The end of the year countdowns are finally here! As always, things kick off with the big one… The Bias List’s 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.
To be eligible for this top 50 list, songs must have had a Korean release as a title or promotional track between Dec. 1st, 2017 and Nov. 30th, 2018.
Curious about last year’s countdown? Check out the masterpost here!
50. Gugudan – Not That Type
Over the course of their two-and-a-half year career, Gugudan have cycled through a number of concepts. But, it’s the high energy, attitude-filled dance rhythms of Not That Type that finally landed them on my year-end countdown. (full review)
49. NCT 127 – Simon Says
SM Entertainment’s princes of experimentation grew even stranger with the minimalist hip-hop of Simon Says, but the distorted crunch of the lurching chorus hearkens back to the agency’s bombastic past. (full review)
48. Seungri – 1, 2, 3!
Sidestepping the brooding boy group trends of 2018, Bigbang’s Seungri surprised with this mix of beat-drop EDM and retro rockabilly. The buoyant results perfectly suited his jack-of-all-trades personality. (full review)
47. NCT 127 – Touch
127 are often seen as the enigmatic, hip-hop driven core of the NCT brand, but Touch yanked them into the pop world with its retro groove and wall of harmonies. (full review)
46. Uhm Jung Hwa – Ending Credit
Released at the tail end of 2017, Ending Credit put a wistful bow on Jung Hwa’s The Cloud Dream of the Nine project, offering the kind of pop star rumination reserved for legends such as her. (full review)
45. YDPP – Love It Live It
More than any other year, 2018 saw a glut of project groups. It’s not worth pretending that YDPP were brought together from any other reason than promoting Pepsi products, but Love It‘s fizzy burst of youthful 80’s pop was a welcome respite from the year’s darker urges. (full review)
44. EXO – Tempo
Despite its oft-repeated refrain, EXO definitely mess up the tempo here. Moving from freewheeling funk-pop to languid hip-hop and back again, Tempo waits until the bridge play its trump card — a stunning acapella segment that shines full light on the group’s inimitable vocals. (full review)
43. ATEEZ – Treasure
Though Treasure threatens to devolve into auto-tuned hip-hop on more than one occasion, the song’s towering chorus reignites a powerful K-pop sound we rarely heard in 2018. It’s a surprisingly potent debut. (full review)
42. Seventeen – Thanks
Coming off of a breathless (and breathlessly exciting) 2017, it was time for Seventeen to show their appreciation for their ever-growing fan base. But rather than deliver some saccharine ballad, the group gifted us with this driving, atmospheric blast of EDM. (full review)
41. (G)I-DLE – Latata
Tropical pop continues to clog K-pop’s airwaves, and for that I should hate a song as derivative as Latata. It’s a testament to (G)I-DLE’s effortless charisma (and that insistent hook), that the girls transcended trendiness to deliver one of the year’s most memorable debuts. (full review)
NEXT: NUMBERS 40-31