material, it's only logical that some bright k-pop composer out there try and incorporate a bit of the trot sound into idol k-pop itself.  Good thinking as it happens, and nugus GLAM are the ones to benefit.  Their debut song "I Like That" was nothing special (although it did contain some outstanding choreography which is something that girl groups typically lack compared to their male counterparts), but "In Front Of The Mirror" is just fucking outstanding and packed full of great melody and harmony, not to mention lyrics which are actually smart and touching rather than just sappy - a true rarity.  Also the first k-pop MV I've seen to be honest about bra pads, Sistar take note.

1. Crayon Pop - 1,2,3,4

You, right now: "Oh of course, Kpopalypse, I knew you were finally going to mention Crayon Pop, and yes, BarBa... wait, THIS ISN'T BARBARBAR!  WHERE'S BARBARBAR YOU CUNT?   WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SONG?  WHAT KIND OF PRANK IS THIS?"


To be honest I didn't know about "1, 2, 3, 4" either until someone threw me a link on my ask.fm (one of the reasons I still have the thing) so thank you very much to whoever it was who did that, it was worth wading through 1000 questions to get to yours.  As it happens this song has been around for a while but never released or promoted properly in Korea as far as I can tell (and if I'm wrong stiff shit because I'm not changing this now, if it got seriously promoted it flew right under everyone's radar so as far as I'm concerned it doesn't even count anyway), however it got a Japanese MV release earlier in 2013 just before the "BarBarBar" explosion hit.  Avid Crayon Pop fans will know that "BarBarBar", while decent, is actually Crayon Pop's worst song and that all their other songs are better.  None of them got onto my 2012 best-of list because of the stiff competition last year, but had "Bing Bing", "Dancing Queen" or "Saturday Night" been initially released in 2013 they would have all hit the higher end of this chart with little effort, such has been the dip in quality across the board.  (And yes I'm aware of "Dancing Queen 2.0" but it's so similar to the original Dancing Queen that I can't seriously consider it eligible as a new release.)  Here's hoping for a better 2014!


Anyway that's it, thanks for supporting my existence on Anti Kpop-Fangirl over 2013 by reading my crap, don't forget to leave me some hate mail, and also check out the worst songs list too if you haven't already and you think you can handle it.  Cheers!


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  2. Replies
    1. It has a Korean version but I'm pretty sure they never did an MV for it.

      K-pop groups releasing Japanese-language songs is still k-pop as far as I'm concerned anyway because it's still a product of the k-pop industry. Nobody calls American pop "English pop" just because Americans use the English language now do they.

    2. Nope, there is no Korean version of 1,2,3,4. Only Japanese and English and the English version as far as I know was only ever performed once live and never released.

    3. I'm aware it was performed on live stages in 2012 but the video was released in 2013 so I still consider it eligible.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. I like the English version of Crayon Pop's '1,2,3,4' better than the Japanese one.

      Here is a fancam of it:


    6. I agree. The english version of 1,2,3,4 is awesome. Too bad that the fancam is Soyul biased (nothing wrong with her btw, she's my bias) but it would've nice to see the entire group in the video. But it's still a great rendition and one of my favorite Crayon Pop fancam vids.

    7. There are a few other 1,2,3,4 English fancams of the whole group (just search 'Crayon Pop 1234' on YouTube) but the Soyul one I linked is the only one I found with decent audio.

  3. Some things that I disagree on your list (i know it's your list, but still)

    V was kinda crap
    I would place girl's day's expectation higher on the list (about top 10)
    1,2,3,4 is crap
    Painkiller would've been my no. 1 song, that song is soooooooooooooooo good.

    I'm pretty surprised you liked those 2 SPEED songs.

    1. SPEED use the same songwriters as T-ara, so of course I like them. Yeah, obviously I'd prefer girls in the group to guys but a good song is still a good song regardless of who sings it.

  4. Majority of these songs I freaking loved :) But for me SHINee killed it this year (minus "Why So Serious?"), but that's my own personal opinion :D

    1. I liked "Lucifer" and haven't found a single thing I've liked since.

  5. > k-pop's 2013 certainly sucked a huge amount of dick in terms of music quality,

    Too much stuff broh, too much wasted crap companies needs to capitalize on. This is true everywhere, but I noticed in kpop this is fucking riducolous! 5789 rookie groups debuted this year, and 80% of their song sound like something my niece (only 15yo, but man she's hot) would produce getting on Fruity Loops for the first time. I'm not sure while I'm wasting my time listening to this shit, but I'm still interested in the "imagery" these record companies manage to build around these so-called "pop idols". Matter of fact i've listened only to 20 of the 30 songs you listed, I just can't keep up with every single fart the "Big 3" expell from their stinky ass.

