It’s time to countdown my top 50 singles of 2019! 10 songs, everyday, for the next 5 days. The rules for the countdown are as follows:
- Song must be released between 1st January 2019 and 31st of December 2019.
- Song must have an accompanying music video and be promoted as a single, regardless of whether another song on the album is also promoted (double title tracks)
- No Japanese (sorry Pentagon’s “Cosmo”) or Chinese (sorry WayV) singles eligible for the list
20. ATEEZ – Say My Name
The years biggest grower, Say My Name won me over eventually thanks to its militaristic chorus and apocalyptic instrumental. Though ATEEZ would go on to have superior singles later in the year, Say My Name’s final minute drop is one of the years most addicting, providing a healthy dose of vocoder over an exciting dubstep influenced instrumental.
19. KNK – SUNSET
Featuring the sexiest baseline of the year, KNK’s H&M ready Sunset proved an instant hit in my ears. From it’s hypnotic chorus to the aforementioned instrumental it pushed the group into new, unforeseen directions and proved an extremely exciting reinvention for the group.
18. NCT 127 – Superhuman
Taking Influence from their agency’s rich past, the SMP funk of Superhuman proved an excellent move for the ever changing NCT 127. It’s SHINee inspired verses are an absolute delight, but are only a taster for the larger than life vocal layering of the songs chorus. It’s edm breakdowns are all 2019 K-pop though.
17. ITZY – DALLA DALLA
One of the ballsiest and best debuts in recent years, ITZY burst out of the gate with what can only be considered a sonic sequel to Girl Generation’s equally frantic and experimental I Got A Boy. A throw everything in the kitchen sink approach that worked wonders, its verses are driven almost solely by each members potent charisma and that intoxicating baseline. Its sudden tempo shifts polarised as many they pleased, but even it’s most disjointed moments are held together by the absolutely massive chorus at its core.
16. TWICE – Fancy
It was the best of both worlds. Fancy marked the beginning of TWICE’s gradual shift into more mature territory, fusing addictive icy synths with a megawatt chorus to give Twice one of their best singles yet. It’s propulsive verses may have revealed a more mature side to group, but the bubbly chorus took everything great about their past hits and fused it into a hooky as hell multi part refrain.
15. GOT7 – You Calling My Name
Easily the best GOT7 single since 2015, You Calling My Name‘s dark funk and nimble vocal melodies were an absolute revelation. It’s a song that makes perfect use of empty space to create riveting builds and troughs that cause the song to feel as though its always building to something greater. Which it does. From the breathtaking staccato of its first chorus, to the funky rhythm guitar of its consequent ones, the song is in constant ascension. A full realisation of the potential I saw in JUS2’s Focus On Me, this song single-handedly re-ignited my interest in the group.
14. TRCNG – MISSING
One of the years most breathtaking tracks, the anthemic Missing is an ode to when groups were not afraid to go big. Its opening few seconds prove to be a red herring, as the song absolutely explodes into one of the best choruses of the year. It’s BIG, propulsive and unexpectedly powerful, conveying an unprecedented amount of emotion in its simple, but effective English post chorus hook.
13. A.C.E – Under Cover
I expect this song would be near the top of every other list out there. A.C.E destroyed expectations with their first 5 member comeback with the propulsive rock fuelled bombast of Under Cover. There were many groups and songs that went aggressive this year, but Under Cover was the undisputed king; fusing hip hop, rock, trap and an absolutely rocking chorus to create one of the years most instant singles. Even the groups follow up, Savage absolutely paled in comparison to this stomper of a single. If groups want to go hard, this is how you do it.
12. ATEEZ – WAVE
The title track of ATEEZ’s best album yet, Wave proved that ATEEZ could take any genre; even one as oversaturated as Tropical house, and create something absolutely amazing. It harnesses everything great about Trop. house and lays it over a joyful summer melody to create the perfect summer anthem. Nothing about the song is remotely original, especially within a discography as varied as ATEEZ’s, but sometimes all you need is the perfect execution and a great melody. Wave does both with absolute ease, with it’s climactic refrain being one of the years most euphoric and most vocally immense moments. In a K-pop summer that wasn’t all that exciting, Wave proved the perfect tonic for those long boring stretches and maintained it’s impact long past its intended season.
11. TXT – CROWN
Though many brushed it off on release, Crown was without a doubt my favourite debut of the year. Hailing from the same company as the mighty BTS, many feared that TXT would pursue sounds too similar to that of their brother group. Fortunately, Crown, with its delightfully unique synth pop soundscape proved that TXT were one in their own. It harnessed some of my absolute favourite aspects of pop music into one seamless and refreshing package. No debut this year felt so alive and pulsing with bright joyous energy, it honestly brought me back to ASTRO’s Hide & Seek; which I consider one of the best boy group debuts of all time. The best part about Crown however, is that although it’s reminiscent of so many other bright boy group tracks, the song includes unique production flourishes that give it a fantastical appeal. This does what I believe is the most important attribute to a debut; carve out the groups musical identity. Effortlessly performed, and streamlined to perfection, it was everything I wanted from the groups debut and more.