Another loooong overdue article, lol.
I wish I knew where the Tumblr post that was like, “TEEN TOP meets Big TOP” and it’s a picture of them meeting T.O.P and other Big Bang members.
This is my attempt at recreating the magic. Not my original joke.
Intro & some housekeeping
My first full year of Kpop was 2015. I’ve talked about wanting to do an article covering my favorite songs and albums from 2015, because it was LOADED with bangers.
I’ll get to it eventually. Maybe at this rate wait for 2025 because then it’ll be 10 years and I can do a reflection video or something.
Anyway, one of my favorite songs ever released in 2015 is Teen Top’s “Ah Ah”. Period. I’ll talk more about my love for this song later, of course.
Teen Top is spelled all caps, but I’m lazy, but know, I know it’s TEEN TOP.
The way that song popped off with international fans was pretty wild. It was one of those few songs that even if you weren’t checking for Teen Top at the time, you liked this song.
However, I don’t think it was able to become a bigger hit due to the group’s reputation at the time. I always felt like Teen Top and “Ah Ah” should have been bigger, but I didn’t realize why until I learned more about why people were avoiding the group.
So you may have seen the recent news about C.A.P’s withdrawal (finally) from the group over his behavior in a livestream
(the Hongbin energy, lmao). And you might think, “Huh? That was a bit dramatic.”
But the thing is, this is the second big controversy from him. The first one that had left a stain on Teen Top that they never fully bounced back from was in 2012 when he said some misogynist things about how he’d raise his daughter if he had one in the future.
Which like ??????? Bruh, your fan base is predominately female? You couldn’t have possibly thought that was gonna slide. And yeah, pretty much from that time on, people stopped checking for Teen Top. Anytime they had a comeback, that controversy ALWAYS came back up.
So in 2015 when I was asking myself, “Hey why isn’t Teen Top bigger? This song slaaaps, plus they have older songs that are excellent. I don’t understand?” I finally got my answer.
I think it was sometime around Teen Top’s comeback, I saw some forum comments on a site like Netizenbuzz, one of the OG sites I religiously looked at before becoming a Reddit user. And someone brought the receipts on C.A.P, and it made complete sense.
Personally, after the first comeback tanked after C.A.P saying that shit, we would have had a group meeting, and he’d been gone. Definitely by 2015 for sure. For them to have managed to hang on for as long as they did with him as a member is a miracle in itself.
But I think new fans like me, who didn’t know about the scandal three years prior and weren’t that deep in the Angels fandom, they were able to skate pass the scandal. To me, their music continued to be good as time went on. And clearly they had a strong enough fandom at home to hold them down.
But I think C.A.P was totally holding them back, and in 2023, with Kpop having such a large presence globally, there was no way they’d be able to avoid C.A.P’s previous scandal, especially when there hasn’t been much behavioral change. So this recent thing felt like the final straw to break the camel’s back.
His departure was long awaited, and it sucks for fans that have been with the group since the beginning because it always sucks when a member leaves. But I think everyone was in agreement this was much needed. Everyone can move on with their lives and careers.
SO, lol, I bring all this up because unfortunately, you can’t address Teen Top without talking about the bad in addition to the good. This scandal ALWAYS comes up.
You can’t ignore the context. I’d be like talking about Lion King and never mentioning Scar. You’re just not getting the full story.
So with all that out of the way, let me properly introduce Teen Top to y’all. I’ve decided to include some header to make things a bit easier to get to the parts you’re interested in for this article. I know a lot of y’all are new to Kpop and Teen Top, and they are considered second gen.
So yeah, you can just skip ahead to the music part of this article if you already know about the group’s beginnings and junk.
Backstory to TEEN TOP
The now four member boy group initially debuted as a six member group on July 9th (Kprofiles says 10th for some reason) 2010 under TOP Media. The current line up consists of Chunji, Niel, Ricky, and Changjo. L.Joe and C.A.P are former members.
L.Joe left in 2017. Allegedly, he wanted more solo activities and was denied that, so he requested for his contract to be terminated. I vaguely remember this going down in 2017 right before their comeback for High Five.
And we’ve already covered C.A.P’s departure.
I wasn’t going to include roles, because I’m not exactly sure how things are gonna work now. I know C.A.P was the leader and main rapper. I guess we’ll see everyone’s roles when this comeback happens. This is what Kprofiles says as of their last comeback:
Chunji: lead vocalist and visual
- he’s also the oldest, so maybe he’ll be leader by default?
Niel: main vocalist and face of the group
- he’s also had some solo releases, none that I love, but I wanted to bring it up, lol. I want to love his solo music, but I haven’t had a song hook me yet.
Ricky: lead dancer and vocalist
Changjo: main dancer, vocalist, and maknae
I saw someone on Reddit say Changjo and Chunji could do C.A.P’s parts in future releases/performances. So I guess they can rap battle it out or something, lol.