    Anyway: I'm quite disappointed ( :-) ) "Expectation" and "Wild" didn't rank higher :-D, two of the songs who stuck into my head for a whole year. I don't know what's going on with Wild: the song has some great ideas but the composition overall sounds just "weird" with some odd synthezizers that sound completely out of place and the coreography completely sucks, but I just can't help replay that stupid song over and over again.
    Gotta agree with you on f(x): Pink Tape is the best kpop album of 2013, bar none. "Ladies Code" is something groups like Sistar and Secret would love to be, but they never will.

    Great post, I'm going to read your "worst" list right now!

    1. I really wish I could remember the western pop song that "Wild"'s main melodic riff is taken from.

  6. Ehy, why don't you guys open a thread in which the commenters can post their personal chart? Here's my useless top ten:

    1) f(x) - Rum Pum Pum Pum
    2) Park ji Yoon - Mr Lee
    3) Girl's Day - Expectation
    4) 9Muses - Wild
    5) Ladie's code - Pretty
    6) Sistar - give It To Me
    7) Kang Seung Yoon - it rains
    8) Seungri - Gotta talk to you
    9) Dal Shabet - Be ambitious
    10) Lee Hyori - Miss Korea

    1. Anybody is welcome to add their own top whatevers in the comments below!

    2. A thread... ? This isn't a internet board. lol

  7. 1. Gaeko - Rhythm is Life
    2. Dasoni - Goodbye
    3. BESTie- Love Options
    4. A Pink - Nonono
    5. T-ara - Number Nine
    6. Sunmi - 24 Hours
    7. T-ara - Do You Know Me?
    8. Navi ft. Kebee - Incurable Disease
    9. f(x) - Airplane
    10. Nine Muses - Gun

    1. Dasoni and Apink nearly got in my list tbh. Gaeko's track is good too.

    2. Gaeko's track was really the only hiphop song I liked. 2013 was a bad year for Khiphop to me, as my lists are usually dominated by hiphop songs.

      In regards to Dasoni, I loved their song so much that I want EXID to break up and just have the two Dasoni members promote.

    3. I really liked Gaeko's cypher version as well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U84N68mHccs

  8. You don't understand how many times I play TINY-G's "Miss You" everyday (on infinite loop).

  9. Been jamming to Evol's song the last few days. Nice to see it here.

    Airplane is my favorite kpop song this year(I know it's not a title track..). f(x) have become one of my top 5 group with Pink Tape. The album is as great, or, dare I say it, better, than AFA/Breaking Heart.

  10. I was surprise to see Crayon Pop on the list, I was like "No way BarBarBar made it to no.1" whlist scrolling down the list, don't get me wrong I freakin' love CP to death and yes BarBarBar is catchy but no way nearly as good as their previous song, with Bing Bing my fave.

    I've heard 1,2,3,4 before but it was in korean during their Popcorn concert, but I might confuse that with some other song of theirs tho, but that was an awesome twist none the less and not to mention an awesome list. I wanted to contribute to the list but I was honestly burned out of kpop this year, I didn't even know half of the song from this list(and your Worst list) and Crayon Pop being my greatest Kpop discovery and quickly become my fave group this year is awesome. Sorry for the fangirling.

    Happy New Year FISHies!!!

    1. Crayon Pop are very solid, every track of theirs is good. I'm sure eventually they'll do an album that also has filler junk but for now it's all great.

  11. OMG i love this list even more!! I'm happy that here's SPEED, i like them a lotI've been a fan of them since they debuted it probably also helped because i'm a CCM fan (Not the company itself just the groups).

