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The Top Three K-Pop Songs of November 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.


November 2021 Overall Thoughts

We may still have December before us, but according to the norms of this blog, today marks the official “end” of 2021 releases. Countdowns will start in about a week-and-a-half! So, how did the year finish? Well, this has been a strange one — in many ways like the inverse of 2020.

2020 opened weak but finished strong, and that general trend was flipped in 2021. After a spectacular start, the year began to lose steam mid-summer and never really recaptured momentum. Of course, this is purely subjective. But, it feels odd to move into the year-end-countdowns on a whimper instead of a bang.

Let me dig further into this claim to prevent misunderstanding. When I call a month of releases “underwhelming,” I don’t automatically mean the month was full of bad songs. A month can deliver tons of solid material and still feel underwhelming. At this point, my music library holds thousands upon thousands of “good” songs (ie: ones I’d rate in the 7’s or low 8’s). When I’m looking at a month of K-pop, I’m really searching for spectacular standouts: those tracks that bowl me over and refuse to leave my playlist. Sadly, I haven’t found many since summer.

With that said, it’s not like 2021’s final quarter was completely without merit. Each month offered a few standouts, and November was no different. I’ve been quite charmed by my top two picks. And despite a lighter release schedule, there were still plenty of options for honorable mentions.

In some ways, November was all about the “grower.” Nothing absolutely blew me away on first listen (as I’m sure you could tell from the tone of my reviews!), but I ended up returning to some songs more often than expected. Topping this list is Billlie’s Ring x Ring. Once I watched the group perform it on music shows, everything clicked and I realized why it had been so well-received. Other tracks that pulled me in to varying degrees were SF9’s Trauma, MJ’s Get Set Yo and GHOST9’s Control.

Historically, November tends to be VERY stuffed with idol comebacks. These past few weeks have felt comparatively light, with many big releases pushed to December instead. I’m not sure there’s anything to this beyond coincidence, but it feels like a bit of a change.

Like I mentioned before, my top two choices of the month were fairly easy picks. Third place was much more difficult. Honestly, I didn’t love any other song enough to confidently put it in the top three, so this spot is feeling a little interchangeable. I ended up going with the track that’s been stuck in my head the most since release.

J-pop was also pretty light this month, with the bulk of my favorites coming from Johnny’s acts. But, I’m really loving Naniwa Danshi’s debut single and coupling songs — more so than I would’ve expected. The songs have a classic J-idol appeal featuring great musicality in both composition and production. The sound and concept certainly won’t be for everyone, but for me it’s been an appreciated burst of musical sunshine in a landscape that often favors darker, broodier fare.

Now, it’s on to December. Are you ready for the exhaustive end-of-year countdowns? Place your bets now!

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.8

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


J-Pop Highlights

Hey! Say! JUMP – Sing-along / Break The Wall (video / video)

Naniwa Danshi – Naniwa’n Way (video)

News – To The Future / ReBorn (video / video)

Shirose – Boyfriend (video)


TOP J-POP SONG OF THE MONTH

Naniwa Danshi – Ubu Love (review)


K-POP

Honorable Mentions

B.I – Cosmos (review)

Bang Yongguk – Race (review)

Billlie – Ring x Ring (review)

Chungha – Killing Me (review)

E’Last – To.Lie (review)

Gaho – Right Now (review)

GHOST9 – Control (review)

Hwasa – I’m A 빛 (review)

MJ – Get Set Yo (ft. Kim Taeyeon) (review)

Monsta X – Rush Hour (review)

Stray Kids – Christmas EveL / Winter Falls (review / review)

Super Junior-D&E – Zero (review)

T-ara – Tiki Taka (review)

Victon – Sweet Travel (review)


TOP THREE SONGS

3. SF9 – Trauma (review)

2. ONEUS – Luna (review)

1. Twice – Scientist (review)


Top Three K-Pop Songs Of October 2021

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of September 2021

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2021

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of July 2021

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of June 2021

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of May 2021

2010-2020 Archive Here

37 thoughts on “The Top Three K-Pop Songs of November 2021

  1. I’ve been absent from K-pop this past month due to my exams, so I’m glad to see posts like yours to catch up with haha.

    I wonder who will reign number one on your top 50 K-pop songs list… ONF’s “Beautiful Beautiful” and Key’s “Bad Love” are my bets this year. But the question is though… which one? 👀
    Either way, I’m very excited to see your end-of-year list Nick!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not really in any order. I didn’t dig this month that much until towards the end. I haven’t gotten around to really listening to Oneus’s Luna, because I was too busy listening to Twice and all.

