With another year in K-pop coming to a close, the editorial team at KultScene looked back on , a year filled with amazing music, to decide the absolute best in our humble opinions, of course. There was not a down nor dull moment in ; we saw long awaited comebacks, development in solo careers, and experimentation with new genres from various artists. We also had a couple of heartbreaks due to military enlistments, upcoming disbandments, and, of course, the absence of Jonghyun. After voting on a pool of about tracks, here are the best K-pop songs of the year numbered 50 to It is bouncy and light on top, but driven by a deep bass and hip-hop beat right underneath. Easy, breezy, lemon-squeezy.
In , Korean artists pushed the boundaries of what K-pop can do on the world stage. BTS led the charge, sweeping awards, chart victories and records at a constant rate. Outside of record-breaking victories, was full of boundary-pushing releases from across the board. While K-pop has always been sonically amorphous, we saw plenty of Korean acts expand their sound while achieving commercial success. This top 20 list is a compilation of the greatest K-pop songs from a year marked by loss, new beginnings and stratospheric accomplishments. The year may have been their namesake year, but was also undeniably good to Seventeen. This bit-sized odyssey puts the pedal to the medal on the chorus before stomping the brakes at the bridge.
20. iKON, “KILLING ME”
Compiling the definitive best of a given year is no easy feat —especially for the KultScene editorial team. And yet here we are. As said in our part one of the top songs of , we looked back on another year in K-pop and came up with a list of what we think excelled above the rest. This year, girl groups exceeded expectations concept and genre-wise, securing spots a the top.
In a world of likes, views, retweets, and comments, the numbers game has become a bloodsport — a trawl through stan Twitter will reveal a daily avalanche of posts demanding you watch, buy, or stream a song, and graphs tracking chart positions and streaming numbers. Incessant squabbling over matters like deleted YouTube views the platform continually removes bogus viewing numbers, but many stans believe that YouTube secretly has a vendetta against their faves and is hell-bent on sabotaging them sucks the fun from participating in fandom life. On the other, this laser focus on data is helping break K-pop in the west, giving the previously-skeptical little room to argue its increasing impact, and convincing the media and industry to take it seriously. As these acts drew fresh, curious eyes, also saw an uptick in music quality. Take the rap verse, for example, which April use like a hidden step, its rise and fall cadence tripping the listener out of the warm glow of nostalgia. The pre-chorus is adorned with clattering handclap effects and springy synths adorn the chorus, and behind the often feathery vocals lies a synthwave sound that borders on creepy. When IMFACT first started out, they were never able to settle on a clear identity, spending two years cycling through styles without really succeeding at any of them. While its chorus is reminiscent of 80s power pop, the relentless jitter of hi-hats and buzzsaw bass pushes it into the present, and the emotion-stirring ad-libs and light-handed production shift the song from light to dark and back without losing pace. Musically, it harks back to B.