The Best of K-Pop’s Takes on City Pop, A Starter Pack

The Best of K-Pop’s Takes on City Pop, A Starter Pack

Because there’s a lot to love about this genre



Thanks to the internet and everyone’s penchant for retro tunes, the resurgence of Japanese city pop is kicking in. Just take a look at the enduring popularity of Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love and Miki Matsubara’s Mayonaka no Door / Stay With Me on streaming platforms and TikTok. Millions of views, plays, and spins follow these songs because of their addictive hooks and calming instrumentals. Because there's a lot about this genre our K-Pop idols are taking on city pop.


Despite the clear influences of funk, soul, disco and lounge genres, mixed with synths and electronic warps in its sound, city pop has no clear definition. Instead, the genre boils down to the feeling you get when you hear a track. At its core, the track has to make you feel like you’re cruising through the city at night. After all, the genre was originally called “urban music made by people in the cities,” which suggests the scenario it illustrates when played.


K-Pop Idols didn’t fall far behind in exploring that genre in the past years. It seems like a natural progression after the revival of disco-pop, maybe thanks to everyone throwing it back to anything that isn’t the 2020s. But other groups have been exploring this genre as early as 2010, when city pop was slowly picking up speed in South Korea. Either way, everyone was introduced to another sub-genre that deserves much love and listening. Even South Korea’s Little Sister IU dabbled into it for Lilac—a song we can only call timeless. 


Up ahead, we list down iconic title tracks and underrated B-sides that bring forth the best city pop tracks K-Pop can offer.


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Strong Summer Anthems

The thing with city pop is that it offers the opening for tracks to turn into summer anthems. The girls of fromis_9 take the genre on in full with DM, while Baekhyun’s Get You Alone revisits the genre just in time for his first Japanese mini-album. Whether you’re on a roadtrip on the way to the beach or feeling the sun on your skin as you take a walk, these tracks are sure to give you a rush of good vibes.


DM, fromis_9


HULA HOOP City Pop Ver., K-pop group Loona


We Ride, Brave Girls


All Night, f(x)


Get You Alone, K-pop idol Baekhyun


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K-pop Tracks For Late Night Drives

One of the most beautiful things about any city would be the fact that it stays restless at night. Colorful lights coupled with the hustle and bustle of crowds that refuse to sleep make it a sight to see. Get fresh tunes from K-pop’s main city pop singer Yukika and Kim Mi Jeong with Moonset and DeVita with EVITA!


Moonset, KozyPop (Yukika and Kim Mi Jeong)


Dilemma, Rainbow note


EVITA!, DeVita


Say Something, TWICE


The Paradise, Weki Meki



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This list just scratches the surface of the rich city pop discography in K-Pop. Got other recommendations done by your favorite groups and artists? Sound off in the comments below!



Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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