The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Five: 10-1)

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 // 30-21 // 20-11

10. GFriend – MAGO

MAGO capped off a year of musical reinvention for GFriend, repainting their sound with a thumping disco beat. It’s as smooth as butter, pulsing forward with glossy synth textures that set the perfect stage for a surging chorus. And like the best disco songs, MAGO grows to a swirling, singalong hook that beckons listeners to the dancefloor with an effortless sense of style. (full review)

9. A.C.E – Goblin (Favorite Boys)

More and more, A.C.E feel like the little engine that could, unsuspectingly storming my top ten for the second year in a row. Goblin (Favorite Boys) is a thundering wallop of a dance track, melding rap and rock for dramatic verses that build toward an immense, chant-heavy chorus. It feels like a natural continuation of 2019’s Under Cover, proving that small agencies can produce huge material if you just give them a chance. (full review)

8. Sunmi – Pporappippam

After a brief foray into more percussive material with last year’s Lalalay, Sunmi returned to tackle the decade she does best. Pporappippam draws from 80’s city pop with fantastic results, marrying her quirky delivery to a charming melody that pops in all the right places. The song forgoes elaborate tricks, satisfying listeners with a simple drop into the groovy chorus. This dynamic hook feels breathless and laidback all at once. But, even the quieter moments in Pporappippam captivate, delivered gorgeous synth strings and sprinkles of electric guitar. (full review)

7. DRIPPIN – Nostalgia

Boy groups don’t often deliver this style of K-pop anymore, making a song like Nostalgia stand out all the more. DRIPPIN came out of the gate swinging in 2020, funneling influences from senior groups like VIXX, SHINee and Infinite while adding a trendy youthfulness that keeps Nostalgia from feeling dated. The track’s claustrophobic synths give way to a clobbering two-part hook. Driven by slap bass guitar and layered vocals, the melody twirls with a sense of grace that feels especially potent in an age of noisy EDM drops. If anything, the song is over too soon, which just goes to show how absorbing it is. (full review)

6. Twice – I Can’t Stop Me

Twice have been one of the biggest pop groups on the planet for years now, yet this is the first time they’ve leapt into my top ten. All it took was an ultra-catchy retro track. I Can’t Stop Me is the perfect conduit for their expressive charms, built upon an icy synth riff and percolating electro bass. But, it’s the serpentine refrain at the heart of the song that makes this a true triumph. It’s the ideal blend of cool, sly and emotive, relying on full-throated melody rather than the sing-talk exclamations preferred by so many others.  (full review)

5. Golden Child – Pump It Up

Bucking the trend to go dark and stay dark, Golden Child proved that their addictive personality is their greatest asset. True to its title, Pump It Up is a shot of musical serotonin, ebullient in its sound and energy. From its filtered backing vocal riff to the bounding Jackson 5-esque funk pop beat, there isn’t a moment of down time within the track’s tight frame. But as always, the guys elevate relatively straightforward material with a bright, bold performance bursting with charm. Special kudos goes to that beautiful pre-chorus, which blooms into a full-on choir show moment before the hook arrives to smack us over the head. (full review)

4. Everglow – La Di Da

If I’m being honest, Everglow were hardly on my radar before La Di Da. Yes, I liked some of their songs. And yes, I knew how popular they were becoming. But, this right here is a moment. From the gritty battle cry that opens the first verse, La Di Da‘s energy snowballs. The icy synth stabs with an aggressive drive, powering verses that feel immense and cinematic. But even this pales in comparison to the megawatt chorus. It’s instantly iconic, and propels Everglow to a new tier in my eyes. The finale is especially galvanizing, harnessing the kind of power notes we don’t hear nearly enough from K-pop girl groups these days. (full review)

3. ATEEZ – Answer

ATEEZ ruled last year’s countdown, but 2020 was comparatively quiet. Still, all it takes is one knockout track, and Answer ranks right up their with the group’s best. Though its chorus was teased in late 2019, the full song builds compelling drama around that core melody, giving the conclusion to their Treasure series an operatic furor.

Answer knows where its bread is buttered, and announces itself with the year’s most stirring introduction. This refrain is transcendent in its bombast, drawing upon power vocalist extraordinaire Jongho for a performance that just rips the roof off the track. A final ascent toward a secondary refrain makes for a goosebump-inducing listen as we reach Answer‘s climax, sending the first stage of ATEEZ’s career to a flawless conclusion.  (full review)

2. Golden Child – One (Lucid Dream)

My initial reaction of Golden Child’s “darker” sound was hesitant. After all, it’s a territory well-covered by almost every boy band in K-pop. But after a few angstier offerings, One (Lucid Dream) had fun experimenting with the various textures in this palette.

