The K-pop group EXO has made a remarkable comeback this winter with their song “First Snow,” a track from their 2013 winter special album “Miracle of December.” A decade after its release, the song achieved the #1 spot on Melon’s daily chart on December 19th and 20th. This feat is particularly significant as it marks the first time a boy group song has topped Melon’s daily chart, a notable achievement in the competitive K-pop industry. The song had also previously achieved second place on KBS 2TV’s “Music Bank” on December 8th.
“First Snow” gained renewed popularity largely due to the “First Snow Challenge” initiated on TikTok by Hwang Se-hoon. The challenge featured a sped-up version of the song and quickly went viral, demonstrating the influence of short-form platforms like TikTok in reviving interest in older songs. This trend of reviving songs through sped-up versions and social media challenges has been observed in other K-pop hits as well, including the girl group Fifty-Fifty’s “Cupid.” Participation in the “First Snow” challenge by various K-pop junior artists and groups like aespa, IVE, ITZY, NCT Dream, RISE, and THE BOYZ also contributed to the song’s resurgence, reflecting a sense of respect for senior artists in the industry.
The impact of EXO’s “First Snow” extends beyond the charts, as it has inspired a range of creative interpretations and adaptations. The involvement of EXO members in the challenge has further fueled excitement among fans. This phenomenon is part of a broader trend where traditional carols and older songs re-emerge and climb the charts during the holiday season, driven by Gen Z’s engagement on platforms like TikTok. An industry insider highlighted that the combination of nostalgia and the novelty of rediscovering older tracks in new formats contributes to these songs’ renewed popularity and chart success.