The end of the year countdowns are here! We’re starting things off with the big one… the top 50 songs of the year! Each day this week, I’ll be counting down ten of the year’s best, until number one is revealed on Friday.
Unlike last year, j-pop releases will be placed in their own countdown, including those by Korean artists.
To be eligible for this top 50 list, tracks must have had a commercial release between Dec. 1st, 2015 and Nov. 30th, 2016.
20. Astro – Confession
The cherry on top of their pop-fueled trilogy of 2016 releases, Confession cemented Astro as a rookie to watch — filled to the brim with bright, melodically galvanizing hooks. (full review)
19. Produce 101 – Pick Me
Reinventing the novelty and EDM genres simultaneously, Pick Me transformed from irritating… to inescapable… to utterly addictive. Something this chirpy and repetitive shouldn’t be so good, right?
18. KNK – Back Again
17. BLACKPINK – Playing With Fire
Though I wasn’t as sold on the group’s summer singles, Playing With Fire made me an instant fan, carrying on the 2NE1 legacy with just enough modern touches to help BLACKPINK stand on their own. (full review)
16. Seventeen – Pretty U
Tackling a lighter pop sound than their 2015 releases, Pretty U reinvented Seventeen as a Broadway-ready bubblegum dance troupe. None of that would work if the song itself wasn’t such an incredible earworm. (full review)
15. 100% – Better Day
Kept on hiatus for over two years, it seemed as if 100% were as good as disbanded. But this Sweetune-produced stunner reinvented their sound with sky-high vocals and sweeping, atmospheric synth riffs. (full review)
14. Lovelyz – For You
Released all the way back in December, For You bursts forth with summertime pop bliss, taking Lovelyz in a warmer, more anthemic direction and proving that there’s some musical heft beneath their cutesy exterior. (full review)
13. EXO – Lucky One
Though the charts preferred Monster, it was Lucky One‘s disco beat and addictive flute sample that stole the show for me, giving EXO the chance to once again indulge in the funk-pop side of their sound. (full review)
12. NCT Dream – Chewing Gum
At its heart, k-pop is designed to be fun, and Chewing Gum‘s campfire chant of a chorus has that aspect fully covered. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must, but what a pleasure its multitude of hooks was! (full review)
11. BTS – Fire
Offering an aggressive rallying cry for their first big 2016 comeback, Fire took the beat-driven, breakdown-for-a-chorus trend and made it more than palatable with its thundering stomp and anthemic refrain. (full review)