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 songs that came our way from 2010 to 2019, here are the favorites that the allkpop staff loved the most!
Jenny's Pick: BTS - "Save Me" (2016)
Quite possibly my favorite BTS song in their entire discography. I do love their more lively, upbeat, or hip-hop tracks, but "Save ME" really showed that BTS can pull amazing performances even with a slower song. Everything about "Save ME" is great because unlike a lot of songs that tend to be skewed either vocally or rap-wise, "Save ME" showcases the best of both for both vocal line and rap line.
Hannah's Pick: G-Dragon “Untitled, 2014” (2017)
This song showcases G-Dragon in his most vulnerable state. Like the title of the album, he presents himself as Kwon Ji Yong rather than the well-known artist and fashion icon that he is. Having heard him perform this song live, I am particularly impressed by the raw emotion in the song — from the lyrics to the composition. This delicate, yet powerful song is one that will never fail to shake my emotions no matter how many times I listen to it.
Julia's Pick: Busker Busker - "Cherry Blossom Ending" (2012)
"Cherry Blossom Ending" is a truly iconic song to stream in spring or whenever I want to feel like spring. Just like Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you" reminds me of Christmas, this song reminds me of spring and all the feels that came along with it.
Eric's Pick: 4minute - "Volume Up" (2012)
This one had exciting, suspense-filled main verses, and an explosive chorus. I love the sax that runs throughout the tune. It's one of the first songs I'd heard from 4minute and it definitely wasn't the last.
germainej's Pick: BTS - "Fake Love" (2018)
BTS's "Fake Love" has the drama of old-school K-pop with the production value of modern music. The elements of rock and hip hop in the song are really well done, and the lyrics are tragic but not cheesy. My favorite parts are when BTS go from intense raps to those amazing high notes.
Julie's Pick: MAMAMOO - "Starry Night" (2018)
No matter what type of day I’m having or what mood I’m in, Starry Night by Mamamoo always is a song I can vibe to. The energy, beats, and captivating vocals are mystical and captivating. My favorite line is “Nothing changed, each day is the same. But still, I wait for tomorrow” which serves as a reminder that even though things are slow and we are haunted by our pasts, there is always a tomorrow to look forward to. This song reminds me of my past, present, and future and the ways I can learn from the pains towards a future I want for myself. Besides the way this song plays with my heartstrings, I also love the way the girls of Mamamoo are able to utilize their individual skills and shine throughout the whole song. From the first beat, this song really captures your attention and maintains it throughout truly showcasing the girl's amazing talents.
Lorraine's Pick: PENTAGON - "Shine" (2018)
PENTAGON "Shine" earned my song of the year in 2018, and is also my favorite K-Pop release of the decade! PENTAGON has undergone hardships as a group, however this release of "Shine" managed to go viral worldwide despite all of the problems the group faces with management. "Shine" is my favorite track of the decade because it's fresh and the infectious melody is simple, yet extremely well done. PENTAGON, as a group, brings me back to a nostalgic, carefree and happy era of K-Pop while maintaining a modern touch and twist. "Shine" received acclaim from a multitude of huge music outlets (like Billboard) for a good reason.
Hiju's Pick: NU'EST "Love Paint (every afternoon)" (2016)
Many songs come to mind when I think about the last decade. From EXO’s “Growl” to Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy”, a good number of songs challenged not just K-pop but the international music scene with their irrefutable genre-defying rhythm and catchy verses. But, I chose this song by NU’EST, released in 2016, for the sake of its social and aesthetic quality. To be perfectly frank, this would be one of the most ‘slept-on’ songs of the decade and the most re-discovered; it flopped in the charts when it was released and rose back into it after the syndrome of ‘Produce 101’. Among NU’EST's revived songs, “Love Paint” contains exclusively poetic lyrics written in Korean, mixing a certain amount of traditional quality with a stylish future bass and jazz genre that fuse together magically. As the title song of their 5th mini-album ‘Canvas’, the song itself is like a musical painting that represents lazy afternoons, immersing you in a pool of watercolors with words such as “My heart that wants to sing for you who have come down riding the rainbow / I want to draw the sunlight that is you / I will protect you in the East where the sun rises.” This song marks one of the lowest points and the most important stepping stones in NU’EST's near-decade career, allowing them to rise again in the East just like their namesake.
Beans's Pick: B.A.P "One Shot" (2013)
It was 2013. It was impossible for a serious K-Pop fan to only be into EXO or only be into B.A.P. You were into both, whether it was secretly or openly. EXO's music had me daydreaming and smiling to myself like an idiot. B.A.P, on the other hand, they were screaming into my ear that I needed to pick up my slack and do my work and be a freaking good person. And not just me; I'm certain that a lot of people were influenced and inspired by the rather aggressive, hard-hitting message of this song. B.A.P may not be together anymore, but the music that they left behind is tough enough to survive so many more decades to come than this one that we're putting behind us now. I think even beyond my favorite song of the 2010s, "One Shot" will probably stay as one of my favorites for a lifetime.
Dani's Pick: 2NE1 - "I Am The Best" (2011)
What more can be said about the quintessential 2010s K-pop song? "I Am The Best" was everywhere when it first came out and has continued to remain one of the most representative songs of its K-pop generation. When the siren-like introduction begins to play, it feels like an anthem, and the music video concept - not to mention the attitude presented by the 2NE1 members themselves - will always be the definition of 'girl crush' to me.
Paul's Pick: PALOALTO ft. Babylon - "Good Times" (2015)
PALOALTO is on point with his rapping on the track but his production is what makes this really stand out. This song is the one I listened to the most this decade. During my recent trip to Korea, I made sure to listen to this track while enjoying the Busan skyline from Haeundae Beach, inspired by the views in this music video.
KG's Pick: BIGBANG - "Fantastic Baby" (2012)
If I think of one song that defined K-pop in the 2010s then this is it. While Psy's "Gangnam Style" was a Global viral hit, Big Bang's "Fantastic Baby" was the song that caught the attention of the core K-pop fan. K-pop wasn't as global back in 2012 as it is now but this is the first time I can recall seeing a lot of Westerners on YouTube doing reaction videos to a K-pop music video. Nearly 8 years later this song is still fantastic, baby.
sl278's Pick: BIGBANG - "Fantastic Baby" (2012)
A melodically dynamic song and it was a huge hit at BIGBANG's highest height of popularity.
Jimmy's Pick: Paul Blanco - "Wraith" (2019)
Paul Blanco is a Korean-Canadian artist that is criminally underrated. Although this song is entirely in English, it was released in Korea under Genie Music/Stone Music Entertainment. Vocally and production-wise this is the best song released in Korea in the past decade. More people need to discover him. Check out his 'Lake of Fire' EP, every track is hot and all the lyrics, composition, and arrangement were done by Paul himself. He has the talent to blow up big across the globe and I hope he does.