Staff Recommended Top 20 Songs Of 2009


Happy Holidays, ladies and gentlemen. As it has been since 2002, here I
am again writing this post on my choices of the top 20 songs of 2009.
This year we have so many good songs coming out and again makes it very
difficult to rank the top 20. I’ve selected a total of 44 songs (the
top 20, and 24 honorable mentions) to recommend.

Before I reveal any songs, I must stress once again that these songs are strictly my personal choices only,
and it has nothing to do with our soompi gayo award next week. Like I
said above, there are so many good songs and I’m sure I have missed a
lot of good ones. For readers who are familiar with this countdown, or
familiar with my taste, I usually go for songs that are more
contemporary in style. These songs usually make a more long lasting
impression in people’s minds anyway. However, I do make sure that I
want to cover most of the genres so you’ll see at least one song from
each of the popular genres in the top 20. Hint: many of the
lesser-known songs appeared on my weekly bonus tracks before.

like the past years, I imagine that you have not heard of many of the
songs on my list, and you will be disappointed not seeing a lot of big
names here. Perhaps that is why these songs need a push to become more
recognized. But as we get closer to the top, you’ll recognize more
familiar songs and artistes that you have come across during this year.
If you haven’t heard of the artistes or the songs, give it a try and
add to your music collection! I’ve included a MV or Performance link on
each song.


like past years, we have songs that just missed the cut but are worth
mentioning. Here is this year’s list of honorable mentions, in
alphabetical order of the artist’s name. We have 24 songs here:

Biuret – Dreams Come True
Boo Hwal – 생각이나 (Thinking)
Gil Me (feat. Eun Ji Won) – Love Cuts
Ilac – 그때 그 여자 (That Girl At That Time)
Jung Paran – My Best
J-Walk – 사랑한다 외쳐요 (Shout That You Love)
Lee Hyuk (Norazo) – 남자 (A Man)
Lee Seung Chul – 사랑 참 어렵다 (Love Is So Difficult)
Melo Breeze – Vis-à-vis
Miracle – Beastieboy
Miss $ – 사랑이 뭐길래 (What Is Love)
Nia – My Everything
Park Ji Hun (V.O.S) – 헤어질 거 같애 (feat. MJ Of Sunnyside, Shin Hye) (It Seems Like We’re Going to Break Up)
Park Jung Eun – 돌이킬 수 없는 (Can’t Turn Back)
Pastel Blue (feat. Yuri, Jung Wook) – 점점 (More And More)
Ran & Subin – 동화속의 사랑 (Fairytale Love)
Rumble Fish – 너 정말이니 (Are You For Real?)
Sa Rang Hae – 빨주노초파남보 (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet)
Tae.1 (feat. JB) – 나뿐 남자 (Bad Man)
Tearis – 말도 못하고 (Not Believe)
Theatre No. 8 – 지금은 카나발 (Right Now Is Carnival)
Urban Zakapa – 커피를 마시고 (Drinking Coffee)
Wax (feat. Miss $ Tae Hye Young) – 전하 한 번 못하니 (Not Even A Call)
Yang Jung Seung (Kiroy Y) – 어린여자 (Young Girl)

And the 2009 staff-recommended top-20 songs:

1. Wheesung – 주르륵 (Trickling)
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: Wheesung Vol. 6 Track 3
Watch: MV Live Performance
My search for a No. 1 song this year again doesn’t appear until near
the end of the year. Once I heard this song, I knew it would be my top
ranked song of 2009. Wheesung won this countdown before on 2004 with
“Incurable Disease”. Now five years later, he wrote and sing this
masterpiece all by himself. It is about a man who leaves his lover and
holds his tears, but to have raindrops fall on his face, making it look
like he is tearing up. This song shows why Wheesung is regarded as the
top male vocalist in Korea. With its complex melody and arrangement,
not too many singers can pull it off, but Wheesung does it flawlessly.
Wheesung is set to make his US debut after this album. We wish him the
best of luck.

2. Outsider – 외톨이 (Loner)
Genre: Hip-hop

Album: Outsider Vol. 2 Track 5
Watch: MV Live Performance
One of the biggest surprise success story of 2009, Outsider was still
relatively unknown to mainstream K-pop fans before this song and he is
considered an underground hip-hop artist. While it is not surprising to
see his albums selling well as do many underground artists, “Loner” was
ranked No. 1 on many mainstream charts, including ours. This MC Sniper
written song has that “Sniper Sound” features a 14-member orchestra. Outsider is known as Korea’s fastest rapper, and he proves it in
this song. It all adds up to a very unique song.

