'As Time Goes By' (2001)
Tasha Reid (Yoon Mi Rae)
This soulful ballad, about a woman trying to get over lost love, showcases the talents of one of the best female R&B vocalists in Asia. Her feminine voice may be a little rough around the edges but is always captivating. As one of the few bi-racial musicians in Korea, she also serves as a role model for acceptance and cultural awareness. The song may be a little old but it has all the qualities of a timeless classic.
Hip-hop and Korea are not normally associated with one another, but Epik High has tried to bridge that gap by bringing an authenticity and a sound of their very own. 'One' initially captures the listener with its electro, trance beats, but the chorus, tinged with a hint desperation, is what will stay in your head.
'Nothing Better' (2007)
Brown Eyed Soul (Jung Yeop)
An absolutely beautiful piano ballad by one of the more underrated singers from one of the more talented groups in Korea. As the group name suggests, the style is soulful, almost lounge-inspired with a twist of Kpop. The effortless accompaniment and elegant melody, this Kpop song is a reminder that sometimes simple is best.
'Hurricane Venus' (2010)
The latest offering from Korea's princess of pop, Hurricane Venus is a synth-driven dance song that shows the maturation of the young veteran. BoA began her singing career at the tender age of 13, and has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in Asia and even made a foray into the US market. While the success wasn't there initially, her comeback to the Korean market is underway, and she is doing it in style. It's not really deemed a "classic," but this brand new song is indicative of today's Kpop sound.
Again and Again (2009)
Girls around the world have no fear, 2PM is here. Now a six-member boy band (initially there were seven), 2PM broke through last year with this Kpop song, about going back to the one you love, even if she's not the best for you. The song exploded in Asia, due to the catchy dance beats and original choreography, or, it could have been the band's aesthetic muscles and ripped shirts.
One of the old school Kpop groups, g.o.d. was able to fuse R&B with pop, and this oldie (but goodie) is a great example of that blend. The song follows a man who is trying to convince his significant other that he's no longer in love. But one can extrapolate from the title of the song how he truly feels. Note: The group's name is is not of any particular deity, but rather an acronym for "Groove Over Dose."
'I Don't Care' (2009)
While 2NE1 could have been swept up in the girl group wave in Korea, their fresh and original style, along with powerful vocals and performances, helped them become instant fan favorites. 'I Don't Care' is about a girl who's had enough with her boyfriend and his cheating ways -- all told with a simple beat but an empowering message.
This dynamic boy band fused pulsing dance beats with a unique style to become mega-stars in Asia. This Kpop song -- about a young man regretting letting his love go -- was a big hit in Korea and allowed Big Bang to take their talents to Japan and beyond.
'It's Raining' (2004)
The best known Kpop star in the world, Rain released this hip-hop-tinged dance song about, well, dancing. Rain has gone on to star in two major Hollywood movies ('Speed Racer,' 'Ninja Assassin'), was mentioned in the 2006 Time magazine article, '100 Most Influential People Who Shape Our World,' and was even involved in a bit of a dance tussle with Stephen Colbert.
Probably the most recognizable Korean song in America today. While the quintet debuted in Korea in 2007, it wasn't until the song's music video grabbed the attention of Internet viewers -- propelling them into international fame. 'Nobody' is a throw-back, combining a little '60s doo-wop and Motown with a modern beat and mild hip-hop. The sound, the wardrobe, the dance -- it all led to the breakout Kpop hit of the decade.