The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (Day Three: 30-21)

Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2021The 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, follow-up or promotional video between Dec. 1st, 2020 and Nov. 30th, 2021.

Curious about past countdowns? Check out the masterpost here!

Honorable Mentions
Songs 50-41
Songs 40-31

30. TXT – Frost

Frost‘s harsh, angular soundscape marks a departure for TXT’s pop sound. But, its angsty vocal effects and insistent groove make for an unexpected highlight that feels refreshingly different from most of their peers. (full review)

29. ONF – Ugly Dance

Riffing off their own Beautiful Beautiful, Ugly Dance quickly segues into an off-kilter hip-hop rhythm, ornamenting its beat with symphonic flourishes and layers of powerful vocals. Only ONF could make this work so well. (full review)

28. VERIVERY – Trigger

After a year spent redefining their sound, VERIVERY emerged on the other side with Trigger‘s glitchy electro appeal. The song builds until it explodes, showcasing a surprising edge without sacrificing energy. (full review)

27. ONEUS – Luna

Melding traditional instrumentation with trendy synthwave, ONEUS proved yet again they are masters of high-concept comebacks. The stop-start verses are par for the course, but that sweeping chorus is a total triumph. (full review)

26. Golden Child – Ra Pam Pam

A certain amount of personal bias nudges every Golden Child track up a few notches, but Ra Pam Pam was still a long-lasting summer hit. The track is solid, but the group’s gutsy performance (that bridge!) elevates every moment. (full review)

25. DRIPPIN – Young Blood

DRIPPIN’s debut year output didn’t have the cohesion I’d hoped for, but the bounding Young Blood streamlined many 2021 trends into a nimble blast of youthful rhythm with an indefatigable hook. (full review)

24. Twice – Scientist

Twice nail this brand of bright, sugary pop music, and Scientist feels like just the right song for this stage of their career. It’s staunchly melodic, driven by swoops of retro backing vocals and pristine synth loops. (full review)

23. Lucy – I Got U

Lucy upped the energy for their summer EP, funneling their quirks through an arrangement that harnesses the euphoria of a great EDM track. Anchored by a catchy violin loop, the song sneaks up and whisks you away. (full review)

22. GHOST9 – Up All Night

Fresh, poppy summer fare used to be a common trope for K-pop’s boy groups, but these songs have now become infrequent treasures. Up All Night places melody front and center, galloping toward its headrush of a chorus. (full review)

21. MCND – Crush

MCND kicked off the year with a song that became more addictive as the months went on. The group’s energy is infectious, and pairs perfectly with Crush‘s rollicking instrumental and commanding climax. (full review)



30 thoughts on “The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (Day Three: 30-21)

  1. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (Day Two: 40-31) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Ooh! Quite an interesting one today! Some surprise rankings (like Up All Night and Crush… I also see my SOTY here lol) and some songs which I have in the same bracket as well! 🙂

    Here’s 30-21!

    30. MonstaX Gambler
    I like Heists. I like Suits. Hence I like “handsome sum of money” and “Hot as °F” 😋

    29. Golcha Ra Pam Pam
    Once it starts it just pulls you into the energy!!❤️ Fun and cool!

    28. ONF Ugly Dance
    I really dislike the MV because I am unable to watch it 😂 (Flashing lights and cuts like that are too much for me). But the song….. 🎉🎉 I absolutely love the chorus!! It really HITS you!

    27. Ghost9 Seoul
    This is an example where the majestic chorus is so beautiful and so much to my taste that I’m willing to overlook everything else in the song 😂 Chorus, Bridge and Choreo are simply stunning and it’s probably my favourite Ghost9 song yet! 🙂

    26. Shinee Atlantis
    I love the chorus and rap in this. Also the MV is super fun and casual!✨

    25. Ciipher Blind
    This is definitely what I want from Ciipher again!! The party vibe and the cool instrumental just worm their way into your mind! The music reminds me a lot of a vocaloid song I used to love and there’s something fresh yet old about the vibe!