While there’s plenty to love about One, I think the crispness of its production will end up becoming its defining feature. While stuffed with ideas, the song manages to use empty space to its advantage, highlighting each element to its fullest potential. The heavy distortion that drives verse one would overpower most pop tracks, yet the group’s vocals slide effortlessly over the top, cutting through the tense atmosphere. This gives way to a gorgeous pre-chorus with some of the best vocal work we heard all year. 

As if this wasn’t enough, One attacks with a funky, bass-driven hook that subverts expectations by bringing a light touch to an otherwise bulky track. This flexibility continues into the song’s outro, clearing way for an otherworldly vocoder effect that imbues an already tactile experience with one more layer of texture. (full review)

1. Taemin – Criminal

Taemin has flirted with the idea of becoming a Michael Jackson-esque figure in K-pop, particularly during the early years of his solo career. But, times have changed and trends often required a subtler, sexier turn. Still, when it comes to pop royalty like him, I always hope for the kind of showstopping sounds that befit a legend.

For the first time in years, that wish was granted in the form of Criminal. Here, Taemin brilliantly refutes the title of his latest album series (Never Gonna Dance Again), and rides K-pop’s synthwave resurgence to utter brilliance. The song itself is strong, built upon a throbbing synth line – at once sinister and driving. The melody echoes this tense atmosphere, in constant ascent before the hypnotic chorus grabs us by the collar and weaves its magic.

But here’s the thing: not just anybody could have ridden Criminal to such great heights. Yes, it’s an incredibly solid track. But, it earns this top spot because of Taemin himself – specifically, his bravura performance during the song’s final moments. He tears the chorus apart, tugging on every note with a beguiling blend of release and restraint. It’s what all the true legends in pop music do – elevate strong material into timeless, world-class magic. (full review)

The fun is just getting started! Stay tuned all month long for more year-end countdowns, and be sure to check out this year’s masterpost for all the links.

And, if you’d like to listen to the top 50 (and honorable mentions) all the way through, reader greyemk has been kind enough to collect it all in a spotify playlist!


59 thoughts on “The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (Day Five: 10-1)

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

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

  3. This may seem like a faux pas but I really don’t enjoy La Di Da or Pporappippam at all. But I do love Goblin, Nostalgia, Criminal and One so a solid top 10.

    My own top 10 would look something like:
    1. OnlyOneOf – Angel
    2. A.C.E – Goblin
    3. Demian – Cassette
    4. WJSN Chocome – Hmph!
    5. GWSN – Bazooka!
    6. Lucy – Snooze
    7. Yukika – Soul Lady
    8. April – Lalilala
    9. Apink – Dumhdurum
    10. Chungha – Stay Tonight

    Roll on 2021



    I really wanted to see who would be first here, And to nobody’s surprise Taemin’s Criminal took the first Place Spot:

    I absolutely loved this!

    Now congratulations to the Top 5:
    Golden Child’s Pump It Up
    Everglow’s La Di Da
    Ateez’s Answer
    Golden Child’s One (TWO GOLDEN CHILD SONGS!!)
    Taemin’s Criminal

    Quick Question, Nick, Is there any chance any of these are 10/10 for you?

    Also, Get Well Soon , Jaehyun, you’re awesome and strong!!

    I am so excited!! I finally got to see your Top 10 list! It feels so good.


  5. I think this is the most ive ever agreed with a top 10 youve made. I really liked the retro trend this year, and it gave us so many great songs. Would change the order around a bit, but songs like answer and ladida are easily in my top 5 titles of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am pleased to see Criminal at the top of the list. No other artist in K-pop could pull off that song with the same kind of flair that Taemin has, and while I found other songs in 2020 to have catchier hooks, there really is nothing like that last chorus. It’s the perfect climax to what I consider a damn near perfect song.