TOP Media was founded by Shinhwa member Andy and his former manager at SM Entertainment.
If you don’t know, Shinhwa is a first gen group that is still active. That’s a rabbit hole in itself, lmao. We don’t have time to get into all that. I’m giving background, again for context. They aren’t a “big” company, but kinda have ties to one.
Teen Top was the first group under the label. Idk if y’all know the group 100%, but I’m sure you know about their other label mates Up10tion. Actually, I think as of writing, they have like five people signed to this label.
100% disbanded a while ago (2018), Niel and Changjo’s contracts have expired (I think Changjo is label mates with A.C.E now), and most of Up10tion (rightfully so, they were done dirty) didn’t renew when their contracts expired.
Wait, I forgot about MCND, okay so maybe like 15 people signed to this label, lol.
So you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about Teen Top now, well I want to get ahead of their upcoming return. They’ve recently had a resurgence of popularity domestically. And they’ve announced they’re making their first comeback in four years.
We haven’t gotten a date as of writing, but now seems like the perfect opportunity to cover some of their old stuff to get excited about the new Teen Top music on the way.
And as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a casual Teen Top fan for a few years now.
So let’s get into the tunes!
So while working on this list, I had about 10 Teen Top songs saved. Most of those were from 2015-2018. I knew about some of their better known songs, like “Rocking” (not that big of a fan of tbh), but idk I haven’t really had a reason to go back to their old OLD stuff.
I had fun going through the This Is TEEN TOP playlist on Spotify to get a start on my research.
At that point I had about 25 songs saved, then the ones that I had saved that I didn’t remember or hadn’t listened to the full album of, I went back to those and listened to them start to finish.
One thing I’ve noticed listening to over a decade of Teen Top’s music is that they’ve been pretty consistent sound wise. Some of their stuff sounds dated, very early 2010s.
But songs like “Seoul Night” sound like a maturer version of something like “Crazy”. It’s much more toned down. But still upbeat and energetic.
It’s interesting to me that Teen Top for the most part has like four specific song formulas they go with. I’ll point them out throughout the article. But this is the first one.
It’s an uptempo song love song that you can dance to, but not like super high energy.
It’s interesting to me that Teen Top for the most part has like four specific song formulas they go with. I’ll point them out throughout the article. But this is the first one.
It’s an uptempo song love song that you can dance to, but not like super high energy. “Baby U” has the same vibe to it.
I discovered this album was released on my 18th birthday, May 30th 2012. “Baby U” was the only song I saved from Artist.
“Baby U” sounds like something they’d still make today. It aged pretty well, production wise. In my opinion at least. Not as much 2010s autotune to it.
Okay, I may not include “Rocking” on this list, but I’d be doing y’all a disservice to NOT include that Kpop classic that is “Missing You”.
I’m surprised they only got two music show wins with this song. Competition must have been tough.
This I’d say is another song that immediately pops into peoples heads when they think about Teen Top.
This also is the second type of Teen Top song formula they have. Midtempo ballads. The emotions, the draaaama. Teen Top was going through it on this album. I loveee it.
Me every time “Missing You” and songs like this come on:
You can’t help but to jam along with them. You just can’t.
Sad boy hours and I’ve here for it. Another midtempo ballad from them. Kinda a direct follow-up to “Missing You”.
Mad at U
A painfully early 2010s sounding song, but I love it. It’s not that autotune isn’t still a thing. It’s just that there’s a difference in how it’s used now.
Like this was back when every pop song had autotune. Now it’s a bit more niche. I feel like it’s mostly heard in more Hip Hop and rap genres/songs.
This song totally sounds like 2010-2012 when this sound was starting to fade out of mainstream popularity. I guess it hung on a bit longer in Korea to 2013.
My second favorite song from this album after “Missing You”. A more upbeat song but like… this relationship is a total mess, lmao.
At least they made it catchy. I don’t remember how I came across this song, but I’ve been listening to it for years and I never get tired of it.
Ooooo a music video. Idk why most of my fave Teen Top songs are b-sides. At least we got a video for “Lovefool”.
The styling is exactly what I’d expect for this era, hair and everything. What a blast from the past.
Also, I guess Teen Top having girl problems is my favorite song topic, lol.
The horns in this song, omg. The first thing I noticed when I first heard this song. I love a distinct instrumental to differentiate this song from others in an artist’s discography.
Songs a tune. Not much else to say about it.
I think this is one of those random clip show music videos that’s like a thank you to the fans. It’s cute. I like it. Again, the styling is a total time capsule of Kpop in 2013 for sure, lol.
My favorite song from TEEN TOP 20’S LOVE TWO ‘ÉXITO’. This music video beginning takes me out, because why did he (Changjo I think?) stop the car in an abandoned looking warehouse? And then why did she walk out? Like, why was this a good destination to have an argument? Where is she going? LMAO.
