2018 was a fantastic year when it came to album tracks. In fact, many of them were stronger (and more interesting) than their title track counterparts.
This makes for a very competitive top 40 list, as well as a host of honorable mentions. Honestly, I could’ve tripled the amount of honorable mentions and still had more songs left to spotlight.
Infinite – I Hate, Begin Again
Red Velvet – Mosquito
NCT Dream – 1, 2, 3
Monsta X – Destroyer
Twice – Sunset
ONF – Your Day
EXO-CBX – Off The Wall
2018 United Cube – One & Young
40. BOA – MANNISH CHOCOLAT
A pulsing burst of catchy deep house taken from BoA’s ninth Japanese album. (full review)
39. ALPHABAT – BLOCKBUSTER
A percussive thump of electro pop that hearkened back to the best of 2013’s experimental K-pop sound. (full review)
38. A.C.E – DESSERT
A grade-A take on tropical house trends, incorporating icy 80’s synths and an instrumental drop that didn’t totally suck.
37. UP10TION – BIG WAVE
A rollicking explosion of sing-along power pop, standing as the most memorable entry in the group’s growing Japanese discography. (full review)
36. CHUNGHA – CHERRY KISSES
A good old-fashioned pop track with a sweeping chorus and an assured performance that began to unlock more of Chungha’s enormous potential. (full review)
35. FROMIS_9 – 22nd CENTURY GIRL
An ultra-catchy stab at retro dance-pop, dialing down the group’s cuteness in favor of a refined melody and sterling instrumental. (full review)
34. GOLDEN CHILD – I SEE U
A strong reminder that tropical pop can still yield success if paired with a fantastic hook and solid vocal layering.
33. ATEEZ – TWILIGHT
A beguiling blend of flute-like synth hooks and gorgeous vocals, buoyed by a memorable chorus and warm instrumental breakdown.
32. SEVENTEEN – THINKIN’ ABOUT YOU
A summer single posing as a mid-winter album track, and a refinement of Seventeen’s sound at its most carefree and pop-informed. (full review)
31. KEY – GOOD GOOD
A charisma-dripping blend of funk guitar and pounding percussion, Good Good harnessed Key’s addictive attitude better than either of his singles.
30. GFRIEND – LOVE IS IN THE AIR
A robust blend of GFriend’s stellar vocals and a lush instrumental that layered strings upon strings for maximum pop potency. (full review)
29. TAEMIN – ECLIPSE
A throwback to the Taemin sound of 2014, Eclipse‘s driving chorus sets its sights toward the stars, radiating dancefloor-filling power. (full review)
28. TAEYANG – LOUDER
A suitably anthemic slice of pump-you-up pop that provided a soundtrack to the 2018 Olympics while recalling the stadium-filling material of pop legends past. (full review)
27. BLACKPINK – FOREVER YOUNG
An album track that feels more like the main single, Forever Young‘s tropical pop is trendy but unarguably addicting.
26. BOA – U&I
A rousing blast of 80’s-inspired dance pop that gave BoA plenty of space to show off her admirable range and undeniable allure. (full review)
25. SHINEE – CHEMISTRY
Another example of SHINee breathing new energy into a tired trend, Chemistry‘s tropical pop improves tenfold thanks to a knockout chorus and powerful vocal performance.
24. NCT 127 – REPLAY (PM 01:27)
An uncharacteristically straightforward shot of electro-pop, leveraging its slight hook with enough variation to make it an album standout. (full review)
23. DAY6 – FEELING GOOD
A breezy surge of throwback dance-rock that saw the guys aim straight for the pop jugular with energy-boosting success. (full review)
22. SHINEE – JUMP
An airy blend of retro electronics and tight pop songcraft, performed to perfection with an offhand sense of cool confidence. (full review)
21. SEVENTEEN – HOLIDAY
A concentrated barrage of Seventeen’s most upbeat charms, standing as the chart-conquering summer smash that never was. (full review)