According to Rolling Stone, This Is the Greatest Song in the History of Korean Pop Music

Girls Generation Gee

Photo / Girls’ Generation

Rolling Stone recently released its list of The 100 Greatest Songs in the History of Korean Pop Music and one emerged victorious.

The number one spot went to Girls’ Generation’s “Gee,” which came out in 2009.

According to the publication, “‘Gee’ isn’t so much an accounting of a ‘first love story,’ as Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany promises in the song’s intro, as it is a testament to the way love — and all of its indescribable ecstasies — can be translated through pop music. This enduring hit overflows with rapidly repeated syllables, every utterance becoming an onomatopoeic expression of joy. That bolsters how the song wields aegyo (a Korean term for cutesy behaviors and speech) as a dizzying, maximalist aesthetic. Like no other K-pop song before it — or since — it’s a pure distillation of the giddiness of infatuation.”

Watch the music video below:

Rolling Stone also talked about the song’s history, noting that the song “almost never happened.”

They said, “SM Entertainment planned to release ‘Dancing Queen’ as the lead single from the group’s debut EP in 2009 — presumably as a response to Wonder Girls’ retro hit ‘Nobody.’ Upon showing ‘Gee’ to the record label, producer duo E-Tribe were told that the song’s lyrics were childish and the melody was weak.”

The song, however, proved to be “more powerfully direct, especially the way the song’s glittering Shibuya-kei synths continually build, capturing how a crush can energize us. Thankfully, E-Tribe stood their ground and were proved right when the song quickly took off, spawning the most viewed K-pop music video up to that time (until Psy’s “Gangnam Style” ascended to the throne in 2012).”

The list also mentioned that “fourteen years after it came out, ‘Gee’ still feels like a revelation, and that’s because love always does too.”

Girls’ Generation is made up of Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun. In 2014, former member Jessica left the group.

Rounding out the top 10 are H.O.T.’s “Candy” (#2), IU’s “Good Day” (#3), BTS’s “Spring Day” (#4), Cho Yong Pil’s “Short Hair” (#5), Blackpink’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” (#6), BIGBANG’s “Haru Haru” (#7), 2NE1’s “I Am the Best (#8), Seo Taiji and Boys’ “I Know” (#9), and Wonder Girls’ ‘Tell Me’ (#10).

The list was developed by a panel of music journalists and critics, both based in South Korea and the United States, who have been writing about Korean music for years.

Rolling Stone said that “after an initial ballot vote and series of heated debates, we arrived at a list that looked beyond the strict definition of K-pop as a hitmaking business in order to tell the broader history of Korean popular music.”

The top 100 can be read here.

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