    SF9 – Trauma
    Kai – Peaches
    Victon – Sweet Travel
    Stray Kids – Christmas Evel
    Twice – Scientist
    Wilcox – 50/50
    Pitta – Persona
    Luna – Beautiful Breakup
    Luna – Love Paranoia

    The Wilcox and Pitta are really kind of nugu, but pretty damn good. Luna are a fake band from a Kdrama, but they blew away all the songs from Imitation, which is kind of funny because Lee Jun Young was the lead in Imitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darn, was really hoping ONEUS’s Luna would take the crown — it’s my new favorite song of the year. Scientist is great and all but the fan dance, that chorus… it won my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My favorite songs of November would be an unpopular opinion but:
    The Boyz- Maverick
    Hwasa- I’m a B
    Trauma- SF9

    Also enjoyed these but just not as much:
    Star- Onewe
    Twice-Scientist
    Kang Daniel & Chancellor- Fly

    Honestly there weren’t many releases that I loved this month.

    Random non-kpop song I thoroughly enjoyed: Daði Freyr- Something Magical

    Like

  5. I’m pretty much with you in terms of the year starting strong and slowing down in the late summer-early fall, but the last couple of months have just been stuffed with winners for me. At least I can pick a top three this month, but it’s actually been kind of exhausting keeping track of everything. I’m thinking about taking December largely off of new music while I play around with my end-of-year lists.

    A big part of why this month was so exhausting was that every release seemed to come with a beefy EP or album full of b-sides I enjoyed, plus there were a metric shitton of k-rock releases I really enjoyed. I haven’t even rated most of this month’s songs yet, but already have several five star b-side releases: three from Billlie, four from TWICE, Younha’s “Oort Cloud” and SJD&E’s “La La La”. Almost all of PITTA’s EP got five stars, as did 10cm’s “Please Don’t Stop Your Singing”. Official playlisted new release count (after a surprise Mirani EP today): 163 tracks. For reference, this is the first month I’ve playlisted more than 100 songs.

    Top 3 Titles:
    1. Billlie “the Billage of perception: chapter one” (RING X RING): I love this song, and repeat watches and listens haven’t shaken that at all. It’s one of my favorite tracks of the year and one of my favorite EPs, and one of my favorite rookies of the year if I decide groups with only one release count.

    2. ONEUS “BLOOD MOON” (Luna): I feel like there was a pretty clear consensus on how great this track is, which is nice, and that first win was pretty sweet. The new tracks aren’t world-changing but they’re solid, which is pretty much what I could say for everything ONEUS does. “No Diggity” beats it out on top tracks of the year, and they’re absolutely in the running for favorite group of the year.

    3. GHOST9 “NOW: Who we are facing” (Control): Speaking of favorite groups, I realized earlier today that “Pre-Episode 2:W.ALL” came out in December. I need time to let the newest “NOW” soak in to figure out where it and “Control” will land, but they’re strong enough and I’m happy enough to see the guys back for number three of the month. Probably my favorite rookie group of the year?

    HM EPs/Albums:
    B.I “COSMOS” (5/6)
    cignature (5/5)
    GAHO “Fireworks” (7/10)
    MONSTA X “NO LIMIT” (4/7)
    NiziU “U” (12/12)
    SF9 “RUMINATION” (6/7)
    Stray Kids “Christmas EveL” (3/3)
    SUPER JUNIOR D&E “COUNTDOWN” (9/9)
    TWICE “Formula of Love: O+T=<3” (9/15)
    Weki Meki “I AM ME.” (5/6)
    Younha “END THEORY” (10/11)

    Other HM:
    ADORA ”MAKE U DANCE” (feat. EUNHA)
    BANG YONGGUK “RACE”
    CHUNG HA “Killing Me”
    DRIPPIN “VERTIGO”
    HA SUNG WOON “Electrified”
    Hwa Sa “I’m a B”
    KAI “To Be Honest” + “Blue”
    T-ara “ALL KILL”
    Leo “I’m Still Here”
    TO1 “No More X” + “GOLDEN”
    TXT “EYES”
    VICTON “Sweet Travel”

    Ballads/R&B:
    Eric Nam “Any Other Way”
    from20 “20” (4/4)
    J.UNA “Stop!”
    JUKJAE “One Another”, “Sky Dream”
    KANG DANIEL & Chancellor “Fly”
    +Kim Na Young “The Youngest Day” RELISTEN
    LEE MINHYUK “Good Night”
    Yoon Jiyoung “My luv” (feat. Benny Sings)

    Electronic:
    +Leesuho “MOM”, “Lights”, “Idol”
    machina “Blue Sky”

    Hip-Hop:
    BIG Naughty “Stab” (feat. eaJ)
    GEMINI “Inside Out” (7/7)
    Mirani “UPTOWN GIRL” (5/7)

    Indie/Rock:
    +Adios Audio “The Guide for Tomorrow” (10/10)
    BROOKLYN “I’m Gonna Love You”
    DINDIN “To you” (feat. Jeong Sewoon)
    JUNNY “HIDE & SICK”
    Kid Milli & dress “Kitty” (feat. MIYEON)
    LOREN “All My Friends Are Turning Blue”
    LUNA “Beautiful Breakup”
    OVAN “Walk”
    Pitta “ID: PITTA” (6/6)
    Se So Neon “joke!”
    SOHLHEE “When you love someone (Worn Version)” (3/4)
    10cm “The 3rd EP” (5/5)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah the past haven’t been as filled to the brim with bangers like the earlier ones, at least for me. The past few months tend to have 2 or 3 super standouts that I really enjoy though. This month was no different.

