Feature

Top K-Pop Songs of 2021 (So Far)

Bias List Mid-Year Best OfWhat a difference a year makes! This time in 2020, I struggled to cobble together a mid-year list worth celebrating. I ended up finding five songs, though one wasn’t technically a single.

This year, I’ve got a whopping fourteen tracks!

That’s quite a turnaround, and a testament to 2021’s strength. Because of this, I’ve scrapped my honorable mentions list. There are many solid songs not mentioned here, some of which may land spots on my final list in December. But for me, these fourteen are the best of the best.

Boy groups reigned supreme, which isn’t surprising. I tend to prefer their music. Or rather, I have more intense feelings about it. Boy groups often deliver my favorite and least favorite tracks of any year. But, 2021 has proven to be even more lopsided. The sheer number of boy group releases seem to be dwarfing girl group output this year, allowing for a wider variety to choose from. I’m hopeful that the remainder of the year will strike a better balance. After all, last year brought some killer girl group tracks to my top ten.

Speaking of ‘top ten,’ how many of these songs will find themselves there once we reach the end of 2021? It all depends on these next few months. Whatever happens, I’m anticipating a super-solid list.

Stay tuned for my mid-year albums list and “biggest risers and fallers” feature — both coming soon! And be sure to sound off in the comments. What were your favorite singles during the first half of 2021?


TOP SINGLES


BDC – Moon Rider

The pinnacle of BDC’s spacey trilogy of singles, Moon Rider is a streamlined shot of dramatic dance pop. It’s the kind of boy group track I absolutely covet. (full review)


Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram

Chi Mat Ba Ram harnesses a K-pop summer sound I absolutely adore, racing forward on unflagging energy and deliriously fun, brass-kissed beat drops. (full review)


BTS – Butter

All it took was a slight twist to Dynamite‘s jingle-ready hooks to craft something far more enjoyable. Butter may be generic pop fluff, but it gets its formula exactly right. (full review)


Golden Child – Breathe

Breathe is the rare instance of K-pop agencies picking a fantastic b-side and giving it full promotional push. This is Golden Child at their most upbeat and funky, offering a jolt of unadulterated joy. (full review)


Golden Child – Burn It

I never would’ve thought a 2021 song could wring this much excitement from a dated tropical trend. Burn It laces its familiar elements with an ultra-dramatic melody, building to a stirring, vocal-led chorus that simply soars. (full review)


Jessi – What Type Of X

What Type Of X remains the strongest delivery method for Jessi’s intimidating charisma. Its rock/rap fusion feels like a breath of fresh air, especially as the track hits that head-banging finale. (full review)


Mirae – Killa

The year’s most promising debut, Killa gifts Mirae with an instantly-recognizable concept and signature sound. Yes, it’s all a little Superhuman in execution, but the guys pull it off with aplomb. (full review)


Monsta X – Gambler

This far into their career, I never expected Monsta X to knock me out like this. Gambler takes all their aggressive swagger and fuses it to a killer beat drop and volleys of impassioned vocal ad-libs. (full review)


ONF – Beautiful Beautiful

The year’s most optimistic K-pop track, Beautiful Beautiful ditches the moody tropes favored by most boy groups and chooses light and laughter. It’s an exhilarating funk-house track, bursting with flavor and flair. (full review)


OnlyOneOf – libidO

A song so good it had me reevaluating its artist’s entire discography, libidO throws down the gauntlet with its edgy, provocative concept and dark, industrial groove. (full review)


SHINee – Atlantis

SHINee are at their best when being as “SHINee” as possible. Atlantis knows this well, and lets the guys cut loose over an undulating rhythm and bright, punchy chorus. (full review)


TXT – 0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) (ft. Seori)

A sleeper hit of sorts, TXT channel overblown teen angst into surging pop/rock catharsis. The chorus hits like a ton of bricks, anthemic in the most cliched of ways but all the better for it. (full review)