3. 8Eight – 잘가요 내 사랑 (Piano Remix Ver.) (Goodbye My Love – Piano Remix Version)
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: 8Eight digital single “No One Cries Because They Want To” Track 2
Listen to: Full Song Watch: Live Performance
8Eight and its members have become a regular on our year end top 10,
and they ranked higher and higher each year. Last year, it was Baek
Chan’s solo song “What Kind Of Love Is This” ranked at No. 6. Two years
ago, their debut hit “Forget Love And Sing” was at No. 8. This time
around they moved into the top 3 with “Goodbye My Love”. I specifically
selected the piano remix version as I feel that it makes the song so
much better.

4. Yoa – Remember
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: Yoa single “Her Name Is Yoa” Track 1
Listen to: Full Song (thanks to Mardi09 for uploading)
Comment: This highly ranked song that you may not have heard of is one of my favorite
in 2009. It’s coming from Yoa, who has been featured in many famous
artist’s works, such as those of MC Mong, Jang Woo Hyuk, H-Eugene, and
Noblesse. She has been approved and looked highly upon not only by fans
but by Korea’s famous producers. The title track is Remember, which was
composed and penned by Yoa herself, in order to show her true and
unique colors. This medium-tempo number is about thanking one’s past
lover for the memories. MJ is the featured rapper in this song.

5. Yoon Do Hyun – 너라면 좋겠어 (I Wish It Was You)
Genre: Rock Ballad

Album: Yoon Do Hyun mini-album “Harmony” Track 1
Watch: MV
Back in 2005, songwriter Jun Hae Sung wrote “사랑했나 봐” (Seems To Fall In
Love) for Yoon Do Hyun and that became a big hit, ranked No. 2 on our
countdown that year. The same combination is back again in 2009 with “I
Wish It Was You” and made the top 5 once again. Similar to “Seems To
Fall In Love”, this song also has an attractive piano intro and
arrangement. It is a neo classic ballad that uses a synth orchestra. It
brings out the sadness of the song and fans can hear a whole new
different side of Yoon Do Hyun’s vocals.

6. Winterplay – Gypsy Girl
Genre: Vocal Jazz

Album: Winterplay mini-album “Hotsummer Play” Track 3
Watch: MV Live Performance
I never ranked a song of this genre before, but this one is just too
good too ignore. Winterplay consists of Korea’s best trumpet player,
Lee Joo Han, vocalist, Hwe Won who initially gained fame in Japan for
good looks and voice, guitarist-vocalist, Cho Woo Jun, and bassist,
So Eun Kyu. Together, the band has created music of various genres
ranging from pop, jazz, blues, to bossa nova. “Gypsy Girl” has a
Euro-gypsy edge to it. It is totally different from what you heard on
any K-pop song which makes this song so unique. The group has only
performed on contemporary music programs like Yeo Hee Yeol Sketchbook
and Music Travel LaLaLa so they were pretty much unnoticed by
mainstream audiences. However, this song did receive pretty good
airplay on Korean radio stations.

7. Ji Sun – 안녕 마음아 (Goodbye My Heart)
Genre: Modern Rock

Album: Ji Sun Vol. 1 Track 3
Watch: MV Live Performance
I was really saddened when I heard Ji Sun left Loveholic to turn solo.
To my pleasant surprise, her first solo album brings back all the
sounds that Loveholic was missing in recent years. In Ji Sun’s final
days with Loveholic, I think the group has become too mainstream in
their music. Ji Sun’s first solo album achieved a balance between pop
and modern rock. There was the pop ballad hit “그는 널 사랑하지 않아” which I
could also rank, but instead I go with the modern rock title track
“Goodbye My Heart” which reminds me so much of the early days of
Loveholic. Ji Sun’s album is one of my favorite albums in 2009.

8. 2NE1 – I Don’t Care
Genre: Hip-hop / R&B

Album: 2NE1 1st mini-album Track 2
Watch: MV Live Performance
Perhaps the most anticipated debutant in k-pop history, we started
hearing about this group for almost 3 years and they finally debuted in
2009. 2NE1 sure don’t disappoint any fans with all their hypes, and
perhaps even exceeding our expectations. While their debut hit “Fire”
suits more of their fierce image, this song is tailor-made for
mainstream acceptance, and it did, spending many weeks at No. 1 on
various music charts, good enough to make it into our year end top 10.

