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!
20. ITZY – Icy
For those of us who miss the days when K-pop went full-on bonkers, Icy is a total treat. It’s a big, messy sound collage, held together by ITZY’s inexhaustible energy and the boisterous cacophony of rhythms that fuel it. Love it or hate it, there’s no way you’ll forget a song like this. (full review)
19. Twice – Fancy
Kicking off an era of maturing concepts, Twice threw down the gauntlet with the peppy pop of Fancy. The girls’ music is at its best when working with producers Black Eyed Pilseung, and Fancy‘s icy synth and razor sharp chorus are only further proof of this dream team’s unlimited potential. (full review)
18. Seventeen – Hit
As Seventeen’s title tracks have moved in darker and more mainstream directions, Hit‘s bombastic blast of EDM pop was just what their discography needed. They remain one of Korea’s best performance groups, and this comeback acted as a perfect showcase for that talent. (full review)
17. NCT 127 – Superhuman
It’s hard to predict what an NCT 127 song will sound like anymore, but I was beyond delighted when Superhuman cast them as heirs to the classic SM boy group style, channeling SHINee’s discography in a big way while infusing the track with more modern EDM touches. (full review)
16. Oh My Girl – The Fifth Season (SSFWL)
Oh My Girl had a big year, and their success was achieved by sticking to their guns. The Fifth Season doesn’t reinvent their symphonic pop sound, but it’s a stunning example of it, delivering a perfectly arranged, double-time chorus that builds to cinematic crescendos. (full review)
15. TRCNG – Missing
Probably the most under-promoted act on my countdown, there’s no telling where TRCNG will go from here. But, if Missing ends up being their swan song, it’s a complete triumph. Fusing soaring melodies to an EDM backdrop, the track feels in constant build, bursting with pop-fueled momentum. (full review)
14. ONEUS – Valkyrie
Valkyrie was an excellent debut, proving that boy groups could tackle edgier concepts while retaining a sense of well-developed, melodic song structure. The track’s guitar-meets-electronic instrumental hits hard, and proved difficult for ONEUS to better on subsequent comebacks. (full review)
13. VERIVERY – Ring Ring Ring
Unveiled on the same day as Valkyrie, Ring Ring Ring was the yin to that track’s yang, quickly established VERIVERY’s brand of modernized new jack swing. It’s home to one of the year’s breeziest choruses, buoyed by the eager energy of a rookie act. (full review)
12. ATEEZ – Say My Name
I had a gut feeling about ATEEZ in 2018, but their big breakthrough came even sooner than I’d expected. Say My Name was one of those songs that only grew stronger with time, culminating in one of the most compelling, final-minute beat drops we heard all year. (full review)
11. Nam Woohyun – Hold On Me (ft. Junoflo)
Taking a break from his ballad-heavy solo sound, Hold On Me placed Woohyun’s incredible vocals over a propulsive, guitar-driven dance beat. The result is his best solo track yet, channeling the energy of a great Infinite song and fueled by his innate sense of showmanship. (full review)