UP10TION – Spin Off

I’ll never not want to stick my fingers into that second verse and tighten things up, but Spin Off‘s galvanizing chorus is too good to let its slower moments drag it down. This is ‘bombastic K-pop 101.’ Turn it all the way up. (full review)


Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde

If anything, Yuqi’s solo work has quickly proven just how much (G)I-DLE is holding her back. Within a world of high-pitched aegyo, her deep, husky voice is an absolute treat. In Bonnie & Clyde, it finds a mammoth chorus to sink its teeth into. (full review)

59 thoughts on “Top K-Pop Songs of 2021 (So Far)

  1. Great list as always Nick!

    I expect Beautiful Beautiful, Atlantis, or Libido to top the list in the end. I think due to the Olympics, the next few months will slow down a bit. Thankfully, the first half was good enough to impress. My mid-year list should come out tomorrow, I also geek out!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am excited to see your list! It is gonna be interesting to see what is the definite Mid-Year consensus. Also, I expect My War in the Top 3 and possibly many surprise artists. Surely, Beautiful Beautiful or Rain to be are your top Korean songs…

      I’ve read TIME and NME’s piece and they have something in common we all consider the best. I mean thanks to that review aggregation system I did, most of Nick’s top songs match with the consensus.

      Extreme locks for the year-end are Butter, Beautiful Beautiful, Atlantis, 0X1=LOVESONG and maybe libidO or Gambler. MOONRIDER is really surprisingly critically acclaimed all-throughout. I mean one of my most played songs has be that isn’t it? lol

      The releases this half are just unstoppable at this point and a great set. LILAC is a strong leader too, along with Chi Mat Ba Ram, Bonnie & Clyde, Poison and WE GO which is relatively missing… These 10/11 songs are surely in the contention for best song.

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  2. Throw in Youha’s “Abittipsy” and this is pretty much perfect.

    This year ONF and OnlyOneOf were my surprise groups that I came to truly treasure, and Oh My Girl’s Seunghee’s and BtoB’s madcap energy made the sometimes interminable online KCons so delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darling daughter is now a teen, so she finks off with my ipod, perhaps as teens should. So for this list, I shall list what kpop is darling daughter listening to based upon ipod play count. This mom still has some ways of keeping tabs.

    She loves Dreamcatcher, a lot. Odd Eye, Poison Love. I bought her all their old singles too, just because.
    Wonho “Lose” both the Korean and English versions.
    Kim Sung Kyu “Hush” – good choice that one
    Shinee “Atlantis” – also a good choice
    Super Junior “House Party” – yasssss
    The Boyz “Prism” and “Breaking Dawn” – yes really., I mean, sure, ok.
    BDC “Moonrider” – great!

    On My list:
    Kim JaeHwan had some under the radar releases which I have enjoyed. “Burned all black” and “I wouldn’t look for you”

    Obligatory Forestella mention: “Inner Universe” – a cover of an old anime soundtrack theme song. Somehow, it is available on US itunes, but the youtube versions are all bootlegs which haven’t yet been taken down (yet). Kang Hyung Ho’s high male soprano is in his element here, but Cho Mingyu’s stealth falsetto harmony just under him is the super secret sauce. It is sprinkled throughout, but clearest at 3:36-3:45. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZaMuHkd3vI

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, I really like “I Wouldn’t Look For You” and have been meaning to check out more from him. I hadn’t heard of Forestella but the first track of their most recent album being an Ennio Morricone song means I will be rectifying that error ASAP!

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      • holy cow wow, yes. They call it “male soprano” here instead of “countertenor”, but whatever it is called, it sound amazing.
        May I suggest “Hijo de la Luna” from May 2020 open concert. Its an old Montserrat Caballe repertoire song translated to Korean. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJc7wXa9JG8
        Also the “four hour loop” on KBS is a nice sampler. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDH5s4rL6qw

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  4. I’m the opposite of you in that I tend to have more intense feelings about girl group tracks. With that said, I still find these tracks incredibly strong. Beautiful beautiful, chi mat baram, moonlight, atlantis, and bonnie & clyde are definitely my favorite songs of this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Easy number one choice for me is: Shinee- Atlantis. That song has not left my current favorites playlist since it was released, nor has it lost a single ounce of its appeal. I am very much not over it and I am not sure I ever will be, but that is fine by me.

