Remember to stay up to date with the world, listen to those facing atrocities and help spread awareness/donate where you’re able to.
It’s that time of the year when lots of publications choose the best Kpop songs of the year. Personally, I don’t listen to enough of new releases to actually make my own list. I plan on keeping up to date with Kpop next year to make my own, however, in the meantime I went through 4 articles from the following sites:
I’m going to listen to the songs and give my thoughts and I’ve put them into three categories. This post is going through the songs that were featured once, while the second post will be going through songs that showed up two or three times.
They are in release date order and all song title’s are linked to the YouTube MV~
IN ONE ARTICLE
(G)I-DLE – 화 (花火) (HWAA)
I really do love when (G)I-DLE mix stronger/sexier vocals and delivery with an interesting beat. And that is what happened with HWAA. Each member performs wonderfully and the harmonies are pretty. The video is also incredibly beautiful ♥
album: I Burn (11.01.21) || publication: Billboard
Cherry Bullet – Love So Sweet
I like the vocals, but they are a bit too soft in comparison to the music. It has a very repetitive beat throughout that was a bit annoying. I can see where they were going with the song and it is quite catchy, but I don’t know if I would put it in a best songs of 2021 list.
album: Cherry Rush (20.01.21) || publication: Time
Chung Ha – Bicycle
Chung Ha nail girls Krush effortlessly every time. And Bicycle is cool and delivered with such ease and power. The chorus is a little odd, but the beat and the greatness of the rest of the song makes up for it. The video is also stunning! I love a dance break!
album: QUERENCIA (15.02.21) || publication: nme
SUNMI – 꼬리 (TAIL)
We go from one female icon to another with Sunmi. However, I will admit that Tail isn’t a song I like that much. I think her vocals get lost and I don’t really like the style – apart from the chorus as that’s super catchy.
album: TAIL (23.02.21) || publication: The Ringer
WOODZ – FEEL LIKE
I think the opening could be stronger, but it definitely makes the chorus stand out when Woodz brings out the falsetto and accompanying guitar. There are moments when this song is incredible, but I find that the beat does overpower his vocals in sections.
album: SET (15.03.21) || publication: Time
SEVENTEEN’s Hoshi – Spider
This is such a good song. Hoshi’s vocal’s are strong and are complimented by the music that weaves itself around his voice. As this is his debut song, I’m incredibly excited to see what he comes out with in the future. He’s certainly one to watch ♥ The video is also incredibly beautiful.
album: First Solo Mixtape Spider (02.04.21) || publication: nme
Wendy – Like Water
Wendy has such a stunning voice and Like Water showcases it extremely well. It has a soft country feel in places that I enjoy and has some powerful belts.
album: Like Water (05.04.21) || publication: Billboard
NCT Dream – 맛 (Hot Sauce)
NCT is one of those groups that I don’t quite understand – all the members are talented but I barely like any of their songs…
Hot Sauce opens with chanting which I don’t like and not even great rapping and singing moments fix the awkward lyrics. I also hate the music video. Why is this here?
album: Hot Sauce (10.05.21) || publication: Billboard
fromis_9 – WE GO
We Go is a sweet, pre-summer song that is catchy and for the most part it ticks all the right boxes. However, I don’t quite understand why this song beat out Talk & Talk.
album: 9 Way Ticket (17.05.21) || publication: Billboard
Heize – 헤픈 우연 (Happen)
Heize’s vocals are strong and sweet over an 80’s style beat. The way her voice goes through different styles makes the song even more dynamic. The storytelling component to her music shines through and I will say that music video is so pretty and cool (also Song Joong Ki ♥).
album: HAPPEN (20.05.21) || publication: Billboard
Joy – 안녕 (Hello)
Erm… I don’t like this song. I love Red Velvet, so I was going into it thinking, “I will like this”. That was true with Wendy’s Like Water. I think nme tends to lean more towards alternative sounds and I think Hello falls into that category. It has a 90’s/00’s feel to it musically and vocally – and it’s this specific vocal style that I don’t really like.