    24. Ateez Dreamers
    As a Digimon song, I’m still not sold… but as a song 💯❤️ Yeosang’s lines in this are sooo good! And San and Jongho in the chorus are perfect! Perhaps my favourite Japanese song by a kpop group this year! ❤️

    23. Majors Dancing in the Starlit Night
    Yes, quite a surprise entry! 🤗 But I’ve loved this from the minute I watched it! Maybe it’s the Wind Club vibes, maybe it’s the old feel – I absolutely love it and the girls nailed it! ❤️

    22. Pink Fantasy Poison
    Definitely one of the best creepy rock style songs this year! Th vocals and the instrumental hit hard and the theme and execution are sooo good!!

    21. E’last Dark Dream
    A real grower. The symphony style and the dramatic vibe are exactly the kind I like! The performance is really nice too! It’s a subdued theatrical vibe and I think they pulled it off well! 🙂


    • Chiming in to say I listened to Dancing in the Starlit Night for the first time after reading your comment and I really like it! The old school feels work well, and the hook is very catchy. I’ve never heard of Majors until now, but I’m glad I listened to this one.


      • Ah glad this helped you find them! 😄 They debuted just this year and have not promoted too extensively but this song really caught my attention too! 😀 Their debut Spit it Out is also catchy in a different way 🙂


  3. I am gonna try my best to make predictions for which songs will be in the top twenty!

    1. Aespa – Next Level
    2. BDC – Moon Rider
    3. Brave Girls – After We Ride
    4. Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ra Bam
    5. BTS – Butter
    6. Golden Child – Breathe
    7. Golden Child – Burn It
    8. Jessi – What Type Of X
    9. Key – Bad Love
    10. Mirae – Killa
    11. Monsta X – Gambler
    12. ONEUS – Life Is Beautiful
    13. ONF – Beautiful Beautiful
    14. ONF – Popping
    15. OnlyOneOf – libidO
    16. SHINee – Atlantis
    17. TXT – 0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) (ft. Seori)
    18. UP10TION – Spin Off
    19. Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde

    Pink Fantasy’s Poison, BDC’s Moonlight and CIX’s Cinema…are bonuses I guess. One of them will enter the list I feel.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Completely forgot abt What Type of X. I feel like Cinema will definitely place top 20 tho. Have a weird feeling Butter may have fallen a lot but we’ll see…WAIT NEXT LEVEL IS STILL IN. Yea idk anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Killa top 20 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾. The propechy is THIS CLOSE to being fulfilled. As far as my list… literally working on it rn. Still have a 100 songs shortlisted so not very close to finishing it :/.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lot more deviation that yesterday – other than Luna, Up All Night, and Crush (which were all lower on the list), none of these were in the running for me, although I like Trigger, Ra Pam Pam, and Scientist (although I like the remix better). I need to give a couple of these re-listens. 21-30 for me, unranked, are:

    THE BOYZ “Drink It”: Surprise, surprise, the Universe app delivers a banger!

    GHOST0 “W.ALL: I’m the WAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! I forgot this qualified for this year. Maybe my favorite GHOST9 EP?

    HOSHI “Spider”: My spouse’s favorite k-pop song of the year, this is a great MV to show non-fans. The choreography is so stunning it’s easy to forget what a great song it is, too.

    KEY “Hate that… (feat. TAEYEON): I don’t know why this one ranks higher than “Bad Love” but that’s bias for you. I’ve got a soft spot for duets, maybe?

    MCND “Not Over”: I distinctly remember this being the only track on this EP that I didn’t playlist, but I gave it a second listen when they started promoting it and it grew on me big time. MCND are just the definition of fun and I love that they’re popular here. “Underrated” is way too overused by fans but I remain baffled that MCND aren’t more popular than they are.

    Min Kyung Hoon & Kim Hee Chul “Hanryang (feat. BIBI): I tried to stick to Nick’s qualification rules but there were a handful of releases that seem like they could have qualified but weren’t covered here. This was a YouTube recommendation after getting into ATEEZ, who appear in the video but not the track. I love hip-hop, BIBI, and traditional elements, and this has all three.

    Rocket Punch “Ring Ring”: Not my usual style but dang if Rocket Punch doesn’t deliver every time.

    SHINee “Don’t Call Me”: Not at all what I (or anyone, it seems) expected, this grew on me with multiple listening, and “Sick of all your trash” might be the line of the year.

