The 2010s really went by fast. 2020 is already here and now is the perfect time to look back upon the 2010s and pick our favorites. Out of the countless albums that came our way from 2010 to 2019, here are the favorites that the allkpop staff loved the most!
Jenny's Pick: BTOB - 'New Men' (2016)
As a Melody, I can't help but pick a BTOB album as my favorite album of the decade. Most BTOB albums are full of amazing songs, but New Men deserves a special shout-out because it was the album that BTOB recognizes brought them an influx of fans. Not only that, but it also gives those who already had been fans a special gift because of "Yejiapsa", the fan song that is named after the special term that Changsub made for Melody that means "I loved you before, I love you now, and I'll love you in the future." 'New Men' is also the first album that a song that Hyunsik composed became the title song of their album and set the trend for the rest of their career.
Hannah's Pick: Big Bang - 'MADE' (2016)
If it hasn’t been made obvious by my choice of the favorite song for the decade, Big Bang holds a special place in my heart as the very first K-Pop group I was introduced to. Even with the debuts of newer groups, there was always something missing during G-Dragons two year career slump, as he calls it. But unsurprising for a musical genius like G-Dragon, he came back stronger than ever with simply amazing tracks for Big Bang. Each song in this album is a work of art, whether it’s a more emotional song like “Loser” or a more upbeat one like “Bang Bang Bang.” This album only helped to confirm that the Big Bang members are truly the Kings of K-Pop.
Eric's Pick: 2NE1 - 'To Anyone' (2010)
2NE1's first full-length studio album 'To Anyone' kicked off the decade just right. With legendary anthems "Clap Your Hands", "Go Away", "I Don't Care", "Can't Nobody", and "It Hurts (Slow)" this LP positively sizzles. Just listening to these tracks again and I miss these girls so much.
Julia's Pick: MONSTA X - 'THE CONNECT: DEJAVU' (2018)
I just love all the songs listed on this album. My absolute favorite is "'Lost in the dream" because Kihyun's amazing vocal is most distinctive in this song.
germainej's Pick: Red Velvet - 'The Perfect Red Velvet' (2018)
Red Velvet's 'The Perfect Red Velvet' is the K-pop album I had on repeat the longest and went back to the most. Not only did I love the lead singles "Bad Boy" and "Peek-A-Boo", I also loved the R&B and 80s vibes of the entire album, especially in songs like "Look" and "Kingdom Come". Every song stands on its own, and Red Velvet's harmonies overall are incredible too.
Julie's Pick: hyukoh - '20' (2014)
Depression, anxiety, and mental health are issues that rarely get spoken about in the media. Carrying these issues, it’s hard to verbalize the ways mental health makes it difficult to exist in the world. This album really captures many different aspects of emotions and feelings of loss and identity. Not only that but Hyukoh really brought in unique sounds to the KPOP industry while also staying true to themselves. For those like me that enjoy the sentimental feelings, this album is one I often return to. Listening to this album feels like you’re having a conversation with the artists themselves as they lay out their hearts and passion through each and every song. The wholesome raw vibes of this album really broke through the decade for me.
Lorraine's Pick: BTS - 'The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Part 1' (2015)
'The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Part 1' captured my heart as the album release of the decade. The album was elegantly written and had near-perfect song composition from beginning to end. Paired with the unique artistic concept design and amazing visual aesthetics that paired with this particular comeback, the album was as close to a perfect release as we have ever gotten in K-Pop. "I Need U" was the single release that garnered hundreds of thousands of new ARMY into the fandom and placed both BTS and Big Hit on the map as industry players to watch. Now that they've solidified their place as one of K-Pop's most influential artists of the decade, I have to acknowledge 'The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Part 1' as the decade's most pivotal release. This album pushed BTS to the forefront of both the music industry, as well as created a huge movement for K-Pop's imminent globalization worldwide.
