Below is a playlist or sampler of good pop songs from various countries around the world. It is not intended as a ‘best of’ list or a list of the most successful artists from their respective countries but as a place to start for those exploring beautiful pop songs from around the world. We have stuck to songs more recent, from the past several years. We will continue to update this list with more countries and change up the songs featured on occasion. We have included the official music videos plus some info on the artists. For countries with an extensive record of scoring hits internationally, like the US and UK, we have selected artists or songs less familiar.
Samantha Jade is from the western Australian city of Perth. With her beautiful voice, she won the fourth season of X Factor Australia. But she is also an accomplished songwriter, having written songs for other artists like Jojo and Ashley Tisdale. She also has acting credits in her resumé. Outside of her native country, Jade’s music has seen success in South Korea. Samantha released her debut album in 2012 with a followup in 2015. Below is the MV for her song “Sweet Talk”.
Hedley is one of the most successful bands within Canada that has not blown up internationally. The all-male group is from Vancouver. Lead singer Jacob Hoggard finished third in the second season of Canadian Idol. “Kiss You Inside Out” from 2012 is the group’s most successful single to date with triple platinum certification. When it comes to credibility for making bilingual Anglo-Franco songs, Canada reigns supreme. The bilingual version of this track features Andee (also known as Andrée-Anne Leclerc) who hails from the suburbs of Quebec City. She was a finalist of televised talent search competition Star Académie, was subsequently signed to Universal Music, and has launched a successful English-language music career scoring Top 40 hit “Never Gone”.
Although China has hundreds of languages, Cantonese, the primary tongue in the province of Guangdong and the Hong Kong SAR, as well as universal, standard Chinese, i.e. Mandarin, are the two most prolific when it comes to music. One of the most popular of all acts coming out of the Greater China region, is female trio S.H.E from the Republic of China (island of Taiwan). S.H.E stands for the women’s English names: Selena, Hebe, and Ella. Chinese pop, often referred to as C-Pop, prefers, though is not exclusive to, what some might call adult contemporary, love songs, or piano ballads with an emphasis on original, catchy melodies. One of S.H.E’s most popular songs is “It’s Quiet Now” from 2008.
Regarding Cantonese pop music, we embed below Ella Koon’s “So In Love” from 2013. Though she is not a huge name in China, we find this song particularly delicious with a super fun music video.
France’s Louane, originally from the far north of the country, is perhaps best known as participant in The Voice. She is also an award winning actress. Both of Louane’s parents passed away in an untimely manner. She released her debut album Chambre 12 in 2015 when she was 18 which was a huge success topping the official French charts. Below is her song “Jour 1”.
Perfume is a female trio from Hiroshima. The girls formed as a group in 2001 and began seeing success in 2007. Now signed to Universal Music, the group is one of the most successful in the country and is growing in familiarity around the globe. Perfume makes cutting edge progressive electronic dance music but is also known for its futuristic music videos. Below is “Fushizen Na Girl” from 2010.
2NE1, pronounced “twenty-one”, began as a quartet, but is currently a trio. K-pop, which normally focusses less on melody resides most often in the urban genre, though with more electronic elements. The group started out in a commercial for LG Electronics. 2NE1 was an overnight success with its official music launch in 2009. There is a claim that the group’s song “I Love You” was the first K-pop song to chart and receive radio airplay (BBC Radio One) in the United Kingdom. It certainly was a success in South Korea, topping the charts in 2012.
Though its soloists have done well, the UK has perhaps generated more internationally famous bands than any other country. Since the late 70s, popular British music has tended to lean towards the progressive side. One of the most successful bands in recent years within the United Kingdom is Keane, all of whose studio albums hit #1 on the British charts. The group is currently on hiatus. The most recent of Keane’s hits is “Silenced by the Night” from 2012.
It is difficult to find an artist popular within the U.S. but unknown outside of the country. The wealthy American media ensures its own artists get plugged around the world. What is interesting is that there are some American artists whose hit singles do much better outside of the country than within it. One such artist is Hilary Duff. She comes from the city of Houston which is in the south of the country and began her recording career in 2002. Below is track “My Kind” from her most recent album, released in 2015.