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
DAY TWO: 40-31
DAY THREE: 30-21
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)
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I’m surprised Fancy, Hit and Superhuman were not in your top 10 wow. I’m guessing we won’t agree in our top songs of the year.
Not a bad 11-20 list. I have a fair number of these on my short list.
Except =except= NCT Superhuman. Something about that song. I like it more in theory than in practice. It is a super well constructed song, super performed. But then I inevitably skip over it. Trying too hard?
I am also not quite on the Oneus bandwagon yet. Lots of people love this song, and it doesn’t do much for me at all. mho basic boy band sound with ample budget. But hey, whatev, what do I know.
Honestly, same with me. I liked Stairway to Heaven much much more though. But since everyone has been raving about it since its release, I thought maybe I just have bad ears 😀
Couldn’t connect with Feel Special as well. I preferred Fancy 100x more.
Yeah I really loved Superhuman when it came out but I’m just not returning to it even though I know it’s a great song. I had the same problem with Seventeen’s Home and Ateez’s Wave
I think your ATEEZ link in reference to their 2018 standing isn’t correct? Shouldn’t that be the 2018 Rookies Ranking post?
Also 100% into the fact that Dalla Dalla is in your Top 10!
*Dalla Dalla is *most likely* into your Top 10, that is.
Oops! Thanks for catching that.
Yep, i agree with pretty much everything on this list. Hit in particular, it seems that most people prefer “fear” to it? I found the edm sound to be superior here tho.
Not really feeling woohyun’s solo as much as you, but it’s a nice break from his ballads.
Ace – Undercover is my soty, that’s all i could think of on my list…..and more dreamcatcher i guess
Something, anything from Infinite had to make Nick’s list.
I also have a soft spot for “Hold on Me”. It was high on my short list but not top 10. It is a straight-forward pop song which could have been recorded almost any decade since the 80’s. Good vocal. Real instruments. Not much kpop has used acoustic guitar, so aurally it is a bit of a change up. (Pentagon “Cosmo” also uses a smaller amount of acoustic guitar. Some recent SuJu too, eg “Otra Vez” “Animals”.)
Well, time to guess the top 10 list too, i bet it would be something like:
10. Stray Kids – Side Effects
9. Ateez – Wave
8. Itzy – dalla dalla
7. Ateez – Wonderland
6. Bts – Boy With Luv
5. Txt – Run Away
4. NCT127 – Highway to heaven
3. Stray Kids – Miroh
2. Txt – Crown
1. Ace – Undercover
I am very impressed by this!
My prediction on your top 10 must be include boy with luv, yellow wood, miroh, dalla dalla, wonderland, crown, runaway, undercover
Or Sunset and HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN. I bet it’s on the Top 3. 🙂
By day, this one street is bustling with vehicles and pedestrians. At 2:47 am, however, it ferries one lone vehicle. Sputtering and shaking, a pickup truck that had seen its best days three decades ago creeps along slowly. It pulls into a large parking lot bereft of other vehicles and comes to a stop near a side entrance.
Inside the truck, the driver grips the steering wheel tightly. An AM radio is fighting a losing battle trying to stay tuned to the only available station. The song being played is cut-off by a DJ with a thick southern accent announcing a news alert. “Hey y’all. We just got notice that some kook has busted himself out of the state hospital. Y’all might wanna lock yer doors and keep your powder dry, if you know what I mean. Ya know, this reminds me of the time…”. The radio is silenced when the same screwdriver that was used to pop the ignition, is again used to turn off the engine.
The driver exits and approaches the open bed of the truck. He removes a well-worn axe and a large wool blanket from the bed. He approaches the double-doors and places the large blanket over a glass pane in the door, then uses the head of the axe to shatter it. Leaving the blanket, he passes through.
With the flick of a switch, the darkness yields to a now well-lit hallway. A water bubbler nearby becomes the first stop. After drinking, he stands up and is alarmed by a small mirror affixed above the bubbler. “Is that you?”, “Is that really you, Xeno?”. The internal voice then changes to that of a phone operator, “We’re sorry, we cannot connect your call at this time.”. He shutters, then returns to his mission.
