For this week’s Kpopmap Charts, we decided to round up ten of our favorite songs from the summer to create a special back-to-school playlist for you. Check out which singles made it on our list, and make sure to give them all a listen. We guarantee these tracks will have you dancing straight up through midterm exams!
1. Wanna One – “Energetic”
Easily the most anticipated debut of the summer, “Produce 101” project group Wanna One started off their year-long activities with a bang that was quite, well, energetic. “Energetic” became August’s unofficial K-Pop anthem, making it #1 on our end-of-summer playlist.
2. EXO – “Ko Ko Bop”
Speaking of things that were heavily anticipated, everyone was looking forward to a comeback track from EXO. However, we don’t think anyone anticipated how much it was going to take off. Be honest – how many of you have done the #KoKoBopChallenge?
3. Red Velvet – “Red Flavor”
Leave it to Red Velvet to give you a song that will have you bouncing around straight through the summer. Did you know “Red Flavor” helped the girls break a very big record this summer? Most number one albums by a K-Pop girl group. Get it, girls!
4. WINNER – “Love Me Love Me”
Every time WINNERcomes back after a long break, it’s always incredibly exciting, and while we were sure that their previous bop “Really Really” would be a tough act to follow, the boys absolutely nailed it with this upbeat summer vibe track “Love Me Love Me.”
5. SNSD – “Holiday”
This summer, SNSDcelebrated ten whole years since their debut with a brand new album. Their title track “Holiday” totally captured the celebratory mood of the milestone and showed the girls laughing and dancing around in a way that shows just how close the girls have gotten!
6. Apink – “Five”
This summer, the ladies of Apinkwere back to steal our hearts with “Five,” the title track their chart-topping “Pink UP” album. We’re big fans of this music video’s pastel-heavy ‘garden party’ concept. It’s not too late to go on one last summer picnic, is it?
7. GFRIEND – “Love Whisper”
Speaking of music videos that make us want to go outside, GFRIEND‘s “Love Whisper” was a lovely comeback track that showed a whole different color to one of our favorite girl groups. We still can’t tell if that water dancing scene was deliberate or a spontaneous move made on a hot day shooting outside!
8. KARD – “Hola Hola”
This summer, KARDmade the debut we feel like we’ve been waiting an absolute eternity for – and they definitely delivered! Their debut track “Hola Hola” undoubtedly set this summer’s mood, be it the track, the fashion, or this video’s stunning locations.
9. AKMU – “Dinosaur”
AKMUsongs always seem to put a smile on our faces, and the unusual concept for their latest single “Dinosaur” was so cute that we kind of wish it was a full-length movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, all you need to know is the Loch Ness monster has apparently been vacationing in Korea this whole time.
10. BLACKPINK – “As If It’s Your Last”
In a move that may have been intentional, our very last track on the summer playlist is BLACKPINK‘s “As If It’s Your Last.” This time around, the ladies proved they’re no rookie group any longer – both breaking records and breaking into the Japanese market with this fun dance single.
When an idol really makes it big in the industry, they become the face of their agency – their names becoming almost simultaneously one in the same with one of the Big 3. (Could you imagine an SM Entertainment without TaeYeon? How about a YG Entertainment without T.O.P? Yeah, we didn’t think so.)
For this week’s Kpopmap Charts, we’re going to make your head spin a little and introduce seven K-Pop idols who were supposed to debut in completely different agencies before finding the one that they finally broke into the scene with. We can’t help but wonder how their previous agencies would’ve changed the direction of their career.
Before Jun.K found a home in JYP and a brotherhood with his fellow ‘beast idols’ in 2PM, he is rumored to have trained alongside BIGBANG’s G-Dragon and TaeYang at YG Entertainment for a short time.
2. BIGBANG’s G-Dragon – SM Entertainment
Speaking of G-to-the-D, did you know that G-Dragon used to be a trainee at SM Entertainment? He was scouted by CEO Lee Soo Man when he was just eight years old and stayed with the agency for five years before making his way to YG. How weird would a SHINee-ready Kwon JiYong be?!
3. MONSTA X’s ShowNu – JYP Entertainment
Apparently, JJ Project was supposed to be JJJ Project! During the taping of MONSTA X survival competition “No Mercy,” ShowNushared that not only did he used to train at JYP, but he was even supposed to debut as a trio with JB and JinYoung of GOT7.
