(Every song from here onwards is better than anything I’ve this year and that’s a fact)
50. Sunmi – Narcissism
A track that felt like a sonic sequel to 2020’s masterful pporappippam, Narcissism builds tension during its atmospheric verses to make that stunning chorus feel all the more impactful.
49. TWICE – Push and Pull (Jihyo, Sana, Dahyun)
My favourite sub-unit track from Twice’s great ‘Scientist’ album, Push and Pull rides its breezy verses with utmost confidence before that staggered pre-chorus and catchy as hell two part chorus pull you right back into the party.
48. MIRAE – We Are Future
MIRAE had a real thing going with their debut mini album and when taken with its excellent title track, We Are Future stands as a testament to how well the boys fit this particular sound. This is exactly how you glitchy electro pop and it’s honestly such a shame the boys haven’t revisited this sound. That climax is especially riveting.
47. TXT – Anti Romantic
Every comeback TXT always have a dreamy pop track to support the single and it’s almost always fantastic. Anti Romantic doesn’t come close to its predecessor, the masterful Ghosting but it’s cyclic structure and gorgeous melody are some of the strongest in TXT’s ever potent discography. There’s a reason why this was one of 2021’s most popular songs.
46. ONF – Secret Triangle (OFF Team)
One of the years most experimental yet successful tracks, Secret Triangle swerves when you expect it to sway, transforming otherwise jarring tempo shifts into a surprisingly gripping package that comes together to create one of the years most exciting finales
45. Golden Child – Bottom of The Ocean
Big, brash and incredibly cheesy, Bottom of The Ocean sees Golden Child channel their inner One Direction to create one of the years most vibrant pop tracks. But underneath all its cheese, there’s a real stadium conquering hit to be found and one that will lead to endless replays. It’s just bursting with so charm (and English lyrics that are *chefs kiss*).
44. TXT – No Rules
One of the hookiest tracks of the year, the bright, funk laced No Rules was the antithesis of its title track, filled to the brim with addictive refrains and an incredibly satisfying bass assisted production that becomes more and more addictive the longer it plays. An absolute jam.
43. Ghost9 – UNO
GHOST9 have proven themselves as masters of taking trends and sounds that I hate and turning them into incredibly satisfying tracks. Such is the case with UNO, a track that opens with standard boy group noise before segueing into a thrilling, incredibly hype pre-chorus and outstanding two part chorus.
42. Lucy – Wonder
Lucy going city pop wasn’t something I knew I needed until Wonder came along. It stands as my preferred deep cut off an immensely strong mini album, taking some of my favourite elements of the genre and combining them with a gorgeous melody that is comforting in the best way possible. That combination of brass and violin is just gorgeous.
41. SHINee – Heart Attack
SHINee took an otherwise standard dance pop template and elevated the shit out of it with the bouncy, funk laced Heart Attack. This is pure undiluted SHINee, imbuing every moment of this rhythm guitar and bass assisted dance floor romp into something truly euphoric. I adore layered vocals during choruses and few groups can match the sheer intensity of SHINee when they’re together.
40. Verivery – Heart Attack
Another great Heart Attack! What a coincidence!
Unlike SHINee’s track of the same name, Heart Attack is the experiment, ever-changing younger brother, succeeding thanks to its gripping electro pop production and ever-changing structure, something that goes out of the window during the tracks outstanding climax. This is Verivery at their strongest.
39. TWICE – Scandal
The song that should have lead the ‘Taste of Love’ promotions instead of the undercooked Alcohol Free, Scandal‘s invigorating house piano driven production is matched with an equally animated performance to create what should have been one of 2021’s summer soundtracks.
38. Woohyun – A Song For You (2021)
(The 2021 is important because Woohyun released a completely different song of the same name back in 2018)
A Song For You (2021) sees Woohyun the showman return to stage, coupled with a rousing, instantly addictive melody and unabashedly upbeat instrumental that can keeps the spirits high even in the darkest of times. The sound of crowds cheering and clapping in the background of the chorus is just genius and results in a track that’s just good freaking vibes all around.
