Kpop’s Seven Best: Debut Songs

When new groups start out in the Kpop industry, they have a daunting task ahead of them: debut, their first and best chance to gain attention and connect with future fans. If they can surmount their nerves and perform well, debut can be the force that propels them to greatness.

In a never-ending stream of musical acts, how do you stand out from the crowd? This is the question that rookies must answer when they begin their journey as Kpop idols. Although the debut of a new group has many elements, including their look, concept, stage names, and more, the choice of a debut song is the most vital. With the right song, groups can establish themselves as contenders in the Kpop market or even launch their careers sky-high.

Each group on today’s list is an established part of the Kpop sphere, but they were once trainees waiting to be introduced – and when they got that chance, they did not disappoint.

Insane (비밀) – BTOB

By using a song with a wide musical range, BTOB played to their strengths right from the beginning, allowing each member to take a role that suited them well. From passionate rapping to beautiful vocal harmonies, Insane is full of gifts for the listener to receive. The emotional undercurrent of the song is heightened by the acting, which BTOB delivered with sincerity despite being young and inexperienced at the time.


When SM launched EXO, they wanted to ensure that they did so memorably – and thus MAMA was born. This ambitious single has a creative sound and is full of exploratory elements ranging from chanting to growling, all interlaced with more mainstream segments. MAMA also features a complex introduction and storyline that associates each member with a specific superpower, allowing them to be easily identified.

Bad Girl Good Girl – miss A

Bad Girl Good Girl is a song about perception, double standards, and self-confidence, and these empowering lyrics alone would qualify it as a compelling single. However, miss A fully embodied this message with powerful choreography and the confidence of a more senior group, which translated into instant success. Bad Girl Good Girl went on to break several records for its music show wins and its reign as a number one hit.

Face (페이스) – NU’EST

While Face may not be the most musically diverse song on this list, with over 80 million views on YouTube it is hard to ignore its impact. Rather than being edgy, Face is a balanced mixture of heartfelt verses with an important message, a catchy beat that frames the choreography, and a relatable storyline. By giving each member a distinct style and using numerous close-ups and solo shots, they made it easier for fans to learn who was who in NU’EST and hopefully come to love them.

Fantasy – JBJ

Though each member of JBJ was a Produce 101 runner-up, Fantasy proved that these trainees were ready to succeed in the industry. Beloved by fans of the reality show who encouraged them to debut as a group, JBJ was a delightful example of how a project based on friendship naturally creates an irresistible chemistry. Fantasy is an intoxicating single with a polished, cohesive presentation that draws you in and leaves you wanting more.

Whistle (휘파람) – BLACKPINK

If you want to impress, sometimes you have to aim high and take a few risks, and BLACKPINK certainly seems to have started on this premise. In Whistle, they brought everything – a mature look, individual sound, and strong visual aesthetic – that might enable them to stand out and garner attention as a group. Impressively, BLACKPINK not only delivered a hit with Whistle but continued to maintain their own elevated standard with each subsequent single.

The 7th Sense (일곱 번째 감각) – NCT U

Although this first entry from NCT U carries a unique blend of genres such as trap and R&B that give it an alternative sound, both the rap and vocal elements are seamlessly incorporated. By showcasing skills far beyond expectation, the five opening members easily shed their rookie status. The 7th Sense is as much a piece of performance art as it is a debut song, and demonstrated how adept NCT could be at expressing the depth and feeling within their music.

Kpop’s Seven Best:
Part I: Cinematography
Part II: Choreography
Part III: Legends
Part IV: Anthems
Part V: Debut Songs

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