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Akdong Musician Rules K-Pop Hot 100 With Debut Album ‘Play’

Billboard chart highlights from the K-Pop Hot 100 and beyond featuring Akdong Musician, Lee Hi, HIGH4, IU, Jay Park, Apink, 4Minute, BTS, Eric Nam, Hoya, PSY and more.

Like America has seen so many times via “American Idol,” winning a TV singing competition can lead into a massively successful debut album. Brother-sister duo Akdong Musician won South Korea’s “Idol”-esque show “K-pop Star” and after signing with YG Entertainment (home to PSY, 2NE1, BIGBANG) storm the K-Pop Hot 100 with their debut album “Play.” Akdong Musician (aka AKMU) snags the No. 1 song and place all 11 album tracks within the chart’s Top 40. 


After announcing plans to release three music videos of “Play,” the kickoff came from “200%” which jumps from No. 17 to No. 1 after a full week of sales and streams. The light-hearted, hip-hop/R&B hybrid combines the siblings’ knack for sweet harmonies and bouncy melodies. The adorable video shows the stylish duo playing around singing and goofing around together while Soohyun also tells a heartbreakingly adorable storyline with a love interest.

Following “200%” is Akdong’s “Give Love” (No. 3) and “Melted” (No. 8), the latter track getting its own music video this week. The jarring, acoustic midtempo doesn’t feature the siblings, but instead tells the story of what looks to be a wealthy, older man reflecting on his early years as a hitchhiking photographer. 

Akdong’s chart dominance continues as follows:
No. 12 “Artificial Grass”
No. 13 “Starlet”
No. 15 “In the Subway”
No. 20 “Galaxy”
No. 21 “Hi”
No. 22 “Which Road”
No. 26 “Garma”
No. 31 “Material”

Prior to “Play,” the duo had earned four singles that peaked in the Top 2 on the K-Pop Hot 100 (“Don’t Cross Your Legs,” “You Are Attractive,” “Crescendo” and “Bean Ice Flakes With Rice Cake”), all were released during their stint on “K-pop Star” like contestants on “The Voice,” “Idol” and “The X Factor” do today.

The runaway success is reminiscent of 17-year-old singer Lee Hi. She appeared on the first season of “K-pop Star” and, though she earned second place, YG Entertainment signed her and helped her demolish the charts. To date, the soulful solo star has three K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s to her name. Last year, Billboard named her one of the hottest “21 Under 21” singers in the world.

Akdong Musician’s “Play” LP also feels overseas love with a No. 20 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart, meaning a Billboard 200 bow wasn’t too far off. Plus, a No. 2 debut on Billboard’s World Albums charts. Scroll down for more K-pop artists who hit charts outside the K-Pop Hot 100.

But there’s another rookie act shaking up the K-Pop Hot 100 too: Newcomer boy band HIGH4 land at No. 2 with “Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms” featuring chart queen IU. While most new groups are rarely out-of-the-box successes without the help of TV, HIGH4 see the power of teaming up with an established, strong act like IU.

“Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms” is a breezy, sweet song despite lyrics about loneliness one can feel during the springtime. Giving her full support to this new quartet, IU revealed that she not only helped write the song, but direct the music video too. The young diva still holds the K-Pop Hot 100 record for most weeks at No. 1 with a whopping 13 weeks ruling the chart which clearly helped out the fresh-faced outfit.

Elsewhere on the chart, it looks like Apink’s dreams of hitting No. 1 were dashed again with new track “Mr. Chu” falling to No. 5 this week. This would be the second time the sweetheart girl group topped out in the runner-up slot after “NoNoNo” peaked at No. 2 last July.

Watch a new live performance of “Mr. Chu,” from K-pop music chart program “M COUNTDOWN,” where the girls emerge from giant presents below:

K-Pop on Other Billboard Charts:
Heatseekers AlbumsAkdong Musician’s “Play” debuts at No. 20.
World Albums: Akdong Musician’s “Play” debuts at No. 2. 
Streaming Songs: PSY’s “Gangnam Style” stays put at No. 8 in its 56th week on the chart.
Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs: PSY’s “Gangnam Style” stays strong at No. 2 in its 45th week on the chart.
World Digital Songs (Highlights – Full Chart Available to Subscribers): There are eight new K-pop entries on the chart, three of which are charting higher than PSY’s latest single “Gentleman”: Akdong’s “200%” is the highest at No. 5; Eric Nam’s “Ooh Ooh” featuring Hoya of INFINITE (below) is No. 6; Jay Park’s “Metronome” with Simon D & Gray is right behind at No. 7; 4Minute’s “Whatcha Doin’ Today” jumps up to No. 12 weeks after its release; Jay Park makes another appearance at No. 16 with “Ride Me”; Apink’s “Mr. Chu” debuts at No. 20; HIGH4 and IU’s “Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms” collab is No. 21; while BTS’ “Just One Day” hits No. 25. 

Go to the K-Pop Hot 100 here.