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, 2018 and Nov. 30th, 2019.
Curious about last year’s countdown? Check out the masterpost here!
DAY ONE: 50-41
40. JBJ95 – Spark
Many K-pop acts mined the 80’s for inspiration this year, but no song was as perfectly John-Hughes-soundtrack ready as JBJ95’s Spark. Without an enormous group configuration fighting for musical scraps, this duo was able to streamline Spark‘s charms into a potent duet of rap and vocals, all wrapped around a killer hook. (full review)
39. DreamNote – Hakuna Matata
After harshly reviewing DreamNote’s 2018 debut, Hakuna Matata stood as a welcome surprise. The catchy bubblegum track melds 80’s new wave with girl group aegyo to craft a fizzy, addictive dance track. Its insidious hooks may feel over-caffeinated at first, but quickly lodge themselves in memory and refuse to let go. (full review)
38. TXT – Cat & Dog
Another track that could be dismissed as novelty, Cat & Dog seemed repellent the first time I heard it. But, it succeeds in its own brazen foolishness, culminating in a barked refrain that would be laughable if not for the guys’ goofy conviction. It you must draw from genres as ridiculous as trap and mumble rap, this is the way to do it. (full review)
37. Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – As You Wish
Cosmic Girls have slowly been climbing up my own bias list, and songs like As You Wish are fueling that ascent. The track defies the temptation to be overly cutesy or edgy, settling somewhere in the middle with a soaring melody and propulsive, unflagging instrumental. (full review)
36. The Boyz – D.D.D
Bloom Bloom was a bit saccharine (even for me!), but D.D.D brought just enough edge to make its upbeat summer sound memorable. It’s home to one of the year’s most galvanizing dance breaks, and a chorus so disarmingly simple that it becomes a hands-in-the-air mantra unto itself. (full review)
35. Nu’est – Love Me
After so many darker-themed comebacks, I forgot what a fun, upbeat Nu’est track could sound like. Love Me tackles the popular deep house trend with a 90’s edge, anchored by an ultra-catchy melodic refrain and waves of layered vocals. (full review)
34. Weki Meki – Tiki-Taka (99%)
Weki Meki had a strong 2019, marrying their quirky sound to sharp hooks. But Tiki-Taka aims straight for the pop jugular, offering the kind of blissful summer sound that was in short supply this year. By all accounts, it deserved to be this year’s Red Flavor. (full review)
33. DAY6 – Days Gone By
DAY6 stretched their sound in many directions this year, but it all started last December with the catchy, retro goodness of Days Gone By. I will never not love a shimmering 80’s synth-rock jam like this. (full review)
32. Kim Donghan – Focus
Kim Donghan delivered his funkiest output so far with Focus. It’s an incredibly rhythmic track with one of the year’s most memorable post-chorus hooks. The interplay between the bright synth lines and his chopped vocals is brilliant. (full review)
31. Sunmi – Noir
After scoring two songs in my top ten of 2018, Sunmi had a more subdued year. Noir was the stronger of her two singles, building on the moody 80’s soundscapes that have made her solo work stand out within the industry. (full review)
NEXT: NUMBERS 30-21
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Oh man, Day6 “Days Gone By”. They got this song and video =spot on=. It is a perfect mimic of the Hooters / Glass Tiger / Mr Mister / Outfield sound from right about 1985-86. (Missing the ubiquitous 80’s sax or guitar solo, perhaps?) Flove! Serious guilty pleasure.
WekiMeki “TikiTaka” is just off the edge of my list, as is JBJ85 “Spark”.
DreamNote “Hakuna Matata” didn’t grab me as much as Fromis “Fun” or Cosmic Girls “Sugar Pop”. Just a little too high pitched for me. I know we have a difference of opinion on this point, especially wrt “Fun”. What is too sweet for one person versus another person is just a matter of personal taste sometimes. I got into PurpleBeck “Crystal Ball” as a guilty pleasure over the summer, despite its super extra high pitched chorus. Go figure.
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Yeah, I kept waiting throughout the video for the camera to pan over to Duckie and Blane sissy slapping each other over at the punch bowl.
Could you describe the ruckus, sir?
