The 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!
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)