2NE1 extend their reign atop the K-Pop Hot 100, remaining at the top spot again this week with latest single, "I Love You," thwarting both T-ara's and SISTAR's quest to snag the No.1 crown.
The girls have gathered fandom from all generations, pleasing aurally (with their innovative blend of beats and sharp singing skills) and visually (their cutting-edge fashion style has become a trademark). 2NE1 will be the first female K-pop group to embark a world tour. The ambitious decision to put 2NE1 on a world tromp was made after their music showed consistent interest from overseas markets. Last year, the quartet was selected by the New York-based MTV IGGY as the "Best New Band In The World" and voted France's favorite K-Pop group. 2NE1 will launch their world tour on July 28 at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium Concert Hall in Seoul. From there they'll travel to the U.S. for an appearance at Prudential Center in New Jersey (Aug. 18).
Psy's feel-good track, "Gangnam Style," made this week's biggest debut landing at No. 6 on the chart. This comical, electronic track was penned and composed by the artist himself. Psy's star-studded album features contributions from artists like BIGBANG's leader G-dragon and Leessang. Other tracks from his album charting this week include: "Passionate Goodbye" (this week No. 16), "Tree Frog" (No. 18), "What Should Have Been" (No. 19), "Seventy Seven 101" (No. 24), and "Never Say Goodbye" (No. 34).
The accompanying video features famous stars, including 4Minute's HyunA (a Billboard.com pick for last year's "21 Under 21" list), comedian Yoo Jae Suk, and No Hong Chul. Regarding his recent surge in popularity, Psy actually attributed his past struggles to Girls' Generation stating, "My fifth studio album, 'PSYFIVE' flopped due to the success of Girls Generation's "Hoot" two years ago. I am surprised that I was able to survive and beat out some idols! This is the first time in 11 years that my entire album charted within the top tier of the chart." Adding, "I think people like honest lyrics and melodies."
Six-member boy band, BEAST finally returns to the limelight with single "Midnight Sun," scoring the second highest debut at No.10. "Midnight Sun" features euphoric guitar riffs and a piano melody upon which each member's vocals can shine. The music video was filmed throughout New York City, perhaps on the 4th of July given the fireworks accompanying the Manhattan skyline. BEAST released their long-awaited album this past weekend (July 22) after successfully wrapping up their world tour. The boys are set to perform their new album of hopeful hits in Sapporo, Japan for the "K-Pop Nonstop Live 2012" show sharing the stage with other major K-Pop faces, including MBLAQ, Kara, 4Minute, Rainbow, and BTOB.
Exploring further on the chart, Wonder Girls continue to prove to be a force to be reckoned with as their single "Like Money" featuring Akon, sung completely in non-native English, skyrockets from No. 46 to No. 14. As well, talented girl group Brown Eyed Girls return to the chart with ballad "One Summer Night" (No. 36). Next week look for a big debut from one of the recent leaders of K-pop, BoA, who is making a hotly anticipated comeback after two years.
(Additional reporting and editing by Jeff Benjamin, Billboard)