    Second choice: Mirae- Killa. Much like Atlantis in the months since its release Killa has not lost any of its appeal. In fact, their entire debut mini is probably my favorite mini released so far this year. Also shout out to the Mirae boys who have all recently dyed their hair, I look forward to your futuristic summer banger!

    Third choice: Brave Girls- Chi Mat Ba Ram. I almost universally prefer boy groups but there is something about girl groups absolutely nailing summer concepts that is oh so satisfying. Easily my favorite girl group release of the year so far.

    Honorable mentions go to: Jessi What Type of X and Bae 173 Loved You.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My musical tastes differ a bit and I don’t always go for the most punchy tracks (Examples:- couldn’t get on the “Atlantis”/ “Libido” etc. train). With that said, we have tons in common. My current fav tracks (in no particular order):-
    1. Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram
    2. Golden Child – Burn it
    3. SHINee – Don’t Call Me
    4. Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye
    5. Weeekly – After School
    6. StayC – Asap (this song has grown on me a lot. I initially didn’t like it, but it fits a certain mood) & Love Fool
    7. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful and Ugly Dance
    8. BTS – Butter
    9. TXT – 0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) (ft. Seori) and Dear Sputnik
    10. Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde
    11. Lucy – I need U & Buddy
    12. Seventeen – Ready to love/ Anyone/ Heaven’s Cloud
    13. eAeon – Don’t (ft. RM) (Gorgeous song – Go listen everybody!)
    14. Sunmi – Tail
    Included a couple of b-sides in my list. Don’t know if I’ll be still listening to them in December but this has been a great year so far!

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  7. Here’s my chart so far:

    1. BTS, Butter
    2. TXT, I Know I Love You
    3. KANG DANIEL, Digital
    4. ENHYPEN, Drunk-Dazed
    5. TXT, Magic
    6. ATEEZ, Take Me Home
    7. SHINEE, Atlantis
    8. YUQI, Bonnie & Klyde
    9. NCT DREAM, My Youth
    10. SHINEE, Code
    11. JACKSON WANG, Lmly
    12. TAEMIN, Advice
    13. B.I., Illa Illa
    14. UP10TION, Parade
    15. WONHO, Lose
    16. DREAMCATCHER, Poison Love
    17. APOKI, Get It Out
    18. CIX, Cinema
    19. PIXY, The Moon
    20. SURA, Wake Up

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  8. This is so different from mine, but then again i also tend to prefer girl groups. I think so far this year ive paid more attention to bsides, but for title tracks my favorites are probably (in no real order)
    1. wonho – lose
    2. abittipsy – youha
    3. sign – dalsoobin (idk if this can be considered a single really but im adding it anyway)
    4. burn it – golcha
    5. after school – weeekly
    6. i know i love you – txt
    7. ponzona – purple kiss
    8. poison – pinkfantasy
    9. moon rider – bdc
    10. first – everglow

    honorable mentions go to the real by ateez (not sure if this can be considered a single or not either though), unnatural by wjsn and next level by aespa + asap by stayc

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    • Wonho for the win! Some days in the car when she is dj, I can’t get darling daughter off it. Child! New song! But MoooooM, this is the Korean / the English version so its different. Sure, kid.

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  9. Having been reading your posts for about a year now (and a lot of the archives) I’ve figured out that if you love something, I’m going to either love it or find it totally meh. I’ve tried to get on the GolCha train but other than DamDiaDi and ONE they just aren’t my style and I really can’t figure out why. SEVENTEEN and ASTRO are similar – I recognize that they’re super talented, but their sound just goes in one ear out out the other. That said, my also love list is “What Type Of X”, “Killa”, “Beautiful Beautiful”, “Atlantis”, and “0x1=LOVESONG”.