  7. I LOVED THIS LIST TOO MUCH, I don’t know what to say….but It’s just too good to not talk about.

    I guess now it’s time for me to make my list(honestly, It won’t be any different, and would be pretty similar to yours)


  8. First thing’s first: LOVE TO SEE CRIMINAL AT #1! KING TAEMIN SLAYS THIS YEAR FOR SURE. Now for me to talk like a normal person.–> This year has been a pretty unusual year, as everyone’s been saying, but a few songs really have been outstanding. I started reading this blog not too long ago, but this is my first time commenting. My ult group is and will probably always be BTS (despite the mixed reaction around these sites because everything’s subjective anyway lol), but I wanted to listen to a newer group too. I went through a lot of 4th gen groups that I didn’t take a liking to, but then I found Golden Child through this blog! Thanks to you, Nick, I’m a Goldenness now too :). Anyway, thanks for opening me up to a lot of new music, and I hope to have a fun 2021 reading more of your reviews!


  9. Here’s my Top20, including both title tracks and b-sides as usual:

    1. BTS, Dynamite
    2. 1THE9, Bad Guy
    3. BLACKPINK, Lovesick Girls
    4. J.Y. PARK & SUNMI, When We DISCO
    5. GFRIEND, Labyrinth
    6. ENHYPEN, Given-Taken
    7. ATEEZ, Answer
    8. STRAY KIDS, All In
    9. KAI, Nothing On Me
    10. SUNMI, Pporappippam
    11. TREASURE, Boy
    12. STRAY KIDS, Top
    13. TXT, Can’t You See Me
    14. BTS (JIN), Moon
    15. UNVS, Sand Castle
    16. ATEEZ, Black Cat Nero
    17. DAWN, Ordinary Night
    18. WAYV, After Midnight
    19. AB6IX (LEE DAE HWI), Rose Scent Kiss
    20. THE BOYZ, Checkmate

    I must admit I was too severe in judging Can’t You See Me in the beginning, because it grew better and better listen by listen. Sometimes taste is not just a matter of heart, but also a matter of mind. And viceversa.


  10. Since I don’t have a blog, I don’t have to make rules or keep them. So I can have a few ties, because I can. My main method was to sort by itunes play count, and then rule in/out through successive cuts.

    1 ACE Favorite Boys / Goblin. For their size, for their budget, ACE do so much right and need to be acknowledged for their awesomeness. The hook, the performance, the hanbok, the traditional folklore theming, its all awesome. If you haven’t yet watched it, go watch the DKDK video about the story behind it here ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_k34MZsL7g Dum dum walla walla dum dum hit me. Also, apparently, we shall now add Hindi to the list of misheard in a foreign language quotes because of this song. Fellow commentators, if you hear another misheard lyric in any languages you speak, please share with us!

    2 Forestella “Words from the Wind” Of all the quarantine loneliness songs, this one is my favorite. In a year with so much rancor, this one came through with straight sincerity. In a year like this, I will take sincerity. The lyrics are simple, sentimental, and evocative. The harmonies are fantastic, as always. Like other groups they were supposed to release an album in September, then it was November, then December, but they dropped the songs one by one as they are finished, so this was their September pre-pre-release. Lyric video is here ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMhlPw0_fbI Live performance here ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph_4d3RB1jY

    3 Gaho “A Song for you” / “Beautiful” double A side tied at #3. Gaho and his octave busting songs. This guy has pipes, and just goes for it, full out, leaves nothing behind or unsung. He is like the kpop version of Freddie Mercury. The instrumentals are also great music. There is this part in “Beautiful”, a careening guitar slide drum crash, that just announces the break right at ‘2:36 and viscerally kicks the song into a high turbo gear ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXfn2f3HoUY The best kpop artist in my humble opinion that Nick has never reviewed.

    4 Stray Kids” STOP” from Dec2019. I am giving out a lot of mental demerits to Stray Kids and Ateez this year for mush mouth singing. Apparently, I skip a lot of them such as Ateez “Answer” midway through simply because of that, so I don’t have many others from either group high on the playcount, and well, sorry if I skip the song I must not really truly like it. STOP is a two idea song but well crafted, and no mush mouth singing to skip.

