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!
20. YooA – Bon Voyage
Oh My Girl’s first solo release came in unexpected fashion, as YooA brought her crystal-clear voice to the earthy tones of Bon Voyage. The song breathes with moments of empty space followed by footfalls of dynamic percussion. (full review)
19. Lucy – Snooze
Tucked behind Lucy’s “idol band with a violin” configuration are some really ambitious tracks. Snooze pushes right up to the five-minute mark but never loses steam, culminating in a sweeping (and utterly transcendent) violin solo. (full review)
18. Boyhood – Retro Love
2020’s scruffiest, gawkiest little K-pop track, Retro Love brought heaps of personality to its simple frame. It may riff off of familiar 80’s synths hooks, but the performance is too charming to result in a mere pastiche. (full review)
17. TXT – Blue Hour
After a stellar 2019, TXT explored new avenues in 2020. The cotton candy disco of Blue Hour fit them perfectly, bringing a hazy, dreamlike tone to an otherwise thumping dance track. The music video’s “dance break edit” is the song’s definitive version, and I won’t accept any substitution! (full review)
16. TOO – Count 1, 2
TOO debuted with a familiar “edgy” boy group sound before turning that image on its head with the buoyant Count 1, 2. It was the rare summer track that harnessed a classic, harmony-rich sound rather than trendier EDM elements. (full review)
15. 1THE9 – Bad Guy
If a K-pop group must disband, they might as well go out with a bang, right? 1THE9 flipped expectations and delivered their masterwork with Bad Guy. The chorus is among this year’s very best, pulsing with powerful vocals and a commanding melody. (full review)
14. Yi Saebom – Tonight
Though few know her name, Yi Saebom released one of 2020’s best retro dance tracks. Her raspy tone adds great texture to Tonight’s driving synths, sparking energy as the song crests in its powerful, take-no-prisoners chorus. (full review)
13. The Boyz – The Stealer
After their Road to Kingdom victory, The Boyz needed to throw down the gauntlet. And with The Stealer, they delivered their strongest comeback of the year. Playing with tempo and tone, the song’s funk-meets-EDM structure hearkens back to sounds of K-pop’s past, with one eye on the group’s ambitious future. (full review)
12. J.Y. Park & Sunmi – When We Disco
Rightfully or not, the word “disco” has a certain level of cheese baked in. JYP and Sunmi harnessed that sense of humor with full aplomb on the addictive When We Disco. They’re a match made in musical heaven, bringing a welcome theatricality to K-pop’s burgeoning retro trend. (full review)
11. Dreamcatcher – Scream
By giving their heavy rock style a dancefloor drive, Dreamcatcher offered their most daring track yet. Scream pounds forward with an over-the-top glee in its own artifice, complete with Halloween-ready howls during that mega-drop chorus. (full review)