    SUNMI “Tail”: I don’t know what it is about this song, but it got under my skin and never left.

    WOODZ “FEEL LIKE”: I love the old-fashioned, twangy, rock & roll feel of this. WOODZ really delivered this year.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Min Kyung Hoon & Kim Hee Chul “Hanryang (feat. BIBI), yes!
      I loved watching this one. Then I downloaded it, and never really listened to it.

      The MV is quite entertaining. It seems to me like they rented one of those sageuk purpose-built sets with complete access to the costume closet, and had a grand day of it.


      Liked by 3 people

  6. In the 20-30 range, I have in some order:

    Victon – Unpredictable
    Ateez – Take Me Home
    Dreamcatcher – Whistle
    The Boyz – Prism
    The Boyz – Breaking Down, sorry Dawn
    CIX – Cinema
    NCT127 – Breakfast
    WayV (Ten + someone) – Low Low
    Yuqi – Bonnie & Clyde
    P1Harmony – Scared
    Eunhyuk – be

    Yes, that is actually 11 on my list, but whatev.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmm, is Everglow – Promise ineligible? Interesting.

    Anyway, Luna and Ra Pam Pam next to each other!! They’re my two favorite songs of the year, so good to see them up high.
    Next Level in the top 20, whoa!


    • Actually, I went through my list and finally isolated what I believe the top 20 is.
      Can’t wait for the bloodbath!!!
      Beautiful Beautiful – ONF
      Atlantis – SHINee
      Bad Love – Key
      libidO – OnlyOneOf
      Burn It – Golden Child
      Chi Mat Ba Ram – Brave Girls
      Butter – BTS
      Breathe – Golden Child
      Killa – Mirae
      I Know I Love You – TXT
      Gambler – Monsta X
      After We Ride – Brave Girls
      Popping – ONF
      Bonnie and Clyde – Yuqi
      Moon Rider – BDC
      What Type of X – Jessi
      Next Level – aespa
      Spin Off – UP10TION
      Promise – Everglow
      Life is Beautiful – ONEUS


  8. I never connected with Young Blood.

    30. ONEUS – Luna
    Synthwave and traditional Korean instruments are not things you might think of to go well together, but that is exactly why Luna succeeds. It is somehow powerful yet delicate at the same time.

    29. ENHYPEN – Tamed-Dashed
    While this fell for many, it only grew for me. Mushy vocal effects don’t annoy me anymore, maybe. Either way, this is a blast of summery pop-rock who showed up a little late.

    28. Stray Kids – Thunderous
    This should not be this high up. I was very surprised at myself for liking this so much. Maybe it’s the choreo. Maybe it’s the laugh, Honestly, I don’t know why I love this so much.

    27. P1Harmony – Scared
    One of my favorite things in a song is its groove, and the one on Scared is absolutely addictive. While they definitely need a lot more material to put out, what they do put out has been very good.

    26. BLITZERS – Will Make A Mistake
    What this generation of K-pop definitely seems to be missing, is that in their attempts to look cool, they have completely forgotten to have actual fun. Along with having a rock-edged hip-hop musical identity, the song actually feels like they’re having fun, even while they shout onomatopoeia while trying to be edgy.

    25. TXT – 0X1=LOVESONG
    Rock and TXT are unlikely matches made in heaven, and IKILY was this match’s incredible debut. It has only grown over time.

    24. MCND – Crush
    As I’ve made clear, funky hip-hop isan easy chink in my musical tastes. Add that to MCND’s energy and that climax, and there’s no reason this should not be this high.

    23. Wonho – Lose
    Guitar, strings, and a slinky bassline, coupled with an incredible chorus and a magnetic performer, is the recipe for success, such a great song.

    22. ONEUS – Life Is Beautiful
    This is the perfect example of how an incredible melody can boost a “good” instrumental to some heights. Summer is easily the best musical season.

    21. TXT – Frost
    When TXT did Puma last year, I acted like it did not exist. I still do. But when TXT went emo again with Frost, there’s not really much I can do to resist its rugged charms. Especially when you have such great performers.
    It’s so great when literally every single an act has released makes the list, along with an incredible album.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Chapter 3

    After JYPapi announced the rankings for the 30-21 songs, Minold steps out of the class. She’s neomu worried that her songs with Brave Girls won’t get on the top 10. She goes up to Minjop, a member of MCNDick, who ranked to 21 despite their song “Crush” having only an 8/10, for advice.