Sorry. Went too obscure. It’s a reference to two characters from the movie “Pretty in Pink”. John Hughes film, 1986. Thought it was a cute nod to your 1985-1986 comment. My bad.
Sorry, too obscure too, as mine is also a reference to a 1985 film.
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Don’t mess with the bull, young lady. You’ll get the horns.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS CAT AND DOG DOING ON THIS LIST!!!!!!!!!!
I myself am a MOA but that song is cheesy and filled with trap. I do not think it would make my list AT ALL!
I am slightly surprised love me is so low, but as a long time LOVE I guess I am kind of biased.
I enjoyed D.D.D. but nothing else by theBoyz this year. I also enjoyed noir and as you wish slightly…
I did not like any other songs over here……….
But thanks Nick! I myself am too lazy to make a k-pop blog and I know it is hard work so keep on going!
ma’am he literally explains why Cat & Dog made the list. just say you hate the song and go, this is HIS personal opinion
I think you misunderstood Felix,
I said it would not make my list. I do hate it, and I was shocked that it made it on the list. But in no way am I attempting to spew hate (I assume me keeping CAP lock on did not help)
In fact, I normally agree with Nick’s opinions it is just that I could never enjoy Cat and Dog.
Also I am sir not madam 🙂
Also Nick, I think I have figured out your tastes. I am going to try to guess your year end winners!:
ROTY: TXT (mine as well)
Artist OTY: ATEEZ (mine as well)
BsideOTY: She’s my girl-golcha
plz note if I got any correct…..
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I think I entered my EMAIL wrong that is why my logo changed their……
Also I thanked Nick in my original, I hope this proves I am not spewing hate..
Also, can someone plz explain how to edit comments hear so I don’t make a giant chain of emails 🙂
Heh heh, actually I find your comment to be a funny knee-jerk response. If I could post pictures on this (which we can’t) I would post the new Jackson meme =just for you=.
No, there is no way to edit responses. Your capslock is memorialized for as long as Nick has this blog. heh heh
As someone who appreciates the Kitsch in Kpop in her own way, who am I to judge Nick’s taste here?
Oh that sucks….
The cap locks is stuck forever………
I have not seen the new Jackson meme, can you give a link?
I was not criticizing Nick just telling I do not like that song
Yes, for some reason WordPress only lets me edit comments. Sorry!
But like mymagoogle, I got a chuckle out of the comment as well, so no worries. Cat & Dog is polarizing, to say the least, but I think it works.
As for your guesses, helloall101, I of course can’t reveal whether you were correct or not because that would ruin the surprise! You’ll just have to wait and see! I like predictions, though. It’s interesting to see how others view/interpret my taste.
Glad you laughed at the comments Nick,
I am pretty sure I got at least some correct….
Just an idea, can you make a top 10 worst kpop songs of the year staring 2020 and best kpop songs of the decade?
I’ve resisted the urge to do a “worst of” list for years now because the internet is negative enough already and I don’t want to add any more negativity to it.
You’re not the first to ask about a “best of decade” list. If I do it, it’ll be in January or later. But, that’s a big if. It would be a lot of work. Honestly, I think I’d be more likely to get around to that “best K-pop songs of all time” list I’ve been wanting to do for years…
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New Jackson meme is all over allkpop, soompi, koreaboo, and any of your favorite kpop sites. It is the still of Jackson reacting to JYP resurrecting the plastic pants at MAMA 2019.
Oh, that awesome one :)!
Coming back over a year later, quite amused at this chain, especially how biased I was towards Nu’est back then. The whole chain is quite amusing, and my predictions were not too off. Also, maybe I am able to make a review blog! Since then, my profile image and name have changed, but it is still me!
Cat and Dog still sucks a lot, though, for me. I doubt that will change anytime soon.
Xeno has been out of sorts for the past few days. Yesterday, at lunch, he actually traded his chocolate pudding for an olive loaf on sourdough. Halfway through the consumption of this implausible exchange, his eyes welled-up with tears as if to tell the world, “Help! I’m trapped inside my own mind!”
This.. ..fog. This.. ..detachment from the usual tranquility of existence arrived when Xeno happened upon the trophy cases outside the music department. This chance encounter so impacted him that it was as if a raven of ill-intent had chosen to perch itself on the window sill of his sanity.
