Brave Girls’ “Rollin’” tops the Billboard K-Pop 100 chart over IU who has been dominating at the summit for seven weeks. The song is the K-Pop quartet’s first entry on the list with the leading streaming and digital sales.
“Rollin’” was released on March 7, 2017, but it only recently gained popularity, which is attributed to the Korean military force. The song had only seen lukewarm success at the time of its release until a YouTube compilation of funny comments on the group’s performances of “Rollin’” at the military camps started to bring back fond memories of the servicemen.
In the video, servicemen’s enthusiasm for the group resembles that of BTS’ global fan base ARMY, as if they are claiming “we are the real ARMY” with their cheers. The witty comments such as “play this song during a battle and we’ll definitely win wars,” “this song is what kept me going during my service” and “one of the duties for new recruits was to learn this song” also added a more entertaining element to watching the video.
The song gained such immense popularity among the servicemen that it even got the nickname “Millboard (a portmanteau of military and Billboard) No. 1 Song.” While former servicemen reminisce by listening to their old-time favorite, “Rollin’” started to gain attention from the general public, which added fuel to the song’s explosive popularity. As a result, the song entered the chart on March 13 at No. 21, immediately climbed to the runner-up spot the next week, and finally reached the summit on this week’s chart.
Brave Girls is South Korea’s third girl group to top K-Pop 100 following OH MY GIRL and BLACKPINK. Last year, OH MY GIRL’s “Nonstop” ranked No. 1 for a week in May, and BLACKPINK’s “HOW YOU LIKE THAT” stayed atop for four consecutive weeks in July.
“Rollin’” is the country’s second catalogue song (a song that was released more than 18 months ago) to lead the chart. It also took the longest time to reach the top. In 2020, Rapper BLOO’s “DOWNTOWN BABY” hit No. 1 on June 20, which was two and a half years after its first release, whereas “Rollin’” took four years.
The fans’ support goes beyond just adding more views to the viral video. The group’s “We Ride,” released last year on Aug. 14, entered this week’s chart at No. 34. Overwhelmed by the outpouring of attention and love from the fans, Yujeong of the Brave Girls gave a special shout-out on a TV show, saying, “I’d like to thank all the fans, servicemen, the military reserve force, and the civil defense force.”
Brave Girls, who debuted in 2011, had recently considered disbanding due to its continuous failure to gain much popularity. Now that they reign on the K-Pop 100 chart, their sweet story of success seems even more touching.
Billboard K-Pop 100 measures multi-metric consumption including streaming, digital sales, radio and television data to present the most popular K-Pop songs in South Korea every week.
This story by Minhyeong Lee was originally published in Billboard Korea.