    “Um, Minjop, how do I get a higher rank then you guys?” asked Minold.

    “I dunno, said Minjop. “Try to bribe Nick-nim or something or do good for him.”

    “Alright then,” said Minold. “I’ll try that. Kamsahamnida for the advice.”

    She leaves.

    Meanwhile, Principal Nick oppar is jopping on his chair when Minold bursts right into the office.

    “Jesus Christ Minold-ah,” said Nick oppar. “Why did you break into my office?”

    “I’m trying to get a higher ranking in the year-end awards,” said Minold. “Anyway I can do that?”

    “Minold, the rankings are already being decided by me,” said Nick oppar. “It’s not gonna be easy for me to change them.”

    “I’m sure we can manage,” said Minold. She leaves the office. Nick oppar, weirded out, continues jopping on the chair. Yes Nick has now become a jopper ok chingoos? He’s already stanning the flop group Golden Child so leave that precious bby alone ok?


    The dismissal bell rings and everyone heads out of the school. Yuto oppar and One Hoe oppar are walking home together.

    “So, uh, why did you kiss me the other day?” said Yuto oppar.

    “Cuz, uh, I dunno bro,” One Hoe oppar said bashfully.

    “Well, at least my song Ugly Dance got into the 30-21 position,” said Yuto oppar. “I’m not sure if the rest will rank though.”

    “Bro,” One Hoe oppar said. “If a song hasn’t ranked yet, that means it’s much higher in the list.”

    “Alright then,” said Yuto oppar. “If you say so. Except truth is, no matter what I do, my image has been established. And clearly WM Entertainment is looking down on me, like giving me less lines than my hyungs. Maybe it’s just wrong for wanting my group to get recognized or at least a daesang. Maybe they’ve realized how desperate I am, which is why Nick-nim is the only one that really recognizes me. Maybe it’s turned people off.”

    One Hoe oppar looks at Yuto oppar for a few moment.

    “Yuto-ssi,” asked One Hoe oppar. “Is it so shameful to be placed in the 20-1 section?”

    “Mwo?” said Yuto oppar turning to One Hoe oppar. Cue the piano music.

    “Wouldn’t the 20-1 range be good for nollaeun songs that you and I release?” asked One Hoe.

    “One Hoe-ssi,” says Yuto oppar under his breath.

    “Even if we’re to place in the top 10, would that be okay,” One Hoe oppar continued to ask. “Aniyo, right bro?”

    *cue an explanation as to why he thinks this way*

    “We don’t need to become number hana in a year-end countdown,” said One Hoe oppar. “We can be number hana at being their stepping stones. Do the best you can at your sound, your concept, and Nick-nim will sarang it.”

    “One Hoe-ssi,” Yuto oppar prepared to ask a question. “Were you like this as a kid?”

    “Not really bro, I was the same as you years back,” answered One Hoe oppar. “I always thought, as a kid, that if I worked hard… if I worked hard… I could place in the top 10…”

    One Hoe oppar starts to cry. Tears start to run down his face and fall to the ground.

    “One Hoe-ssi,” said Yuto oppar.

    “Mwo? That’s odd,” said One Hoe oppar. “I gave up on that a long time ago. Why… is this happening now?”

    One Hoe oppar covers his face to dry his tears, but still continues to sob.

    “Mianhae!!!” One Hoe oppar kisses Yuto oppar in the lips and runs away to a nearby tunnel, where he disappears in the darkness. Yuto oppar turns to walk away from him.

    In the tunnel, One Hoe continues to walk but is stopped by some random force. A strange figure appears behind him. One Hoe turns around and is shocked; it’s Mork Lee!

    “Um, hey Mork,” said One Hoe oppar, terrified. “It’s, uh, nice to meet you!”

    “Neoneun imi jug-eossda!!!” shouted Mork Lee.

    “Mwo!?” shouted One Hoe.

    Mork Lee attacks One Hoe, causing him to scream. Yuto turns around, shocked and runs back to him, knowing he’s in danger.

