There’s no denying the massive cultural impact that K-pop has had over the past couple of years. Psy’s Gangnam Style isn’t the only popular K-pop release anymore, and believe you me, the world has taken note. Not only have the musicians from the genre shattered reductive stereotypes that East Asians have had to face, but they’ve also managed to amass a massive army – and we mean army – of die-hard stans, who basically run the internet now.
Need a refresher? K-pop stans recently fought the good fight when it came to standing up for American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez by taking over an anti-AOC hashtag that reeked of sexism. (Full story: They flooded the Twitter tag with adorable animal pictures!)
Anyway, minor digression aside, I think we can all agree that with an undyingly loyal fanbase, the ability to make bangers after bangers, and spectacular singing chops, of course, K-pop is essentially taking over the world. And we’re here for it. To that end, we’ve rounded up the eight songs by K-pop musicians that need to be on your playlist. Caution: Read on at your own risk. These songs will have you hooked for life.
1. On By BTS
You know we had to start this list off with BTS. Arriving as the lead single of the K-pop sensation’s fourth studio album Map of the Soul: 7, On is a quintessential BTS track that’s super catchy. Also, fun fact! Since the release, BTS has won a Guinness World Record in South Korea for having the best-selling album of all-time.
2. Also, Dynamite by BTS
Another BTS hit, are you really surprised? As the band’s first all-English track, Dynamite is a fun summer bop that will immediately energise you and have you looking forward to sunnier days ahead.
3. Dumhdurum by Apink
You’ll find yourself easily immersed in the catchy tune and the visuals for Apink‘s Dumhdurum. With aesthetic, vibrant sets, and the band members dressed in high-fashion fits, the music video is as good as it gets too.
4. How You Like That by BLACKPINK
Following the band’s year-long hiatus, BLACKPINK returned with its comeback track, How You Like That, in June. With powerful beats that’ll have you feeling like a #GirlBoss, to stellar sets and fashion moments featured in the music video, this one’s a solid jam. Also, the reason it sounds so familiar? The millions of Instagram reels that have come out of its chorus!
5. Better by BoA
So… This one’s a big deal! Celebrating her 20th debut anniversary, BoA released Better, from her 10th album. The OG K-pop queen’s track delivered a solid message of motivation and ambition, hinting to her fans that she won’t stop making music anytime soon.
6. Black Mamba by aespa
If you haven’t heard of aespa, we’re letting you in on why you should know about them: it became one of the most talked-about groups in K-pop with the announcement that it would feature four digital avatars and four real-life members. And with a futuristic theme that appropriately reflects 2020, the group debuted Black Mamba with the music video to match.
7. So Bad by STAYC
Even though they’re new to the scene, five-member group STAYC, informally dubbed HIGHUP Girls ahead of their debut, officially released their first-ever single So Bad, and has quickly become a name to watch in the K-pop sphere with their strong vocal skills and catchy music.
8. Love Killa by Monsta X
The title song of Monsta X’s third studio album, Love Killa, like its name suggests, explores the darker side of pop. It’s swanky, dark, sleek, and gritty, which is a sound and style that MONSTA X clearly pulls off very well.