Welcome to Kbopped’s countdown of the Top 100 K-pop songs of 2021.
To Be eligible for this list, songs must:
- Must released between the 1st of January to 31st of December 2021 and have either a music video or highly stylised lyric and/or performance video.
- English songs by Korean Artists are eligible though Japanese and/or Chinese songs are ineligible as they will show up in other lists
- 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.
90. StayC – Stereotype (review)
Taking the chill, quirky pop sound that characterised their previous comeback, Stereotype took all of ASAP‘s strengths, cut the fat and gave us an incredibly catchy, inventive and endlessly enjoyable track. It isn’t my preferred style of pop but boy do the girls alongside producer Black Eyed Pilseung make it work.
89. N.Flying – Moonshot (review)
N.Flying returned to the rambunctious rock of their best work to deliver a highlight in the boisterous Moonshot. The track is home to an absolutely massive hook that makes great use of Hweseung’s incredibly potent vocals. It’s a great singalong and very solid pop rock track.
88. NCT 127 – Save (review)
Despite it not even being an actual single, on its release, Save was the strongest 127 had sounded since 2019. The bouncy house beat and industrial production act as an incredibly sticky through line for a track that thrives both as a performance piece and exciting dance track.
87. ONEUS – No Diggity (review)
A song that I liked much more than many of my peers on release didn’t age as gracefully as I had expected but still retained much of its initial boisterous charm No Digitty isn’t perfect but its explosive, throw it all in the kitchen sink approach is immensely charming.
86. Purple Kiss – Zombie
Incredibly fun and the complete antithesis to the moodier soundscape that characterised their pre-debut and debut, Zombie shone a completely new light on RBW’s newest girl group. It’s a track filled to the brim with instantly memorable hooks and at a moment when tracks usually falter, Zombie brings us one of the years strongest second verse transitions.
85. AB6IX – Stay Young (review)
AB6IX’s strongest single of the year was their first and most melodic. Stay Young is punctuated by an absolutely gorgeous pre-chorus which brings together a stunning ascending melodic line and delayed bursts of brass and percussion to create a near ethereal moment.
84. NCT U (Doyoung, Haechan) – Maniac
When the name Maniac pops up in a pop music context, there’s only one song which comes to my mind. And while this Maniac is a far cry from the synth pop banger I just referenced, its gorgeous melody and fantastic performance make it something of its own. It’s a track that evolves as it goes on, growing and evolving till its soaring finale.
83. Ravi – ANI (feat. Soyeon)
When you want to rip off a song, at least rip off an already fantastic track. ANI has many problems, from Ravi’s awful vocal processing to straightforward production, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you don’t like this song at all. But, I love Stay and considering that ANI is literally just a clone of that song, there was no way I would hate it. In fact, take away the vocal processing and I could honestly see this much higher on the list. It’s a surprisingly nostalgic sounding track, filled with heart, an instantly catchy melody and a standout rap verse from Soyeon. I’ve never been a fan of Ravi’s solo efforts before but I can’t help but love this.
82. IVE – Eleven
A late entry into the list, IVE surprisingly nearly managed to live up to expectations with the Rum Pum Pum Pum -esque Eleven. It’s a tightly constructed pop song, building itself up from a whimsical first verse to a fantastical chorus which immediately gives the girls a signature sound. A very solid and instantly memorable debut for the girls.
81. Dreamcatcher – BEcause
2020’s MVP’s had a quieter 2021 but that didn’t mean their quality didn’t remain top tier. BEcause is a more whimsical approach to the girls trademark dark rock sound, featuring some of the girls strongest verses yet. The chorus doesn’t quite match the greatness of its surroundings but as a complete package, it’s very strong.