The Top Three K-Pop Songs of February 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.

February 2021 Overall Thoughts

2021 is off to a roaring start, and February really kicked into gear during its final week. These past few days have been some of the strongest in recent memory, and I’m hopeful that the trend will continue. February gave us great title tracks, great b-sides and great albums. Who could ask for more?

My top three was a battle royale, with the top two in particular among the best songs I’ve heard over the past few months. Number three was a bit trickier, and the result might surprise you. Though I didn’t love SHINee’s Don’t Call Me immediately, it’s grown on me a lot over the past week. And given my love for the group, I know that its trajectory will only continue to go up. Funny enough, this top three mirrors my “top songs of 2018” exactly. Who would have thought?

That leave’s Wonho at a very close fourth place, just like he was back in September (another super-competitive month). I also want to give special mention to Kingdom’s Excalibur. Many on this site didn’t seem to care for it, but I’m still reveling in its pomp and circumstance. Also make sure to check out C.T.O’s Oh! That Girl, which sounds almost as if it could be part of the new SHINee album. And finally, the ever-beguiling Sunmi gets a special mention. Tail gets better with every listen.

February also delivered its fair share of clunkers, which is why its cumulative rating isn’t higher. But by ending with its strongest material, the month definitely left a good impression. Looking forward to March, I have my eyes on debut group Mirae, whose introductory teaser caught my attention with its upbeat sound. I’m also hopeful for the return of WayV, Yukika, GHOST9, Super Junior (finally!), Pentagon and others. I haven’t been bowled over by the previews of ATEEZ and VERIVERY’s new work, but we shall see when the final product is unveiled next week.

This month was also a big one for the blog, with the launch of two new features. If you want a deeper dive into my favorite K-pop songs, make sure to check out the “Breaking Down the Song” feature. And if you’re curious about the wild, wonderful world of 90’s J-pop, follow along as I unravel “The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap.”

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.8

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

J-Pop Highlights

Ballistik Boyz – Animal (review)

Genic – Futures (video)

Kis-My-Ft2 – Luv Bias (review)

Monsta X – Wanted (video)

Nissy – Get You Back (review)

SixTONES – Boku ga Bokujyanai Mitaida (video)

The Boyz – Breaking Dawn (video)


Solidemo – Taking Off!! (review)


Honorable Mentions

ATO6 – Runway (review)

CIX – Cinema (review)

C.T.O – Oh! That Girl (review)

HyunA – Good Girl (review)

KEEMBO – Inside (review)

Kingdom – Excalibur (review)

Lucy – Hero (review)

ONF – My Name Is (review)

Sunmi – Tail (review)

TRI.BE – Doom Doom Ta (review)

Wonho – Lose (review)


3. SHINee – Don’t Call Me (review)

2. Golden Child – Breathe (review)

1. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful (review)

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of January 2021

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

2010-2020 Archive Here


50 thoughts on “The Top Three K-Pop Songs of February 2021

  1. Reading the new features is being delightful as always! Thanks for all the work, Nick!

    My top 3 would be something like:

    3. Beautiful Beautiful – ONF (bright & colourful, grabs you from the first listen)
    2. Tail – Sunmi (dark, sexy and charismatic, she just brings it every time)
    1. Lose – Wonho (I like this even more than I liked Open Mind!)

    It’s great to see more solo artists releasing songs this amazing. Chungha, Sunmi, Wonho, Youha… all delivered this year.


  2. CIX Cinema was a good surprise. I can’t remember any of their previous songs and I wasn’t that impressed the day of the release but it grew on me with the time and it’s a very pleasant song.

    Big diasppointment with Chungha’s title track after a great build up last year. At least we had some nice b sides here and there.

    Tri.be and Kingdom had decent debuts. Can’t say as much for prixy unfortunately.

    I didn’t like Don’t Call Me the day of the release and as the time passed, I liked the song even less. But a very pleasant album overall !

    And yes, a big last week with Wonho, Sunmi, ONF, Keembo and the YG models all realeasing very good songs.

