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K-Pop Hot 100: Singer IU Spends Fifth Week at No. 1

Teen solo artist IU has started the new year in exactly the same way she closed out 2011: On top of the world and the charts. Her recently released single, “You and I,” has been perched atop the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks and running.

This is quite a feat considering that the highly digital nature of the Korean music market makes for very short stays at the No. 1 spot (the previous record was Davichi’s three-week stint).

CHART: Scan the K-Pop Hot 100

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Reminiscent of British born singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae, IU’s angelic voice and cute girl-next-door charm combined with vocal abilities on par with much more experienced artists gives IU a unique appeal that has helped her secure a more age-diverse following. “You and I” is a bubbly tune depicting a girl daydreaming about the various stages of her future life with her lover. The usage of harps, horns, and other unique instruments coupled with IU’s crystal-clear voice has the ability to take the listener flying through IU’s romantic fantasy world.

To start 2012, we have decided to look back at three other artists who have achieved chart greatness by scoring the No. 1 rank for consecutive weeks in a row.

Two Weeks: T-ara’s “Cry Cry”

The seven young ladies of T-ara can look back on their successful 2011 and smile as they’ve recently enjoyed skyrocketing popularity in Japan with the Japanese version of their hit “Bo Peep Bo Peep.” In addition, one of their latest Korean singles “Cry Cry” achieved the top seat in the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 chart for the weeks of Dec. 3rd and 10th. This song marks a departure of T-ara from its normal cutesy, bubble gum tunes and the group’s exploration into a more mature and sexy sound and look. In this Britney Spears-esque track, the girls sing about the tear-inducing heartbreak caused by a runaway lover.

Two Weeks: Hugak’s “Hello”

A common stereotype in the music industry is that reality TV winners are often all hype and rarely achieve real success after their time in the audition show spotlight fades. The Korean music industry is no exception, but Hugak, the winner of the second season of “Superstar K” exceeded all expectations when his debut single and soulful ballad, “Hello,” immediately snatched the No. 1 slot upon its debut– beating out some of the hottest girl groups including Kara and Brown Eyed Girls. Hugak was able to maintain the #1 ranking for two consecutive weeks (week of Oct. 8 and 15) and all of his preceding singles have also been met with great success.

Three Weeks: Davichi’s “Don’t Say Goodbye”

Davichi’s Heri Lee and Minkyung Kim are known as one of the most vocally skilled duos in the K-pop industry and the success of their second album “Love Delight” and title track “Don’t Say Goodbye” is proof of that. “Don’t Say Goodbye” is a medium-tempo pop ballad accompanied by strings and piano, which paints a picture of a woman lamenting the imminent breakup with her lover. When asked about the success of this track, the two women commented, “We tried to create a love song that could be enjoyed by listeners of all ages, not just youngsters. We believe the lyrics and melody have the power to bring back painful but cherished memories of past loves.”  Davichi sure did achieve its goal of creating a song that can be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of listeners as the single spent three consecutive weeks (Sept. 17, 24 and Oct. 1) at No. 1.

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