    My other top k-tracks of the year, in release order, are:
    VICTON – “What I Said”
    ONEUS – “No Diggity”
    BOBBY – “U MAD”
    HYUNA – “I’m Not Cool”
    RAVI – “Bum”
    BIG Naughty – “Joker”
    KANGDANIEL – “Paranoia”
    ATEEZ – “Fireworks” and “The Real”
    ROSE – “On The Ground”
    HOSHI – “Spider”
    Simon Dominic – “At Night”
    WENDY – “Like Water”
    HYUNJUN HUR – “Vo!d”
    ENHYPEN – “Drunk Dazed”
    BLITZERS – “Breathe Again”
    HARRIANNE – “Loop”
    AQUINAS – “It Doesn’t Matter”
    N.Flying – “Moonshot”
    Pink Fantasy – “Poison”

    Wow, that’s a long list.

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  10. Got to say TXT and ONF are rocking it. They have realized some of my favorite songs this year.

    I am wondering if any of the eventual post kingdom releases will make on your final list. I hope so because I want everybody to do well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the hard work Nick! It’s always a pleasure to read your articles ❤️

    My personal list would be something like this:

    GIRLS

    æspa – Next Level
    Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram
    IU – Lilac
    KEEMBO – Inside
    WJSN The Black – Easy

    Honorable Mention: Youha’s Abittipsy, fromis_9’s WE GO, Wendy’s Like Water & (G)I-DLE’s HWAA.

    ————

    BOYS

    BDC – Moonlight
    CIX – Cinema
    Lovesong – TXT
    ONF – Beautiful Beautiful
    N.Flying – Moonshot

    Honorable Mention: Jackson’s LMLY.

    ———-

    B-SIDES

    ATEEZ – Take Me Home
    Brave Girls – Fever
    Chung Ha – Bother Me
    EVERGLOW – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
    fromis_9 – Airplane Mode
    LOONA – WOW
    Rocket Punch – Ride
    TWICE – Scandal
    TXT – Dear Sputnik
    WJSN – New Me

    ————-

    ALBUMS

    (G)I-DLE – I burn
    Chung Ha – Querencia
    GWSN – The Other Side of the Moon
    OH MY GIRL – Dear OHMYGIRL
    TWICE – Taste of Love

    ————

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The best of the best contender gotta be “Beautiful Beautiful” Vs “Atlantis”. Damn, there’s so much good song for this year.

    Onlyoneof in particular shocked me since i only know them as a particular “artistic” group but i haven’t liked much of their songs. This evolution of sound feels very fitting yet unexpected of them, now this is the kind of artistry i can get behind.

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  13. I have not so good a memory so I will use my listening data to fill in my top played tracks:

    ATEEZ – Take Me Home
    Shinee – Don’t Call Me
    Shinee – Atlantis
    TXT – Lovesong
    Rocket Punch – Ride
    Sunmi – Tail
    Oneus – Black Mirror
    Weeekly – After School
    WJSN – Super Moon
    Hoshi – Spider
    Pentagon – Do or Not
    fromis_9 – We Go
    Ikon – Why Why Why

    I’d add to this Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet and ONF – Beautiful Beautiful, both of which came out before I started tracking (mid-February). I’d also add Chi Mat Ba Ram which I absolutely love. There’s more but basically I just really like kpop.

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  14. The track that you turned me onto from the buried treasure that still has YET to be topped for me this year is Ateez – Take Me Home. 10/10 song for me that has yet to get old and still gives me goosebumps so THANK u for that.

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      • I will NEVER get over the fact that It was such a clear choice. I am not talking just talking about Quality Level. I am talking about the fact that It could’ve fit well within a concept, It was fitting the trend of synth pop and It was like an evolution for ATEEZ. It was such a good choice but…they chose FireWorks….which shows no growth for ATEEZ whatsoever.

