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.
80. B.I – Cosmos
A soulful, pop rock track that expertly skirted between fun, crunchy, guitar led verses and an ethereal, church choir backed chorus, Cosmos was managed to bring together two completely disparate styles together in a fun, engaging package. This a very light track designed to be a mood lifter. And in that regard, it absolutely succeeds.
79 . WEi- Bye Bye Bye (review)
Naming your comeback Bye Bye Bye is always going to warrant unwanted expectations from me considering just how much I adore the NSYNC classic of the same name but WEi’s summer bop acted as a surprisingly potent effort. It’s generic, bouncy pop music at its most distilled but there’s something so immensely charming about that two part chorus and the melody that just refuses to leave my head.
But it still has the unfortunate distinction of making reach for the superior Bye Bye Bye every time it comes on rotation.
78 . Youha – Abittipsy (review)
A brilliant synth wave inspired track with an absolutely killer beat, Abittipsy is a cool, evocative pop song with a stunning central melody and captivating performance. There’s just so much to love about this track and I’m reminded about them each time it comes on repeat. Unfortunately, I just didn’t return to this track as much throughout the year, hence why it isn’t even higher on the list.
77 . Young K – Guard You (review)
Emotive rock is always a soft spot of mine and Young K’s debut single Guard You was a track that went straight for kill. It’s another track that won’t win any awards for originality but its driving, emotive chorus sounds like its been ripped right out of a great anime OST. Conjuring a sense of nostalgia and sadness all in an extended collection of potent melodic punches. And of course, Young K performs the hell out of the track.
76 . NCT 127 – Favorite (Vampire)
My favourite NCT 127 song since 2019 took a shot right at my childhood nostalgia and came out victorious. Initially, Favorite is a track with many problems. The verses are all over the place, the looping, high-pitched contortion of the whistle sample during the verses gets on my nerves and the connecting tissue succumbs to many of NCT’s worst instincts. BUT. But. Then the pre-chorus hits. When you have a chorus this fantastic and your primary melodic sample is the whistle from personal favourite and eternal Bollywood classic, Are Re Are, I’m completely bewitched.
75 . Jessi – What Type Of X (review)
No song so far has managed to capture the essence of what makes Jessi such a presence in the industry better than the striking, aggressive guitar led stomp of What Type of X. Apart from an awful descending siren sample during the chorus, What Type of X is firing on all cylinders, attacking the listener with an incredibly inventive and unique rap rock hybrid that builds and builds till it just explodes during its jaw dropping finale.
74 . Everglow – Pirate
Everglow’s homage to early 2010’s EDM is probably one of those tracks that I remain incredibly mixed on. Not because I dislike any of it but because some of its parts are so exceptionally good that they overshadow some of the strong yet unspectacular moments in the track. The pre chorus / first part of the chorus are just phenomenal but are undercut by that lurching bridge and catchy but borderline grating “Pirate Yeah Yeah” chant. But when everything comes together for the finale, it’s basically perfect.
73 . Brave Girls – Pool Party (feat. E-Chan of DKB)
Brave Girls experienced the most unexpected of resurgences in 2021 and they made sure to capitalise on that success by ruling the summer. B-side turned single Pool Party is a excellent k-pop summer song, bringing the girls together with rapper E-Chan from DKB to create a roller ready blast of immensely satisfying pop.
72 . EPEX – Do 4 Me
Riffing the likes of INXS’s iconic Need You Tonight and Dua Lipa’s modern day masterpiece Break My Heart is a tall task for any group in my eyes. Especially when they debuted with a near universally panned piece of noise. But Do 4 Me surprised me, taking the best elements of its inspirations and distilling them into a wonderfully catchy, hooky, track which acted as a course correction for these now promising rookies.
71 . Keembo – Inside (review)
A dark, shimmering, Sweetune produced track that ticks almost all the boxes, Inside is the kind of pop track we don’t get often enough from girl groups these days. It’s a real slow burn, building its hooks and musical structure over the course of the tracks run time, growing more intense with each repetition of its bewitching chorus and gorgeous, wispy post-chorus.
80 – 71
9 thoughts on “The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (80-71)”
Are Re Are and Bye Bye Bye are both so classics. Not the best tracks by the respective singers, but all very good. It amazes me how so many generations of children, from the 40s to 2000s, grew up with Lata Mangeshkar, including me!