What a year for YG Entertainment. In a year of lackluster comebacks and countless debuts, the music created by YG’s troops stands out among a sea of mediocre tracks. It should be no surprise that YG dominated the top KPop songs of 2012. Of course, universal hit “Gangnam Style” earns its rightful place among the top five tracks, but read on for the rest of the genre’s gems.
5. Shinhwa – “Venus”
The masters prove a group doesn’t need an average age of 19 to have a spectacular comeback. In an industry where youth rules, the six members of Shinhwa showed staying power and talent will be more than enough to garner excitement. “Venus” was the group’s first single in four years and it was classic Shinhwa — a catchy chorus, production value that most groups can only dream of, and penned by Minwoo. The song won first place on M.net’s “M! Countdown” in April, giving the group its first win in four years, prompting newer KPop fans to take notice.
4. Super Junior – “Bittersweet”
Hidden near the end of Super Junior’s sixth album is “Bittersweet,” a dazzling jewel of a track that showcases the vocals of Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Yesung and Sungmin. The KRYS song deserved promotion — instead, it was performed only at Super Junior KRY’s concerts in Japan. “Bittersweet” is Super Junior’s best ballad since “It’s You.” The quartet’s vocals blend flawlessly, but it’s when each member gets a solo that the song really shines.
3. G-Dragon – “Crayon”
When it was announced G-Dragon would be making a comeback, fans could not have expected the technicolor spectacle that is “Crayon.” G-Dragon’s previous releases feel subpar compared to this bouncy, high-energy single. If you weren’t getting your cray on with GD, you didn’t live in 2012.
2. Psy – “Gangnam Style”
You know it. You love it. It was the unavoidable track of the year. Chances are, you heard it at a wedding, a dance or even in the car sitting next to yours at a red light. To the untrained ear, “Gangnam Style” is only as big as it is because of a silly dance and its sheer ear candy factor. However, the social commentary Psy spits gives the song authenticity and it deserves its rightful place among many year-end lists.
1. Big Bang – “Fantastic Baby” and “Bad Boy”
Although “Gangnam Style” took over the world, it was Big Bang who produced the best songs in Korean pop in 2012. The group expanded its already diverse discography by releasing two singles on opposite sides of the pop spectrum. “Fantastic Baby” was the most eclectic song of the year. It was impossible to resist T.O.P’s “Boom shakalaka,” a phrase that ruled the KPop lexicon since the song’s March release.
While “Fantastic Baby” was the group’s crazy danceable hit, it was “Bad Boy” that showcased what Big Bang does best. The song was a throwback to early 90s R&B, a smooth jam that G-Dragon, T.O.P, Daesung, Taeyang and Seungri brought into the 21st century with their distinctive sound. Although the guys apologize for being bad boys, the song is too good to ignore.