37. The Boyz – Kingdom Come
I don’t understand how we get a track as kick ass and perfect to The Boyz concept in a show like Kingdom but get straddled with shit like Maverick for their actual comebacks. The strings? The soaring, incredibly epic chorus? The glass shattering high note at the climax? What’s there not to love about this?
36. Golden Child – Cool Cool
Another Golden Child highlight from one of the years strongest mini albums, the slick, incredibly catchy Cool Cool brought together a bouncy dance beat and explosive electronic post chorus to create one of the years most addictive tracks. This is basically everything Ddara wanted to be and more.
35. Red Velvet – Pose
Though Queendom proved to be a disappointment, the album housed some real gems. Chief amongst them was the f(x) esque Pose which echoed some real second gen energy that was as addictive as it was unique. This is the kind of musical experimentation that SM are known for and it’s great to see that some of it still there.
34. Sunmi – Call
Sunmi sounded right at home throughout the entirety of her ‘1/6’ and though it’s not one of her absolute best tracks, Call was where the album reached its absolute zenith. This is the kind of dark synth driven pop sound that I adore and one that Sunmi thrives in. That hypnotic chorus is pure magic.
33. TWICE – F.I.L.A (Fall in Love Again)
A track that would have felt right at home on Dua Lipa’s incredible ‘Future Nostalgia’, TWICE proved that they are the modern day queens of Korean disco with this absolute stunner. Every single element of F.I.L.A is tailor made to my tastes. From the icy synths to the bouncy rhythm guitar and the gorgeous hook, it’s just immaculate vibes all round.
32. ONEUS – Incomplete
Emotive is and always be one of my biggest weaknesses and Incomplete combines it with a mammoth hook that makes excellent use of Seoho’s incredible vocals. But just when you think this is nothing but a standard EDM track, that rapid fire second verse comes in to shatter all expectations. Peak ONEUS right here.
31. ASTRO – All Good
The ASTRO song that should have become a summer staple, All Good reignites the magic of their debut years with a breezy melody and incredibly buoyant melody that grows and grows until it explodes during the tracks great chorus. I adore every second of this bouncy pop bonanza and when the brass comes in during the second verse, I’ve ascended.
30. SEVENTEEN – Heaven’s Cloud
I honestly can’t point out exactly why but Heaven’s Cloud elicits a weird kind of nostalgia from me that few songs can. Its incredibly melodic backbone is filtered through a stuttering edm soundscape that though initially quite inoffensive, manages to fully wash over you by the time it reaches its expansive climax. It’s a rather quiet song but one that I’ve come back to many, many times.
29. Hyojin (ONF)- Before Today is Over
You know ONF had an incredible year when even their OST’s were excellent. Before Today is Over is a Hyojin solo track and harnesses the burgeoning retro trend better than many of the releases we’re seeing today, riffing of Take On Me in an expected yet utterly addictive manner to create a song that’s as great as an OST as it is a standalone single.
28. STAYC – So What
Over the course of its 3 tracks, ‘Staydom’ remains STAYC’s strongest collection of tracks yet, each targeting a specific genre and pulling the sound off with total ease. So What is easily the most addictive of the bunch, harnessing an addictive retro, video game esque soundscape that only got better the more times it came up on repeat.
27. fromis_9 – Airplane Mode
fromis_9 have always been conveyers of consistently great (let’s ignore FUN! shall we?) pop music that while instantly gripping, always have something up their sleeve. And Airplane Mode is yet another example of that. At first it seemingly feels like another solid girl group b-side but when the tempo picks up during the bridge, the track transcends into something special.
26. WOODZ – Kiss of Fire
Woodz the rocker is my favourite variant of Woodz’s sound yet and Kiss of Fire is an excellent example of why. From its incredibly atmospheric opening to its rousing chorus, Kiss of Fire sees Woodz at his absolute peak, supplying the necessary girt and suave required to really elevate material such as this. And while this is just incredible, he somehow managed to top this too.
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3 thoughts on “The Top 75 Best K-Pop B-sides of 2021 (50 – 26)”
Such a great collection of songs! These days, b-sides are the best place for K-Pop highlights.