1. Throwback Wonders: Infinite
Infinite draws a lot from the 1980s musically. For those who like throwback sounds, Infinite is definitely worth a shot!
Kim Sung Kyu is one of the vocalists from Infinite who showed his vocal prowess with his mini album Another Me. “41 Days” incorporates Infinite’s throwback sound while showing his talent.
Writer’s Note: The album is one of the best ones to come out in recent years.
2. The Big Bang Collection
Big Bang is a jack-of-all-trades group, covering hip-hop, dance, R&B, and pop. Their diversity has something for everyone. In 2012, they held a world tour and made stops in the U.S. The New York Times named their Alive Galaxy Tour one of the best in 2012.
Possibly Big Bang’s best and most loved song, “Haru Haru” stands the test of time. The live version is something else, especially when the fans get involved. The song is not just a song at that point: It’s an experience.
The vocals are soft, smooth, and mellow. The rap does not overwhelm the song, which is a plus for people who aren’t keen on idol groups rapping.
Daesung and Seungri’s voices sparkle in the song, while TOP and G-Dragon illustrate their rap stylings. The bridge with the echoing “gajima, gajima” is beautiful and haunting, making “Monster” a worthy introduction.
Big Bang has a lot of catchy, up-tempo songs, but “Tonight” does a nice job meshing Western visuals with the Kpop idol sound, giving newbies something familiar to gawk at while listening to one heck of a summer song that’s perfect for road trips.
3. Roy Kim’s Mellow Sound
Roy Kim is fairly new to the Kpop world. After winning Super Star K4, Kim has made a name for himself with his sweet ballads. Roy Kim appeals to older and younger audiences alike.
“Love Love Love”
His voice is smooth, and he’s a throwback to mellower music past. Older non-Kpoppers may find him charming.
A good mix of high and low notes create a sweet harmony that has a lot of heart behind it.
“Bom Bom Bom”
“Bom Bom Bom” is the perfect ode to spring and a song that’s great for road trips across open fields.
4. Indie Kings: Nell
Lead vocalist Kim Jong-Wan has a retro-feel to his voice (some older audiences can connect the feel to the 1970s group ELO) which makes Nell stand apart in today’s Kpop industry.
“Ocean of Light”
5. Jazzy Soul Ladies: Lim Kim, Lee-Hi, ALi
While the industry seems dominated by idol groups, there are artists who show their soulful sides that will definitely catch the person who loves soul, jazz, and powerful voices.
Lim Kim “All Right”
Lee Hi “Rose”
6. For Those Who Love Motivation and Thinking
There are some Kpop songs that are great motivational songs in life, love, and even working out, and there are some that require some thinking in order to get the whole message. Try these to see what happens.
Kim Hyun Joong “Unbreakable”
“Unbreakable” gets in your face and shouts “power!” It’s a catchy, strong tune that can light a fire under someone’s butt. Plus, look at Kim Hyun Joong’s abs as they make a special guest appearance! If that doesn’t inspire, what will?
Show this video to your friends who love analysis and statement songs. “Badman” is probably one of the most important videos of 2013 given the unrest in the world and on U.S. soil after certain high-profile cases. The song is great, though there are B.A.P songs that are better (“One Shot,” “Warrior”), but this one is great for those who enjoy thinking about what they’re experiencing in order to find deeper meanings.
7. Rock Represent
There are several K-Rock bands making waves. While the music is not as prominent as idol group music, it may interest those who enjoy rock music or adult contemporary sounds.
Kim Jung Woo and Kim Seulong: They are Toxic. That awkward-looking girl? Not a member. Ignore her.
CNBLUE “I’m Sorry”
CNBLUE’s held several shows in North America, and they sing in Korean, Japanese, and English. In other words, they are pretty awesome and strive for global appeal.
Kang Seung Yoon “Wild and Young”
It was toss up between this one and “Stealer,” which shows Kang Seung Yoon’s softer side, but this was his debut song under YG Entertainment. Kang was a Superstar K2 finalist in 2010.
Hongki is pretty awkward here, but the song is a nice, touching introduction into the Kpop world.