    5 Roy Kim “Linger On” This one has a melody in spades. A rich, ranging melody that a singer can really sink into. This is a true artist, someone who has gone through shit, looks like shit, treated like shit, and then pulls out the depth of his despair a heart wrenching song like this. Since he wrote this song on the guitar, it also translates so well to a gorgeous live acoustic rendition so well. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBs8rB5E2BM

    6 NCT Dream “Ridin” Its not about being bad or dark, just boys and cars. Like the Beach Boys in the 1960’s, how many singles did the Beach Boys release about boys and cars, a lot. To be frank, I could have spun a wheel and picked another in the NCT family; I also had a WAYV ranked in the teens. This one, it’s the groove and how the riding matches the rolling cyclical melody, the vocals are smooth and almost elegant, lots of tight chords in there, processed just enough but not too much. The dance also breaks the stereotypical triangle with center framework for most of it with moves like an old EXO choreo. I might add Taemin “Criminal” to this list right about here, but I just didn’t listen to it and I don’t know why. Criminal is a great song! That I never listed to! Look, Nick even has it #1, and I listened to it only 9 times, that is not even once a week.

    7 ONF “Sukhumvit Swimming” Its got all the usual kpop twists and turns, its got the reggae beat common a few years ago, but I have to say the I’m like a stupid, swimming swimming. Catchy and well performed. The funny oboe-like sample is unique. They have the chorus chant going on in the background oooh oh ay oh, very contemporary. So many flavors going on, and they all fit. There isn’t a section where I wish it would do something different.

    7 Also ONF ”Message”, a tie. This one goes down like buttah. I have come to the conscious appreciation of a song that showcases the vocal line in a promoted song. Too many are shoved off to a poorly written meandering b-side ballad or have the lead vocalist sing =someone else’s song= on a Masked singer or Immortal songs or such. The 3rd gen and 4th gen are super guilty of this. It has come into high relief with Nick’s “Looking Back” posts of the 2nd gen where the vocals are front and center in the lead single. OMF has just as much vocal power as the 2nd gen, and I love it, and here, hear them here.

    8 Lee Hi “HOLO” depressing af, but well done. Lee Hi takes that retro sound made popular with Amy Winehouse and Adele, but mellows it to a smooth deep chocolate truffle sound.

    9 Rocket Punch “Bouncy”. This rocket punch is a pocket full of energy for me this year. I played the shit out of this song back when I drove the kids around, back when. Once or twice in the morning, once or twice in the late afternoon. Of all the February crush of girl crush, this was the one that stuck for me. If the Go-Gos were to be formed this generation, this would be their song. Back when, we all jumped around on the beds to the Go-Go’s “Vacation”, this would be that.

    10 Seven O’Clock “Hey There” Released a day or three after that other big SOTY for an army of people, this song got very seriously neglected. Nick didn’t even review it (sigh). So here, I am putting it here.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Aw shucks …. … yeah I’ll just post here.

        Adding, because I can

        Ko Woorim has ruined it all for me Singing low notes. He only turned 25 years old this year, so he is contemporary with the older members of the 3rd gen. His sound is so deep and so resonant, once you hear it, it makes other low singers in kpop pale by comparison. Maybe in the past I could tolerate poor low technique, but now I just can stand it.

        Woorimsshi BIAS WRECKER!!!! Here is a sampler, wherein he hits low D’s repeatedly. No, not this D merely here, or even that D3 down there, he is way way down at D2, so far down there is an extra line added below the bottom of the bass clef staff for it. Click the closed caption CC button for the song title.

        I have often gone on about how female kpop singers barely break below middle C, well Woorimsshi barely breaks above middle C. lolz
        Then there is this one and this one where he upstages his hyungs who are older than him by a good 7 to 10 years.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mPz30ZKg7Q (This one is their homage to front line covid-19 workers by comparing them to Olympic athletes from the Seoul and Pyeongchang games in the imagery.)

        You are welcome.


      • .
        I don’t have a ready answer for We Got the Beat, but I do for Our Lips are Sealed.

        The song was written by Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s and Terry Hall. The two had an affair while the Go-Go’s were on tour in the UK, which busted up Terry Hall’s marriage. And so they wrote this song together after the scandal. Each recorded it separately, Jane with hers, and Terry with his group The Fun Boy Three. A hit for her in the US; a hit for him in the UK. This why some of the lyrics have English English phrasing (“Pay no mind …”) rather than American English phrasing.

        So I would nominate, “Our Lips are Sealed” to be Hyuna and Jang Hyun Seung “Troublemaker”. idk if they ever were a couple, but they were a short lived duo. (JHS just released a rather good song yesterday that Nick reviewed, so go check that out.) Or perhaps something by Hyuna and E-dawn, if I could remember any.