    I don’t know how I would rank all of this but it was a good month. I hope we can at least keep this level for the rest of the year

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Top 3 are excellent!
    1. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful
    2. Golden Child – Breathe
    3. Wonho – Lose

    All of them have a high-octane energy to them, and a pulsing groove which makes them shoot for the stars!
    Also! Nick, If Golden Child release another 9+ song for their next comeback, they have made 5 excellent singles back to back. Would you update and put their second imperial phase in the “greatest single run in all of K-pop?”

    I am really worried for that ATEEZ comeback….I just hope the song is good…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You Know, I have been thinking…. Golden Child doing a dip in “The Chaser” sound is great! But If I wanted a peak from them….It’d be something along the lines of Infinite’s Wind.

      Just think about it. Bright. Uptempo Beat. Just add a bit of Golden Child flair to make one of the best K-pop songs of all time.

      Best part. It’s what dreams are made of. No literally, they are only just dreams..


      • ONF’s Beautiful Beautiful is so amazing to listen to! I wouldn’t be surprised if the song becomes one of the best k-pop songs of all time in a few months or so… It’s absolutely perfect!

        I am still in the mindset that SHINee’s I Really Want You will get a music video! It can happen…RIGHT?! Let’s just hope for the better.


        • I think CODE should get an MV, even if I Really Want You is a bit better. It blends classic SHINee with the trends, and would be a hit with basically everyone.

          Also, as much as I like Golcha, I do not think they are willing to go for a Wind style song (at least Woolim), instead I think ONF should follow that path perhaps. ATEEZ should do the dark, edgy, hip-hop style, and Golcha retro fun or preferably (for me) a BLSSD type song. Of course, I would love it if they blended those elements and did an Eyes on You 2.0 comeback, I’d be thrilled. I just wish that is paired with a new BLSSD title.


        • Spotify recently launched in Korea, threatening Kakao’s Melon service. It’s all industry politics. This is why I don’t stream. I don’t trust corporations at all. I’d rather own the music that I love.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Oh wow, I kinda felt like I was the only one these days who still purchases releases from my favorite groups (and nugus with quality releases that I feel should be supported) instead of just streaming them. There still is a lot that I do stream through Apple Music, but as much as I can I try to put my money where my, uh, ears


            • After checking how many artists’ music has actually been removed I am slightly devastated – basically all of my ultimate bias groups’ favourite songs have disappeared off of Spotify. I hope this is solved quickly..

              Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve always had a fair amount of problems with streaming (as well as most subscription services, to be frank), mostly in the sense that it really feels odd to not truly own anything. That said, given the amount of music I listen to and the frequency at which I find new things, I have been pretty Spotify-reliant lately. I guess I should go check iTunes for the first time in half a decade!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yikes. Glad I only use YouTube or buy the music I listen to outright, but this sucks for the artists and their fans, (particularly international ones). At least Tablo’s speaking out, but Epik High’s sort of in the position where they can and not face significant pushback.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Some Seventeen and SF9 songs have also been removed TT All of Victon’s discography seems to be gone as well. Early songs from Monsta X (Rush, Hero) are also removed.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. After scrolling through the comments, I must ask: am I the only person not fully yet in love with Don’t Call Me. Plus, the album makes it worse, as it becoming the title track was an after-thought. They should have saved that song for NCT, and made CODE the title.


    • Even though I love the song….CODE just seems like an encapsulation of SHINee’s sound but to a lesser extent. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I hope it would to you.


      • I get what you are saying, but CODE notably has two things.

        1. It has the classic SHINee sound, with trendy updates: This way, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen K-Pop fans are satisfied.

        2. Unlike I Really Want You or Don’t Call Me, it is the center of the album. Nearly all good albums have a fulcrum that balances all the different sides of it. For Don’t Call Me, there are two such songs, Body Rhythm and CODE. Of those two, CODE is the more central fulcrum, and is the more SHINee sounding. Thus, I am surprised it was not made the title.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wait, are you saying that you weren’t impressed by Ateez’s Performance Preview for ‘Fireworks (I’m The One)’?

