The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2021

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.

January 2021 Overall Thoughts

It’s the start of a new year, and new possibilities when it comes to music. K-pop in January is often a crap shoot. Occasionally, the month will be surprisingly robust, but most of the time it’s a pretty slow start to the new year. I think this January fell kind of in the middle.

This month was lop-sided. After a rather forgettable first half, January brought things home in its final weeks. I’m heartened by the high, consistent quality of some of this month’s albums (Golden Child, Dreamcatcher, ONEUS, U-Know) and I’m loving the techno edge I’m starting to hear pop up in some of these songs.

The most frustrating part of January was probably the title track choices. I’d argue that Victon, Cravity and ONEUS all chose to promote one of the worst songs on their album (though ONEUS’s No Diggity ended up growing on me a lot). I realize this is just a matter of taste, but I’m ready for K-pop’s boy groups to move beyond the noisy drops and embrace melody again.

Speaking of melody, my (unsurprising) number one song of the month is a pure shot of it. This is what happens when idols find an actual chorus and perform the hell out of it. I just love this track.

My number two and three picks are also quite strong. One comes from an established legend, while the other seemed to come out of nowhere. My honorable mentions include some real growers (Crush, Stay Young) alongside a surprisingly diverse roster of sounds.

Looking forward to February, we’ll have a brief blind spot due to the Lunar New Year holiday, but I’m very much anticipating the return of K-pop kings SHINee on the 22nd. I’ve also been quite taken with the debut teasers of new group Kingdom. I hope the song is as great as the concept!

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.7

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

J-Pop Highlights

Baekhyun – Get You Alone (review)

Generations – Sunny After The Rain (video)

Nogizaka46 – Wilderness World / Boku wa Boku o Suki ni Naru (I Like Me) (review / video)

SixTONES – ST (review)

Snow Man – Grandeur (review)

Spyair – Wadachi (video)

SUPER★DRAGON – Black Box (video)


IMPACTors – Top Of The World (review)


Honorable Mentions

(G)I-DLE – HWAA (review)

AB6IX – Stay Young (review)

Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet (review)

Chungha – X (review)

Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye (review)

Hong Eunki – On&On (review)

Jeong Sewoon – In The Dark (review)

MCND – Crush (review)

ONEUS – No Diggity (review)

Treasure – My Treasure (review)

U-Know – Eeny Meeny (review)

Yubin – Perfume (review)


3. U-Know – Thank U (review)

2. Youha – Abittipsy (review)

1. Golden Child – Burn It (review)

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of December 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of November 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of October 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of September 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2020

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of July 2020

2010-2020 Archive Here


29 thoughts on “The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2021

  1. I am really excited for SHINee and Kingdom In February!

    Also, I absolutely love Burn It, the live performances just elevate it even more.
    And if were following the pattern right, they might release their 2nd full album this year!

    Also, I say yes to techno even more! I just want more of that genre, and I think it’s a great foil for powerful voices such as Hyojin and Jongho!
    So much potential for the industry…Ahhh I haven’t felt like this during 2020’s February..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yessss I’m excited for February too. Legit SHINee and kingdom are two pleasant surprises I can’t wait to hear. And ONF being at the end of February the icing on the cake. Which suits the month well because it’s my birth month 😍


      • Overall, this was a pretty strong month for K-pop. In the end, Cherry Bullet’s “Love So Sweet” took the crown for top song. Which is slightly surprising, because on first listen, I enjoyed it but thought it needed a stronger and more lyrical hook.

        Now by the end of the month, “LSS” is by far my most replayed song! I’ve even checked out several of Chebul’s live stages and online promos, curiosity that is getting rarer for me in later years.

        Chungha’s “X” was also another great release; I’ve been hit-or-miss over her title tracks, but her past string of singles (“Stay Tonight”, “Dream of You”, “X”) are all pretty *chef’s kiss*. “X” in particular gets me because it’s not a dance track, but something melancholic. (I want to say that k-indie songs 10-15 years ago sounded like this, but not sure…)

        MCND is chugging along fine; “Crush” is no “Ice Age”, but they’re still bringing that over-the-top energy that only confident teens can bring.

        Sorry Nick, Golcha’s “Burn It” didn’t catch my attention, but I listened to their Yes. B-sides. There was one I really liked, though. It was either “Breathe” or “Round N Round”, but I can’t recall which one it at this moment.

        I have yet to catch up with a lot of these songs, but am anticipating U-Know’s and Dreamcatcher’s tracks the most.


    • Thank you for bringing this one to my attention because I would’ve missed it. I love the song, kindof mellow but sweet! Onews voice alone can marry me, right here, right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Overall I feel like this month was pretty good! Might be due to my bias- Golcha coming back makes any month a highlight for me.

    I am usually late to the party when it comes to trends – and the massive popularity of MCND left me completely unaffected until two weeks after Crush. I gave Ice Age another chance and fell in love. Crush also stays one of my favourite songs of the month along with No Diggity which grew on me immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not a day goes by where I don’t feel the urge to aggressively shout ‘Ice Hail!!’ at least once. Maybe the winter weather is also getting to me..


    • My favorites from this month were burn it (b- side cool cool came up to steal the show for me though. Solid album as a whole ngl), MCND’s crush (it vibe grew on me and I can always “jam” to it), and finally no diggity.

      No diggity was CERTAINLY a grower. I think watching their live stages helped though. The styling and choreography was on point.

      Burn it also had amazing choreography. Golden child are so flowy, yet sharp with their moves. So beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Looks like we have similar tastes! I also really loved the styling for No Diggity. And Golcha’s choreo and execution is always so satisfying to watch. High quality.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. From me January was owned by some stellar b-sides. Oneus and Dreamcatchers albums were fantastic, Lion Heart, Incomplete, and Poison Love own my heart. I am always heavily biased when it comes to Oneus but I must admit No Diggity is my least favorite of their titles to date, yet I still found it grew on me quite a bit. I guess thats part of why their one of my favs though.

    My favorite title track for the month was Golcha’s Burn it. The melody is so good I can’t help but want to sing along to it, but I am butchering the Korean. I’m almost tempted to ask for an English version, which is normally something I would never ask for.

    I am also looking forward to Kingdoms debut those trailers are otherworldly, and I am an absolute sucker for medieval/fantasy concepts.

    Regardless of whatever else February brings Shinee will be there and honestly that’s enough to get me so hyped I may spontaneously combust.


  4. .
    Hoppipolla “Your Ocean” at number 1 for me. Gorgeous song. Plus the cello, sung harmonies, a power note, and a real guitar solo.

    Jeong Sewoon “In the Dark” at number 2.
    Dreamcatcher “Poison Love” at number 3.

    Honorable mention to Uknow Yunho for “Eeny Meeny”

    I also have a soft spot for Cherry Bullet “Love So Sweet” even though there are a dozen and half reasons why I should not.

    My bias Kyuhyun released not one but two ballad songs. Meanwhile, SuJu next full album is pushed back to mid-March.

    I downloaded all of the highly ranked boy songs , and listened to none of them, to be perfectly honest. OK, I listened to the first 5 sec and then hit the skip button. That was the mood this month.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. B-sides thus month outshone the title tracks. Incomplete, Rewind, Youth from Oneus. Cool cool, round n round, yes from Golden Child. Solid albums from both groups. I think listening to their albums as a whole got me to appreciate the month of January. And now it’s time to look forward to February tracks 😍


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