9. Hee Young (Gavy NJ) & Jang Hye Jin – Twilight 영원토록 (Twilight Forever)
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: Jang Hye Jin & Gavy NJ Hee Young single “Twilight Forever” Track 1
Watch: MV Live Performance
I’ve been wanting to rank a Gavy NJ song for a long time. Their two
group hit songs this year are both excellent. But at the end I choose
this collaboration between their top vocalist Hee Young and veteran
Jang Hye Jin. There are not too many all female duets in K-pop and this
song written by Gavy NJ’s producer Min Myung Ki is excellent. The
lyrics are about eternal love between a couple, and the music video
used scenes from the movie, “Twilight”.

10. T-Ara & Cho Shin Sung – TTL/TTL Listen 2 (Time To Love/Time To Love: Listen 2)
Genre: Pop / Dance

Album: T-Ara & Cho Shin Sung digital single TTL Track 1
Watch: MV (TTL)MV (TTL Listen 2) Live Performance (TTL)Live Performance (TTL Listen 2)
This is the highest ranked dance beat song in our countdown this year.
I normally don’t listen to many uptempo dance beat songs but this one
was on my play list for a long time. It has the complete package of a
good uptempo song with an additive disco melody and
rapping, and two different versions. Songwriter Kim Do Hoon may be
better known for his ballads, but his dance songs are really good too.
Two years ago I ranked Jang Hye Jin’s “Go Away Love” on the top 10 and
that uptempo song was also written by Kim Do Hoon. I’ve included both
versions here but I prefer the original version better.

11. Snofeel (feat. Noblesse) – 사랑노래 (Love Song)
Genre: R&B / Hip-hop

Album: Snofeel Vol. 1 Track 2
Watch: MV
Newbie singer “Snofeel” created by singer/songwriter/rapper Noblesse,
releases his first full album which consists of hip-hop and R&B
tracks. Snofeel had released three singles in the past. He spent many years
as an underground musician and also spent five long years preparing for
his first full album. His title song “Love Song” was composed by Soul-j
and written by Noblesse. The song introduces Snofeel’s refreshing rap
skills and Noblesse’s vocals. Snofeel dedicates this song to all the
loving couples who will feel blissful through this song. Thanks to our
sponsor YesAsia, I have a chance to listen to Snofeel’s album
“Hybrid Soul” and it is one of the best albums I’ve heard in 2009.
Besides the title song, many other songs in this album is worth

12. Brown Eyed Girls – Abracadabra
Genre: Pop /Dance

Album: Brown Eyed Girls Vol. 3 Track 2
Watch: MV
Perhaps the first song that most people has heard of, and this one
needs no introduction. It is the representative track for Brown Eyed
Girls’ third regular album, “Sound G.” It is an electro-pop style dance
song, one of the two dance beat songs on our top 20 this year. The choreography of this song has become a
classic now. Brown Eyed Girls has also become a regular in our year end
countdown. No longer underrated, the 4-member group has become one of
k-pop’s finest girl groups and most consistent hit maker.

13. Island Guitar – 무늬만 진돗개 (Spotted Jindo Dog)
Genre: Acoustic Light Rock

Album: Island Guitar digital single Spotted Jindo Dog Track 2
Listen to: Full Song (thanks to Mardi09 for uploading)
Comment: A very refreshing song, even its song title. smile.gif
Singer song writer, Island Guitar who has been in tune under group
scene as a folk artist has released her first single album. Her name
Island Guitar means to come out of an island with a guitar but it holds
special meaning to her as she spend her school days on an island.
Island Guitar composed, penned, and arranged all three songs on the
album. If you are tired of the repetitive melodies in some of the K-pop
songs these days, try this song.

14. Kim Bum Soo & Shim Hyun Bo – 이별의 맛 (A Taste Of Separation)
Genre: Pop Ballad

Album: Digital single Color Of City (Blue) Track 1
Watch: MV
Comment: “A Taste of Separation” was the
first of the Color of City project series where different artists sing
about precious stories in our life. The song is sung by Kim Bum Soo and
it was composed and penned by veteran singer-songwriter Shim Hyun Bo.
The song is about the after image and circumstances one sees in their
significant other after breakup.