    I also would type my top 10 but i didn't listen enough songs this year. (Surprinsingly i know all the songs from this top list)

    1. Without CCM the company you wouldn't have CCM the groups. Those things are kind of inseparable.

  12. here is a list from a kpop fan from India :)
    1) Spica- Tonight (Modu nareul bichwo........i dnt understand korean but the english translated lyrics made the song seem lyrically way above the other english translated kpop songs)
    2) Bestie-Love Options (abisayoooo-thats all i could figure out hehe)
    3) Nine Muses- Wild (..im crazy for luv luv...)
    4) 4Minute- Is it Poppin (go go goin crazyyy..i learned how to say "hello" in Korean thanks to this song)
    5) Miss A - Hush (hush hush hush baby hush....)
    6) Chocolat - Black Tinkerbell (i cant leave i cant leave i cant leave uuuuuuu)
    7) Brown Eyed Girls - Kill Bill (omaiGawd Miryo's rap was wicked sick@_@)
    8) T-ara- Hide and Seek (hope they head back to Day by Day and Dont Leave Me kinda songs...i love T-ara ballads)
    9) Apink- No No No (Eunji's voice was wow!!! and u guys should check out the Live Accapella version)
    10) Rania- Up (great song for parties....seriously..)

    I hope my list makes you reconsider, and rethink your top list ^_^ ... and maybe convince you to EDIT your article hehehe. Btw Happy New Year kPopalypse

    1. I'm not reconsidering shit. But thanks for your list!

  13. Yeah, 2013 was a mess. It seemed like most groups were focused on making something different just for the sake of being different instead of actually you know....being enjoyable. Anyway, most of the songs you mentioned I agree with. I know a lot of people hated Wassup's song but it's so much fun. Also, T-ara I find always comes out with jams and Nine Muses since Figaro keep impressing me. I also agree that IU, f(x), and Seungri definitely did have some of the best pop music this year
    I'm terrible at making ranking lists but I personally would add:
    Jaejoong's 9+1#/Light
    Xia's Incredible.
    Younha's "시간을 믿었어"
    K.Will's "Cherry Blossom"
    Spica's "Tonight"
    Kahi's "It's Me"
    Gummy's "Only One"
    Park Ji Yoon's Mr. Lee
    Baek Ji Young's "Hate".
    Thanks for the read! I really like your posts on here and your personal blog!

  14. My favourite k-pop song of 2013 is "Heaven" by After School. An honourable mention goes to the criminally underrated "I Know the Feeling" by T-ara.

    1. "Heaven" was great I don't know why After School have to be so inconsistent and only release stuff that good once a blue moon.

  15. Yay Kpopalypse oppar wrote about GI. I'm not gonna lie, after 'Beatles' I stan them so fucking hard, especially since their previous title 'Booshit' got banned. They are the new baddest females. Bye 2NE1.

    1. I loved "Beatles" but I didn't like "Booshit" and "Gi-Yeuk" nearly made it onto my "worst list. They're still better than 2NE1 though.

  16. Am I the only one suggesting "Troublemaker — Now"?

    Albeit, it's mainly the music video that is fabulous.

    Can we also get an honorable mention for top 50/bottom 5 for "Xia — Incredible". He checked every box to make a generic, catchy, absolutely terrible dance song (like Jay Sean — Down, which still is on my guilty pleasure playlist). But yeah, IU, Crayon Pop, F(x), 9Muses, T-Ara all had wonderful songs this year in year filled with crap and worse.

    1. I didn't mind the Troublemaker song, but yeah, it's 80% the video.

    1-T-ara NO.9 (Jiyeon is hoooooooooooooooooooooooot)
    2-T-ara do you know me (weird huh??)
    3-T-ara hide and seek
    4-T-ara i know the feeling
    ====> loved all T-ara songs this year ...they are my NO.1 !!
    5-SPEED That's my fault
    6-Davichi turtle
    7-Crayon pop lonely Christmas
    8-After school- first love
    9-kahi it's me

    1. "Turtle" was another song that very nearly got on the list, if it was top 35 it would have snuck on there for sure.

  18. I really don't like to, but I absolutely have to agree with Wassup... the song is absolutely stupid and the MV retarded, but it's pretty damn catchy and just has a nice beat to it.
    Expectation is my favourite GD song, but I only really know/like this and Female president anyway. It's certainly in my most played songs of the year.
    I watched that Delight MV when it came out and found it to be horrible in every way. :x
    Number 9 is pretty good and the (non-ballad part of) Do you know me super entertaining. I'm surprised you didn't put the two sub-groups and their singles on your worst 30, since they were pretty bad. But I guess nobody had high hopes for that...
    I think 1,2,3,4 is actually rather weak, compared to all the other CP songs. However, I can't decide if I like Dancing Queen (202), Saturday Night (2012), Bing Bing or Bar x3 the most.
    Crayon Pop is definitely my #1 band of the year. Not just in K-pop, but in general.