    1. BI – Cosmos…with Daylight Savings meaning I tend to get work when it’s dark now, I’ve been listening to this song pretty often on the way back home. Really love this new direction for BI. Slowly creeping into one of my years favorite.

    2. Oneus – Luna… Just a really good song. Love the tranditional instrumentation and it’s slight rock-ish sound. The hook is also great.

    3.Gaho – Right Now… Just Gaho doing what Gaho does over probably his best produced single yet.

    Like

  7. This month also feels underwhelming to me i totally understand what you mean. But mine would be
    1. Luna (no words needed)
    2. Rush Hour (i love the energy here)
    3. Scientist (good straightforward song and ages well for me)

    I tend to rank them not based on just songs alone but like the comeback’s overall impact to me and maybe to the industry at some point.

    Honorable mentions
    4. Ring X Ring (i could potentially love it if the voices are not buried in the mix and if the electro sound is not that noisy. I still really like this)
    5. Race (Bang Yongguk!!!)

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  8. I have to agree with Luna being in top three. However, in my opinion Luna would be placed about scientist. Luna’s energy is much more suited to my tastes.

    My second place would be Christmas EveL (if it’s counts) and my third place would be boyfriend by cignature. Something about that song hits right.

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  9. My top three:
    Twice – Scientist
    Oneus – Luna
    Stray Kids – Christmas EveL/Winter Falls

    Oh wow, Twice at number one! For me this month has kinda just been dominated by Twice since they dropped their album 😂 the album is just on loop, nearly every b-side…wew. I can’t wait to buy it for Christmas haha

    Title tracks-wise, I think we agree! Scientist then Luna for sure, and not sure on the third. So I just picked the new SKZ songs because of recency bias and maybe bias for the group themselves too. Looking forward to your year-end lists! It’s exciting because I’ve gone through the whole year with you, so this time I’m particularly interested in what your top 50 is after reading your reviews the whole year.

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  10. My 5 :

    Oneus Luna tops the month for me and I daresay it is the SOTY for me! 🙂 Maybe it’s a little bias, maybe it’s because it’s exactly the kind of song I love, maybe it’s because my other soty nominee with a similar epic vibe unfortunately doesn’t have an MV and I cannot consider it…. Anyhow there’s a 99% chance that Oneus will give me SOTY for a second time in a row! 🙂

    Sf9 Trauma! The performance just blew me away and there’s something so haunting about the whole track! The raps (especially Zuho and then the Chani-Hwiyoung alternating rap) were extremely on point and the whole song is really satisfying. Taeyang is… a powerful force.

    MonstaX Rush Hour! Another satisfying track! The fire rap and performances sold me! Western cowboy themed songs are really doing it nice this year!

    D&E Zero! The chorus is so strong and I absolutely love it! And the music!

    Fifth spot is kinda tricky. My first choice is definitely Twice Scientist at the rate I’ve been humming it throughout the month! But I want to wait for a bit for Chungha’s Killing Me and SKZ’s songs to sink in. Also a special mention to Weki Meki Siesta which though not on the list has been constantly looping in my head and making me quite happy! 🙂

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  11. In some order
    Oneus “Luna”
    Gaho “Right Now”
    Sohlhee “freakin flower” which is freakin good
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcnAUMhtGE0

    I am happy to see the love for Pitta aka Kang Hyung Ho of Forestella.
    The album just appeared on Amazon US from some reseller, and so with shipping I should be able to listen for realz sometime in January, The boy was busy in November – ample bootlegs of his solo concert floating around youtube, a regular Fore concert or three, a few TV appearances, plus two Fore concerts with a Real Live Full Orchestra. Be still my heart! It seems that if the capacity of the hall is x, the number of fancams was about x-1, and that 1 ran out of space on the phone.

    Here is one of that live orchestra concert with Kang Hyung Ho focus, so y’all can start your youtube sidebar crawl. “Parla Piu Piano” is the love theme from the Godfather, roughly “Speak softly and no one will hear”.

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  12. OT: Hey Nick!
    Gaho just released this morning a real video for “Part-time Lover” and the song grooves! It sounds like if Jamiroquai were to make a kpop song. The bass player is a fy-ah!

    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7BYoBtcX3A

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Top 5 in no order
    Chungha: Killing Me
    Stray Kids: Christmas EveL
    SF9: Trauma
    ONEUS: Luna
    Twice: Scientist

    HM:
    ONEWE: Star
    MJ: Get Set Yo ft. Kim Taeyeon (I’m a clown; it thought it’d be the other Taeyeon)
    Gaho: Rush Hour

    Like

  14. Pingback: The Top Three K-Pop Songs of November 2021 | Beatsway

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