15. Lee Hyun Wook (feat. Park Sun Zoo) – Life Goes On
Genre: Rock Ballad

Album: Lee Hyun Wook single “Life Goes On” Track 2
Watch: MV (thanks to Mardi09 for uploading)
Acknowledged singer-songwriter, Lee Hyun Wook returns with his third
single. “Life Goes On” is his title song that has a strong yet easy
listening beat and melody with lyrics that consoles its listeners. It
also featured the voice of another singer-songwriter, Park Sun Zoo.
Ironically, Park Sun Zoo has another duet “Man And Woman” with Kim Bum
Soo a few years ago that made into our year end top 10.

16. Suh Young Eun – 그리움이 내린 나무 (One Step At A Time)
Genre: Pop Ballad

Album: Suh Young Eun Vol.8 Track 1
Watch: MV
A familiar name in this countdown. Suh Young Eun had a song almost each
year in our top 20 and this year is of no exception – she is one of my
favorite female artistes in Korea and her voice and songs are just my
kind of songs (biased selection!). The difference this time is that
this one is more of a sad song. Suh Young Eun has been focusing on
happy themes on her songs the last few albums. This acoustic light rock
ballad brings out the best of her voice.

17. Someday (duet Je-A of Brown Eyed Girls) – 알고있나요 (Do You Know?)
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: Someday Vol. 1 Track 2 / KBS Drama “Boys Over Flower” OST
Listen to: Full Song
KBS Drama “Boys Over Flower” OST produced many hit songs. This one by
new R&B group Someday may be the most underrated. This song has two
different versions, and I think the duet version with Brown Eyed Girls’
leader Je-A really pushes the song into our year end top 20. It is the
best R&B duet ballad I’ve heard since Vibe and Jang Hye Jin’s “That
Man, That Woman” a few years ago. And to keep up with our tradition, we
included one song from dramas/movies on our year end recommended top 20
each year. This song is the one for 2009.

18. IhKa (feat. 1sagain) – 아파 (It Aches)
Genre: Pop Ballad

Album: IhKa Vol. 1 Track 2
Watch: MV
Fresh off being the bonus track of December week three’s music chart,
this song made it to our year end top 20 recommended songs. Known as
the “unknown musician”, producer and composer 1sagain makes a comeback
with his first project album with newbie singer IhKa. Back in 2008,
Ikha debuted with her first album [Introducing One’s Dream]. The song
on this single “It Aches” is a medium tempo ballad track that showcases
IhKa’s sad voice and 1sagain’s great rapping skills. The song was
written by lyricist Choi Kyung Yi and produced by composer Jung Pil

19. Made (feat. Ami, narration: Cha Yoo Joo) – 내 걱정은 하지마세요 (Don’t Worry About Me)
Genre: Hip-hop Ballad

Album: Made 1st mini-album “Made In Made” Track 1
Watch: MV Listen to: Full Song (thanks to Mardi09 for uploading)
If you like songs from PK Heman, or in more mainstream – MC Mong’s rap
ballad, you’ll like this song. Made had already gained the attention of
20,000 netizens and rose as a Ucc star. Through this mini-album, the
singer has been able to further showcase his passion and sincerity. The
album was produced by NGK and Lee Sung Han, the composer of Seo Tai Ji
company. The title track is Don’t Worry About Me which features rookie
singer Ami. The song depicts a couple’s longing after breakup, told
through Made’s rapping and Cha Yoo Joo’s narration. Made’s mini-album
has many quality songs other than this title song as well and I really
enjoy listening to it.

20. Unplug & AG – 바보 (Fool, Farewell To Our Twenties)
Genre: R&B Ballad

Album: Unplug & AG digital single “Farewell To Our Twenties” track 4
Listen to: Full Song (thanks to Mardi09 for uploading)
Comment: At No. 20 and a song related to twenty.
Vocalist AG and rapper Unplugged have come together as a duo group
“Unplug & AG”. AG has been featured in MC Sniper, Baechigi and
Kinetic Flow’s albums while Unpluggedsoul released his solo album
[Social Allergy] and a compilation album [Micology] in the past. Just
from their digital single [Farewell To Our Twenties], there are a total
of four songs that are dedicated to people who are approaching their 30s.
“Fool” was composed by Go Byung Hee which is a song about loneliness.
This song combines acoustic guitar, folk, R&B, and hip-hop into one
genre and is one of my favorite songs this past summer. For those of
you who are approaching 30 perhaps you’ll like this song even more.