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!
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)