We are at the half way point of 2011. It is time again to summarize the first 26 weeks of our soompi weekly K-Pop music chart and announce the half year top 10. We use the same mechanism to calculate the half year chart as we do in the year end soompi gayo award: each song’s scores being adjusted for their weekly position, timing of release, and relative competition.
Like I mentioned before, the competition is getting very tough now that we have so many great artists while each song’s stay on the top is getting shorter. This year’s top song scores barely over 5000 points. In years past, half year No. 1 songs mostly score over 6000 and some even over 7000 points!
The top three songs are all by female groups and soloists. This is not surprising as girl power has been very strong on our chart in the first half of 2011. Overall, the male and female counts are even. In the top 10, there are four female groups, three male groups, two male soloists, and one female soloist. Many of the artists in this half year’s top 10 are singers who debuted in the last two to three years. They have really stepped up to become top artists.
As always before you read further, I want to say that some of your favorite artists may not be in the top 10, and also this ranking may be different from other half year rankings you see on TV or on other websites. Soompi’s weekly music chart is based on a variety of sources and each week we summarize all these major sources to reflect what is the latest and most popular songs in Korea. As I can observe this year, unlike in the past, many different chart sources have different No. 1 songs on the same week. There are not many consensus hits that stay for too long. It makes the competition very close and unpredictable. You may not agree on this ranking but these songs are no doubt some of the top hits in Korea so far this year.
SOOMPI HALF YEAR TOP 10 K-POP SONGS IN 2011
Music: Kang Ji Won, Kim Ki Bum / Lyrics: Kang Ji Won, Kim Ki Bum
Album: Secret Single Album – Shy Boy | Purchase this Album
Comment: Usually, more recent songs have higher chances to get No. 1 but “Shy Boy” is the longest tenured No. 1 songs in the first half of 2011, having spent five weeks on top of our chart. “Shy Boy” also spent a total of 12 weeks on our top 50. Despite its low scores compared to the top songs in years past, it still wins by nearly 600 points over the No. 2 song. Congratulations to Secret. They are probably the top girl group on our chart so far in 2011, as their current hit “Starlight Moonlight” is also No. 1 now.
Music: Hitchhiker, Cantrall, Watson, Hoeppner / Lyrics: Kenzie, Misfit
Album: F(x) Vol. 1 | Purchase this Album
Comment: This song will probably be No. 1 if their repackaged album was released later. Just last week, “Pinocchio” left the chart and was replaced by “Hot Summer”. Had it still be on the chart, it will likely make up the gap of 593 points difference to “Shy Boy”. Still, No. 2 is no small accomplishment to f(x), who before this year is overshadowed by many of their “sunbaes” in the giant SM Entertainment family. With SNSD currently focusing on the Japanese market, f(x) becomes one of SM’s focus locally in Korea so far in 2011. “Pinocchio” spent three weeks on top of our chart.
Music: Kim Do Hoon, Lee Sang Ho / Lyrics: Yangpa
Album: G.na Vol. 1 | Purchase this Album
Comment: Just one point below “Pinocchio” is G.na’s breakthrough hit “Black & White”. G.na debuted last year with moderate success. While many agree that she has great talent, the general public didn’t notice her until this song. Timing is everything and it is so true for “Black & White” as it is released early in the year where competition is weaker, enabling G.na to establish herself quickly as a top female soloist, a category perhaps the weakest link in K-Pop (many talented ladies are part of girl groups). Ever since this hit, she has been the talk of the town. Despite only one week on top, “Black & White” spent 12 weeks on our top 50, which is always important when adding up the scores.
Music: SEI, KOZI / Lyrics: Han Sung Ho
Album: CNBlue Vol. 1 | Purchase this Album
Comment: The highest ranked male group, CN Blue was perfect 3 for 3 in terms of No. 1 songs to start our their career. That string was broken recently as their latest hit “Love Girl” did not reach the top. “Intuition” comes from the group’s long awaited first full studio album. It spent three weeks on top of our chart.
Genre: Pop Ballad
Music: Kim Do Hoon / Lyrics: Kim Ina
Album: K.Will 2nd mini-album | Purchase this Album
Comment: This was K.Will’s first ever No. 1 song, well deserved for the highly regarded singer whose has came close in previous hits. “Heart Is Beating” is the title track of K.Will’s 2nd mini-album. His strong vocal is perfect for a song about the sweet feeling of first love. It spent one week at top and nine weeks on the chart.
Genre: R&B Ballad
Music: Hitman Bang / Lyrics: Hitman Bang
Album: Lee Hyun mini-album Vol. 2 | Purchase this Album
Comment: 8Eight’s Lee Hyun has had many activities outside the group. Last year, he teamed up with 2AM’s Chang Min for the duet “Eat Well” which was named the top digital single on our year end soompi gayo award. “You Are The Best Of My Life” is his solo hit this year and is the highest ranked song not reaching No. 1.
Music: Choi Gyu Sung, Shinsadong Tiger / Lyrics: Yong Joon Hyung, Choi Gyu Sung, Shinsadong Tiger
Album: Beast Vol. 1 | Purchase this Album
Comment: This song is newest released amongst the half year top 10 and I won’t be surprised to see it leapfrogging a few songs at year end. “Fiction” is coming from Beast’s first full length album. Their amazingly fast rise to the top echelon of male groups in Korea is further cemented by this chart topping song, which is as close to a consensus hit in various sources as we can find in the top half of 2011.
Music: Nam Ki Sung / Lyrics: Nam Ki Sung, Park Gun Ho, Jang Joon Myung
Album: Girl’s Day single – Girl’s Day Party #3
Comment: The highest ranked digital single on the chart, “Twinkle Twinkle” is in the half year top 10 despite only reaching No. 4 on the chart. However, it does manage to stay 13 weeks on the top 50. Definitely a breakthrough hit for Girl’s Day, who debuted last year without having any major hit songs.
Music: Daishi Dance / Lyrics: Shi Jin, Double K
Album: Rainbow mini-album Vol. 3 | Purchase this Album
Comment: Rainbow’s situation is about the same as f(x). DSP’s top girl group Kara is busy on their Japanese career, Rainbow took center stage and got their biggest hit so far. “To Me” reached No. 2 on our chart and spent 10 weeks overall in the top 50. Rainbow just released the repackaged version of this mini-album, and their new song “Sweet Dream” is expected to be another big hit.
Music: e.knock, G-Dragon / Lyrics: G-Dragon
Album: Big Bang mini-album Vol. 4 | Purchase this Album
Comment: Perhaps ranked lower than many fans expected, the logical explanation is that the special edition of this Big Bang’s album is released shortly after. With the double hit “Love Song” and “Stupid Liar” it limits the longevity of “Tonight”, which spent seven weeks on the chart and two weeks at No. 1. With those stats it still ends up in the top 10 and is a good accomplishment.