The Top 100 K-Pop Songs of 2021 (40-31)

Welcome to Kbopped’s countdown of the Top 100 K-pop songs of 2021.

To Be eligible for this list, songs must:

  1. 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.
  2. English songs by Korean Artists are eligible though Japanese and/or Chinese songs are ineligible as they will show up in other lists
  3. 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.

Honourable Mentions

100 – 91

90 – 81

80 – 71

70 – 61

60 – 51

50 – 41

40. Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye (review)

After two (excellent) instrumental heavy singles from the girls, it was a pleasure to see Dreamcatcher return to the kind of massive vocal led chorus’ that characterised much of their early work. An eerie, dark, aggressive comeback from our favourite female rockers, Odd Eye saw the girls towards a harder edged sound with a pummelling chorus and some gorgeous spacey verses which transitioned perfectly into one of the most claustrophobic builds of their career.

39. Wonwoo X Mingyu (SEVENTEEN) – Bittersweet (feat. LeeHi)

Bittersweet was definitely not the song I was expecting from a unit consisting of Seventeen’s two rappers but the results speak for themselves. Bittersweet is a perfect Korean mid-tempo RnB track, creating an instantly ambient atmosphere that manages to feel both at once chill and sentimental. Both Wonwoo and Mingyu sing just as much as they rap and are the perfect companion for LeeHi’s gorgeous vocal led chorus.

38. VERIVERY – Trigger

After a series of underwhelming singles, Verivery stormed right back onto the scene with this glitchy, electro pop stomper. Trigger doesn’t know the word ‘reserved’, instead throwing all its cards at the listener to create an experience that threatens to overwhelm only to be reeled back in by a gargantuan yet surprisingly melodic chorus which remains one of the most dynamic moments in the groups discography.

37. PinkFantasy – Poison

With the heavy metal inspired Poison, nugu group Pink Fantasy managed to “out Dreamcatcher” the Kbopped favourites with one of the years most propulsive and instantly gripping singles. Complete with a healthy dose of metal screaming ,hair raising guitar solos and a pummelling chorus which cements Poison as an instant under the radar classic.

36. DRIPPIN – Young Blood (review)

Woolim’s youngest group stripped back the bombast for their first comeback with the slick, deep house inspired Young Blood. It may be a single overshadowed by the perfect pop song hidden within its accompanying album but the tracks youthful charm and simple, yet instantly catchy hook give Young Blood a healthy dose of longevity which it maintained right up till the end of the year.

35. UP10TION – Spin Off (review)

Take everything great about 2013 SHINee and stick it into the chorus. Then take everything wrong with post 2015 K-pop post chorus verses and stick into the second verse. There you go, you have successfully created UP10TION’s Spin Off. But apart from the messy second verse, Spin Off‘s stunning, propulsive chorus harnesses the kind of soaring energy that few tracks are able to muster, powered by a percolating electro pop backbone which just grabs you and refuses to let go.

34. JUST B- Damage (review)

In a year lacking strong debut efforts, JUST B came roaring onto the scene with the intense, electronica of Damage. And though I was initially sceptical, I was quickly won me over with the tracks B.A.P like delivery and massive instrumental that goes oh so incredibly hard. This is the perfect example of making a dark instrumental drop work and note to producers: if you want to debut with a darker and more edgy sound, this is precisely how you do it.

33. SEVENTEEN – Rock With You

A simple but incredibly effective pop-rock track, Rock With You is one of the most satisfying Seventeen singles in years. And while much of my enjoyment of the track comes from the fact that it sounds incredibly similar to Kid Laroi and Justin Beiber’s Stay, the boys bring the necessary personality to the chorus, which remains one of the years most catchy melodies.

32. GHOST9 – SEOUL (review)

Though its noisy verses might prove divisive, SEOUL comes alive with a chorus for the ages, cementing GHOST9 as a rookie group to look out for and one of the new generations most experimental and exciting prospects.

31. TXT – Magic (review)

As the second single off TXT’s great ‘The Chaos chapter: Freeze’, Magic paints the group in a more optimistic and bright light in comparison to the edgy rock of its title track. The melodic verses carrying a surprising amount of emotional weight, underlined by a crunch electro pop beat which just hits in all the right places. And when it all comes together for a corny, chant along climax, it’s hard to not have a massive smile on your face.


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