30. MCND – Crush (review)
A boisterous exclamation mark of a track, Crush is the peak of MCND’s burgeoning hip hop sound, bringing together an instantly sticky beat with a freewheeling chorus that makes perfect usage of the groups harsher vocal tones. It didn’t have the most instant of impressions but its fun, playful production only became more and more addictive with time.
29. Monsta X – Gambler
With a pulsing bass heavy instrumental and a performance to die for, Gambler is the strongest Monsta X track in years, complete with iconic one liners, a fantastic drop and some killer adlibs during the tracks go for broke climax. It’s all at once aggressive yet slick, a feat the boys pull of with the ease.. This is Monsta X working at their peak and I’m here for it.
28. Park Ji Hoon – Gallery
A light, incredibly funky dance track, Park Ji Hoon one upped his past singles with the incredible Gallery. Pulsing with a real sense of groove and life, the track moves at a brisk pace, playing with some interesting dynamics before bursting into a stunning central hook which goes from playful to triumphant with utter ease.
27. BDC – Moonlight
The peak of BDC’s highly ambitious and excellent ‘Moon’ series, Moonlight is a majestic synth driven track that grows from nothing but a spacey synth and some percussion to an all out space opera during its chorus. And just when you think it couldn’t get better, the track unveils its trump card, a rousing electronic distortion which transitions the listener into the second verse. It’s an utterly majestic track that makes perfect use of contrasting tempo and tightly constructed vocal melodies to create a knockout package.
26. 2Z – Stupid
Taking the jubilant electric guitar and synth based sound of last years b-side 25, 2Z reinvigorated their sound with one of the years most buoyant singles. The blasts of brass and the consistent drive are excellent and with a performance as confident as the one here, it’s hard not to get caught up in the party.
25. AKMU – Hey, kid Close Your Eyes (with Lee Sun Hee)
An icy, haunting track from our favourite K-pop sibling duo, Hey, Close Your Eyes was one of the most unique tracks to come out of 2021’s synth wave boom. It took a darker, colder approach than most of its peers, resulting in a more solemn song that touches upon its subject matter perfectly whilst still offering a unique and utterly immersive listening experience.
24. BAE173 – Loving You
With the long awaited Bigbang comeback seeming constantly out of reach and the rest of YG entertainment not releasing anything really substantial enough to satiate my hunger for melodramatic boy group pop , I was heavily craving the classic YG sound through much of 2021. And so BAE173 heard my call, stepped up to the plate, and delivered an absolute gem in the emotive, guitar assisted Loved You. The best Bigbang hit that never was.
23. Wonho – Lose (review)
A track that grows more and more exciting the longer it goes on, Lose is a track that “loses” itself to the tracks own groove, pulsing forward on an indelible groove punctuated by Wonho’s reserved, breathy performance. It’s oddly hypnotic, luring you back after every listen. And that’s never a bad thing.
22. Aespa – Next Level
Though it’s a remake of a pre existing Fast and Furious score , Aespa’s version takes an already bonkers track and SMifies the hell out of it with a number of smooth RnB breakdowns and unexpected vocal explosions. It’s almost too much to take in during the first listen but that rubbery bass line and instantly iconic hook turn a potential disaster into one of 2021’s most iconic singles.
21. ONEUS – Black Mirror
After the rambunctious No Diggity, Black Mirror saw the boys venture into the realm of heavy funk pop, resulting in a track that brings out the absolute best in each of its performers with an instrumental and vocal arrangement that’s calibrated to perfection. But it’s those unexpected rhythmic breakdowns and gorgeous string work that really cement Black Mirror as an instant classic.