K-pop fans may remember 2014 as a dramatic, and at times heartbreaking, year. Members left groups fans envisioned them in for years, tragedy struck the live scene and the dark sides of the industry were brought to light in the wake of mourning one of the scene's most promising acts. But there's a shining light when fans recall what first attracted them to K-pop -- the music.
Drama aside, South Korean music remained stronger than ever this year with everyone from domestic legends to adorable newcomers all proving that they had something to offer our ears. Like in 2012 and 2013, the Billboard staff once again sifted through the charts and beyond to bring the 20 songs that break language barriers, push conventional music boundaries and best highlight all the K-pop scene has to offer. (And see our list of the 10 best K-pop albums here.)