87. IU - BBIBBI 69. Pentagon - Shine 43. Red Velvet - Bad Boy 22. BTS - Fake Love
87. IU, "BBIBBI"
If BTS proved that conscious K-pop can cross over, IU makes the case for deeply personal K-pop. Korea's chart-topping songbird IU delivers a warning shot to haters and critics with this deceptively sweet and bouncy R&B cut, which finds her giving a "yellow C-A-R-D" to those who disrespect and infringe on someone's privacy. The single not only comments on IU's experiences in the public life, but it doubles as a universal empowerment anthem, knowing and acknowledging one's worth and personal rights. -- JEFF BENJAMIN
69. Pentagon, "Shine"
Beginning with a playful piano melody and co-writer E’Dawn clearing his throat, "Shine" is a tentative love confession delivered with a sense of campiness. Driven by quirky brass and onomatopoeic chants, the South Korean boy band's 10 members alternate between charming verses and rambunctious raps. The song not only became Pentagon’s first Top 10 entry on the World Digital Song Sales chart in April, but it also became Pentagon's final single with E’Dawn; he left the act later in the year after his publicized relationship with HyunA caused strife with former label Cube Entertainment. -- TAMAR HERMAN
43. Red Velvet, "Bad Boy"
Femme fatales and bad boys go hand in hand -- at least, that’s the end point of this tainted game of cat and mouse. This K-pop girl group, known for their cute yet mature duality, immerses you straight away in their moody soundscapes, filling this R&B jam with intricate details such a a siren onomatopoeia, clacking high heels and harmonies to spare. It's the latest proof that, in pop music, it’s not contradictory to be badass and soft at once. -- CAITLIN KELLEY
22. BTS, "Fake Love"
The group's Love Yourself album series can be seen as a traditional narrative arc, and this historic smash is the part in the story where the band mines the depths of despair, loneliness and heartbreak. So it felt natural that the K-pop superstars sonically pushed themselves to new places as well, wallowing in the angst of this track's emo-rap vibes and its wailing chorus. It’s not enough for BTS to pen another breakup song -- the real tragedy, they say, is the sense of self lost in the wreckage of a failed love. -- C.K.
yessss at bad boy song of the year TM