Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The Billboard is the most credible and authoritative music chart of popular music, and it is an indicator of music around the world. K-pop artists, starting with Wonder Girls in 2009, are producing remarkable results on this chart. And with the triumphant success of BTS, many artists are releasing albums intending to enter the Billboard charts. These are the five songs that achieved significant milestones on the Hot 100, the main chart of the Billboard.
Wonder Girls – Nobody
Wonder Girls made a big hit in Korea with “Nobody” and headed to America with their producer JYP to leave their mark on the Billboard chart. At the time, many had negative views regarding their choice. The prevailing opinion was, “Why make them suffer in a foreign country when they’re already a big success in Korea?” However, the act became the first Korean artist to enter Hot 100 at No. 76. The highest-ranking they saw was No. 76, and since then, Wonder Girls had consistently challenged themselves to be listed on the Billboard chart with songs like “2 Different Tears” and “The DJ Is Mine.”
Back when the name “K-pop” was unfamiliar to most, Wonder Girls promoted their songs by themselves. With the clear concept of “retro,” they gradually elicited favorable responses and accelerated the growth of K-pop with easy-to-follow songs and dance.
PSY – GANGNAM STYLE
When it comes to K-pop, this song can’t be left out. Following Wonder Girls, Psy became the second Korean singer to enter the Hot 100 in 2012. He holds a jaw-dropping record of staying on the chart for 31 weeks and leaving his name on the Year-End chart for two years in a row. Because of this song, Billboard started to take Youtube view counts into criteria, eventually leading to boost YouTube’s immense popularity. After “GANGNAM STYLE,” the artist continued to show solid performances, putting his name on the Hot 100 for four years in a row with “Gentleman” (2013), “HANGOVER” (2014), and “Daddy” (2015).
The biggest reason for its success was its easy-to-follow melody and catchy dance moves. This fantastic achievement is even more meaningful because Psy wrote the lyrics, composed the song, and made the choreography of this particular song.
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
This song garnered a whopping 1 billion views on YouTube and has an unusual record of entering the Hot 100 and Year-End charts as a children’s song. It re-arranged North America’s children’s song into a 2-minute song, and by repeating the “doo doo doo doo doo doo” part, it became a catchy children’s song popular among kids.
In fact, the song has greatly benefited from YouTube views, but it just proves that YouTube’s influence in the current pop music industry is not to be sneezed at. Above all, the fact that children, regardless of their nationality, and sometimes even adults, enjoy the melody proves that “Baby Shark” has extraordinary power.
BLACKPINK – Kill This Love
After “DDU-DU DDU-DU” debuted in the Billboard chart in 2018, this song showed even better results on the Hot 100. Besides the Hot 100, the album KILL THIS LOVE (EP) also ranked 24th on Billboard 200, marking the beginning of Blackpink’s heyday.
“Kill This Love” has a similar mood to “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” but it’s more exciting and flashy. Including the verse and chorus with magnificent brass sound, the splendid music video, and the raps all written in English, every element of this song scream that it’s written for the Billboard chart.
Soon after, “How You Like That” and “Lovesick Girls” as well as Rosé’s solo debut song “On The Ground” entered the Hot 100. Like that, Blackpink became the most influential girl group in K-pop history.
BTS – Butter
After landing on the Hot 100 with “DNA,” “FAKE LOVE,” and “Boy With Luv,” BTS became the first Korean artist to rank 1st on the chart with “Dynamite.” With “Life Goes On,” released later that same year, also took the top spot, rewriting the history of K-pop. Since then, “Butter” retained the crown for 8 weeks straight, and “Permission to Dance” took over the baton. In the end, the act topped the chart for 10 weeks. This is the biggest and most significant record made in K-pop history ever.
“Butter” shows a very minimal composition that relies solely on the bass in verse. Still, the chorus bursts out its funky and disco vibe and gives off a pleasantly refreshing feeling. Easter eggs within the lyrics that remind you of the wit shown in “Dynamite” are also an element to enjoy.
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.