First Generation Idol’s Comeback Chart Ranking Leave Netizens Baffled


Owing to the intensely competitive structure of the K-Pop industry, idols are often set up for only a limited period of success. Even the most popular artists of their time are often replaced by new faces, and fans, too, are usually expected to move on.

So, when a first-generation idol’s recent comeback broke into the domestic charts of South Korea, netizens were left baffled. The idol in question is none other than Lee Hyori.

Lee Hyori | @lee_hyolee/Instagram

Lee Hyori was one of the earliest “It girls” of Korea, dominating the entire entertainment industry with her music, style, and appeal. In the early 2000s, she was one of the highest-paid female singers in the entire country. After debuting in 1998, Lee Hyori enjoyed a successful career span of over one and a half decades before announcing her hiatus from entertainment for two years in 2015.

A younger Lee Hyori | IMDb

She returned in 2017 with a new album, a successful variety show with her husband, and has been slowly taking her spot back in the limelight through her appearances in multiple entertainment programs.

Lee Hyori (center) with other K-Pop divas across generations during “Dancing Queens On The Road” press conference | tvN

But it was only in 2023 that she made an official comeback as a musician, with her first single in six years! Her new track “Hoodie E Banbaji” was released on October 12 (KST), and to the surprise of many, the song entered the Melon charts on its first day right away!

The song reached the 19th position on the Hot 100 chart of Melon, one of the biggest music streaming platforms in Korea. While Lee Hyori is still very much a popular public figure, the fact that her music managed to push through so much competition and survived every stereotypical hurdle of an idol’s career, including long hiatus, prolonged absence from social media, marriage, and so on, left netizens in awe.

| theqoo

While they agreed that the song itself was very catchy and deserved this success, they also felt that it was a reaffirmation of how undefeatable Lee Hyori’s star status is.

| theqoo “Wow, amazing.” “Whoa, crazy.” “Wow, still got it.” “Oh, was it today? I gotta listen to it.” “Wow?? Lee Hyori’s still got it!!” | theqoo “Crazy. The song is really good.” “Woah.” “Wow, this is amazing, LOL. I didn’t know the song was already out. I have to listen.” “I really thought releasing music wouldn’t be that easy for her now. But as expected, she’s amazing.” “As expected of Hyori.” | theqoo “Oh, she released a new song. I have to go watch the music video. Fighting!” “The song is really good for easy listening. It brings out a little *shake shake* out of me as well.” “She’s really a superstar, wow.” “Ah, so there’s a Hot 100 and a Top 100.” “She’s a forever superstar.”

You can check out the song here:

 Are K-Pop artists built only for short-term success? 

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