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  15. I agree about Yuqi being held back but what is this about “high pitched aegyo” being some musical bogeyman in most of your posts. This has been a pretty reactionary take since like… early kpop where I think a lot of people have actually lost the plot and shifted the focus away from why it’s something to criticize since the way the industry ESPECIALLY treats girl groups is usually lost. It instead becomes kind of a weird expression cause like… idk if that term is doing the work for your point as much as you think it is. Besides that… Idle doesn’t even use aegyo and instead Yuqi is probably held back by mediocre producers for her group

    Agree about Chi Mat Ba Ram just being the gift that gives on giving but haven’t been as impressed by What Kind of X or LibidO. The former is decent enough and the latter is just a little… silly not in a camp way but in a “I’d rather just listen to Arca” kind of way

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    • Honestly, that phrase is just lazy writing on my part. I’ll try to be more aware of it. It’s easy to fall into familiar territory.

      If it helps, I usually use it as a placeholder for “sing talk,” which is probably a more accurate descriptor of the point I’m trying to make.

      The conversation is much more nuanced and deeper than a simple phrase, especially given the industry’s tendencies (as you pointed out). I really wish ggs were given more leverage to explore a wider array of styles. But, I could say the same for boy groups!

      I’m not sure if you’ve read it or not already, but I wrote a post awhile back that does a more detailed job describing my feelings toward the current state of K-pop girl group music and why I’ve struggled to get into a lot of its current output:

      Five Suggestions to Upgrade K-Pop’s Girl Group Comebacks

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  16. Start off by saying first-time commenter, long-time reader (well like 8 months lmao), but it’s been a really strong year for kpop so far and I’ve liked a lot of releases.
    Personal favs are as follows.

    Girl Groups

    æspa – Next Level
    Fromis_9 – We Go
    WJSN – Unnatural
    3ye – Stalker
    Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet

    Honorable Mention: Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye, WJSN The Black – Easy, Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance, Rocket Punch – Ring Ring, Poison – Pink Fantasy

    ————

    Boy Groups

    Mirae – Killa
    Shinee – Atlantis
    ONF – Beautiful Beautiful
    Monsta X – Gambler
    OnlyOneOf – Libido

    Honorable Mention: Golden Child – Burn It, BDC – Moon Rider/Moonlight, ONF – Ugly Dance, Shinee – Don’t Call Me, Blitzers – Breathe Again

    ———-
    Soloists

    IU – Coin
    Woodz – Feel Like
    Yubin – Perfume
    Wonho – Lose
    Sunmi – Tail
    Kim Sung Kyu – Hush
    Yukika – Insomnia
    Kang Daniel – Antidote
    Youha – Abittipsy
    Hoshi – Spider
    ————-
    Albums

    Shinee – Atlantis Repackage
    ONF – City Of ONF
    IU – Lilac
    (G)I-DLE – I burn
    WJSN – Unnatural
    ————

    Also enjoyed a lot of the non-kpop releases coming out of Korea like Hoppipolla’s Your Ocean, Colde’s Idealism, Epik High’s Epik High is Here, and Heize’s Happen

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  17. RANKING MY OPINIONS ON EVERY KPOP SINGLE I LISTENED TO THIS HALF OF THE YEAR (not including japanese releases)

