It took me an extra 2 hours to write this because I got too busy jamming to each song that came up and then rearranging my pre made list because these are all so damn good man .
25. Woosung – No Strings Attached
While not a cover of *Nsync’s excellent song of the same name, No Strings Attatched casts a gorgeous, emotive synthy atmosphere before exploding into a stunner of chorus that grows more and more exciting over the course of the track . This is Woosung at his absolute peak and as someone who adores his voice, this is a slam dunk success.
24. Golden Child – Spell
A glitchy, electronic wonderland that sees Golden Child tackle the kind of dramatic dance pop that so many of us have been hoping for, Spell is the definition of massive, layering the boys vocals for an electric central refrain that resounds like an army of thousands. The disparate verses feel like a beast struggling to escape whilst the chorus is the sound of it breaking free of its chains. This would have been a brilliant single.
23. Dreamcatcher – Whistle
As a semi sequel to last years fantastic Can’t Get You Out of My Mind, Whistle saw Dreamcatcher continue down the path of early 2010’s EDM to great success. Unlike many, I’m actually a huge fan of whistles in pop music and the sample used here is especially addicting. Take it alongside an invigorating instrumental and gorgeous chorus and you have another excellent EDM style track from one of K-pop’s most consistently exciting girl groups.
22. Brave Girls – Fever
Brave Girls’ Summer mini was one of the years most enjoyable projects, perfectly encapsulating the feeling of K-pop summer in the best while possible ways whilst still making room for a plethora of sounds. Fever was my absolute favourite deep cut off the record, recalling the glossy Madonna and Kylie Minogue-esque pop from the 90’s. There’s just something so addicting about that airy vocal and unassuming production that just works wonders.
21. Aespa – Yeppi Yeppi
Big, brash and immensely addicting, Yeppie Yeppie took everything great about ITZY’s first few singles and channeled it through an SM lense to create one of the years strongest and most gratifying girl group tracks. The verses are a constant volley of vocals and potentially jarring structural shifts that somehow all come together perfectly for the absolute head rush that is the tracks chorus. I would love to see Aespa tackle a single in the vein of this track in the future.
20. SEVENTEEN – To you
My absolute favourite deep cut off SEVENTEEN’s ‘Attacca’ (that’s still such a cool name man), To You harnessed the kind of mid tempo, driving synth sound that I absolutely love. And while it’s not original in the slightest, that surging chorus and the groups excellent collection of vocal tones are more than enough for me to come back to this song over and over again. This was on repeat for weeks after its release. Also climactic sax is always a plus.
19. STAYC – Love Fool
For a group that have established their brand as experts at a quirkier pop sound, it’s surprising that my favourite STAYC b-side and my second favourite STAYC song overall is the hazy, incredibly melodic Love Fool. It’s a track that plays it slow and simple, focusing solely on its evocative atmosphere and gorgeous chorus. It reminds me heavily of 2NE1’s slower works and that’s always a very good sign!
18. Dreamcatcher – Poison Love
Dreamcatcher and trance are a match made in heaven and just like its predecessors, Silent Night and Into The Frozen, Poison Love is a complete knockout. It’s dark, creeping soundscape fits perfectly into their concept and general sound but the percolating instrumental during the chorus is just enough of an engaging twist to make it feel fresh and unique. That climax is just magnificent (sounds even better on CD).
17. ONF – The Realist
The definition of using atmosphere to your advantage, The Realist manages to completely transport the listener to another plane of existence through its muted synth laden beat and filtered vocals. It’s all very Blade Runner / Tron in execution, playing out more like someone slowly losing their sanity, an image that truly comes to a head during the tracks explosive climax, which cuts through the silence with searing electric guitar and a disturbing wail. And just when you think it’s over, the track disintegrates into nothingness during its lucid final moments, giving us one hell of a listening experience.
16. WOODZ – Chaser
Whenever a song named Chaser comes around, It’s always met with sky expectations from my end. I mean it’s the name of probably my favourite K-pop song of all time after all! So when I say that Woodz’ Chaser is good, I mean it’s GOOOD. This is Woodz falling head first into his rock persona and delivering a killer performance on one of the years best anthems.
15. OMEGA X – Younger
A track that feels like the younger brother to BTS’ 2019 hit Mikrokosmos, Younger is one of the years best feel good songs, harnessing a pulsing percussion and light, synth laden instrumental that just hits you right in the feels, proving a dreamy yet nostalgic soundscape which opens right up for the soaring, melodic chorus at the tracks center. It’s the polar opposite of its title track and the all the more better for it. It’s such a shame the group haven’t revisited this sound since.
14. NCT 127 – Promise You
Best 127 song since Superhuman/ Highway To Heaven period. Like this is pure perfection. From the shimmering synths that characterise the opening verse to the majestic, airy pre-chorus and finally that incredibly melodic hook, Promise You is one highlight after another and one song that I honestly can’t come back to enough. It’s got such a widescreen approach and feels like the perfect soundtrack to a great coming of age movie. Something that I just adore.
13. KEY (SHINee) – Yellow Tape
Key’s ‘Bad Love’ was easily in my top five favourite mini albums of the year and most of that was because of just how incredible Yellow Tape was. This is cinematic synth pop at its best, pulsing forward on a chugging, instantly commanding synth beat and potent chorus that employs an incredibly catchy “breathe in, breathe out” sample to craft a true knockout in every sense of the word. But it’s Key’s captivating and powerful performance that really elevates Yellow Tape into a higher plane of existence.
12. Dreamcatcher – Wind Blows
Distortion is a double edge sword. It can either sink a track completely or elevate it to greater heights than ever thought. And the distortion in Dreamcatcher’s Wind Blows gives Dreamcatcher’s already potent discography another unique, stunner. The post chorus breakdown isn’t for everyone but that breathy pre-chorus into driving hook is what dreams are made of. This is Dreamcatcher mixing the best of both worlds to create what is arguably the most “Dreamcatcher” style song we’ve ever gotten.
11. BTOB – Finale (Show and Prove)
The best song to spawn from the underwhelming ‘KINGDOM: Legendary War’, BTOB’s Finale (Show and Prove) took everything great about the group and condensed it into four minutes of magnificent song craft. It’s very musical esque and for someone who adores over the top theatrics, Show and Prove stole my heart from the moment I heard that soaring chorus. From the dramatic string and guitar backdrop to the absolutely gorgeous ascending chorus, almost every moment of Finale is bound to give you chills. This is peak BTOB and I couldn’t be happier.