It’s been more than two weeks since 2018 started, and we’re still adjusting to the new year. We’re looking forward to what the new year will bring, but we also can’t help but reminisce about the year that was, or the years that were.
So let’s reminisce about K-Pop from ten years ago. (Really? It’s been ten years?) Perhaps 2008 is one of the golden years of K-Pop, the year giving us unforgettable songs that are still played today, debuts of iconic groups, and the breakthrough of K-Pop in the West.
Without further ado, and in order of the date of release, here are our ten unforgettable songs from 2008:
Kissing You is the third single from the then-nine-member group’s debut album. It plays on the girls’ sweet image less than a year since their debut. The lollipop-waving choreography became well known as well and was also the highlights of covers of the songs, including former KARA member Jiyoung’s cover for her DSP Entertainment audition.
Brown Eyed Girls
L.O.V.E. is the first Brown Eyed Girls single that delivered their first win in a music show. It was also one of the top hit songs in the first half of 2008. This song is a departure from their usual music style, using more electronic dance beats, with string instruments leading to the members’ soothing vocals.
Epik High (ft. Jisun)
Epik High is known for pushing boundaries of Korean hip hop and their fifth album Pieces, Part One did not disappoint, earning them several nominations and awards. One is about heartbreak and redemption, and the electronic piano and beats with the members’ voice and Jisun’s vocals gives the song a melancholy befitting the theme.
Super Junior’s subgroup aimed to promote in China also released a Korean version of their debut song. It’s upbeat and carefree, and will give ELFs a walk down memory lane when they give the song another listen after all these years.
It’s still so painful to think of SHINee following Jonghyun’s passing, but this is automatically one of the songs the author has played following the news to remind herself of the good days. Their debut song is no doubt one of the most iconic songs of K-Pop. The R&B sound of Replay, the synchronized dancing, and SHINee’s fashion in this era are just many of the elements that defined 2008 and got the noonas swooning. It’s difficult to think that this will be performed by a now-four-member SHINee, but we know Jonghyun is there with them.
Day by Day
Big Bang veered from their usual hip hop style and went for a dance song with a hip hop ballad for the title track of their album Stand Up. The experiment paid off, with “Day By Day” (or commonly known as “Haru Haru”) being considered as one of Big Bang’s most popular songs and one of the most iconic songs of K-Pop, its sad, nostalgic-sounding melody still resounding with many K-Pop fans up to this day. The song’s accomplishments got Big Bang the Artist of the Year Award in the 2008 Mnet Music Festival (now known as MAMA).
Before Psy and BTS, it was the Wonder Girls who rose to international acclaim with “Nobody.” Its upbeat melody reminiscent of songs from the 60s and 70s, not to mention repetitive lyrics and easy-to-repeat dance moves, make the perfect formula of the song being catchy to anyone who listens to it. The “Nobody” era brought Wonder Girls several awards such as Song for the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Female Group in the 2008 Mnet Music Festival and the Bonsang in the 2008 Golden Disk Awards.
IU made her debut with the mini album Lost and Found, with “Lost Child” as its title track. The song is a beautiful ballad, showing her strong and mature vocals at her then-tender age of fifteen. It may not be as catchy as the other songs in the list, but it’s nice to look at the roots of one of South Korea’s top solo artists.
Dubbed as one K-Pop’s staple songs, Mirotic remains to be TVXQ’s most commercially successful song to date. Its powerful beats and the members’ strong vocals led the song made it addictive to listen to. Despite the controversies surrounding the lyrics, TVXQ went on to win numerous awards in music shows and awards shows, including Album of the Year in the 2008 Golden Disk Awards and the 2008 Mnet Music Festival.
KARA was initially formed to show a strong female image with R&B sounds, but the group took a complete 180 after the departure of one member. “Pretty Girl” was their second single of 2008 following two new members and a change to a cute and playful image. Highlighting their “pretty but natural” appeal was met with more positive reception from the general audience.
What’s your favorite song of 2008? Any 2008 songs out there that is not on the list? Let us know in the comments below!