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The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Three: 30-21)

The end of the year countdowns are finally here! As always, we’ll 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 track or promotional video between Dec. 1st, 2019 and Nov. 30th, 2020.

Curious about last year’s countdown? Check out the masterpost here!

Previously: Honorable Mentions // 50-41 // 40-31


30. Wonho – Open Mind

After leaving Monsta X, many were curious how Wonho would position himself as a soloist. Taemin-esque funk pop turned out to be the perfect match for his charms, resulting in the catchy and smooth Open Mind. (full review)


29. SF9 – Summer Breeze

SF9 enjoyed a mega-successful 2020, and Summer Breeze was their strongest musical moment. The song harnesses old-school K-pop energy, fusing it to an immense EDM instrumental that truly captured their charisma. (full review)


28. The Midnight Romance – Nightmare

The Midnight Romance released a surprising amount of material this year, but Nightmare is my favorite of their singles. Playing off A-Ha’s immortal Take On Me synth riff, the guys imbue the track with icy atmosphere perfect for the Halloween season. (full review)


27. Xia Junsu – Pit A Pat

After years away, K-pop royalty Xia Junsu returned with a splashy dance track — and Pit A Pat didn’t disappoint. Few artists can captivate so fully with just their voice, and Junsu drives the song forward with utter panache. (full review)


26. BLACKPINK – Lovesick Girls

After a string of successful (but musically underwhelming) comebacks, BLACKPINK struck gold by drawing from early-10’s influences on the anthemic Lovesick Girls. Nearly every YG act has a song like this in their arsenal, and I’m delighted that BLACKPINK’s turned out to be so satisfying. (full review)


25. SuperM – 100

A supergroup labeled “the Avengers of K-pop” should release music as overblown as that title suggests. 100’s guitar-fueled theatricality provides the perfect backbone to the song’s ridiculous braggadocio. Go ahead and surrender to the bombast. (full review)


24. Stray Kids – Back Door

Stray Kids’ releases didn’t quite make the same impact as their 2019 work, but this playful dance track imbued their sound with a nimble funkiness we hadn’t heard before. It’s a bit gimmicky, but that lightheartedness has made it a big grower since its release. (full review)


23. A.C.E – Stand By You

This is my kind of anthemic, soaring ballad. A.C.E’s vocals have never sounded more rich and impressive, and the track builds beautifully to its bombastic climax. I have always been a fan of pop melody above all else, and Stand By You is such a great showcase for the power of a great refrain. (full review)


22. With Woollim – Relay

SuperM may have had the bigger cachet, but to me this was 2020’s true version of “K-pop’s Avengers.” Woollim fostered their artists’ interconnectivity this year, and Relay‘s warm melody was the perfect forum for everyone to come together. Sungkyu’s rousing chorus functioned as his return to the industry, and I’m not sure we could have asked for better. (full review)


21. VERIVERY – Lay Back

Released at the very beginning of the year when we were all like “yay! 2020!”, Lay Back matured VERIVERY’s funky 2019 sound just enough. It remains the best example of their “edgy” side, culminating in a gorgeous, falsetto-led pre-chorus and satisfying, bass-driven hook. (full review)


NEXT: NUMBERS 20-11

43 thoughts on “The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Three: 30-21)

  1. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Two: 40-31) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: K-POP Best of 2020 Masterpost | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. I’m pretty much in agreement with this section of the list besides a few tunes I never checked out when they dropped (XIA and Midnight Romance)

    I don’t really understand ranking Lovesick Girls higher than a track like Itzy Wannebe. I think that’s giving Blackpink a handicap – because of the rest of their tracks leave much to be desired Lovesick Girls is given more credit than its really due…I do enjoy it nonetheless and the melody has been lodged deep in my cranium…so I get it too.

