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!
20. NCT U – Boss
Boss‘s bass-heavy hip-hop played to the strengths of NCT’s unlimited roster, offering a dynamic blend of rap and vocals with just enough icy 90’s r&b edge to make it feel like an instant K-pop classic. (full review)
19. TST – Paradise
Jettisoning their usual high-energy synth-pop assault for a subdued, guitar-assisted ballad, Sweetune gifted TST with their most effective single yet. That layered chorus is pure melancholic bliss. (full review)
18. Hyolyn – See Sea
She may not be a part of Sistar anymore, but that doesn’t mean Hyolyn has to give up her title of Summer Queen. See Sea throws in just enough retro influence to make it a cheesy pleasure, wafting on airy vocals and hypnotic synth loops. (full review)
17. N.Tic – Do You Know Who I Am?
Do You Know Who I Am was probably the most meta title of the year, because I’d bet the vast majority of K-pop listeners have no idea that N.Tic exist. It’s time to change that, because this propulsive burst of dance pop practically defines the term “underrated.” (full review)
16. IMFACT – NaNaNa
IMFACT have never been a part of this countdown before, but NaNaNa rockets them to just outside the top fifteen thanks to its textured take on deep house, which stretches a simple hook in sublime, seesawing directions. (full review)
15. The Boyz – Right Here
Right Here felt like a love letter to the boy groups of years past. Its wall-of-sound arrangement wasn’t afraid to go big and stay big, charging forward with inexhaustible energy and jagged funk-pop production. (full review)
14. Pentagon – Shine
Before K-pop’s version of “scandal” ripped the group apart, Pentagon were riding high off the ubiquitous Shine. The song takes what made iKON’s Love Scenario so popular and adds a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor and an earworm hook to die for. Its opening piano riff is nothing short of iconic. (full review)
13. UNB – Black Heart
K-pop has long been know for its genre fusion, and in a year where that creativity took the backseat to current trends, Black Heart‘s mashup of jazzy swing and EDM proved exhilarating. It didn’t hurt that the song also brings together two of the industry’s best producers: LDN Noise and Ryan Jhun. (full review)
12. Oh My Girl – Remember Me
Remember Me took the cinematic atmosphere of the girls’ Secret Garden and ripped it open with unconventional, rap-heavy verses that blend surprisingly well with the swelling chorus. The song never feels settled or repetitive. It continually builds to something bigger and better. (full review)
11. Golden Child – Let Me
In a summer filled with tropical house and hip-hop, Let Me‘s exuberant burst of rock-tinged power pop felt especially needed. Unafraid to swing for the stadium-filling rafters, the song’s anthemic chorus cemented Golden Child as this generation’s energy boosters. (full review)