Blast From The Past: 10-Year-Old K-Pop Songs That Still Have Us Groovin'

We all have some fond memory of songs from way back when, either because they were the soundtrack to certain events in your life, or because the songs were just plain rockin’. And thanks to the greatness of second-generation (and 2.5?) K-pop idols, the year 2011 was filled with straight-up bops (and plenty of grayscale colored MVs) that we still hear about today. While it’s sad that most of the groups on this list have either disbanded or undergone lineup changes, this only makes these gems from them even more precious.

So scroll down for some memorable hits (in no particular order) from 10 years ago that will still hit you right in the heart:

“Be My Baby” – Wonder Girls

The synth-infused “Be My Baby” is part of the group’s second studio album “Wonder World,” and comes after they’ve spent a few years focusing their promotions in the States. The catchy chorus gives off fun Christmas song vibes and will easily get you singing along with it.

“I Am The Best” – 2NE1

This song is so huge, we’d be able to identify it just from hearing the first few seconds. Everything about it exudes confidence and swagger, and we’d expect nothing less from queens 2NE1. It’s no wonder it topped charts, set all kinds of records, appeared in overseas commercials, and well… was just the best.

“Mr. Simple” – Super Junior

Super Junior has had hits after hits in their very extensive career, and “Mr. Simple” is yet another one of them. This super catchy song won them a first place crown on the first day of their comeback as well as multiple year-end awards, and the album itself is one of their best selling albums to date.

“Good-bye Baby” – miss A

Riding the high from their spectacular debut with “Bad Girl, Good Girl,” miss A dazzles us with another of their top-tier songs “Good-bye Baby” in 2011. The quartet not only follows through on their chic image, but also amps up their confidence and swagger and delivers a fuller, edgier production.

“Fiction” – BEAST (Now known as Highlight)

In 2011, BEAST dropped their first studio album “Fiction and Fact,” which included the stellar “Fiction” and “On Rainy Days.” And while “On Rainy Days” actually nabbed a first place crown on music shows before “Fiction,” this angsty track (with the memorable leg-shuffling choreography) showed everyone who’s boss by winning the Song of the Year award at the 2011 KBS Music Festival.

“The Boys” – Girls’ Generation

“Girls’ Generation make you feel the heat” indeed. “The Boys” was the first time the group tried a song with hip hop elements and showed off a sexier, slicker side — that drum-heavy dance break still looks super hot today. The group also performed this song on U.S. talk shows, making their debut in the States.

“You & I” – IU

“You & I” is from IU’s second studio album titled “Last Fantasy,” which is an album that was meant to indicate a last hurrah before she said goodbye to her childhood. And this song — with IU’s signature high range — is very much an early-IU-era song, with all the swells and almost magical touches in the music, exuding youthfulness and enchantment.

“Trouble Maker” – Trouble Maker

“Trouble Maker” is the super sultry number from Jang Hyunseung (then promoting as a member of BEAST) and HyunA (then promoting as a member of 4Minute), who formed a similarly titled co-ed duo. Inter-group duos like this, much less co-ed duos, are practically non-existent these days so this truly is a fond memory of K-pop yesteryears. That and the super identifiable whistling at the beginning of the song.

“Love is MOVE” – Secret

This uptempo, swing-style song is such a bop, it wouldn’t be surprising if you found yourself singing “sarangeun move, move” just by looking at the title. Secret exudes their signature style and sass throughout, and “Love is MOVE” left a lasting impression even while it was promoting alongside other top tier girl groups.

“Tonight” – BIGBANG

After a two-year hiatus of sorts, BIGBANG came back to release their fourth mini album which houses the title track “Tonight.” Unsurprisingly, the song was a huge success and hit No. 1 on various charts, winning music show awards left and right, as well as being one of the top 10 best-performing singles of the year.


This high energy, visually vibrant song is one of KARA’s more recognizable songs, with its catchy synth riff that throws us back to the ’80s. This is undeniably a song that will just perk you up and get you bobbing along with all the fun energy. “STEP” also holds a special place in the hearts of Kamilias (fan club name), as it’s the first MV to hit the 100 million views milestone on YouTube.

“Hands Up” – 2PM

2PM is well known for their addictive bangers, just like this 2011 entry “Hands Up.” “Put put put put put, put your hands up, put your hands up.” Now try getting that out of your head for the rest of the day. ‘Nuff said.

“Roly Poly” – T-ara

Despite being a year filled with mega hits from both boy and girl groups, T-ara’s “Roly Poly” became the sleeper hit that knocked everyone out of the park and became the best-selling and most downloaded song of 2011. No one could say no to this fun disco throwback that took Korea by storm, and heck, was even made into a stage musical in 2012!

“Bubble Pop” – HyunA

HyunA was on a roll in 2011, not only promoting as part of 4Minute and Trouble Maker, but also as a solo artist and releasing her first mini album with the title track “Bubble Pop.” The song was a huge success and has the distinct title of being the first female solo K-pop artist to hit 100 million views on YouTube.

“Be Mine” – INFINITE

INFINITE continued to build their brand to great success with “Be Mine,” just one year after their debut. With a strong melody line, sharp choreography, and a key change, this song is distinctively INFINITE, doing what they do best. This is also the song that awarded the boys with their first-ever music show win.

Which gem are you (re-)discovering? And are you about to hit repeat on your “2nd-gen groups” playlist? Share your love and your comments below!

Belinda_C can’t believe GD and Park Myung Soo‘s “Having An Affair” is also a 10-year-old song. And from the U.S. side, so is Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” *insert shocked face* Talk songs, SEVENTEEN, and Shinhwa with her on Twitter!

Currently watching: “The Uncanny Counter,” “Lovestruck in the City”
All-time favorite:
 “Kill Me Heal Me,” “Defendant,” “Hotel Del Luna
Looking forward to: Any recommendations?

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