Feature

Top K-Pop Albums of 2020 (So Far)

MidyearAfter looking at the year’s best singles (so far), it’s time to turn attention to 2020’s albums.

I’ll reiterate what I said yesterday: relative to previous years, it’s been slim pickings. Consistently good mini albums have been particularly hard to find this year, at least in my opinion. But even though the overall picture may be troublesome, 2020 has delivered quite a few excellent b-sides.

What are your thoughts, readers? Leave your own picks in the comments!


FULL LENGTH ALBUMS


Dreamcatcher – Dystopia: The Tree of Language

Working exclusively the unbeatable LEEZ/Ollounder production team, Dreamcatcher crafted an album of various genres that nonetheless holds together through its sheer invention and adventurous spirit.

Best album tracks: Black Or White, Tension

Stray Kids – Go Live

Though their choice of title track polarized many listeners, Go Live is full of buried treasures that expand on Stray Kids’ core sound without losing their sense of individuality.

Best album tracks: Haven, Phobia

WayV – Awaken The World

Okay, I’m cheating here (especially because I didn’t include WayV’s Turn Back Time in my “top songs” post). But, I don’t know where else I can put this album, and it definitely deserves recognition — whatever language it may be recorded in. Song for song, it’s the strongest NCT project of the year.

Best album tracks: Electric Hearts, After Midnight


MINI ALBUMS


ATEEZ – Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer

Less an independent album as it is a conclusion to ATEEZ’s 2018-19 work, Action To Answer nonetheless makes the list because ATEEZ’s music is just so consistently great. Even a brief cash-in like this feels essential.

Best album tracks: Horizon, Precious

Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Neverland

No surprise here. Cosmic Girls always bring the goods when it comes to albums, and Neverland is no different. It’s stuffed with could-have-been-singles, including several b-sides that are superior to the actual title track!

Best album tracks: Pantomime, Hola

DAY6 – The Book Of Us: The Demon

Though I was underwhelmed by its title track, DAY6 continued to deliver consistent quality throughout the rest of their trilogy-concluding The Demon, nudging their rock style in a variety of directions.

Best album tracks: Love Me Or Leave Me, 1 To 10

Golden Child – Take A Leap

Though I’d consider Leap one of Golden Child’s weaker efforts (too many mid-tempos!), I’ve already listened to it more than 90% of other 2020 K-pop albums. It’s a convincing maturation of their sound, driven by fantastic performances.

Best album tracks: OMG, H.E.R

Ha Sungwoon – Twilight Zone

This might come as a surprise, especially since I haven’t yet featured a buried treasure from Twilight Zone. But, this album introduced a retro funk appeal to Sungwoon’s repertoire and became a bit of a sleeper hit on my playlist.

Best album tracks: Puzzle, Lie

ITZY – IT’z Me

ITZY finally delivered an album with more than three new tracks, and the upbeat IT’z Me delivered on their explosive musical personality with club-ready tracks from front to back.

Best album tracks: Nobody Like You, Ting Ting Ting

7 thoughts on “Top K-Pop Albums of 2020 (So Far)

  1. Love the list as always, glad you included HSW’s album because I had completely forgotten about it…and its actually a really good listen

    Like

  2. Full Albums:
    1) Wayv- Awaken the World (My favorite album of the year so far by a mile. Still waiting for my physical copy to arrive.)

    2) Dreamcatcher- Dystopia: The Tree of Language (Amazing music + talented women who are badass without trying to be, what’s not to love.)

    Honorable mention: NCT 127- Neo Zone (Played it for a month straight but haven’t really gone back since.)

    Minis: (No order)
    NCT Dream- Reload (just the dreamies being their usual ridiculously talented selves.)

    Verivery- Face me (Photo, Curtain Call, Paradise, I’m sold)

    Victon- Continuous (Their b sides satisfy my need for pretty music and prove more versatile than you’d think.)

    H&D- Soulmate (I already liked them but was surprised at just how much I like this duo together.)

    Honorable mentions:
    One- Golden Child (I want to like the whole album more but after OMG the b sides blur together for me, it will probably grow on me though.)

    Maria- Hwasa (Only heard it two days ago but enjoying it.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great list. For me it’d go something like this:

    FULL ALBUMS:
    SF9 – First Collection
    WayV – Awaken The World
    Dreamcatcher – Dystopia: The Tree of Language
    Stray Kids – Go Live

    HONORABLE FULL: NCT 127- Neo Zone / Band 88 – RIFF-RAFF

    MINI ALBUMS
    APRIL – Da Capo
    WJSN – Neverland
    ELRIS – Jackpot
    ATEEZ – Treasure Epilogue: Action To Answer
    Ha Sungwoon – Twilight Zone

    HONORABLE MINIS: DAY6 – The Book Of Us: The Demon / GWSN – the Keys / Weki Meki – HIDE and SEEK / LOONA – [#] / TXT – The Dream Chapter: ETERNITY / COREMAGAZINE – titbit

    Like

  4. For me, my top 5 albums full-length or mini are:

    1. Stray Kids – Go Live
    2. Dreamcatcher – Dystopia: The Tree of Language
    3. Day6 – The Demon
    4. ATEEZ – Action to Answer
    5. IZ*ONE – BLOOM*IZ

    Like

  5. happy to see dreamcatcher, itzy, wjsn and day6! i’ll have to check out the rest. i know they’re not a personal favorite of yours but i’m still a little sad we never got to see loona’s # or even one of the bsides featured as a hidden treasure considering it even got the attention and praise of theneedledrop

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.