    I didn’t enjoy the first half but the second half BLEW ME AWAY! It’s exactly the sound I wanted to hear from Ateez and it finally feels like a song that’s worthy of being a competitor to Miroh.

    I really hope the full song keeps up this energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not terribly impressed, no. It’s just not the direction I hoped to hear from them. Kind of feels like more of the same except less melodic. We’ll see, though. I’d be happy to be bowled over when I hear the full thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right. It does lack melody and is more just chanting/repeating short phrases. However, I do particularly enjoy the bombast of the instrumental and the sound design on the synths during the second part of the chorus.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know, the reason why I love ATEEZ so much is because they used to be my favorite group way before, so I have a big soft spot for them. The fact I have been dissappointed two times from the guys…….. I just can’t/


          • Aw, yeah I feel you. I just listened to the track. I enjoy Ateez’s music best when I don’t set expectations so even though I wasn’t absolutely thrilled with the outcome, I am thoroughly satisfied with what they delivered for us. BULNORIYA!

            I would give it [8,9,9,10] = 9/10, but i’m expecting Nick to give it [8,9,8,8] = 8.25/10


              • You know, at first, The thought of ATEEZ going funky was weird at first. But now I want them to release Take Me Home as a follow up Music Video!

                Come on! It sound so perfect! so emotional…. and ATEEZ are trying something new! god forbid this fever series has been pretty boring not gonna lie, Take Me Home sounds like the type of song I want the guys to release. Now can they release a psy-trance song? Or Techno Rock?


  6. .
    I have ONF and Golcha in some order 1 and 2.
    CIX “Cinema” in 3rd, which is rather good for a small group from a small agency.

    Honorable mentions:

    Wonho “Lose”. The first few views, I barely notice the (lack of) shirt. I was marveling at the feat of costuming that is his leather pants. How does a guy a) that buff b) in pants like that move so well? No seriously, dancers are not usually so muscular and how he did not pop a seam or more in the process, well, good job on those pants. Oh, I like the song too.

    Also on my list someone and something called Imlay feat. Chenle “Too good”. … … I have never heard of this artist, but it popped up and it’s a nice mellow pleasing groove. I have since learned that Imlay is the songwriter-producer from SM and Chenle from one of the NCT’s is the singer. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuv8V2UkqJA

    Also on my list Rain with Jo Sumi on “Guardians” – I don’t know if this is from a movie or game or webthing or what, but it sounds like every cornball movie closing credit soundtrack we have ever heard, and it makes me really miss going to the movies. Its just not the same at home. This one gets the sentimental vote for this month. Jo Sumi is a classical opera soprano, a bit like the Kathleen Battle for Korea. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtOWGLWOuI

    As far as the streaming and renting culture goes, I’m old so I don’t care for it at all. If I like something enough, I put my money down on it. Assuming you keep your playing device in working order, or buy a spare at the thrift store, you will always be able to play it.

    Software, computers, notsomuch, its all a racket. Eventually someone is going to make you pay good money to keep your precious virtual stuff that used to be free. I pat myself on the back that I physically printed out the kids baby pics back when (for 5 cents a piece at Walgreens with coupon) because they have since gone poof on Shutterfly (or whatever it was) since. I didn’t even sort through – for 5 cents a piece I uploaded the whole lot and printed hundreds. Another example, our company’s backup software that came free with the expensive server one night overnight became a paid $100 per user per year annual license. I paid a local ex-IBM retired IT guy instead to write us new from open source that should be good for a long while.


  7. I am looking forward to all the debuts/comebacks in March. Pentagon, mirae, ciipher, Ateez, verivery, Ikon, wayv, ghost9, Woodz- I. I’m actually kind of feeling overwhelmed with all the new music that is about to come through. February was so good, so I hope March can live up to the hype.

    As for this month, ONF’s whole album takes the cake for me. Wonho’s lose and kingdom’s Excalibur also pleasantly surprised me.


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