One of the strongest things that tie us all together is music—we associate friendships, major life events, and favorite memories with what was playing on the radio. Here are some Asian hits that will transport you to greater, simpler time.
Like a G6 – Far East Movement (2010)
I was too young to know, but I’m sure “Like a G6” was blasting at raves everywhere. The music video for the song shows a group of friends at a Korean restaurant and then getting down at the club in skinny ties and those boxy Black Eyed Peas sunglasses. This song did great on YouTube thanks to tons of parody videos. Remember those? Everyone from YouTube comedy channels to Nigahiga made one for this song.
Dong Saya Dae – BgA (2016)
Speaking of Nigahiga, what about a more recent hit? YouTube comedy K-pop group Boys generally Asian aka BgA consists of Nigahiga’s Ryan Higa, Phil from Wong Fu Productions, YouTube acoustic cover king David Choi, Twilight actor Justin Chon, and Jun Curry Ahn. Making “Dong Saya Dae”, which amusingly translates to “I have to take a sh-t”, was their way of trying to figure out why girls love K-Pop so much. It was definitely funnier when I was fourteen, but it’s still iconic.
Nobody – Wonder Girls (2008)
This might be the most catchy song on this list. It’s no surprise, then, that Wonder Girls were the first Korean group to enter the US Billboard Hot 100. I don’t know any other way to explain it other than this song feels like your mom singing karaoke, Disney Channel commercials, flip phones, and playing your DS in the car.
Dat $tick – Rich Brian (2016)
Before 88rising made waves in the hip-hop industry, Rich Brian was a homeschooled 16-year-old in Indonesia with a much more controversial name and a surprise viral hit. “Dat $tick” is one of those songs that’s kind of a joke because of the insane music video visuals (fanny packs, pink polo shirts, and guys that look like middle schoolers emptying bottles of cognac) but also isn’t, because you’re actually bopping your head along to the beat. And maybe it hasn’t aged well, in light of a more culturally sensitive internetscape and an entire album that proves Brian is more than capable of rapping (and singing!) about more serious material, but it’ll take you back to a time when fanny packs were funny and Vine was a thing.
Lemonade – Jeremy Passion (2011)
Rumor has it that upon hearing the iconic first chords of this song, you magically change into khakis and Sperry’s and a ukulele materializes in your hands. I nominate this song as the official Asian Simp Anthem. Honorable mention: “We Could Happen” by AJ Rafael.
Best Friend – Jason Chen (2011)
Okay, does anyone else miss wholesome R&B love songs? They just don’t do it like this anymore. The music video for “Best Friend” is not just a figurative trip down memory lane, there are people in the comments literally going back in time by editing comments they posted years ago with updates about their best friend (whom they’re in love with, obviously). Some people have written a whole novel down there! Seriously, check it out. It’s pretty entertaining.
Gangnam Style – Psy (2012)
This one came out of nowhere, but when it did, it refused to go away. Like, refused. There was a point in my life when I’m pretty sure this song played in my dreams. But Psy’s breakout dance-pop hit was much more than the reason people were doing horse dance moves for months in 2012 or the go-to song for your local K-BBQ place. It changed the music industry. For one it broke International Chart, Youtube, and Guinness World Records. It was the first YouTube video to reach a billion views and stayed the most viewed video for almost five years. It ushered in a music era defined by streaming and internet virality, and proved that K-Pop could be successful internationally. So basically, BTS and TikTok wouldn’t be a thing without Gangnam Style.
If you liked this article, check out our list of Top 5 Asian Cartoons We Watched Growing Up!