        Terry Hall was a founding member of the The Specials, then broke off to form The Fun Boy Three, then to The Colourfield, and then to others. The Fun Boy Three are also known in the UK for making Bananarama popular because one of TFBT early singles was “featuring Bananarama”, which I happen to own on 12 inch vinyl along with a swath of his other groups (plural) albums.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The way you carry on with Ms. Weidlin, you’d think she was Joan of Arc, or something. {cue cultural hint in 3.. 2..}

          To take your The Specials history lesson a bit further, after Neville, Terry and Lynval romped off to form FBT, the band reverted back to The Special A.K.A. and continued on for years. Jerry Dammers was/is an incredible song writer (e.g. Ghost Town, Free Nelson Mandela, et al) penned one of my favorite songs from that time period, “What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend”. If you take the time to dig into the history of The Specials, you’ll see quite a few familiar names intertwined in the back story. There was an incredible amount of interaction between different bands back then. Music was more communal, less tribal.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Awesome list indeed, here are my personal top 5 titles of 2020 in no order:

    Criminal by Taemin – Easily one of the best releases of the year, no matter how many times I’ve listened to it this song only gets better. Even if someday, I abandon kpop entirely and never listen to another song again the main hook of this song will never leave my brain, ever. It’s also one of my favorite choreographies of the year, but that’s just Taemin being Taemin.

    La Di Da by Everglow – No comeback in 2020 surprised me more than this one. Listening to this the first time was like being decked in the face and that sentiment has remained true ever since. This is easily my favorite example of 2020 kpop’s retro trend and nothing has surpassed it since.

    Goblin by A.C.E – Undercover was my favorite song of 2019, so it is no surprise that its “sequel” is on my list. A.C.E excels at putting their foot on the gas and not letting up for a single second through the entire run time of a song, and Goblin is nothing if not a perfect vehicle for that approach.

    Scream by Dreamcatcher – Dreamcatcher is the first girl group I consider myself to be a genuine fan of and this comeback had a lot to do with that. I love several of their titles, but I think this is their best yet. This song also has an eternal spot on my kpop Halloween playlist but of course its perfect for rocking out regardless of what time of year it is.

    To Be or Not To Be by Oneus – I know this will not make many peoples list but everyone’s got their biases, Oneus just happens to be mine. This song contains my favorite pre chorus of the year and the rock guitar outro to the chorus gets me every single time. It has its flaws but for me what it does well outweighs those flaws by a mile. It is also my most replayed title of 2020 which given it came out in August means I replayed it a lot.

    My honorary sixth pick: Turn Back Time by Wayv – I know it’s in mandarin and therefore technically Cpop but I can’t speak mandarin anymore than I can Korean so to me it makes little difference. When talking about this year’s biggest risers for me apart from Taemin’s Criminal, my opinion of Turn Back Time rose a little more each and every time I listened to it. The vocals are immense to start with and yet each time I replayed it I found something new to love. Wayv was by far one of my favorite artists in 2020 and I can’t wait to see what they give us in 2021.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Oooh, I though La Di Da would take #1 for sure. A few thoughts on the 10:

    I still wish Mago rhymed with something when Gfriend first says it, and I could do without the “yes you” and “hakuna matata” in the chorus. It doesn’t need it. But putting the fan chants in the song has been a thing for a while now, so I guess that’s just Kpop.

    Goblin still slaps.

    Pporappippam is a tad hardworking for me. The chorus is gorgeous, so I wish we didn’t have to surround it with Sunmi saying the title of the track so much.

    I’m still shook from Nostalgia’s musical turn at 2:35. That song makes me miss VIXX.

    I Can’t Stop Me is still a great lyric and that song gets better and better. Not sold on the rap, but with Twice I rarely am.

    Pump It Up is just ok for me.

    La Di Da is still incredible. The best 80’s inspired song of the year for me. From any country.

    ATEEZ will never be for me. Too much low voiced bravado posturing 😦

    One (Lucid Dream) is still such a cool song. So many good ideas stuffed in there.