Anyway, song slaps. I love the mini drama scenes at the beginning of music videos to give you an idea of what the plot is.
Another thing about this older Kpop music videos from this era, that I’m remembering, is the filters on videos. Everything has a slightly hazy look to it. A little yellow and grayish look.
I like the chorus choreo with Niel having the mic and the other members dancing in the back with some having props with them.
I thought “Because I Care” my second favorite Teen Top song ever, spoiler alert. Was their first, like, “sexy” song. But I was waaaay off.
I like how pop and upbeat this song is despite the thirsty lyrics. I’m here for it. Third type of Teen Top song, thristy or redacted on main. We don’t get enough of songs like these from them, lmao.
THE SONG, THE GIRL, “ah-ah”. I have waited too damn long to talk about this BANGER. A Perfect upbeat song for summer.
Remember how I was talking about instrumentals and being able to distinguish them from other songs in an artist’s discography?
To me, the first few seconds of a song can make or break it. People have short attention spans and if it’s someone who isn’t familiar to your work or even a long time fan can be like, “ight, I’m out” if the first like 10-20 seconds isn’t it. Maybe they’ll give you 30-60 seconds to prove your point.
Back in the summer of 2015, still being a new Kpoppie, I was really just starting to branch out from SM and YG groups. I remember Teen Top being one of those first few groups that wasn’t from the big 3. Heck, not even like big 8.
But those first few notes had me intrigued, and by the end of the chorus the first time around, I was completely obsessed with “ah-ah”.
I had this song on repeat and replay. I couldn’t get tired of this song. I think this was either right before Spotify was becoming a thing, or they were still getting their library built, but I bought this song and a few others on iTunes, that’s how much I loved it.
And then the choreography!!!! They did the damn thing with this one.
The dance scenes where they’re trying to impress the girls, and they take turns dancing in front of them, take me out every time.
You can’t help but want to see who’s gonna do what next to make themselves look silly in front of them. But they also have random scenes throughout the video where they look like they’re having fun with these random dance scenes and solos.
Also, C.A.P’s rap here is probably my favorite rap and delivery out of all his time in Teen Top, it’s so short but smooth and to the point. He seems so cool, but then you learn about his past, and then you’re like, “oh…nevermind then.”
And the music video location being this bright 50s American dinner was such a good choice. At the beginning of the video, Changjo is near a phone, and I never understood this fully. I thought it was just because his part was first in the song, and it is.
But the lyrics say, “I just called you because I was wondering what you’re doing.”
Ohhhhhhh. How did I miss that?
Because I rarely look at the English lyrics, I go on vibes. But I love that detail being included in the video, and the anxiety on Changjo’s face and body language about picking up the phone.
I also like the scene where you have the rainbow lights, and they’re in this spaceship looking tunnel thing. Sometimes I miss box set music videos.
It’s also nice to have the guys be infatuated with someone for a change, instead of about to break up with them, or just broke up with them, lmao. The fourth and final type of Teen Top songs, them being in love, lol.
God tier song. I need everyone to listen to it. This is Teen Top’s best title track, in my eyes.
I’m not exactly sure why it’s taken me almost ten years to go back and listen to this album. I remember when I first listened to it, I didn’t like it, lol.
It was because I wanted more songs like “ah-ah” and they really only made a song like “ah-ah” once, and that was it.
So this album never really had a fighting chance back then. But now, listening to it with fresh ears, I like more songs off of it than my first listen.
“Please” being one of the b-sides I like. It sounds similar to other Teen Top songs I like, so no surprise there.
I like the instrumental here too. It sounds a bit futuristic. Like what people in the 1930s thought music would be like, made by robots or have robotic sounds.
“Confusing” is the other b-side from NATURAL BORN TEEN TOP I like. I’ve always loved the album work and title for this album. I’m a sucker for a pink concept. The font choice is interesting. It’s kinda art deco but with a Bohemian twist to it.
It also looks like Top Media’s logo
“Confusing” is a tune. Good background music, nothing too exciting or distracting to stop you from work or whatever you’re doing.
I am confusion, here’s why. You know how you can see when you’ve like a video, even if it was years ago, if you’re using the same account. Well, I had a like on this video from 2016, and I don’t remember watching this video, lol.
So I guess I watched this video then, forgot about it, and moved on with life. I remember being interested in Teen Top again in 2017 when High Five dropped.
But I do like this song and a few b-sides from RED POINT. I just don’t have any memory of my 2016 reaction to it.
A similar sound to “Warning Sign”. They brought the horns back on this track! I don’t have much to say on this one. Another tune.
Day after Day
Why are there two songs with day on this album? And why do I like them both about the same.
I like how mellow these three songs are. And apparently they got two music show wins for this era with “Warning Sign“.