Hiju's Pick: f(x) - 'Pink Tape' (2013)
If anybody has been familiar with K-Pop long enough, one will probably remember this album and the 2013 era by heart. Considered to be one of the most well-crafted albums of the decade, f(x)’s Pink Tape is a kitschy coming-of-age story, a photographic art film series, and an amalgamation of experimental sounds all in one. Directed by SM Entertainment’s former art director Min Hee Jin, the pre-released art film ‘Pink Tape’ captures the essence of the album that talks of adolescent girls undergoing their first painful experience with love. The art film’s background music is the album’s first track “Shadow”, followed by a quirky tap dance and Bhangra-infused number “Rum Pum Pum Pum”. The last track of the album is titled “Ending Page”, which perfectly closes off the ‘high’ ride of a teenager intoxicated with love, as previously evoked in tracks such as “Pretty Girl” (a bold statement against objectifying the superficial beauty of women), “Goodbye Summer” (a farewell letter to a summer love, featuring EXO’s D.O), “Airplane” (the end of the ‘honeymoon phase’ in a relationship), “No More” (a gentle warning to a friend who keeps falling in and out of love), and “Snapshot” (a sassy and confident cat-walk in front of the public/media). This album is also the second to the last album that features the voices of all five original members of f(x), an imprint of the girls’ everlasting youth despite the passage of time.
Beans's Pick: EXO - 'XOXO (Kiss & Hug)' (2013)
I was an overly enthusiastic (still am) college student in 2013, who liked to go out with friends more than I liked going to classes. You know how it is in college - you think you're so cool walking everywhere on campus, with your headphones in. And this album was the album that came with me wherever I went. I knew every single word to every (Korean) song on the album. (I tried pretty hard to learn the Chinese words too.) Yes, I was also just as infatuated with EXO as every K-Pop fan who was there when they hit in 2012, with their "When the skies..." spiel and the awesome superpowers. And then came this album, with those 12 heartthrob boys in their heartthrob-y gray school uniforms and that one-take "Growl" MV that pioneered something like a massive step forward in K-Pop. It was a time in K-Pop when most people still couldn't really understand the concept of an album selling over a million copies, other than just going, "Wow, that's a lot". And one more thing. Logistically, yeah it was "Growl" that pioneered all kinds of stuff in the K-Pop scene, but cheesy old me, I was always on team "Wolf" ;).
Dani's Pick: BIGBANG - 'Alive' (2012)
Like many K-pop fans, most of my 'K-pop life' in the 2010s was spent listening to BIGBANG's music, and 'Alive' is easily the album that I think of when I think of my most impactful album of the past ten years. From 'Bad Boy' to 'Fantastic Baby,' 'Blue' to 'Monster,' the album (and its repackage 'Still Alive') offered incredibly solid singles. While hip-hop and EDM sounds already existed in K-pop, 'Alive' redefined them and presented them in a new way.
Paul's Pick: Epik High - 'epilogue' (2010)
Like Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, this is Epik High at their peak power. The lyrics from Tablo and Mithra Jin are thought-provoking and sensational. However, what really makes this album for me are the ethereal beats (especially on "Blossom" and "Forest"). The song that really hit home for me on this album is "Over." As an overachiever, the lyrics are so relatable. Like the kids say these days, it hit me in the feels, and it still does nearly a decade later.
KG's Pick: DEAN - '130 mood: TRBL' (2016)
The greatest K-pop debut of all-time. All the tracks on this album are amazing and out of all the albums I listened to in the 2010s, this one is the one that impressed me the most. DEAN has released various singles and featured on numerous songs since this release but he hasn't released another album. Hopefully, he does so soon and its as good as this album was.
sl278's Pick: Red Velvet - 'The ReVe Festival: Day 1' (2019)
After all the potential the girls showed over the years, they finally executed and reached it with this album. This EP is so good and establishes Red Velvet's evolved concepts they have today. It's my favorite album released in the past 10 years.
Jimmy's Pick: Busker Busker - 'Busker Busker Vol 2' (2013)
It's a shame this group broke up because they released some great music. Jang Beom June might have released some solo music since their breakup but it's not the same. Just listen to this album and you can hear why it's my favorite album in the past decade.