    Criminal is the perfect song for Taemin. Such a good fit for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ll place my top 10 too:

    S-Tier; Songs that hit me on a deeper level

    1. SF9 – Summer Breeze [Pinpoints my personal touchstones with EDM]

    A-Tier; Songs that I really enjoy and am truly thankful for

    2. Ateez – Inception [Oustanding sound design on the instrumental]
    3. Taemin – Criminal [This deserves to be first but my bias proves to be too strong]
    4. SuperM – One [The exact amount of energy I want from every song]
    5. Everglow – La Di Da [This one evokes immense nostalgia and I love it]
    6. Golden Child – One [The best pre-chorus of 2020]
    7. Ateez – Answer [Great instrumental, great vocals]
    8. Twice – I Can’t Stop Me [A consistently engaging track]
    9. Stray Kids – Levanter [An emotional journey]
    10. Nct Dream – Ridin [I just really like this one]

    IMO 2020 proved to be a great year for K-pop but it didn’t really cater to my bias. 2019, on the other hand, felt weaker but provided 3 songs [Miroh, Hit, Valkyrie] that shattered my expectations and easily enter S-Tier.

    I now see why they call it ‘The Bias List’…


  14. Cool, seems like I was right!!!

    Criminal takes your SOTY, and One bags second place.

    November Peak: number 10 Gfriend – Mago
    October Peak: Number 5 Golden Child Pump it Up
    January Peak: Number 3 Ateez – Answer
    June Peak: Number 2 Golden Child – One
    September Peak: Number 1 Taemin – Criminal

    Whoo this was some list, thanks Nick!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I found this site in May and have been a faithful reader ever since. Super excited to see Taemin here, I’m not mad at this list but my top ten would probably swap out TWICE for ITZY (Wannabe), ATEEZ Inception for Answer. I also really liked Pentagon Daisy, Day6 Zombie and Taemin 2Kids for my more emo moods.

    I also made a playlist of the entire ranking on Spotify, for anyone who wants to hear all these songs in one place and hear new things. (Apologies to Yi Saebom “Tonight” but this was not on Spotify and is the only song I couldn’t include).

    Thanks for all your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree with you on a lot of these tracks. No complaints here. My top pick is probably La Di Da—it has, despite me probably overplaying the hell out of it, stuck around quite persistently. Answer is #2. It’s a weirdly nostalgic sounding track for me and the chorus is amazing, although I’ve stuck myself into humming JJ Lin’s sort of similar sounding Resurgence when I get to the chorus. https://youtu.be/5NF2pYta7vE

    I’ve currently got Jung Seunghwan’s Whenever, Wherever at #3. It changes depending on what mood I’m in, but man, when that flute kicks in around the 3 minute mark it’s awesome. It sounds like it could pass for a Disney soundtrack at times and that’s fine with me.

    Also sort of around this range is Purple Rain’s The King Must Die. I liked this track a lot in March but forgot about it until recently when I found out they’d released a full album a couple months ago and went to go listen to it. Their lead singer’s got a really nice raspy sound to his voice. Probably the closest thing I’ve heard to gothic/symphonic metal from a k-band.


    • I agreed with most of this list. Songs that made it deserved to be on it. However, I’m Stray kids biased- so I’ll always put them a bit higher 😆 especially since I think they had a great growth year.


  17. Golden Child’s One is my most listened song of the year so it would be number 1…but I love where this list landed in general.

    Criminal Rules – no denying.

    I really really am happy to not see La Di Da at number 1 and I think it’s positioned well. I think it’s great but I think it’s Dua Lipa Physical style is now a little too ubiquitous for me.

    I liked Twice’s Can’t Stop Me but it didn’t trumpet Feel Special or Fancy for me. I also already may like Cry for Me more than Can’t Stop Me. I’d like to forget More+More, even though it did grow on me more than I thought.

    also I’m glad Gfriend’s Mago made the list. In a just world Labyrinth would be properly promoted, and would very well rank high on this list.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have nothing much to say about this year and therefore, nothing to passionately agree or disagree with.

    Thank you for bringing us quality reviews every time! Still love reading the blog and learning a little more about music.


    • Crystal Bell is one of my favorite K-pop writers! I think her bias’s are pretty clear (Stray Kid’s Hyunjin). I also think since she’s writing for a US mag, it still serves the purpose of introducing listeners to acts as well as ranking the year.
      Good stuff


  19. What a solid top 50, I think my tastes align with yours for the most part and that’s part of why I like reading this blog since I discovered it a month ago haha. I’m a little sad SVT didn’t make the list but that’s just a personal wish.

    I realised this year a lot of the songs that stood out to me personally were the b-sides rather than the title tracks, which is pretty interesting because I don’t think I’ve explored as many varied b-sides outside of a few groups as I have this year. I definitely feel like I’ve uncovered more gems than I otherwise would have.