    Like

  4. THE TOP 20 OF THE 2020 IS REVEALED (Kinda……)
    January
    Ateez – Answer

    February
    Dreamcatcher- Scream

    June
    Golden Child – One
    Sunmi – Pporappippam

    July
    1THE9- Bad Guy
    TOO – Count 1 , 2
    Boyhood – Retro Love

    August
    Yi Saebom – Tonight
    Sunmi x JYP – When We Disco

    September
    Taemin – Criminal
    Everglow – La Di Da
    A.C.E – Favorite Boys

    October
    Golden Child – Pump It Up
    Twice – I Can’t Stop Me
    DRIPPIN – Nostalgia

    November
    GFriend – Mago
    Lucy – Snooze

    Now , the three other weirdos I will be predicting…..

    YooA’s Bon Voyage
    Treasure’s I Love You
    TXT’s Blue Hour

    I really hope Ateez’s Thanxx would enter the list….

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  5. Aw, #29, I thought it would be higher but that’s alright. ‘Summer Breeze’ is the ‘Miroh’ of 2020 for me. It feels so refreshing and every time it plays on my phone I instantly feel some sort of happiness. I love every part of it, especially the instrumental during the verses. I cannot explain how crazy I am over that part. Although it’s simply just an electro bass over a house beat, the bass complements the beat so well that it feels so bouncy and powerful. I am thankful towards the producer and SF9 for creating my favourite song of the year 😀

    Also, I would like to thank you, Nick. If it weren’t for this site I would have never heard the song!

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  6. If yesterday was a bloodbath of my favorites. So today, I was expecting even more of a bloodbath. Today, however, was the day of risers! Many songs I thought would miss the list made it in today.

    (Loved the “Yay, 2020!” comment, so true)

    I am happy Lovesick Girls and Stand by You made the list, both were massive growers for me. A little surprised by Back Door, but I think I am one of the few not blown away by it.

    Also, Pit a Pat and Nightmare deserve so much praise. I am hoping some people discover these tracks that they missed with your countdown 🙂

    May peak: Number 22: With Woolim – Relay

    Also, I feel like every major K-Pop act I listen to has made it into your top 50 or your top 3 songs of the month except U-Kiss. The poor guys always get stuck with honorable mention…

    Thanks for the countdown Nick!

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  7. I’m surprised Lovesick Girls ended up ranking higher than Wannabe! I LOVE both songs, but I still like Wannabe more. still, Lovesick Girls is amazing, so I’m fine with that.

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  8. I was just roaming your twitter, Nick and then I saw this.
    Now that ATEEZ’s Treasure series is over, where should they go next?

    Personally, I’d love to see a sci-fi, cyberpunk aesthetic with heavy electronic or techno influence in the music. I think they could do really cool things with that.

    I would personally love to see that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still think there will come a big techno moment in k-pop coming soon. I see big room techno and tech house rising is popularity (there’s a huge underground scene here in Brooklyn as well, but much more lofi than what’s coming out of Europe)

      Techno is embedded into more classic K-pop (1st gen in a major way) so I can see that happening.

      If Ateez are the ones to do it— I will be a very very happy listener.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Happy to see Lovesick girls here. I also don’t mind their no. on the list. It’s a good old fashioned YG track and I wish Blackpink had more of it. In a fair world, this would have gotten more love than the ridiculous HYLT but since HYLT was released first, the rabid fandom went crazy after the long hiatus I guess.Sigh.

    Also, SF9! Summer breeze really grew on me so glad to see it made the cut!

    Side Note: I just don’t dig Super M’s music. None of their songs would have made the cut for me. Double sigh.

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  10. I always love reading your thoughts on these releases, especially your end of year lists!

    I’ve been wanting to ask–would you ever have a feature where you revisit your top 10 lists for specific artists, if only to update them for the end of the year? (So for example, rather than overhauling your GFriend list to include everything they’ve released since you posted it, just talk about if/where you’d place “Apple” and “Mago”.)

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  11. This is an interesting list. Back Door in the 20s kinda shocked me but I know you’re gonna do it anyways. My top 10 songs have been posted anyways and I think we’re gonna have a similar top 10 maybe I might get even 5 right. Anyways, I’m going to invite you all to my discord server, let’s talk about music there! https://discord.gg/dkwWgVGRMa

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  12. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Four: 20-11) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  13. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Five: 10-1) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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