From an over-abundance of debuts to a handful of career-defining comebacks, 2012 has been a big year for K-Pop. But what were the best, most important songs of 2012? Here at allkpop, we're trying to answer that question with our 'Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2012'!
We combed through this year's many, many releases to bring you a list of fifty of the year's most noteworthy songs. Check in every Wednesday between now and January 2nd for the next group of songs in our ranking. Today, we bring you the ranking for numbers thirty-one through forty on our list.
40. 4minute "Volume Up"
Label: Cube Entertainment
Release date: April 9, 2012
Production: Rado, Hyuwoo, Shinsadong Tiger
Love them or hate them, the girls of 4minute are here to stay, and they don't care what you have to say about it- at least, that's what they told us in their most recent single, "Volume Up". The group gave us their most anthemic chorus to date, appeasing fans who were put off by their less aggressive previous single, "Heart to Heart". They even managed to get a music show win amid the promotions of massive singles like SISTAR's "Alone" and Taetiseo's "Twinkle". "Volume Up" may not have quite pulled 4minute out of their underdog status, but it did show that they have a chance to make it to the top.
39. miss A "Lips"
Label: AQ Entertainment, JYP Entertainment
Release date: February 2, 2012
Production: Fuego, Redd Stylez, Nikki Flores, Alexander Palmer, Billion Dollar Baby
miss A granted us with two major releases this year, but it was their collaboration with hit producer Fuego (Iggy Azalea, Chris Brown) that piqued our interest. A fan favorite, "Lips" combines an edgy dance production with a refined K-Pop delivery, showcasing an exemplary blend of the two genres. It poses the question, "Shouldn't miss A be the ones being the forefront of JYP's foray into the US music market rather than the Wonder Girls?". Whether we're talking about "Lips" remaining unreleased as a single or miss A's potential as a crossover act, the fact is, there was surely a missed opportunity floating somewhere in our pool of unanswered questions.
38. INFINITE's Sunggyu "60 Seconds"
Label: Woolim Entertainment
Release date: November 19, 2012
Production: Yue, Kim Seung Soo, Han Jae Ho, Hong Seung Hyun
Idol group members have been going solo left and right, some more successfully than others. Shedding the dance music that his group is known for, INFINITE's Sunggyu brought straightforward pop-rock to the table with his solo debut, "60 Seconds". Despite the obvious risks that come with departing from the music and choreography that made him famous in the first place and having only three weeks of promotions, Sunggyu's album has charted incredibly well. It just proved that he has what it takes to stand on his own as a performer.
37. B1A4 "Baby I'm Sorry"
Label: WM Entertainment
Release date: March 14, 2012
Production: Jinyoung, Baro, Good Guy
B1A4 may have debuted as the adorable, sprout-dancing boys-next-door, but they proved with "Baby I'm Sorry" that they're ready to grow up. This song, written by B1A4's own Jinyoung and Baro, was a huge turning point for the group, defining the new direction that they would take with their next album, 'In the Wind'. Some industry experts predict that idol groups are on the way out in favor of bands that create their own music. With Jinyoung working as a writer and producer and Baro and CNU taking part in songwriting, B1A4 could be one of the few idol groups to survive the change.
36. SECRET "Talk That"
Label: TS Entertainment
Release date: December 4, 2012
Production: LE, Choi Kyu Sung, Shinsadong Tiger
SECRET has the rare ability to constantly change their image and make each image into a signature style, whether they're confident dancing queens, the adorable girls next door, or full-on vixens. When they returned to Shinsadong Tiger, who was behind their first big hit "Magic", the quartet came back with an entirely new concept- serious and understated. Instead of shouting "You are my poison" or "We are magic", they whisper through the refrain of "Talk That" as they tell a guy off for lying, giving us one of their best songs to date. In an unfortunate turn of events, the band was involved in a serious car accident earlier this week. We don't know what this means for their promotions for "Talk That", but all of our hearts are with SECRET as we wish them a speedy and effective recovery.
35. Ga In "Bloom"
Label: LOEN Entertainment
Release date: October 5, 2012
Production: Kim Yi Na, Lee Min Soo
When Brown Eyed Girls' Ga In announced that her next solo project would show a brand-new side of her, it's doubtful that anyone expected the upbeat, IU-esque, disco-pop song full of thinly-veiled sexual metaphors that she brought us. "Bloom" received a 19+ rating. However, refusing to play by the rules was a smart move for Ga In- her song and album did great on the charts, and she even managed a music show win during her short promotional period.
34. 2NE1 "I Love You"
Label: YG Entertainment
Release date: July 5, 2012
Production: Teddy, Lydia Paek
We all know 2NE1 as YG Entertainment's tough-girl group, especially after 2011's string of self-confident hits. Rather than getting complacent, 2NE1 decided to take their girl-power in a new direction and try on their first full-on love song as a single. However, the change-up may have slightly hurt their comeback, as some fans were upset by this new direction, expecting something more along the lines of their previous hit, "Lonely". Here's hoping we get to hear the rest of that mini-album soon!
33. KARA "Pandora"
Label: DSP Media
Release date: August 22, 2012
Production: Yue, Song Soo Yoon, Kim Seung Soo, Han Jae Ho, Hong Seung Hyun
Earlier this year when "Gangnam Style" took over all of the music shows, it seemed like nothing could break through and beat it. However, just four weeks into Psy's winning streak, KARA's "Pandora" beat out Gangnam Style twice in a row- once on 'Music Bank', and again on 'M! Countdown'. "Pandora" let us know that the girls are always on top of their game.
32. f(x) "Electric Shock"
Label: SM Entertainment
Release date: June 10, 2012
Production: Seo Ji Eum, Future Presidents
f(x)'s 'Electric Shock' EP was one of this year's most interesting releases. It's probably one of SM's best in 2012, which is kind of funny since SM probably didn't intend for that to be the case. This song also introduced a change for the group, as there is no rap section and their rapper, Amber, finally got a substantial singing part. Despite Sulli's absence while filming 'To the Beautiful You', f(x) garnered four music show wins and made their mark on multiple charts, including US Billboard's World Album and Weekly Heatseekers Album charts.
31. 2AM "I Wonder If You Hurt Like Me"
Label: JYP Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment
Release date: March 12, 2012
Production: Kim Do Hoon, The Hitman 'Bang'
No idol group does ballads quite like 2AM. While "I Wonder If You Hurt Like Me" from their 'F. Scott Fitzgerald's Way of Love' album isn't the most notable ballad they've ever released (that distinction belongs to "I Can't Let You Go Even if I Die"), it's still one of the most notable ballads of 2012. The group famously turned down their CEO's own composition "When I Can't Sing" (which went to YG Entertainment's Se7en) in favor of this song, which may have been a smart decision- Se7en's album only made it to #5 on Gaon, while 2AM's album made it to #1.
We're not done yet- check back next week on Wednesday, December 19th for songs twenty-one through thirty!
[ 41-50 | 31-40 | 21-30 | 11-20 | 1-10 ]
allkpop's 'Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2012? was compiled by rex_music, jennywill, and contagion. This list is staff-determined and is not in any way connected with the fan-voted 2012 allkpop awards.