The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (30 – 21)

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.

For your viewing pleasure:

Honourable mentions // 100-91 // 90 – 81 // 80 – 71 // 70 – 61 // 60 – 51 // 50 – 41 // 40 – 31 //

30. Loona – Voice (Star)

The Loona single that I was begging for since their debut, Voice (or as they call the English version, Star ) lends a much needed magical touch to the groups discography. It’s more moody synth pop driven instrumental is gorgeous and is complemented perfectly by the more lighthearted chorus at its centre. Thank god it was given a music video alongside the much weaker Why Not?.

29. WJSN – Butterfly (review)

Teaming up with production team Galactika for a stunner of a single, WJSN continued to evolve their fantastical sound with the propulsive Butterfly. It’s one of their more straightforward dance pop singles, elevated by some propulsive production and soaring anthmeic chorus which just explodes with energy.

28. Astro – Knock (review)

Now this is going to surprise alot of people.

Despite a rather lukewarm initial response, Knock has slowly gone onto become one of my favourite Astro singles. And while its production is mainly 2020 kpop by the numbers, its melody and lockstep chorus has slowly gotten under my skin. I’ve always loved these more melancholic dance pop songs and Knock is almost everything I want when it comes to these kinds of tracks. Combine that with one of the years most exhilarating climaxes and you have a 2020 highlight.

27. Lucy – Snooze 

A truly gorgeous single from up and coming band Lucy, Snooze makes perfect use of the bands more unique configuration. The melody here is just stunning, sweeping you up from under your feet whilst still maintaining a more laidback vibe that is relaxing without ever becoming boring. Much of this is thanks to the brilliant interplay between the instrumental and the vocalists. They play off each in perfect tandem, lending Snooze a real sense of fluidity. But it’s the truly transcendent violin solo that transforms the track into a real musical moment.

26. Lee Daehwi (AB6IX) – Rose, Scent, Kiss (review)

A driving blast of groovy dance pop from AB6IX’s Lee Daehwi, Rose Scent Kiss remains one of the years early highlights and the first of many excellent solo tracks that we saw throughout 2020. The combination of crunchy electric guitar and pounding percussive arrangement lend the track with a notable sense of both grit and suave, which Daehwi plays off expertly to create a track that feels both provocative and sexual.

25. N.Flying – Flower Fantasy

One of the strongest displays of vocal ability we saw all year, the emotive rock bombast of N.Flying’s Flower Fantasy proved that N.Flying were more than the goofy boys from tracks like Oh Really and Hot Potato. It’s a track that subverts expectations, pulling back the instrumental to near silence during the chorus whilst acting as the driving force of much of the verses and post chorus hook. But the real star of the show is the sheer strength of the tracks melody, which remains one of the most emotionally resonant of the year.

24. SF9 – Summer Breeze (review

The crown jewel of SF9’s breakout year, Summer Breeze combines a gritty instrumental, some glorious whistle samples and an absolute immense edm backdrop to create a stunner of a single. It’s the groups strongest musical moment since 2018’s Now or Never, fuelling the members innate charisma into a tight and effortlessly cool package. It is the male equivalent of Weki Meki’s Cool, acting as the perfect bridge between the daring kpop of old and the refined sounds of today.

23. ONEUS – To Be Or Not To Be (review)

Oneus continued to live upto their more obscure conceptual choices in 2020 and no other song represented that better than the brilliant To Be Or Not To Be. Taking the common broken relationship trope and melding it with themes of existentialism and mental instability found within Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the tracks thematic elements merge perfectly with the fractured and ever-changing nature of the single. Its two part chorus remains one of the years most flawless, utilising vocoder to incredible effect.

22. J.Y. Park & Sunmi – When We Disco (review)

When We Disco is full on 80’s patische and I honestly couldn’t be happier. Throughout much of the first half of the year, it seemed as though many had forgotten just how great a dumb, fun track could be and that’s exactly why the timing of something like When We Disco was perfect. In my mind it helped reignite the now ubiquitous retro trend within the kpop industry and given its set of performers and instantly addictive melodic turns, it’s hard not to see why.

21. The Midnight Romance – Nightmare (review)

While The Midnight Romance might have struck gold with their self titled debut single, the group really uncovered a diamond with the brilliant Nightmare. Released at exactly the perfect time, Nightmare embraced the ghoul like theatricality that Halloween pretty much demands. But underneath the more over the top elements is near perfect melody that soars with the kind of emotional pathos that very few tracks can really match. It further helped cement frontman Minue as one of my favourite vocalists in the industry.


6 thoughts on “The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2020 (30 – 21)

    1. If I were to look at it objectively, I would definitely place Bon Voyage over Knock. But I’ve just found that I came back to Knock much more than I ever thought I would and despite leaving a great initial response on me, Bon Voyage wasn’t a track I came back to much since its release. But I still adore them both!


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