The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (100 – 91)

It’s time to countdown my top 100 songs of 2020! 10 songs, everyday, for the next 10 days. The rules for the countdown are as follows:

  1. To be eligible for this list, the song must have been released between the 1st of January 2020 and 15th December 2020.
  2. Song must be paired with a full music video and be promoted to some extent. 
  3. Performance video’s (Gfriend’s Labyrinth and ONF’s New World) will unfortunately not be considered for the singles list and will make their appearance in the Top 100 B-sides of the year list.
  4. Songs must be by a Korean artist and be in either Korean or English (Japanese / Chinese singles will get their own seperate countdown)
  5. And finally, this is all just my opinion. There is much bias to be found and if you’re unhappy with any of the placements, just remember that this is not meant to be a purely objective list.

100. NCT Dream – Ridin’ (review)

Although the jerky, industrial production seemed more akin to 127 rather than Dream, the bombastic Ridin’ was yet another success for my favourite NCT unit. It’s a track that pulls from the SM of old, fusing dramatic production flourishes with some mighty vocal moments.

99. Soyou – ‘Gotta Go (review)

A festive, bouncy dance track that showcases the best of Soyou’s charisma, ‘Gotta Go wormed its way into my brain through the power of sheer repetition and its fantastic tropical and percussive groove. The flute(?) sample near the climax is especially enjoyable.

98. Woodz – Bump Bump

A refreshing blast of punk rock that really expanded Woodz’ artistic range, Bump Bump carried enough melodic and instrumental weight to easily make it one of the years most refreshing singles. Woodz has always been a magnetic performer but the G-dragon-esque performance he gives here is likely his strongest yet.

97. Secret Number – Got That Boom

Many groups embraced girl crush elements throughout 2020 but Secret Number did one better, harnessing an addictive brass sample with a grandiose climactic melodic shift to create a standout single. It melds both the old and new in effortless fashion.

96. Cravity – Cloud 9 (review)

While Cravity have been heading towards more harder edged material, songs like Cloud 9 are a great showcase for the groups more youthful charms. The bouncy dance beat and incredibly joyous hook are just fantastic and I believe it would be wise for Cravity to venture further down this route in the future.

95. Boyhood – Retro Love

K-pop has had a long history of sampling A-ha’s masterful Take on Me and just like its many predecessors, Retro Love is an absolute blast. It was one of the first songs that took advantage of the burgeoning retro trend this year and has pulled it off better than most thanks to that ear worm of a hook.

94. fromis_9 – Feel Good (Secret Code) (review)

After a near 15 month hiatus, fromis_9 returned in great fashion with the funky Feel Good (Secret Code). The rhythm guitar assisted verses are an easy highlight and that multi-part chorus is just the cherry on top.

93. IZ*ONE – Panorama (review)

One of the more recent songs on the countdown, Panorama easily outshone every other IZ*ONE single released this year. The pitch might be a little high but all qualms are forgotten when that show stopping chorus rears its head.

92. Ha Sungwoon – Forbidden Island

Moving from dark, atmospheric mid tempo to groovy, funk driven dance track , Forbidden Island was a masterclass in building atmosphere and song construction. Sungwoon imbue’s the track with an incredible amount of charisma but the production is the real star of the show here. A less predictable melody would have really shot this into the stratosphere but Forbidden Island is fantastic either way.

91. E’Last – Tears of Chaos (review)

Having carved an incredible niche for themselves, E’last continued their symphonic pop venture with the great Tears of Chaos. It’s a song that lives and breaths on the strength of its arrangement, balancing out the rather one note hook with some incredible rap verses and string assisted production. The erhu during the second verse is a wonderfully unique production choice that helps further Chaos’ unique appeal.


6 thoughts on “The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (100 – 91)

  1. Wow, love some of those tracks here. Funny how so many of them featured in Nick’s top 50!!!

    Quite a diverse list here, Forbidden Island, Tears of Chaos, and Retro Love are all gems…

    Looking forward to seeing how this list ends. Unlike most other lists, I have no guesses on which songs will top, and I am sure I will be surprised by some picks. For now, I guess that the top song will be Golden Child’s One, Dreamcatcher’s Scream, ACE’s Goblin, Sunmi’s Pporapipam (did I spell it wrong again?), or Ateez’s Answer.


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