album: Hello (31.05.21) || publication: nme
EPEX – Lock Down
For a debut track this is great! It mostly showcases the skills of the rappers, but we get some really beautiful vocal moments. And I did say in the NCT song that I hate chanting, but when it’s done in a cool “hip-hop” style it normally works well like in this instance. I look forward to what they bring out next.
album: 1: Prelude of Anxiety (Bipolar Pt. 1 불안의 서) (08.06.21) || publication: Billboard
SEVENTEEN – Ready to Love
This is the first of three Seventeen songs I will be talking about. Personally, I don’t really like Ready to Love. I think it sounds a bit generic, especially as most of the vocals don’t particularly stand out.
album: Your Choice (18.06.21) || publication: Billboard
SEVENTEEN – Anyone
Billboard chose Ready to Love when this B-side is right there?! Anyone has a cool beat which allows their vocals to shine through. Unlike Ready to Love, there is a clarity to their individual voices, but still shows how well their vocal’s compliment each other, despite having 13 members.
album: Your Choice (18.06.21) || publication: The Ringer
D.O. – Rose
I have been waiting for Kyungsoo to have a solo album since EXO debuted! He has such a fantastic and distinct voice. Rose is upbeat and cute in such a gentle and soft way. I adore that this song is so refreshing ♥ The mv is also adorable!
album: Empathy (26.07.21) || publication: nme
AKMU with Sam Kim – EVEREST
Opening a song with just Sam Kim vibing with is guitar is a beautiful way to open a song. His voice is so pretty and combining his voice with Suhyun’s makes for such a beautiful mix. This song is incredible, but I will say I would have preferred a didn’t ending.
album: Next Episode (26.07.21) || publication: The Ringer
AKMU with IU – NAKKA
NAKKA has elements of synth that are really cool and is something quite different to both IU and AKMU (though not so far left field with the latter who are quite experimental). I will say that this collaboration doesn’t feel as strong as the Sam Kim one. I know when IU is singing, but I don’t think she’s fully utilised.
album: Next Episode (26.07.21) || publication: Billboard
SUNMI – You can’t sit with us
This song is both cool and cute. Sunmi’s voice stands out, and the song is fun to bop along to. Who doesn’t love a song with the lyrics “you can’t sit with us oh, I hate you”? Living the mean girl fantasy 😂
album: 1/6 (06.08.21) || publication: nme
Stray Kids – 소리꾼 (Thunderous)
Stray Kids are just so cool! Thunderous is loud, intense, but also has some beautiful vocal moments. They’re a full package and Thunderous definitely deserves to be on a best songs of 2021 list. The mv is also as cool as the song!
album: NOEASY (23.08.21) || publication: Billboard
Sam Kim – Love Me Like That
I was surprised to see that an OST made it onto one of these lists, but I saw that it had become viral. Sam Kim deserves it thought, he has a beautiful voice and this ballad is really pretty. The song showcases his vocals with a simple acoustic accompaniment. It’s just a shame that it’s part of Nevertheless…
album: Nevertheless (OST) (28.08.21) || publication: nme
STAYC – 색안경 (STEREOTYPE)
I need to stop saying I will check this group out and actually just do it! Every song I listen to by STAYC I love and this is one of two of their songs on the nme list! Stereotype is a fun and cute song that adds some cooler aspects to make it rounder. The member’s all have great vocals and they definitely deserve the praise.
album: Stereotype (06.09.21) || publication: nme
Lee Hi ft. Yoon Mi Rae – 빨간 립스틱 (Red Lipstick)
Red Lipstick is a fun and playful song that fits Lee Hi’s rich voice so well. The fusion of 80’s and 90’s music makes for a good time. I also think that Yoon Mi Rae’s rap verses are well placed and, unsurprisingly, very well delivered! (I would also highly recommend the mv, mostly for the AOMG funny cameo moments – I love that she is being treated with such love by her labelmates. YG could never).
album: 4ONLY (09.09.21) || publication: nme
Lee Hi ft. B.I. – 구원자 (Saviour)
While, I do like Red Lipstick, The Ringer made a better choice in my opinion. Lee Hi’s soulful songs really are on another level. And can I mention this features Hanbin! ♥ Musically, these two go together perfectly. I would also highly recommend Daydream – the fact that none of these list’s have a B.I. song is suspicious (but Time do call his album one of the best of the year, so they get a point for that).