  20. I have a lot of respect for you and every other person who has the patience and determination to make such a list of their fav. songs and rank them. I don’t think I ever had or will ever have a No.1 fav song of the year. It depends so much on my mood and temperament at the time. So yeah, I cannot really offer my own ranking.

    I’m happy though that some of my favs this year are getting love from other people. Sunmi’s ‘Pporappippam’ , Twice’s ‘I can’t stop me’, J.Y. Park x Sunmi ‘When We Disco’
    and Gfriend’s ‘Mago’ were on repeat for a while for me. In fact, Pporappippam is still stuck in my brain somewhere. I didn’t like Taemin’s ‘Criminal’ as much as I liked Pporappippam and some others on the list but I really enjoyed it and it is one of my favs from the tracks released this year. Taemin is such a formidable solo artist and I like his songs more than Baekhyun’s output but I guess fandoms have a role to play in the overall popularity.

    Some favs that didn’t make the list were Lee hi’s ‘Holo’, (G)I-DLE’s ‘Oh My God’ and a few others. I really liked Holo and its’ such a beautiful track. I know that you didn’t like Oh my God but it was really interesting and was on my playlist for a while!

    Cannot wait for the B-sides list. There, I have some clear clear favs (like Ghosting!). Excited to see which ones made the list!


  21. Pretty solid list

    My top 10:

    1. A.C.E – Goblin (Favorite Boys)
    2. EVERGLOW – La Di Da
    3. SF9 – Summer Breeze
    4. SUNMI – Pporappippam
    5. YUKIKA – Soul Lady
    6. CRUSH – Ohio
    7. GOLCHA – Pump It Up
    8. DREAMCATCHER – Scream
    9. GFRIEND – Mago
    10. ATEEZ – Answer

    Honorary picks:
    GOLCHA – One(Lucid Dream)
    TAEMIN – Criminal
    GAHO – A song for you
    E’LAST – Swear


  22. ahhh a solid top 10. I’ve never really cared for la di da or pump it up but the other 8 are great. i find it funny how ateez has the only song from the first quarter of the year in the top 10, i keep forgetting how bland those first few months were. anyways this would be my top 10:

    1.) Count 1,2 – TOO
    2.) Answer – Ateez
    3.) Retro Love – Boyhood
    4.) One – Golden Child
    5.) Wannabe – Itzy
    6.) Where the Sea Sleeps – Day6 (Even of Day)
    7.) Thanxx – Ateez
    8.) The Stealer – The Boyz
    9.) Back Door – Stray Kids
    10.) Layback – Verivery

    honorable mentions to criminal, gods menu, pporappippam, make a wish, dazzle dazzle, oh really and surprisingly pentagons daisy.


  23. Hi, Nick! It’s me, Lauren 🙂 You probably don’t remember me since I’ve only posted a comment a few times without a real wordpress account, (a few txt & skz song reviews, and the Park Jihoon one in which I got so many great songs recommended, thanks guys) but now I have one, so I’ll try to comment more often 😉

    I got my username from that wonderful comment of yours about TXT’s Can’t you see me on their PUMA review (which pretty ironically, I appreciate both despite their faults and ugly, ugly vocal processing) it was too much of a great opportunity to not give in to the temptation of an such awesome name.

    Anyway jokes aside, I discovered your blog in may this year, because I needed to write a music essay, and I ended choosing awkward silence by skz. (Yes I really made my poor 70 year old music teacher listen to awkward silence, which ended up growing on him) I couldn’t find enough info so I researched on the internet for reviews, and stumbled on your blog. It was pretty interesting, and so I continued checking through your posts and eventually fell into the hole of checking this site almost everyday. It’s been one hell of a ride here!

    I must say I appreciate your humour as well as your writing skills 🙂
    The little community here is also nice, I love the way you guys never take immature butt hurts seriously, their ridiculous comments really do make my day brighter. 😆
    Thanks to your posts I discovered so many great songs and groups, and most importantly how to be objective about music despite having being biased!

    I loved your top 100, I agree with many of them and listened to some I didn’t know of. Here’sy top 10 🙂

    Honorable mention that got removed last minute : Louder than bombs – Bts : THAT CHORUS. Wasn’t expecting too much of MOTS7, but this song, THIS SONG. Sad it’s kinda underrated, but I can understand why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    10 ) TOP – Stray Kids : Would it really be me without a skz song? No. God’s Menu & Back Door were cool, but I think TOP sounded absolutley amazing, still sounds fresh to listen to.