    Sorry for such a long comment in advance

    1. SHINee – Atlantis
    2. ONF – Ugly Dance (why isn’t anyone talking about this song…..)
    3. MCND – Crush (biggest grower yet)
    4. OnlyOneOf – libidO
    5. Mirae – Killa
    6. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful
    7. Jessi – What Type Of X
    8. EnHypen – Drunk-Dazed
    9. NCT Dream – Hello Future
    10. BTS – Butter
    11. Monsta X – Gambler
    12. Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram
    13. BDC – Moon Rider
    14. Seventeen – Ready To Love
    15. Wonho – Lose
    16. P1Harmony – Scared
    17. Blitzers – Breathe Again
    18. Golden Child – Burn It
    19. GHOST9 – Seoul
    20. ONEUS – Black Mirror
    21. UP10TION – Spin Off
    22. GHOST9 – Up All NIght
    23. CIX – Cinema
    24. Ha Sungwoon – Sneakers
    25. A.C.E – Higher
    26. U-Know – Eeny Meeny
    27. TXT – 0X1=LOVESONG
    28. Everglow – First (This grew on me a LOT)
    29. BDC – Moonlight
    30. Aespa – Next Level
    31. YuQi – Bonnie And Clyde
    32. Weekly – After School
    33. Sunmi – Tail
    34. Taemin – Advice (Yep it grew on me)
    35. EXO – Don’t Fight The Feeling
    36. Lucy – I Got U
    37. WJSN The Black – Easy
    38. AB6IX – Close (an even bigger grower)
    39. Hoshi – Spider
    40. Super Junior – House Party
    41. Kingdom – Excalibur
    42. SHINee – Don’t Call Me
    43. NCT Dream – Hot Sauce
    44. WayV – Kick Back (dunno if this counts tho)
    45. TRI.BE – Doom Doom Ta
    46. U-Know – Thank U
    47. TO1 – Son Of Beast
    48. Wheein – Watercolor
    49. Rocket Punch – Ring RIng
    50. JUST B – Damage
    51. A.C.E – Down (for the pre chorus….)
    52. MCND – Not Over
    53. NCT 127 – Save
    54. Pink Fantasy – Poison
    55. IU – Lilac
    56. Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance
    57. fromis_9 – We Go
    58. BAE173 – Loved You
    59. LOONA – Paint The Town
    60. WEi – Bye Bye Bye
    61. TXT – Magic (the vocal effects take me out everytime…..)
    62. SuperM – We Do
    63. ONEUS – No Diggity
    64. WOODZ – Feel Like
    65. Pentagon – Do Or Not
    66. Nu’est – Inside Out
    67. Baekhyun – Bambi
    68. ATEEZ – Fireworks (kinda grew on me after watching it performed in Loud)
    69. 2PM – Make It
    70. HyunA – Good Girl
    71. iKON – Why Why Why
    72. TRI.BE – Rub-A-Dum
    73. Cravity – My Turn (I listen to it for laughs, but ig it counts)
    74. AleXa – Xtra
    75. Rose – On The Ground
    76. YuQi – Giant
    77. Jay B – Switch It Up
    78. EPEX – Lock Down
    79. GWSN – Like It Hot
    80. Joy – Hello
    81. N.Flying – Moonshot
    82. Astro – One
    83. Mamamoo – Where Are We Now
    84. DRIPPIN – Young Blood (Another song I should like but for some reason can’t)
    85. EnHypen – Fever
    86. Wendy – Like Water
    87. Vanilla – Lightsum (couldn’t bring myself to like it….)
    88.WayV (Kun & Xiaojun) – Back To You (Ballads just aren’t my thing)
    89. Twice – Alcohol-Free
    90. DRIPPIN – Free Pass (They really aren’t living up to Nostalgia…….)
    91. Woo Jinyoung (D1CE) – Happy Birthday
    92. OMEGA X – Vamos
    93.
    94.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    1,900,764. Eternity – I’m Real
    1,900,765. ITZY – Mafia In The Morning

    RANKS – MY RATINGS
    1-3 | 10
    4-10 | 9.5
    11-20 | 9
    21-25 | 8.75
    26-50 | 8.5
    51-60 | 8.25
    61-70 | 8
    71-75 | 7.75
    76-80 | 7.25
    81-88 | 7
    89-92 | 6
    .
    .
    .
    1,900,764-1,900,765 | 2.25

    If I’ve forgotten some major releases, either I totally forgot about them which easily ensures a low place on this list, or I haven’t heard yet, like Odd Eye, or the songs released yesterday.