    To be continued…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think Scientist and Luna might be in my top 10 (but I still haven’t made it yet haha)…we’re getting close to your top 20 and the predictions have already been settled in the comments :)) excited to see the order!

    Besides this one, which is kind of like the main event, I’m also pretty excited (maybe even more excited) for your other countdowns! Not that I don’t care about this countdown, but I think we all have a pretty good idea of what is going to be in the top unlike, for example, the MV and choreography ones, where it’s the only time we hear your opinions about them.


  11. 30. ITZY: Loco
    Ateez: Deja Vu
    Dreamcatcher: Odd Eye
    Seventeen; Ready to Love
    Shinee: Atlantis
    Twice: Scientist
    StayC: Stereotype
    NCT 127: Sticker
    Billlie: Ring X Ring
    21. Golden Child: Ra Pam Pam

    the pain of having to put these in order and choose one over the other is just too much criii


  12. Wait….is Dreamnote’s “Ghost” not going to be on this list? It’s my favorite song of the year ❤

    Hoping it will be in the top 20 but I'm worried haha


  13. I Got U!!!! Yes the song follows the 2010s EDM structure now that explains why the song has such a high replay value. I’m also happy to see Crush high in the ranks here!!


  14. This list is crammed with such good music, I can’t wait to see what the top twenty would hold!
    As for my list:
    TXT’s Frost: This song is so damn good! I can rave everyday about Frost’s hyperpop beat but the rest of the song is no slouch either. That Icy, devilish melody and the guys raw performance…my gosh, this song gave me a new perspective of TXT. Would be a bit lower, somewhere on high 30’s.

    ONF’s Ugly Dance: Most definitely in my top twenty. The unrivaled majesty of this song still remains unrivaled. It’s arranged to perfection, performed to perfection and produced to perfection. I do agree that it isn’t the best song out of all the ONF singles released this, but that is pretty relative.

    VERIVERY’s Trigger: I’ve fallen out of love with VERIVERY’s music for quite some time now…but this (coupled with the excellent mini-album) has made me interested in VERIVERY’s music once again. It’s very VIXX-esque too, and that’s what makes me love it! I think it’ll probably land a bit higher on my list.

    ONEUS Luna: A culmination of the high-concept mastery ONEUS has been blitzing this year. Everything about Luna is incredible, from the beautiful verses to the dynamic chorus. They even managed to make a second-verse breakdown work so well! This one will have a locked spot on my Top Fifteen.

    Golden Child’s Ra Pam Pam: Of course, this would place much lower on my list…but the thing was, I didn’t even expect it to enter my list at all. Golden Child really bring the intensity, their performance elevates every segment! Especially that charismatic bridge and militant chorus.

    DRIPPIN’s Young Blood: Though I am still upset that “Reach Out Your Hands” didn’t get chosen as a title, Young Blood has proven to be a massive grower over the months. It’s insistent groove coupled with DRIPPIN’s fantastic vocal performance surely makes this get a spot on my list. I am thinking….low 20’s.

    Twice’s Scientist: I still find this a bit too saccharine, and that chorus is kind of boring. But Twice have matured as artists, and their performance here is fantastic. It elevates the entire package here, most especially during the excellent climax. This would most likely land on low 30’s.

    Lucy’s I Got U: Yes, the mini-album has better songs but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an absolute masterpiece. Lucy’s arrangements have always been awesome and I Got U really proves that. Those chorused, heavenly vocals pull us onto the chorus before yanking the rug away to unveil a cathartic EDM Drop. high 20’s for sure.

    GHOST9’s Up All Night: This is not very characteristic of GHOST9 but it’s still very, very good. GHOST9 have incredible vocalists and that talent has never been more apparent. That chorus is a knock-out, slamming the listeners with a breezy melody and buoyant instrumental. I have other GHOST9 songs which I prefer (UNO, Think Of Dawn, Seoul) but this is incredible! Low 20’s.

    MCND’s Crush: Would most likely land on my honorable mentions, It’s a very good song performed with panache and energy. But I wish the track offered more melodic bite or a stunning edge. MCND’s energy is infectious for sure, but I still think this could be done better.



  15. Pingback: The Top 50 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (Day Four: 20-11) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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