4. B.A.P’s Zelo – YG Entertainment
Stuck On You
Zelois among a number of popular idols rumored to have trained at YG Entertainment, but allegedly was held from debut due to his young age. The idol was noted not only for his rapping ability, but his dancing skills – having trained at a dance academy owned and operated by BIGBANG’s Seungri.
5. HyunA – JYP Entertainment
Another former JYP trainee, HyunAactually debuted through the agency – featured as the main rapper in the original Wonder Girls line-up. The singer’s parents pulled her out of activities due to health concerns, with the rap responsibilities handed over to Good Entertainment trainee YuBin.
6. B2ST’s HyunSeung – YG Entertainment
Perhaps the most famous ‘almost’ on this list is this ‘almost’ BIGBANG member – B2ST’s HyunSeung. The idol may not have made it into the final group, but fans can check out his adorable trainee days with the group in their pre-debut documentary.
7. Wanna One’s DaeHwi – JYP Entertainment
This “Produce 101” cutie pie has been making a splash with his project group, Wanna One. But before he was Brand New Music, he was just another trainee at JYP Entertainment, where his epic friendship with I.O.I’s Jeon SoMi first began.
For this week’s Kpopmap Chart, we are taking a look at the “who’s who” of K-Pop’s hottest endorsement models. Hawking anything from skincare products to cup ramyun, these idols have become the influencers of their industry, relied on by brands to drive sales for even the most basic of household items.
Let’s take a look at the idols currently gracing every billboard, magazine ad, and TV commercial these days. Can you take a guess who they are?
1. G-Dragon (BIGBANG)
With the reputation of an international style icon, G-Dragon has had the opportunity to model for quite a range of brands in both domestic and oversea markets. Recently, the BIGBANG rapper became a brand ambassador for Chanel, modeling their Gabrielle bag for a commercial.
IUis among the highest-earning celebrities in the K-Pop world, and brands often seek her out for her charmingly chic image. A representative for Hite-Jinro, one of such companies, called her the perfect product model because she is “an artist who is popular among all generations, even senior citizens.”
3. Suzy (miss A)
After making more than 10 billion won (approx. $9 million USD) in endorsement deals back in 2013, Suzywas officially named the “CF Queen” and has yet to give up the title. Her versatility and natural beauty have attracted legions of fans to purchase anything from eyewear to nutritional supplements.
4. HyeRi (Girl’s Day)
HyeRihas been given the name “10 Billion Won Girl” by marketing executives due to how effective she is as a product model. After the Girl’s Day singer began as a spokemodel for convenience store chain 7-11, the sales of their to-go lunchbox sets increased a whopping 78%!
5. TaeYeon (SNSD)
You know an idol’s endorsement game is strong when she can convince you to buy anything from lipstick and skincream to… water?! When TaeYeonsigned on as the face of Jeju Samsadoo spring water, the brand exceeded 31 billion won (approx. $27.5 million USD) in sales, the highest in its 20-year history.
6. SeolHyun (AOA)
SeolHyunfirst gained her reputation as a must-have endorsement model back when she was selected to represent Korean cellular provider SK Telecom. The AOA member became such a fixture in the advertising world that she was named Model of the Year at the 2015 TVCF Advertisement Awards.
7. YooNa (SNSD)
As the visual of the world’s most famous K-Pop girl group, YooNa‘s natural beauty is without question, and her selling power is just as strong. She has been able to successfully drive sales as a product model both in Korea and China, leading CNN to call her a “household name” in the Asia-Pacific region.
8. MinHo (SHINee)
While SHINee easily reign supreme as the kings of Asian endorsement deals, MinHo‘s proven to be just as in-demand on his own. For the past three years, the idol has consecutively earned more than 300 million won (approx. $250,000 USD) in endorsements alone.
9. Zico (Block B)
As his reputation continues to grow as a solo artist, so has Zico‘s endorsement deals! The Block B rappers has appeared as the spokesmodel for everything from exam preparation books to water parks, and most recently appears as the face of Cass beer.
10. Yook SungJae (BTOB)
After charming his way to fans’ hearts on “Who Are You: School 2015,” SungJaebecame a hot commodity in the world of endorsements – appearing in ads for eight different companies in the three months that followed the drama’s finale. Currently, the idol endorses Sprite alongside singer/rapper Yoon MiRae.