    RANKING MY OPINIONS ON EVERY JPOP SINGLE I LISTENED TO THIS HALF OF THE YEAR

    1. JO1 – Born To Be Wild
    2. Exile – Paradox
    3. Nissy – Say Yes
    4. NIssy – Do Do

    Yeah that’s about the extent of my J Pop Knowledge.

    TOP 10 FAVOURITE B SIDES YET

    1. ONF – My Gensis
    2. TXT – No Rules
    3. GWSN – e i e i o
    4. TXT – Frost
    5. Ateez – Take Me Home
    6. Super Junior – Burn The Floor
    7. Victon – Unpredictable
    8. NCT Dream – Dive Into You
    9. TXT – Dear Sputnik
    10. Mirae – We Are Future

    Once again, sorry for such a long comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wouldn’t have heard “Gambler” without this, so thanks! I still don’t vibe much with “Atlantis” but overall this is a strong list!

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  19. Damn Nick, honestly every song in your list would have made mine if it were not for the ‘Bias’ part of the rating haha. This is my list, and it’s pretty evident I have a thing for electronic music lol.

    TITLE TRACKS

    1. SHINee – Atlantis; 9.75/10 [10,9,10,10]
    2. ENHYPEN – Drunk Dazed; 9.5/10 [9,9,10,10]
    3. YUQI – Bonnie & Clyde; 9.5/10 [10,9,9,10]
    4. BTS – Butter; 9.25/10 [9,9,9,10]
    5. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful; 9.25/10 [9,10,9,9]
    6. Jackson Wang – LMLY; 9/10 [9,9,9,9]
    7. 3YE – Stalker; 8.75/10 [9,9,8,9]
    8. NCT DREAM – Hello Future; 8.75/10 [9,9,8,9]
    9. AB6IX – Close; 8,75/10 [9,9,8,9]
    10. KINGDOM – Excalibur; 8.75/10 [9,9,8,9]

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  20. This year has been incredibly solid and I have a good feeling about the up-and-coming months and of 2022! I think it might be a bit-too much, but this Year seems to be the best in K-pop ever since…2015!

    Now Onto my Personal list. The Material this year has been TOO strong that I cannot decide for a list. Which is why I’ll be avoiding in making this list until we come to that inevitable time in December. Pretty Strange how just last year, we all were groaning about the current K-pop Climate and in this year, It’s just a wonderful celebration!

    But! In this happy celebration, I can see a twinge of sadness in my side…Because there is something missing in this list. And I am talking about the Holy Trinity B-sides of March: Prism, Take Me Home and Reach Out Your Hands! All of these tracks absolutely knocked me out when I first heard them and all of them had such potential to make Killer Singles. It…just…saddens me that they cannot be present here because none of them GOT a Chance to have a full Showcase..

    I won’t be such a bummer about this one though, because I really love the list this year! And Even after two days, I am finding it difficult in choosing My Favorite track for June. I really hope K-pop can continue this excellent attack of music!

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    • Can I point out the diversity in this list?
      We have some Rock over here. Electro Pop over there. Industrial sounds a bit over the places. An Excellent Synth Pop charge lying there. That Dated-Trop Pop sound being performed perfectly right at here! And All of these are packed in LARGER-THAN-LIFE K-pop Experiences, This is just so Exciting!

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  21. I’ve got songs that I really adored but for whatever reason just didn’t end up playing much, and then the songs that I played a lot that might not have ranked high on any list but just fit my general mood a lot more. Burn It, Beautiful Beautiful, and Hush are on the first list. Atlantis, Golcha Breathe, Bonnie and Clyde, Dreamcatcher’s Wind Blows/Odd Eye, and to some extent Bae173 Loved You inhabit the overlapping ground here.