Saviour also has a really pretty mv~
album: 4ONLY (09.09.21) || publication: The Ringer
LISA – MONEY
Lisa is cool and shows off both her rapping and singing skills with Money. It’s good, but I wouldn’t say it should be on this list.
album: LALISA (10.09.21) || publication: Billboard
ATEEZ – Deja Vu
I would say that ATEEZ are one of my favourite 4th gen groups. They’re cool, versatile and very talented. Deja Vu is strong and well made. The chorus is incredible and the harmonies are great. I highly recommend this group as they only keep getting better and better.
album: Zero: Fever Part 3 (13.09.21) || publication: Billboard
NCT127 – Sticker
This song at least has potential. I hate the beginning, but the pre chorus and chorus are really good! I wish it had that style throughout.
album: Sticker (17.09.21) || publication: nme
WOODZ – WAITING
I prefer the vocals and some of the arrangement elements of WAITING over FEEL LIKE. However, I do think that some of the beats overshadow his vocals in place, but for the most part his voice is emotive and interesting.
album: ONLY LOVERS LEFT (05.10.21) || publication: Billboard
Chancellor ft. Gaeko – Midnight
Midnight has a cool and fun disco feel and I enjoy Chancellor’s voice – apart from when he goes really high. Gaeko was good, but I think his verse isn’t that memorable… I was watching the mv and Jun Jin’s (Shinhwa) cameo had more of an impact! 😅 I wouldn’t personally have this on an end of year list.
album: Chancellor (13.10.21) || publication: billboard
SEVENTEEN – Rock With You
Time for the last Seventeen song, and it’s good. I still prefer Anyone, but Rock With You has some great vocal moments, as well as very pretty harmonies throughout. It weaves from upbeat and soft really well and I like how it ends.
album: Attacca (22.10.21) || publication: Time
SOMI – DUMB DUMB
Personally, I haven’t enjoyed Somi’s solo work so far, but Dumb Dumb shows a lot of growth. Her voice is strong and the song has a lot of compelling moments and a mix of styles that worked really nicely with her voice. I think this is one of those songs that if I listened to it a lot, it would be a definite new fave.
album: XOXO (29.10.21) || publication: Billboard
TWICE – The Feels
First of all, I love that even though this is an English song, it is still quintessentially Twice! The song is upbeat, super fun and utilises the member’s vocals in the same way and I think that’s what makes this work so well. I’m not being forced to listen to a song that sounds generic and lacks what we love about listening to the group in the first place.
album: Formula of Love: O+T=<3 (12.11.21) || publication: nme
TWICE – SCIENTIST
I like how this has a different feel to Twice song’s, but I think that the music is what let’s this song down for me. And that sucks because they all sound great – I may feel differently if I were to listen to this a lot to get used to it.
album: Formula of Love: O+T=<3 (12.11.21) || publication: Billboard
Younha – Stardust (별의 조각)
Stardust is so effortlessly beautiful. Younha’s voice is incredible with the orchestral accompaniment adding a pretty layer. I can see why this ballad has made it onto one of these’s lists ♥
album: End Theory (16.11.21) || publication: Billboard
EVERGLOW – Pirate
While I think the start of the song is a bit much, it builds up and incorporates different styles to make a really good song. I can see why this would be on a best songs list, especially if you’re a big fan of the girl crush concept.
album: Return of the Girl (01.12.21) || publication: Time
BIBI – The Weekend
This is a collaboration between BIBI and the label 88rising (which is why I’m guessing it’s in English). BIBI’s voice has a sulky tone that works really well with the lyrics and vibe of the song as a whole. While it’s not something I would normally go out of my way to listen to, I can see why it would be included, especially on nme’s list.
album: The Weekend (06.12.21) || publication: nme
Are any of your favourite songs on this list? Are there any you think should be here?
Thanks for reading!
I hope that you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