    9 ) Love me or Leave me -DAY6 : Too good for me to not include this great bside, should have been the title track honestly. I love when DAY6 go for a more agressive sound.

    8) Love me harder -WOODZ : Didn’t know what to expect from Seungyeon but this was SO GOOD. Felt very refreshing and enjoyed the mv!

    7) Scream – Dreamcatcher : Love the drop, love the verses, love the choreo, love everthing about this banger

    6 ) Stay Tonight – Chungha : It’s been on repeat since day one. Especially love the piano and the choreo. Such an unexpected turn to the first chorus!

    5) Can’t You See Me -TXT : Yes, yes, I know how much this community dislikes cysm. But I don’t ! 😀 I do understand why many dislike it though, it has many moments that sadly ruin the song 😦 For me, I like the vibe, the chorus with the guitar, and the verses that aren’t ruined by those ugly vocal effects. Shout out to the cheesiest line : “bad, baaaad sad, saaaad” that makes me chuckle everytime.

    4 ) Psycho -Red Velvet : Technically a 2019 song, but it was released so late I consider it like a 2020 song. Definitley a grower, boy I do love those synths & vocals. Stuck in my head 24/7.

    3) Everglow’s La Di Da & Dun Dun : Put them at the same place because I really can’t choose. Both amazing since the first listen, I expected to get bored of them fast but ended up playing them every. single. day.

    2) Answer -ATEEZ : Hard hitting drop, with beautiful melodies, accompanied by great vocals, what is there more to ask for?

    1) Wannabe -itzy : The first song from itzy I liked since the first listen. Felt so good having a real chorus and not some random EDM drop! Very catchy hooks, always plays in my head (especially during exams, curse you “I don’t wanna be somebody, I wanna be me be meEeE I wanna be mE ME Me) I really like the instrumental and the Mv was *chef’s kiss* Listened to this way too much for me to not put it at #1!

    There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading my chaotic musical taste, I can’t wait for more great music & posts next year 😉


  24. Love your lists, as always. Even for songs I’ve listened to many times your words often add a new texture to them. La Di Da feels even more explosive after reading the blurb on it. I’ll join others in posting my own list (includes B-sides):

    1. Golden Child – She’s My Girl (the intro screams WAAAAKE THE EFFFFF UP and then it’s non. stop. adrenaline. what I would give for GolCha to perform this with an awesome stage and a huge crowd. every second feels like an exclamation point)

    2. EVERGLOW – LA DI DA (more exclamation points, when I listen to this I like to imagine Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive in a Seoul nightclub, smacking up gangsters as the music blares.)

    3. BTS – Moon (I lost my job earlier in the year, and after five hard months found a much better one. This was the first song I listened to after getting the offer. If I were a dog, this is what I would imagine being patted on the head felt like)

    4. ATEEZ – Answer (So gloriously dramatic, from San pounding the table to start the MV to the pelvic thrusts in the chorus)

    5. GFRIEND – Labyrinth (This song makes me feel like the world is ending [same with Answer], which I guess it kind of is)

    6. ITZY – ID (So bouncy, then hits a rocket pad of fun at the chorus. There’s a great clip of Ryujin goofing around to this song on a radio show that probably boosted this song a couple spots on the ranking)

    7. OH MY GIRL – Nonstop (simple, cute, and fun. As a long time Apink fan I’m a sucker for these type of songs and there’s usually one on my top-10 list each year. Arin’s great MC-ing on Music Bank probably boosted this song up a couple spots)

    8. TXT – Drama (joining the chorus of many who wished this was a title song)

    9. Weeekly – Tag Me (I liked the franticness, reminded me of being a student and feeling like a million things are happening at once, which fits the MV and dance’s concept. nyahnyahnyanyanya. I also just think these girls are SUPER talented, hoping for a bright future)

    10 goes to T-Ara – Roly Poly for their performance of it in October (as a group of 4) for the first time in years. My all-time favorite k-pop song and any excuse to mention it, I will.

    Thank you Nick, thank you k-pop!


  25. Wow, what a great list! Also, reading other people’s top 10s & 20s is so fun! Now I can’t wait for the Top B-sides list since I enjoyed more Kpop b-sides this year (Come on, Ghosting!). Keep it up, Nick! 🤗


  26. Pingback: Song Review: A.C.E – Higher | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  27. Pingback: Top K-Pop Songs of 2021 (So Far) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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