It appears that 2018 will be the year that K-pop really takes over the global stage. Now, with a huge number of Korean artists putting on North American tours and K-pop songs making it onto the U.S. charts, it’s easier than ever for Western audiences to embrace the K-pop trends.
We want to help you get in the mood, so here are some of the best K-pop songs that you need on your summer playlist. Whether you’re new to the scene or a longtime fan, this mix of new and classic K-pop songs is sure to have you partying all summer long. Check out the end of the list to get the Spotify playlist.
12.) Taeyeon – Why
SM Entertainment’s Taeyeon just announced her comeback, telling fans that she’s looking to try out a new genre. While we wait with bated breath to see what this new style will be, we’re listening to her chilled summer classic Why. The laid-back vibe doesn’t take away from a catchy beat that makes it one of those great K-pop songs for getting ready for a night of dancing.
Why, why, why, did I put off this day for nothing?Because all of my worries vanished tonight, yeah.
11.) BTS – Fake Love
BTS (aka Bangtan Boys) have been taking the USA by storm recently, claiming spots on the charts. You’ve probably even heard Fake Love playing on TV and radio shows, and now you can add it to your playlist of summer K-pop songs and blast this ass-kicking heartbreak album to your heart’s content.
I wanna be a good man, just for you,I gave the world, just for you,I changed everything, just for you,But I don’t know me, who are you?
10.) F(x) – Hot Summer
Ok, so, full-disclosure: Amber is 100% my ultimate bias (that’s K-pop speak for “favorite member”). In fact it was her cool look and awesome dance moves that really cemented my love of K-pop.
Crazy fandom aside, though, Hot Summer is pretty much a staple of every list of summer K-pop songs. It’s vibrant and catchy and will keep you humming all day long.
Yeah! It must be burning,‘Cause I got you sweating.In this weather all them heads be turning.True dat- You know I got it
9.) CL – Lifted
The baddest female in K-pop is making waves across the globe with her solo career. In Lifted, she’s paying homage to the hip-hop greats who inspired her, particularly Wu-Tang Clan. Yes, that’s right, that is actually Method Man dancing with her in the video!
This English-language tune, with its reggae-,inspired vibes is the one of the most perfect K-pop songs for lazy summer afternoons. Get yourself a shorty and chill out.
We poetryin motion,
Rub it in your skin like lotion.
8.) HyunA – Ice Cream
HyunA is another great female performer who successfully made the transition from group artist to a stellar solo singer. HyunA is our go-to girl for awakening our inner sex goddess, and this song is no exception. Report to the dance floor and show off your hottest moves to this feel-good K-pop song. For bonus points, this video features a cameo from everyone’s favorite K-pop hero: Psy! HyunA was featured in his mega-hit Gangnam Style, after all …
I got 31 flava,
Sometimes I’m a shooting star – Pop Pop Pop!
I might melt you (one more time).You’re in big trouble today.I’m like sweet ice cream, I’ll melt you.Fresh ice cream, cream, cream, cream, cream.
7.) Winner – Island
If you haven’t checked out the latest album, EVERYD4Y, by this fun four-person group, I’d really recommend it. For a summer classic, though, look no further than last year’s hit Island. It’s the perfect beach bar tune for hot afternoons and even hotter nights.
I’m am arc above the horizon, just for you,If you’re by my side, that place is treasure island.I’ll save you from the prison of gray buildings,Just rest on the sand under the blue sky.
6.) BOL4 – Travel
Without doubt one of my favorite K-pop songs of the lastthree years and my top pick for Best Summer Song 2018. This upbeat track from female duo BOL4 (aka Bolbbalgan4) is all about saying goodbye to the stresses and hurts of your everyday life and going on a summer adventure. I dare you to listen to this song and not want to pack your bags! Plus it’ll be stuck in your head for days.
Take me to London, Paris, New York City,Falling into these beautiful cities.Like I’m a bird, bird, like the flying birds,Freely fly, fly, I can breathe.
5.) NCT – We Young
The boys of NCT Dream (a sub-group of NCT) are so cute even your mom will love them. That doesn’t mean they don’t know how to make awesome party tunes, though, as We Young proves. This song is about the excitement of summer love and will make you want to dance the night away in the arms of your summer crush.
Will this remain as a memory when we become adults?This trembling feeling right now.When we hold hands and look into each other’s eyes.So what?We’re gonna have fun,‘Cause we hot and we young.
4.) INFINITE – That Summer
Another cute summer love song from another cute boy band. INFINITE’s That Summer is a little more laid-back and melancholy, so it is great if you’re looking for some K-pop songs to chill to on your own or with the one you love.
Hey, hello, do you remember?The memories we made in that summer?Hey, hello, I only saw you,What type of memory am I to you?Hey, hello.
3.) MAMAMOO – Starry Night
This is a great new song, and it is sure to become one of the top hits of the summer. The Spanish guitar in this track always makes me think of sultry summer nights in far-off countries, so it’s ideal for beach bonfires and pool parties.
Starry night, it’s a starry night.You breeze over to me,So many nights we spent together,Makes me drunk.Starry night,Ya ya ya,Starry night.
2.) Red Velvet – Ice Cream Cake
This awesome song is a few years old now, but it still makes it onto my annual playlist of summer K-pop songs. Its mixture of bright, poppy choruses, high-speed verses, bold rap, cute music box themes and electro sounds seems like it should be a chaotic mess, but the whole thing blends into an awesome, energetic earworm. Put the top down, turn the music up and cruise around with your squad to this upbeat song.
I scream, you scream, Gimme that, gimme that ice cream.
1.) Jay Park – All I Wanna Do
Jay Park fans got to check out some of H1GHR MUSIC’s latest in their recent USA tour. With his newest collab with 2 Chainz (Soju) blasting in clubs across the globe, it’s clear that Park’s star is continuing to rise.
For me, however, All I Wanna Do is still his ultimate summer song, which is why it gets a danspot on my playlist. Fans of 1MILLION dance studios will spot some familiar faces in the video, including dance legend May J Lee.
Girl, pardon me I don’t mean to be rude,But I got some paper wanna spend it on you.All I wanna do, is kick it with you.Bottles on deck for you and your crew.Baby swing by, girl you should come through,All I wanna do, is kick it with you.
Ready to party? You can get the full playlist of summer K-pop songs, including some that didn’t make it to shortlist, here.