He approaches the corner of.. ..that.. ..hallway. The one harboring the nexus of this nightmare. Still clutching the axe, his grip tightens increasingly as his resolve strengthens. Shattering all silence, he begins to wail like a banshee, turns the corner and runs down the hall. He reaches his target with the axe hovering menacingly above his shoulder. What?! No.. ..no.. ..no. There isn’t suppose to be FOUR filled cases. There was only three. Three very evil cases that must be destroyed. Oh well, four cases will now have to face my wrath!
He takes aim at the fourth display and draws back a mighty swing of justice, but all focus is quickly shattered. With the power to completely dissolve all convictions of this humble crusader, 3 tiny pink ribbons within this new display flicker into view. 3 delicate pink butterflies flitting above a smoldering battlefield.
Xeno/Not-Xeno is now frozen like a stone golem. His face is locked in a frenzied expression; similar to Jack’s at the end of “The Shining”. His eyes, deprived of blinking, begin to well-up, but not before three words slip through. ..”ITZY”.. ..”TWICE”.. ..”OMG”.. A lightning storm of mental circuitry inside his head begins to fry out all remaining reason. The Tin Man is frozen.
After a few minutes, several police officers enter the hall running. With guns raised, they rush to confront the trespasser. They shout for him to lower the axe. Unfortunately, Xeno isn’t home right now, but if you’d like to leave your name and number, he’ll get back to you; or not. Thankfully, the officers quickly realize that their target wasn’t.. ..all there. One officer pries the axe away, while the remaining pose this human mannequin into a cuffed position and proceed to read “it” it’s rights. Fade to black.
..to be continued?
The radio crackles to life. Folks, I hear they got the guy, so it’s back to the music now. I just got this record in the mail from some British group called New Order. Let’s give it a spin …
Hold on, it’s never enough
It’s never enough until your heart stops beating
The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain
Don’t give up the game until your heart stops beating
This is my first reply here despite reading you blog since over a year so first of all, I wanted to say thank you for the passion you share through all these reviews. I’m only listening k-pop since 2017 and I agree with what you said about this year being strong despite feeling disappointing. Someone said that the good releases were not scattered enough but my main complaint would be that the generation supposed to be in their prime years do not deliver (at least for the boygroups) . And your top 10 will probably illustrate this since ATEEZ, Stray Kids and TXT will have 6 songs for sure. ITZY will be there too, and probably NCT, BTS and A.C.E which means that only two groups of the actual generation will rank in your top 10.
Hmm, just thinking about it now but I’m surprised that songs such as U-KNOW’s solo, Super Clap or CLC Devil haven’t been mentioned, I didn’t expect these songs to be out of your list.
I also share XENO’s pain as a girlsgroups fan but I think we will feel better with the B-sides ranking… at least I hope we will !
FANCY?? AT #19???? A dream come true! Back when Fancy was released, I wasn’t 100% sure about it with respect to Twice’s past discography; however, time has truly solidified this track, and every replay nets increased returns (at least for me). It’s also nice to see Valkyrie ranked so high – definitely one of the best boy group tracks of the year. That guitar hook is extremely sticky on its own, and building the whole track around that motif was a great choice which holds the track together even when it goes off on more… trendy, trap-influenced tangents.
As for your top 10 tomorrow… I think have at least three tracks down for sure, and I’m personally rooting for a *certain* one of those tracks to be #1! We shall see…
Under Cover for the top spot! (Though it will probably be Crown, huh)
Song of the year for me was CLC’s Me, though I know that hasn’t a bat’s chance in hell at cracking even your Top 50. Maybe No will make the cut? Also pleasantly surprised Say My Name made it this far, I remember thinking it was underrated on this blog upon release.
Crown / Under Cover / Run Away / Boy With Luv / Miroh / Feel Special / Dalla Dalla / Wave / Wonderland / Highway to Heaven Top 10? Or maybe TST will sneak in there lmao
NIck’s ranking of Feel Special is at 41st. I think replace Feel Special to Side Effects and we got his top 10!
Came from the future to say you’re a psychic, ma’am.
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Icy is my personal favorite among Itzy’s two 2019 releases, even though I knew it would never top Dalla Dalla. But it’s climbed to your 20th spot? That’s a win in my book!