    I’ve got most of Buzz’s The Lost Time EP on the second list (as of now Consolation is apparently my most played 2021 kpop song after Wind Blows and Breathe), Yang Jieun’s Taste of Life, Highlight’s Not The End, and weirdly enough given I barely remember they released a new album, Day6’s Healer. MMM’s Where Are We Now also conveniently released at a time when I was writing something with similar sentiments, so that ended up played a lot as well.

    Finally, have to give a hats off to SM Entertainment this year for all the memorable (for better or worse) singles. Next Level has grown on me like mold, the incomprehensible chanting from Hot Sauce will never leave my ears in peace (even outside of the chanting, the song has cursed me enough that I somehow convinced myself I was hearing the prechorus instrumentals in the background of Sunggyu’s the Answer), and thinking about thank you for diss, thank you for like and Minho’s sick of all your trash makes my day just a little bit more bearable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘I’ve got songs that I really adored but for whatever reason just didn’t end up playing much, and then the songs that I played a lot that might not have ranked high on any list but just fit my general mood a lot more.’ describes pretty much exactly my experience this year.

      A lot of songs I LOVE I just didn’t end up playing that much.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Nice list! I’ve actually never sat down and tried to make a list of my favourite songs myself, so I guess I’ll leave one here ^~^

    My personal favourite title tracks so far this year, in no particular order:

    TXT – 0X1=Lovesong
    Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram
    fromis_9 – We Go
    Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance
    BTS – Butter
    Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde
    aespa – Next Level (I made a complete 180 and now I love it haha)
    SHINee – Atlantis
    Weeekly – After School
    Twice – Alcohol-Free (definitely grew on me, and I enjoyed the album a lot as well)

    Looking forward to your Risers and Fallers feature too 🙂 I wish we could see that a little more, it’s really interesting to see how your thoughts have changed from your initial reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I just realized, We’ve scrapped of 2021’s honorable mentions but…even without that, 2021 still is five tracks higher than 2020’s list…which did include honorable mentions.
    Even if 2021 is not perfect, It surely is better than that hellhole of a year.

    Like

  24. I don’t really know what the best songs would be so far. I kind of bounce around listening kpop and usually settle on repeating LOONA songs over and over so my perception on what’s good fades over time. But from what everyone has said.

    I only really liked 5 of the ones here (Spin Off, libidO, Gambler, Killa and Bonnie & Clyde) and as for the other songs I would put…

    Definitely the PIXY title tracks (Wings and Let Me Know), fromis_9’s We Go, DC’s Odd Eye, BDC’s Moonlight, Drippin’s Young Blood, YUKIKA’s Insomnia and PF’s Poison.

    Then maybe 3YE’s Stalker, SUNMI’s Tail, STAYC’s ASAP, Rocket Punch’s RING RING and AB6IX’s Close. LOONA’s PTT also reluctantly placed at the back of the line.

    Bonus mentions to these songs, actually good songs I didn’t like at first: Aespa’s Next Level, EXO’s DFTF and ONF’s Ugly Dance.

    Album-wise, YUKIKA’s and PIXY’s are by far the ones I got the most airplay with. LOONA’s & is also creeping up on me, most of those are getting repeated even PTT and its ballads. GWSN’s The Other Side of the Moon, and Rocket Punch’s RING RING album are also very good.

    We have very different tastes. Especially when it comes to SHINEE’s Atlantis. I still don’t like that song despite how much everyone loves it. ONF’s Beautiful Beautiful was never one I liked listening to and GolCha has only actually appealed to me with their trilogy (Wannabe, Without You, ONE) which Nick would surely rather they never approached in the first place. And Nick gave PIXY’s title tracks a 5.5 and 6.5 respectively and I heavily disagreed with that.

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  25. Pingback: Top K-Pop Songs of 2021 (So Far) | Beatsway

  26. reading your lists make me think I am sorely behind on boy groups!
    for me, I’ve been listening to hwaa, lilac, bonnie and clyde, next level and lucy’s outro
    hwaa and asap grew on me so, so much in the past few months.

    Like

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

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