Ever wondered which songs are popular here in Korea?

Here in Seoul, you get to hear the current trends and music released on a daily basis. Just by stepping outside your house, you're greeted by the sweet tunes of K-pop. Walking around the streets, studying in cafes, and shopping in Seoul, you can bet there's always music playing in the background.

Below are 11 K-pop songs released in 2014 that I often hear while running around the mean streets of Seoul. A lot of these songs have achieved a lot of accolades and are popular with today's youth. While many of the choices here are mainstream, not all are pure idol pop, as ballad and pop mixed in with rap collaborations are also popular in today's generation.

The list excludes songs that were popular when they first came out, then slowly faded away from radio play a week or two later.

With that being said, let's get onto the list:

1. Akdong Musician – “200%”

Akdong Musician's (AKMU) song "200%" is one of the most memorable and catchy tracks this year. Around college campuses and cafes, the song can be heard. Every time I hear the lyrics of "Yes I’m a soldier for you", I know exactly which song is coming up.


2. K. Will – “Like a Star – Part 2”

The famed soloist sang in one of the most popular dramas this year "My love from another star". "Like a Star" quickly became tied to this famed drama, as the hit song further cemented K Will as one of Korea's premier singers. 


3. Taeyang – “Eyes, Nose, Lips”

The Big Bang singer hit it big with his 2nd studio album "Eyes, Nose, Lips". Many singers, including Epik High's Tablo, also did a rendition of the song during the 2014 YG Family Tour.



4. Girl’s Day – “Something”

The four sultry ladies started off this year with their hit "Something". To many, they are known for the music video as much as the song.

5. Sistar – “I Swear”

Sistar has been busy this year, releasing two songs back-to-back in a three-month summer period. Right after "Touch My Body" came "I Swear", a song that signaled the end of the summer season.



6. IU & HIGH4 – “Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms”

IU came out with another hit with "Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms". Hitting number 1 on the Billboard Korea charts and frequent air play, the song also introduced the K-pop world to the four person group HIGH4.


7. Winner – “Empty”

YG's newest boy band, Winner has quickly shot to popularity. They have been making waves for their catchy tunes and being the first YG male group in 8 years since Big Bang. "Empty" is one of those songs you'll hear in universities and cafes often.


8. G.O.D – “The Lonely Duckling”

The K-pop veterans from the 90s came back with an awesome vengeance in 2014. Between "Saturday Night" and "The Lonely Duckling", the five person group shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


9. Younha – “Umbrella”

The popular soloist and musician that has written songs in both Japanese and Korean, she comes back this year with "Umbrella". To many, the song is known from a collaboration between her and Epik High. The 2014 version has its own charm and shows off her sweet voice.


10. Soyou & Junggigo feat. Lil Boi of Geeks – “Some”

One of Sistar's four ladies, Soyou, has been on a collaboration spree as of late. Like the IU and HIGH4 collaboration above, the Soyou & Junggigo collab caught on fast here on Korean music airwaves. 


11. Fly to the Sky – “You, You, You”

2014 has really marked the return of older, 90s and 2000s K-pop groups coming back and Fly to the Sky is no exception. They return with "You You You", a song that's full of vocals, ballads, and incredibly dramatic plot in their music videos.

These are some of the songs I hear on frequently here in Seoul. 

Over to you. Which K-pop songs are popular where you live?

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Jason Yu lives in Seoul and works in the Korean music industry in the media and journalist field. He also writes for Green Tea Graffiti (GtG), a online publication all about introducing Asian pop culture. To read on more the K-pop industry, check out the exclusive: Behind the Scenes - The Life of a K-pop Star.