Gee - Girls' Generation, 2009
Lately, there has been a lot of turmoil from SM Entertainment when one of the Girls' Generation members was removed from the group. Things got a little personal when Jessica, the member in question, referred to the rest of the group as "8 others" on her Weibo account. It seems as if Jessica had other priorities over her group (her clothing brand for one) and that's why the company decided to let her go.
Well, it still doesn't change the fact that Girls' Generation is one of the most well-known K-pop groups today. Hopefully, Jessica and the "8 others" will be able to stay as good friends.
Sorry, Sorry - Super Junior, 2009
If you thought Girls' Generation had too many members with nine girls (well, it's eight now), Super Junior will make you think again. There are up to thirteen members in this boy group. That is enough to form a football/soccer team. Somewhat proportional to the group's size, Super Junior's popularity went global and Sorry, Sorry became one of the hottest K-pop hit songs in the 21 century.
Abracadabra - Brown Eyed Girls, 2009
Even though they may not be as popular as Wonder Girls or Girls' Generation, Brown Eyed Girls definitely holds their own ground. Being free from the big names like JYP, SM, and YG means they can do whatever the heck they want. And Abracadabra proves that it's a good thing.
Mister - Kara, 2009
Kara is another group that had to start from the bottom. It took many agonizing years before they were able to compete with the best of them. Mister solidified Kara's success once and for all, especially in Korea and Japan.
Nae gwee-eh caen-dee ("My Ear's Candy") - Baek Ji-young (feat. Taecyeon), 2009
Baek was a dancing singer before she started to sing ballads. With My Ear's Candy, she went back to her younger days of dance music. Ok Taecyeon from 2PM featured in the song, providing lots of "eye candy" for the ladies.
Heartbreaker - G-Dragon, 2009
Really, what can't GD do? He can sing. He can rap. He can dance. He can compose. He's also known as a fashion icon. No wonder he's as successful as he is. Heartbreaker was included in his first solo album and instantly became a big hit. Oh, by the way, his stage name is G-Dragon because yong in his real name, Kwon Ji-yong means "dragon."
Joh-eun nahl ("Good Day") - IU, 2010
Lee Ji-eun or IU was already a star ready to be born. Her charismatic personality on Korean TV shows won many people's hearts. All she needed was a hit song. Joh-eun nahl, meaning "A Good Day" was exactly that.
Nae-gah jae-eel jahl nah-gah ("I'm the Best") - 2NE1, 2011
The head of YG Family is Yang Hyun-suk, also known as Yang-goon. He wanted 2NE1 to release a very brash song, which is not usual for a K-pop girl group. I'm the Best was the end-result, which is more bad-ass than many other K-pop songs. Even songs from boy groups.
Trouble Maker - Trouble Maker, 2011
Wherever HyunA goes, she seems to bring lots of success. A music video she helped make, Gangnam Style, became YouTube's all time number one viewed video. In this another very catchy song, HyunA sings and dances with Hyun-seung from Beast. The music video for Trouble Maker currently has 45 million views on YouTube. Gangnam Style, on the other hand, has a few more views. (2.1 billion to be exact.)
Only One - BoA, 2012
How can BoA be not mentioned when we are discussing K-pop? Even though she's not as popular as she once used to be, she still has a lot left in her tank. Only One finally shows BoA as a fully grown lady. It only took forever for her to get rid of the a-happy-young-girl-in-puberty look. By the way, she still won't reach 30 until it's 2016. Talk about being forever young.
Bounce - Cho Yong-pil, 2013
Cho Yong-pil is one of the most beloved Korean musicians there is. That's why he's called the "King of Pop" by many Koreans. In 2013, Cho's new song, Bounce, stole the number one spot in various music charts in South Korea. Long live the King, Mr. Cho. Long live the King.
Growl - EXO, 2013
Move over, Super Junior. Because EXO now appears to have taken over the throne in the SM empire. The only question left is, will EXO's Growl end up being more popular than Super Junior's Sorry, Sorry? Only time will tell.