Feature

The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day One: 50-41)

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

18 thoughts on “The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day One: 50-41)

  1. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day Two: 40-31) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day Three: 30-21) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. Hello! Been lurking here since earlier this year! I’ve been looking forward to your top 50 list for this year! 😀 I just recently got back into kpop and your lists, especially your top ten lists have gotten me back into touch with groups I loved back in the day such as 2NE1, Big Bang & FT Island. Also found about Dreamcatcher through you. That being said, do you have any recommendations for both male & female groups that have great/impressive lives? As I got older I discovered that I also got a little bit pickier when choosing groups and I’m staying away first from BTS (will probably get on that train when the hype has died down a little, their fandom is a bit much for me as of the moment.) ahahaha. Also, I know your bias is Infinite & I’ve been wavering on which train I should get on first- Infinite or EXO. 😀

    Like

    • I’m so glad that the lists have been of help!
      Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either Infinite or EXO. Obviously I’m biased towards one over the other, but theyre both fantastic groups. If you do decide to get on the Infinite train, be sure to check out my K-pop A-Z feature on this site. I literally review every single Infinite song in existence 😉

      When it comes to impressive lives, I find that most established acts are pretty good on this front. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ve always found Infinite to be THE standard when it comes to idol groups performing live. SHINee, Seventeen and TVXQ instantly come to mind, too. For female groups, I’d check out GFriend. It’s all about Yuju’s powerful voice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve seen the 2018 Mama performance of GFriend, and was pretty impressed with them, so I’ll probably go through their discography soon. I’ve been craving for more female groups in my playlist which oddly enough is dominantly male as I find myself going and liking more guy groups than girl groups.’I’ve also been craving a more pop sound as I’ve been listening to 2NE1, the awesome ballads and vocals of Davichi, and the entire discography of FT Island non stop (CN Blue, Day 6, and The Rose, I will get to you sometime next year!) I think the closest I got this year was my guilty pleasure 2PM because Junho. I never got on board the SHINee train although after seeing some of their videos on your countdowns I definitely want to check them out as well. B1A4 based on your top ten list has made me smile, but it looks like I’m leaning towards Infinite to end this year and start the next year, mostly because I recently saw L in Miss Hammurabi and Hoya in Radiant Office (although I know he left the group), and some of the videos I’ve seen on your lists have intrigued me. 😀 I used to LOOOVE SNSD, but I stopped listening to them after Gee or Run Devil Run. I’m also debating on whether to start with Blackpink or Red Velvet, but my YG bias might win in the end. Thanks for the quick reply! 😀 Also, I absolutely loved iKON’s Love Scenario! Thank you for introducing that into my life! Also, I really enjoy reading your analysis and reviews of the songs! 😀

        Like

      • Also to add to that, I’m intrigued by VIXX as well after watching N appear in some kdramas. Saw their selection in your top ten list for them and while I haven’t listened to everything yet, the concepts they have are pretty intriguing.

        Like

          • Don’t know if you’ll ever see this comment, but I hope you do! Went on the GFriend train w/c you recommended, and I’m a huge fan now! Started getting into Infinite, and I do love them (L is my bias, but I do have a soft spot for all of them now, in particular Woo Hyun and Sunggyu), but w/all the news lately concentrated on male celebrities, I decided to switch back to girl groups again (I personally felt bad over the fact that FT Island’s Choi Jong Hoon is involved). I love GFriend’s sound as it reminded me of the old school girl group sound (old SNSD). (Also, was stoked to see Park Bom comeback w/Dara in it,too, which made my Blackjack heart very happy). Anyway, any solid girl group recommendations while this thing blows over? Again, I love the old school sound but I’m not averse to newer sounds, as long as its impressive, and again, impressive lives. 😀 Hope you are holding out as well in a time of kpop uncertainty!

            Like

            • My “holy quintet” of newer generation girl groups would be GFriend, Lovelyz, Oh My Girl, Cosmic Girls and Red Velvet. But, that’s just me.

              My favorite girl group album of all time, though, is Wonder Girls’ Reboot from 2015. If you haven’t already checked it out, definitely do! Especially if you’re a fan of 80’s music…

              Liked by 2 people

              • Since our tastes align most of the time, I’ll check these groups out! You’ve never led me astray yet. 😀 I think I’ll also try out Dreamcatcher as well, they do have an interesting sound. Actually, I think I’ll still continue my dive into Infinite, really really loving them at the moment (I was a bit down w/all the news earlier), and then I’ll check these girl groups out. 😀 Lovelyz and Oh My Girl have been a bit on my radar so it looks like I’m on the right track! And noted on the Wonder Girls reboot, I’ll check that out too, because why not? 😀 Also, thanks for replying back so quickly!