    1. #30 was seriously a battle between IGAB and QBS Like The Wind.

    2. (talking about worst list of course)

    3. I would have put QBS in there and made IGAB way higher, simply because I can't deny the shitty impact it had.

    4. bing bing will always be my favourite cp song

  19. Favourite 10:
    1. T-ara & friends - Painkiller
    2. Sunny Hill - Darling of All Hearts (srsly how can everyone forgot about this)
    3. IU - The Red Shoes
    4. Verbal Jint ft. Bumkey - Walking in The Rain
    5. Girl's Day - Expectation
    6. T-ara N4 - Jeon Won Diary
    7. T-ara - Do You Know Me?
    8. Bumkey - Bad Girl
    9. Crayon Pop - Bar3
    10. Davichi - Be Warmed
    11. Lim Chang Jung - Open the Door
    12. Lee Hyori - Bad Girls

    1. Ok i said top 10, but things keep coming to my mind :/

    2. I didn't forget about SunnyHill, I just didn't think it was all that. There's a track on their album that leaves that song for dead btw,

  20. Without giving it too much thought, here is my top 10:

    1. BESTie - Love Options
    2. IU - Between the Lips (IU had the album of the year, IMO)
    3. Girl's Day - Expectation
    4. T-ara - Number 9
    5. Nine Muses - Gun
    6. Brown Eyed Girls - Kill Bill
    7. Tiny G - Miss You
    8. GLAM - In Front of the Mirror
    9. Crayon Pop - Bar Bar Bar (I agree about 1,2,3,4 but I'm restricting my list to Korean songs)
    10. Rania - Just Go

    1. If you're restricting your list to songs sung in Korean almost all of the songs you listen are ineligible because they also feature partially English lyrics. Just saying.

    2. I meant K-pop songs, of course. Leaving out songs with English parts would eliminate the entire genre, basically.

      A Korean group singing a Japanese pop song is still "J-pop", so I wouldn't put it on my list of "favorite K-pop songs".

    3. If it's from the Korean pop industry and it's pop music, then it's k-pop. It doesn't matter what language it's in. I'm Australian but if I write a song in Spanish language it's not "Spanish pop" it's "Australian pop" that happens to be written in Spanish.

  21. This list fucking blows lol, the top 15 tracks are all generic garbo that only starcraft geeks (dead game) would care about. How do you write for a kpop fanblog and not know who Lee Jung Hyun is? Ahahahaha, guess it's true that anyone with an opinion and some supereDGY vocab can write for this shit blog kekeke.

    1. Oh look one of my Reddit fans! Hi!

    2. Oh nvm, someone clarified that the reason this is supposed to be interesting is because you don't know about the genre/songs and just write without knowing anything, my bad! I didn't know that was the point, I thought you were maybe educated in the genre, or there was some reason that your opinion would be important.

    3. Actually I'm just a cunt like you. But thanks for your interest!

  22. Lee Jung Hyun is probably the GREATEST Kpop Idol of all time, imho. She's more known for being a trendsetter in Kpop as the Techno Queen than as an actress, and was really popular back in her day. I have 7 of her albums and I like them all because she's transformed herself with eccentric and varied concepts over the years. She was doing Lady Gaga before there was a Lady Gaga with her theatrical cheesy costumes like demon/angel wings. "V" was okay, but nothing close to her old stuff.

    For the time (1999 and on), she pushed the boundaries. It could be cheesy at times, but never boring. Here are some of my favorite early LJH live performances that show off her charismatic style that set her apart from the rest of the idols back then (and even today) and I haven't seen any idols replicate since:

    The sexy femme fatale dominatrix:

    The light saber welding warrior:

    The angry military chick:

    The spastic princess:

  23. Hi Kpopalypse. Still love despite some odd choices (I get that it's personal taste) My faves this year were all girls. Guys, except Speed sucked ass. Also, Joah by Jay Park was kinda cool.
    So, in no particular order, T-ara number 9, Kahi - It's me, Sunmi 24 hours, 9 Muses Wild, The Seeya - Be with you. Also, I love Crayon Pop but I just don't don't think 1,2,3,4 is their best effort.

    1. My draft version actually had The Seeya's song but then I had to ditch it because the MV came out in 2012 which was a shame.

