Sure, you’re watching the 2018 Winter Olympics, but at various times, the infiltration of frenetic-paced near 8-bit sounding electro pop with a decidedly Asian-trending vocal twist has assaulted your ears. That’s Korean pop, aka K-pop, a sound with a level of (slowly growing in American) global appeal that could statistically make it the world’s most popular musical genre, ever. Does that make it infinitely ear-worming and worthy of your time and interest as a stateside pop musical consumer? Of course.

At the end of 2017, South Korean pop music — utilizing a deft blend of hip-hop swagger, EDM’s bombast, and the panache of adult contemporary pop balladry — had been streamed to the equivalent of 27,000 years worth of time in 18 months of being actively calculated on Spotify. Given that there are nearly one million songs being played per minute worldwide, the viral popularity of acts like BTS, BIG BANG, EXO, BlackPink, and Girls Generation is obvious.

In 2012, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was accessed over one-billion times on YouTube (it’s up to three billion today), thus immediately leading to the portly South Korean artist becoming an unlikely global hit-maker. As well, in 2013, nine-member South Korean pop group Girls Generation won Video of the Year at the Youtube Music Awards. What is it about South Korea (that is not happening in America) that allowed both of these smash successes to occur?

K-pop excels because it doubles down as a bellwether of cool the youth-driven digital environment, plus also does well as a live event draw. If you could imagine for a minute what kind of damage 1972’s biggest and most polished and processed youth pop stars like Michael Jackson, The Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones could’ve done with active Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts, you figured it out. Every picture is a poster, every moment the most obsessive obsession, every song a cultural explosion. As a genre, K-pop is roughly 25 years of age. Here’s 20 songs highlighting the most outstanding K-pop moments of yesterday, today, and yes, exactly right now. As well, for those thoroughly unfamiliar, some familiarly similar-sounding acts, songs and styles have been added for your listening edification. Enjoy!

BTS feat. Desiigner “Mic Drop”
For fans of: Desiigner’s “Panda” or even better, A$AP Ferg’s “Shabba?”

2NE1 “I Am The Best”
For fans of: Spice Girls and TLC

CL “The Baddest Female”
For fans of: Lil Kim and Katy Perry

EXO “Overdose”
For fans of: ‘NSync’s biggest dance hits

BIGBANG “Fantastic Baby”
For fans of: Backstreet Boys’ biggest dance hits

G-Dragon feat. Missy Elliott “Niliria”
For fans of: 2001 era Missy Elliott

TAEYANG “Eyes, Nose, Lips”
For fans of: 90s R & B

Eric Nam feat. Timbaland “Body”
For fans of: early 2000s Justin Timberlake

BoA “Everlasting”
For fans of: Janet Jackson ballads

PSY “Gangnam Style”
For fans of: sheer ridiculousness

Girls Generation “I Got A Boy”
For fans of: early 2000s Beyoncé

Amber “Shake That Brass”
For fans of: Christina Aguilera

Super Junior “Mr. Simple”
For fans of: Backstreet Boys, New Kids On The Block

SHINee “Ring Ding Dong”
For fans of: Next, 112

Hyuna “Bubble Pop”
For fans of: early Lady Gaga

Orange Caramel “Catallena”
For fans of: TLC, Dream, MTV Making The Band

Akdong Musician “Dinosaur”
For fans of: all of your favorite YouTube soul/folk cover acts

BTS “I Need U”
For fans of: Justin Bieber ballads

EXO “Growl”
For fans of: Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”

Girls Generation “Mr.Mr.”
For fans of: Destiny’s Child