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day Four: 20-11) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  5. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2018 (Day Five: 10-1) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. Pingback: K-POP Best of 2018 Masterpost | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. I’m here! I’m posting my favorites of the year!

    50. Loona yyxy – love4eva: A bubbly E-tribe rehash of SNSD’s Gee minus the super played out sound of 2009, love4eva suffers from a few too many ad-libs but works nonetheless. I feel like love4eva could have been very high on this list indeed with less vocals and more instrumental breathing room.

    49. Pristin V – Get It: Heavy riffing and an instrumental-oriented chorus saves this one bland-girl-crush song hell.

    48. WJSN – Save Me, Save You: The verses might be full of some very Korean r&b major/minor noodling around, but the chorus really pulls things together! It features busy piano, an equally catchy second keyboard melody, and a vocal line that escapes the curse of over-phrasing that has pulled down most of WJSN’s past discography. Despite the lack of overt hookiness, that butakhae refrain easily pops into my head randomly all the time, and if that’s not a testament to memorability, then I don’t know what is.

    47. Momoland – BAAM: Bboom Bboom but better, let’s all face it. Shinsadong self-plagiarizing his whole discography can’t be a bad thing.

    46. Pentagon – Shine: Actually this sounds really terrible and I hate it. Tell me why it’s not out of my head yet! This must have been how you felt about PD48 Season 1’s Pick Me.

    45. Red Velvet – Bad Boy: Everything in this song’s vocals is extremely nothing-y, but that doesn’t really matter because the backing track is the kind of impeccably-produced minimalist thing that takes the annoying trap trend to the next level. I couldn’t really post Red Velvet – Bad Boy (inst.) here and have it count, but I’m doing it in spirit.

    44. HeyGirls – Follow Me: No one knows this exists, but it’s a pseudo-reggae thing about as good as anything 2ne1 decided to put out in 2013. The only thing holding this one back is some slightly awkward production (I can’t put my finger on it), but it’s really a small complaint for an otherwise cool song.

    43. BOL4 – Travel: It’s this year’s lemonade-drinking-time summer song! Last year AKMU threw down the “we’re finally picking up the pace” gauntlet with “Dinosaur,” – managing the best song in their history – and in 2018 BOL4 did the same to similar result. A slightly more rock-based, uptempo guitar pop foundation skyrockets the signature BOL4 sound from coffee-shop snooze to replay-able mood-lifting goodness

    42. Chungha – Love U: Speaking of over-phrasing disease, someone kindly rescue Chungha’s vocals from being misused like this! The whole chorus is screechy to heck and back, and heavy use of editing shears is directly in order, particularly because there’s already the second synth melody playing beneath the vocals. It’s just too much! Luckily there’s some extremely sexy chord changes and keyboard stabs that cut right through everything wrong here. Check out that suspension at 0:45 in the video! No joke, I listen to this song all the time just for the tension in that chord,,, it’s the power of idk uh, not writing boring music, that saves trop house from its own worst tendencies.

    41. BlackPink – Ddu-du Ddu-du: I think I put like five other songs at 41, but I guess this spot is destined for BlackPink. Ddu-du Ddu-du isn’t a very likable song, that is, until you blast it as loud as possible, at which point it ups itself in quality significantly. All of the parts that aren’t slathered in heavily distorted sub-bass but still keep the languid tempo, – like the prechorus and bridge (sorry Rosé) don’t appeal to me at all – but once we’re back in the rap sections and chorus all is righted. Not even chanting BLACKPINK every few bars and Jennie listing the cardinal directions (lol) can ruin this collection of random percussive noises and bass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god I love you! Not only a full top 50 list, but write-ups as well! I can’t wait to see the rest of this. I have a feeling you’ll more than make up for the absence of Twice on my own list 😉
      I honestly don’t think I ever heard the HeyGirls song, and that’s a real rarity for me. I’ll have to check it out.
      I’m shocked BLACKPINK made it on the list. I would’ve thought you’d hate it. Of the songs not on my own list, I do like Travel a lot, and Bad Boy probably should’ve eked its way on rather than simply being an honorable mention.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Nick Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.