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.
70. OH MY GIRL – My Doll
One of the most gorgeous tracks in a discography filled with such gems, My Doll is one of the strongest uses of vocoder in recent memory. This is a standout mid-tempo, utilising the groups very strong assortment of vocal tones and latching them onto a soft, percussion led instrumental and standout hook. It isn’t as strong of a single as it is a b-side but it’s just too beautiful to ignore.
69. ONEWE – Veronica
A track held together more with repeating instrumental riffs than extended melodic lines, Veronica feels like a culmination of what ONEWE had begun with last years party starting End of Spring. There’s a sense of clarity and openness that defines Veronica, correlating its presence to a sense of release. And as such, it’s a track that embraces the strength of its instrumental, letting it breathe as much as possible and giving full spotlight to the devious licks at play here.
68. TXT – Frost
A harsh, aggressive hip hop track with a monstrous beat that threatens to overpower it any moment, TXT’s foray into harder edged hip hop was a total triumph with the compelling Frost. The rough vocal effects and strained chorus though unpleasant sounding are a perfect fit for this track, lending Frost a sense of real character which helps differentiate it from many of its peers.
67. Key – Hate That.. (feat. Taeyeon)
Though I adore both of the performers featured in this track, I came into Hate That… with rather low expectations. That’s because these kinds of mid-tempo’s can go either way. And most of the time they end up being painfully boring. Thankfully, Hate That… is fantastic, making great use of both performers vocal tones and lending them to a gorgeous melody that is as memorable as it is emotive.
66. ITZY – Loco
After the disastrous Mafia In The Morning, JYP’s “Too Cool for School” group returned with the immensely catchy, festive and surprisingly melodic Loco. It pulls much more from the groups first four singles (all of which I loved) and though it doesn’t carve out its own unique identity, the carnivalesque chorus is just a fun time all around. This is what ITZY do best and the rock version they performed at the year end shows only furthered its off kilter charms.
65. IU – Lilac
Lilac is IU at her most upbeat, channelling modern retro and city pop inspired trends into an incredibly catchy yet nostalgic track that was an instant hit with both the charts and listeners alike. From the propulsive post chorus instrumental rush to IU’s more airy vocals, Lilac feels like the perfect track to blast while running through a field on spring.
64. Woodz – Waiting
‘Only Lovers Left’ is a near flawless mini album and though Chaser and Kiss of Fire are the tracks that everyone (including myself) are raving about on the daily, title track Waiting is no slouch either. This is a stunning guitar driven pop track with a sly melody and standout performance from Woodz, who imbues every moment of Waiting with the emotion or angst required to really make it pop.
63. Weeekly – After School (review)
A sleeper hit that’s quickly but quietly amassed more than 100 million YouTube and Spotify streams, After School put rookie group Weeekly in the public eye. And this time around, the success is actually well deserved because the track is anchored with a gorgeous melody that just brightens your mood. This is bright, feel good pop music that doesn’t rely heavily on aegyo or chanting but more on melody and classic song craft. And the results are just great.
62. Youngjae – Vibin
Of all the post Got7 comebacks, I least expected Youngjae to return with a bouncy, synthpop based summer style single. And boy does it work much better than I had ever expected. Vibin much like the previous entry in this list just a great time, anchored by an instantly catchy multi part chorus that just gets those serotonin levels up. Youngjae’s lighter, tone isn’t always for me but it works wonders within this context giving him probably my favourite post GOT7 Korean comeback out of all the members.
61. THE BOYZ – Drink It
A theatrical, commanding and honestly menacing performance piece that remains the peak of The Boyz commercial singles in 2021, Drink It hits like a tonne of bricks. The stomping verses and powerful vocal performances are already enough to draw the listener in towards the absolutely gargantuan chorus at the tracks core. It’s overwhelming experience, pummelling you down with an effective two parter which moves from ghoulish to militaristic with absolute ease.
More of this in your actual title tracks and less of getting “back in the game son” ok?