Keeping in mind that I have only been listening to Kpop for about a year and a half, compared to my almost 8 years in Jpop, this list may not have your faves in it. Please do not fret. Simply recommend them to me in the comments, and I will give them a listen! I am still quite new to the scene and trying to listen to as many artists as possible.
This list only includes Korean releases, not any of the re-releases or new songs in Japanese.
As with Jpop, I prefer on the whole, female artists, but I do need to branch out lately. So feel free to recommend me any great male artists that you like.
Right! Onto the countdown!
10. Hyuna - Bubble Pop
This song has been a hit with Kpop fans and non-Kpop fans alike. This really got people talking all over the world about Kpop. The video may be a teeny bit all over the place trying to be sexy, as Hyuna doesn't need to try this hard, but it's still fun. The 'oohs!' and 'aahs!' are so different. Hyuna is an amazing dancer. This is just a great summery song.
9. 4minute - Heart to Heart
I love, love, love 4minute and I love this song, and it's pv. It's so cute and on first listen, you may think it's nothing like 4minute's earlier stuff, it is a little different but I still love the way it sounds. It's no 'Hot Issue (remix)' but once you listen to this a few times, it becomes a hook in your brain. I don't get why everyone is complaining on Youtube, then again, YT comments are usually hard to take seriously.
8. Secret - Shy Boy
PV wouldn't let me embed so a performance it is! This is an extremely cute song. 'OH OH OH MY BOY!' - I love the 50's theme and the cute outfits they usually wear when performing this. The 'doo-wap' sound is something you do not hear often in recent pop. Such a sweet song!
7. DAL*SHABET - Pink Rocket
This may raise some eyebrows, as this band has gotten a lot of criticism for not being 'Kpop enough' and such. Weird stuff like that. They are ridiculously cute and this song is infectious. I like the overt electronic sound in this. The PV is really awesome. I'm still not quite sure what 'Dal Shabet' means, but if it has something to do with sherbert, then that certainly fits the image of the group.
6. SISTAR - SO COOL
YES. 'YEAH I FEEL SO COOL, COOL! YEAH I FEEL SO COOL!' - This song is awesome. So upbeat, amazing vocals and an extremely addictive chorus. Flawless song, the PV is fun and not too busy, but enough to keep you interested. A really great song for the gym I find.
5. Orange Caramel - Shanghai Romance
The subgroup of After School have outdone themselves with this extremely catchy track. Raina, oh she's so cute! The dance in this PV is so fun and easy, and you'll find yourself doing it when you listen to the song 'Sha sha sha!'. This subgroup can do no wrong by me lately. Love them!
4. After School - Shampoo
They won't let me embed the PV again so another live performance it is! This is a nice sounding song, but the translation is a bit...weird. Look it up if you're interested, I swear you will be surprised. The PV is nice and this song is what originally got me interested in After School.
3. Brown Eyed Girls - Sixth Sense
WOW. THE AWESOME. These girls are fierce. The PV is powerful and sends an important political message of resistance. The dancing is flawless, the girls are HOT. Their voices are incredible. This is how the LADIES do it!
2. KARA - STEP
KARA continue to slay everyone with their awesome. The only band to really succeed at sounding Japanese during the Hallyu wave, they are professional to the MAX. Their dancing, singing and attitude are all perfect. They really are one of the best Kpop bands right now.
1. 2NE1 - I AM THE BEST
SORRY, NOTHING ELSE COULD GET TOP SPOT. This is THE song of the year in my opinion. AH MAN. This song makes me feel better when I'm down, puts me in a good mood any time of the day, I am always in the mood to listen to this. If this was on vinyl I would have worn it down a long time ago. I love how the PV is so 'Don't mess with me!' - love it, love it, love it.
Not including Japanese releases has excluded a chunk that I would have originally liked to have put in, but they just aren't as good as if the song itself would be if it was in Korean (probably excluding KARA, as most of their songs are good in Japanese) - I don't know many soloists yet apart from IU and G.NA (and of course BoA but most Jpop fans know BoA let alone Kpop fans). I am still learning a lot about the industry, and I hope to know many more fans and hopefully a bit of the Korean language itself by this time next year.
Girls' Generation didn't make it onto this list as 'The Boys' - while a catchy tune, has a lot of flaws and the other Korean groups have stepped up to the plate as big hitters this year.
Who are your faves? Who do you recommend?