The Top Three K-Pop Songs of July 2020

Monthly Round-UpAt the end of each month, I look back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists. I take my own ratings into account, but there’s a bit of wiggle room as certain songs tend to grow or fade.

July 2020 Overall Thoughts

For the first time in months, I feel pretty good about where K-pop is at the moment. I may simply be basking in the afterglow of gushing about my favorite all-time songs over the past few weeks, but July really did deliver some great music. I don’t think there were any knock-your-socks-off standouts, but I liked almost everything – at least to some degree.

Unlike the past couple of years, this July offered a ton of new summer-themed comebacks. From SSAK3 to TOO, Jeong Sewoon to SF9, and Yukika to April to Chungha to Dongkiz, my “summer to remember” wish from earlier in the year has pretty much come true. Now, I don’t think any of these songs live up to past classics of the season. But, taken together they formed a very refreshing slate of releases.

Speaking of releases, July had a lot of them. The month was stuffed with new music, and a lot of it shared one commonality: K-pop’s burgeoning retro trend.

Given what’s happening in the global music industry, this trend wasn’t unexpected. But, this July it felt as if a switch had been flipped and “retro” was suddenly in. I think it’s going to take awhile for trap music to fully retreat, but for the first time in 2020 I’m confident that we’re seeing an influx of new sounds. Don’t let me down, K-pop.

In a month with plenty of big-name releases, my top three picks will probably look a little shocking. Unless you follow my twitter account, number three will be particularly baffling. Let’s just say this gawky little song has grown on me, big time. I find it extremely charming.

There are quite a few honorable mentions this month, and I want to spotlight some of them. SF9, Jeong Sewoon, SSAK3 and Yukika just missed my top three, each with songs that I’ve played often and enjoy very much. Dongkiz and VERIVERY’s songs grew on me throughout July, with VERIVERY’s Thunder leaping from a “6” rating all the way up to honorable mention! It’s still not the style I want to hear the group pursue, but the song has a surprising bit of funk once you sit with it awhile.

Though it’s not K-pop, I also want to give special spotlight to Wu Jiacheng’s Wild Island, which may end up becoming my personal 2020 song of summer. And as I begin to write about more J-pop on The Bias List, I’m going to add a expanded section to these round-ups, intended to spotlight my favorite J-pop single of the month. Enjoy!

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.7

(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)

C-Pop Highlights

Wu Jiacheng – Wild Island (review)

J-Pop Highlights

Arashi – Kite (review)

Deep Squad – Get With You (review)

Hey! Say! JUMP – Last Mermaid / Stupid (review // video)

Kalen Anzai – Bokura wa Tsuyoku Nareru (review)

Sekai No Owari – Umbrella (review)

SixTONES – Navigator (review)

Sky-Hi – Sky’s The Limit (review)

Tomohisa Yamashita – Nights Cold (review)


Official HIGE DANdism – Laughter (review)


Honorable Mentions

April – Now Or Never (review)

ATEEZ – Inception (review)

Chungha – Play (ft. Changmo (review)

Dongkiz I:KAN – Y.O.U (review)

EXO-SC – 1 Billion Views (ft. Moon) (review)

GFriend – Apple (review)

Great Guys – Run (review)

Jeong Sewoon – Say Yes (review)

Lee Hi – Holo (review)

The Midnight Romance – Midnight Romance (review)

Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi – Naughty (review)

SF9 – Summer Breeze (review)

SSAK3 – Beach Again (review)

Stray Kids – Hello Stranger (review)

VERIVERY – Thunder (review)

Yukika – Soul Lady / Yesterday (reviewreview)


3. Boyhood – Retro Love (review)

2. TOO – Count 1, 2 (review)

1. 1THE9 – Bad Guy (review)

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of June 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of May 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of April 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of March 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of February 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of January 2020

2016-2019 Archive Here


30 thoughts on “The Top Three K-Pop Songs of July 2020

  1. Not a bad month all in all. I think the tiny groups out produced the bigger groups. Not that they were revolutionary, but the songs were better crafted and had better hooks and ear worms. It shows that bigger budget does not always make for better quality. I don’t know how these will rank in the fullness of time, but for now, for this month, they are great: SF9 “Summer Breeze”; TOO “Count 1,2”; 1The9 “Bad Guy”; WOODZ “Love me Harder” (technically late June).

    Crush crushing it with a killer bossa nova for us “OHIO”

    Forestella crushing it with a killer live performance of the UEFA hymn combined with “Champions” which is an old 2002 World Cup song. Featuring 4 key changes so expertly done you didn’t even know they were there. If you need something thrilling in your life, go watch this and crank the volume up to 11.

    Obligatory Kyuhyun mention of the month “Dreaming”. Thank you, Kyuhyunnie!