    2. But then, getting rid of The Seeya left room for Sunmi...

  24. Oh, oh, and I forgot After School's japanese releases. Heaven and most recently Shh are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. They should ditch the kpop scene all together and move to japan

    1. Keep AS in Japan and OC in Korea.

    2. I can leave with that. Even Orange Caramel is better than the korean After School so it makes sense.

    3. Er... live*. Blame it on new year's hangover.

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  26. thank you for this ..i clap like a retard whenever a CCM song appears on this list hahaha

    it's just unfortunate that you didn't get to appreciate the awesomeness that is Miss A's Hush xD

    i am one of those fools who stopped checking out nugu groups this year... who can blame me? i've been a fan since 2009 and .. ugh!~ i faithfully gave chances to all those nugus who debuted during 2009-2012. Lots of those songs suck, and I said to myself I'll just give a try to those who are in bigger companies (because based on my observations, lots, if not all, songs from small companies suck). Seems like a bad decision on my part

    1. Glad I kept you in the loop with the nugus. I fastidiously keep track of as much as possible so you can always just rely on my yearly list if you want, hahaha.

  27. idk im just going to list a bunch of shit from 2013 that i like

    dynamic duo - hot wings
    mblaq - smoky girl
    bestie - love options
    e-sens - bad girl
    shinee - excuse me miss
    sistar - give it to me
    infinite h - special girl
    tiny g - minimanimo
    jay park - joah
    juneil - pretty boy
    zion.t - babay
    hyori - miss korea
    led apple - gimme kimi love
    girls day - expectation
    f(x) - rum pum pum
    seungri - gotta talk to you
    boyfriend - iyah
    kahi - it's me

    rainbow - sunshine
    exo - wolf (gotta admit this was stuck in my head for like a week)
    tasty - mamama
    bangtan - we are bulletproof
    gd - ROD

    1. forgot to add number 9 onto the good list and booshit by GI onto the guilty pleasure one

    2. No such thing as guilty pleasures for me. I never feel guilty!

    3. you don't listen to songs and half cringe and half headbang?

  28. I liked your list :)

    I just thought I'm gonna share the list of songs that I like in 2013~ this is not numbered or whatsoever (random shits that comes out from my mind). I would like anyone to listen to it, just pick a random shit from this (or maybe, a title that is really catchy or stupid-sounding) and listen. Harhar.

    BTW, did I mention that I liked your list? lol. Thank you for that post :)

    M.I.B's Nod Along
    Shinhwa's A Committed Man
    Teen Top's Don't I
    Park Jiyoon's Mr. Lee
    Hyorin ft. Mad Clown's Stalker
    Hyorin's Falling
    Hyorin's Lonely (The hell with it. Just listen to the whole album's tracklist. It's really amazing)
    Any song from Lim Kim (preferably Rain, Tell Love & Goodbye 20)
    BoA's Disturbance
    Nine Muses' Living Person
    IU's Friday
    Miss $ ft. Skull's Let Me Live
    K.Will's Lay Back, Love Blossom & Bon Voyage
    SHINee's Punch Love Drunk, Aside & Girls, Girls, Girls
    SPICA's Tonight
    Jaejoong's Rotten Love, Light, 9+1# & Paradise
    2AM's Just Stay
    Yoseob's Caffeine
    Junhyung's Flower & Slow
    Any song from ToppDogg (they're awesome, at least for me)
    San E's Story of Someone I Know
    100% V's Missing You
    Any song from PHANTOM (because they're fucking amazing)

    Whew. That's a long list, I guess.
    If you ever read this, thanks XD

    1. Wow, epic list almost as long as mine!

    2. Well, 2013 really has many good songs, you just have to search further XD

    3. Actually almost all of the songs you listed were ones I considered for either list.

  29. I agree with your list except for Henry's Trap. The song is ok for me but not that good to be included in my top 30.

    1. The astonishment of a SuJu member actually releasing something listenable probably helped it get over the line.

  30. What about M&N - Tonight and Leessang - Tears?

    1. Didn't like either. "Tears" was acceptable but nothing special to my ear, and "Tonight" was just awful. I hate smooth rap songs with horrible syrupy R&B style choruses.

  31. Most of these are horrible performed live except for the obvious ones like IU.

  32. http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/jax-ladies-code-two-blatant-examples-mind-control-culture-k-pop/
    what do u guys think about it?
    btw,sorry for spam

    1. Total horseshit.

      Fuck, you gonna paste this goddamn link on every single post or what?