Because I Care
My second favorite Teen Top song. One of my favorite songs ever. And obviously my favorite song from this album. I love me a good midtempo R&B track. This album was the first full project released by Teen Top I would listen to start to finish.
“Love Is” not to be confused with their 2014 song called “Love is…” (again, who is coming up with these names, lol), is the title track from this album and it’s fine. Did what it needed to. According to Kpopping.com, this is their most recent music show win as of writing, interesting.
I remember recommending this album to a friend, I don’t think she ever listened to it. But I highly recommend it because of the different sounds and genres Teen Top explore on it.
It feels like there was a lot of heart and thought that went to crafting it. Not that the previous albums didn’t do that. But it feels like an album from a group/artist that’s been in the game long enough to know what works, but still wants to surprise their fans with a few unexpected things, like “Because I Care”.
I think this album is a bit more public friendly and because of that, it likely brought in some new ears or, like with me, regained interest in the group.
I won’t talk about the entire album in this article, just the four other songs I go back to most.
Remember earlier when I was talking about how “Baby U” sounds like a song they’d make today? I was thinking about how it reminded me of “Call Me”. These sit at the same table.
I’m surprised this wasn’t the title because it sounds so much like their older songs. I guess you could say the same for “Love Is” too.
“Call Me” is a high energy, upbeat song. Makes me want to go clubbing. Fifth fave.
I Love Girl
Me when Twice does anything. I love the title being called “I Love Girl”, what a mood. My third favorite song from this album.
It’s chill, I think most of this album is midtempo now that I think about it. Probably why I love it so much. You can dance to this one too.
My second fave song from this album. And another title that gives me life. “What’s Problem” has that flute sound like Dreamcatcher’s “PIRI” and I can’t listen to either song without thinking about the other.
I also like the theme of taking control of your life and doing what you want with it. Love a song with a good meaning behind it.
You & I
The last song from HIGH FIVE, I don’t have much to say on it other than it’s a tune, lol. Sometimes you just need to have music that’s good but isn’t like groundbreaking. Fourth fave.
Yoooooo I fooking love “Seoul Night”. I hadn’t been this excited about a Teen Top title track since “ah-ah”. I listened to this song sooo much when it first dropped.
You can tell it released in 2018 because of all the “trend” dance moves like the dab and arm thing during the “bame bame bame” part.
This is such a fun upbeat song. I’ve been saying that a lot, but it’s so funny to me how Teen Top is either on sad boy o’clock or dance time. They have the range darling.
Probably my fifth fave Teen Top song overall.
Fourth fave Teen Top song overall! I love the dance vibes. A perfect song to promote with “Seoul Night” It’s so hard not to write Seoul Bam, because that’s what I refer to it as.
Listening to it at home isn’t enough, I need to hear it live in person. And dance while confetti falls from the cannons.
I didn’t care for this song on my first listen of SEOUL NIGHT, but after rediscovering it recently, I like it. RED POINT felt like all slower paced songs (out of the ones I really enjoyed), and SEOUL NIGHT just feels like a bunch of upbeat dance tracks all on one album.
I guess it ended up balancing out for my saved Teen Top songs.
Okay, one more album to go!
Another Teen Top song and comeback, somehow I missed. I really like this one (duh).
I mean that I’m surprised I missed it because I liked it on my first listen. A little tropical house vibes to it.
Oh yeah, we’re gonna be listening to this one a lot. I actually saved 4/6 songs from the mini album. It’s really good.
I can’t believe 2019 was four years ago WTF.
Them releasing a song called “Swag” in 2019 unironically should be a crime. Especially with the lyrics “she got SWAG” being part of the hook.
But the song slaps. I’m here for it. So they get a pass this time.
What Do You Think
Teen Top being in their dance era is what I’m hoping this next album sounds like.
I need like two or three midtempo ballads and then the rest to sound something like this and the rest of DEAR. N9NE. I totally slept on this album.
I think my favorite song from this album is a tie between “Run Away” and “What Do You Think”. But “That Night” is my next fave song. I just can’t believe I missed out on this album when it first dropped.
I’m excited about having new to me Teen Top songs to jam to until the new stuff drops, tho.
Okay, let’s get a proper list of my top 10 fave songs. I guess I’ll have to update if the new album has songs to knock some of these out of the top.
Top 10 Teen Top Songs
10.) What’s Problem
9.)What Do You Think
8.) I’m Sorry
7.) Run Away
6.) Stop girl
5.) Seoul Night
4.) Let’s Play
3.) Missing You
2.) Because I Care
Oh, man. This took waaaay long that I expected. I had so much fun working on this article. I hope y’all enjoyed it.
If you’re new to Teen Top, I hope I gave y’all enough info and tunes to check out. If you’re an Angel or casual Teen Top fan like me, tell me about your fave Teen Top songs in the comments!
So until then,