    Indie artists of the month:
    Choi Ye Geun returns with a video for “Unbalanced” from her April album. She is a superb singer-songwriter that everyone will be covering in a few decade’s time, so go listen to her now. This song is hard rock band cover ready! I can hear NFlying doing this one, in my mind’s eye. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFxJLWOfq5k

    June “Anywhere” from Planetarium Records, which is also Gaho’s label. June, this kid can sing. This song also has a subtle real Latin beat to it too. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtD8TRiEDcc
    NICK this June one could be your kind of vibe too, the grooving bass line is all you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I do like the groove on that June song!

      I think one of 2020’s biggest trends for me is underknown/rookie groups outpacing the big names. Of course, that’s kind of been true for the past few years in my opinion.


  2. So much YES to your top pick. I’m sad that it’s their final comeback, as I’d only seen their debut and that meaning I’ve missed almost their entire existence, but if that isn’t a hell of a song to go out on.

    Also, since you’re bringing it up here, I have to thank you for featuring that Higedan song on this blog. I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to J-Pop as of late but I am obsessed with Laughter. Honestly my most played song over the past couple of weeks. Checked their back catalog and I’ve enjoyed it too. Might be a fan of the band now. So thanks again!

    *pretends to grumble about R.o.S.E Blue not making honorable mentions*


  3. I, too, am glad the West influenced Kpop in a good way for once. Retro gives a lot of variety for producers to play with.
    Also, now that you’ve mentioned your Twitter, let me point out that your Twitter link at the sidebar doesn’t link to your actual Twitter (at least for me) The URL is just a bunch of numbers and I think I had to manually look for it at Twitter. Just a heads up.


  4. My Top Three
    1. Inception – ATEEZ
    2. Bad Guy – 1THE9
    3. Step By Step – TOO
    4. Thanxx – ATEEZ
    5. The Midnight Romance – Midnight Romance
    6. Say Yes – Jeong Sewoon
    7. Apple – GFriend
    8. Soul Lady – Yukika
    9. SF9 – Summer Breeze
    10. Hello Stranger – Stray Kids

    Songs and albums I have not listened to:
    – Song of the Sirens
    – Boyhood
    – Yukika’s album and Yesterday
    – SSAK3
    – April

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My favourite for the month is definitely Summer Breeze. Although the chorus isn’t outstanding, I really love the instrumental during the verses. I’m not exactly sure what to call it but the growly and bouncy synth bass is perfect in my opinion.


    • Summer Breeze was a very close #4 for me. I swear, one of these months SF9 will finally break into my top three! This song would have easily done it in many of 2020’s first few months.


  6. Beach Again, Count 1, 2 and Retro Love were my favorites this month! I needed a bit of bright summer-energy in my playlist


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  8. Yeah, this month was really good and August plans to be even more packed I hear. Anyway, so my Top 3 would be:

    1. Hello Stranger – Stray Kids
    2. Play – Chungha
    3. What You Waiting For – Somi

    Honerable Mentions:
    Bad Guy – 1THE9
    Apple – GFriend
    Summer Breeze – SF9


    • I will say this about Somi’s song: I only listened to it a few times, and this was almost a month ago, but it has enough of a hook that I remember it and the song and can sing the chorus even now weeks later. It’s still not my style, but it does have some amount of catchiness to it.


  9. This month was amazingly strong , Inception , Summer Breeze , Retro Love , Count 1 ,2 , The Midnight Romance , Thunder!

    My Top 3 were Incredibly hard to pick but here they are:
    1. TOO – Count 1 ,2
    2. 1THE9 – Bad Guy
    3. SF9 – Summer Breeze


    • Count 1 ,2 must be my favorite song of the year and also please change third place , Summer Breeze is not third , It’s fourth , Retro Love is better for me (Reminds me of Platonic Love)


  10. July is the month that made me gave up on 2020 k-pop. I stopped listening to new releases very early and only decided to catch up after listening to ATEEZ’s mini album. I was surprised in a positive way by this month that had few weak songs. There is still a lack of great tracks but most of them were good. I even enjoyed a Crush song for the first time in… probably years ! That’s great ! I hope August will have the same dynamic but with the really great songs that were lacking in July. I saw that Taemin is coming back, ITZY is doing 2020 Mamacita, Treasure is finally debuting and we’ll have ONF/Dreamcatcher comebacks. Please don’t let it be another June mess.

    As for my top 3, it would go like this : 1. SSAK3 Beach Again 2. SF9 Summer Breeze 3. Boyhood Retro Love, with Crush, Yukika and TOO just behind. GFRIEND and SF9 had some nice b-sides, I also enjoyed Rain ft. MAMAMOO.


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