Xeno meanders through the school halls with a noticeable crookedness to his usually bright expression. He turns a corner and his internal compass alerts him that he has wandered into danger. His eyes widen frightfully as he realizes he is now in the hallway leading to the music department. All color flushes from his face as he registers that TWO display cases are now lit. No! No no no. How can this be?
Ignoring his innate “fight or flight” urge to turn about face and run screaming and flailing like a 5 year old in the opposite direction, he awkwardly approaches the second display with near-shut eyes and one hand hanging over his eyes as a protective awning.
With a burst of courage rarely displayed in today’s times, he slowly lowers his hand and opens his eyes. Unlike the first display case, this case has four pink adorned trophies. HA! FOUR!!! Take that, you disgraceful “three pink only” fifth display case! He then focuses on the four placards that accompany each award.
DreamNote “Hakuna Matata” at 39? That seems about right. It’s a fine song with a.. ..WAIT A TIC.. TWICE only scored 41 with “Feel Special”. Is Hakuna Matata better? Does the math add up? Is it? Isn’t it? Xeno tries to balance his reasoning as he wrestles this logic. Okay, water is hard and rocks are wet. No, that’s not right. Focus damn it, focus!
Moving past this conundrum, he notices WJSN “As You Wish” is 37. Oh, that’s good. Those girls deserve the recogni… ..a screech passes through Xeno’s mind as if a needle had dragged across a record. He then recalls Lovelyz “Beautiful Days” only receiving a 44. Again, he finds himself in a pit of logic, only this time, the pit is strewn with snakes and pointed sticks. Must.. ..not.. ..do.. ..the.. ..math.
His mind resets and he pauses in a stupor. His eyes lazily recognize a familiar name. Weki Meki “Tiki-Taka (99%)” took 34th place. Oh, thank God! Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Jesus! There is normalcy in the world. It hasn’t completely 180’ed into bedlam. Please, please, please let this trend continue.
His eyes quickly dart to the last trophy with pink dressing. Sunmi “Noir” bags 31st place. Yeah! In your face foul demons. You can’t have me. I’m saved! Xeno pauses to bask in this pool of warm sanity, but reality is a cruel mistress. His eyes return to trophies 39 and 37. In the blink of a weary eye, his logic and his reason crash into one another like two monstrous locomotives. Xeno is now lost in the rubble of the resulting impact.
The fulcrum of balance has shattered. Random bits of reasoning are ping-ponging inside his skull as he tries to rationalize the order of the trophies. 39 is less than or greater than 41. 37 plus 44 equals crayon. 34 is good. 31 is bad, no, great; maybe. La la la. If we call an orange an orange, why don’t we call a banana a yellow. Is it hot in here? Xeno suddenly bursts out laughing, then instantly weeps deeply. His knees buckle. Fade to black.
To be continued…
I can’t wait to read the full collected works of this saga. As the one whose list is providing its inspiration, this feels a bit like a choose your own adventure! 🙂
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I think Nick has somehow managed to foster a sense of reader engagement deeper and more intimate than any other kpop review site ever has or ever will, because this is…..wow. I guess I can appreciate the creative flex involved here, Xeno.
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A lot of gentle surprises so far – but all good ones! ‘Focus’ in particular didn’t really stick with me, but upon revisiting it, the placement is deserved.
I’m also so glad you came around to ‘L.O.V.E’! It slots nicely alongside Astro’s ‘Always You’ and Seventeen’s ‘Thanks’ on my “Melodramatic Electronics” playlist.
More than anything, though, I’m excited by what we haven’t seen yet. I count a couple TXT tracks, a couple VERIVERY, a couple Stray Kids, an NCT or two (or three?)… the list goes on. What a YEAR.
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“D.D.D.” was good but I found myself OBSESSED with “Bloom Bloom.” I really hope The Boyz don’t pull a Golden Child/Seventeen because they feel like one of K-pop’s last hopes for good cheery boy band songs.
I like 6/7 of the songs I’ve already heard from this set so I’ll definitely be checking out the three I haven’t already heard.
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