While the world tours may have been put on hold this year, it hasn’t stopped the best and brightest K-Pop stars releasing some solid 2020 comebacks.
From big hitters BTS and BLACKPINK to newer groups like Weeekly and veterans such as BoA and Taemin, there has been something for everyone.
K-Pop fans have been lucky enough to enjoy plenty of content coming from the industry with online concerts allowing idols to connect with their followers all over the world.
As 2020 draws to a close we’re looking back at 20 of the strongest releases and ranking them from great to awesome.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!
20. Super Junior – 2YA2YAO
In January K-Pop legends Super Junior returned with the retro 2YA2YAO.
From the pun in the song title to the energetic, bouncy chorus, the SM Entertainment group’s ‘great showmanship’ clearly hasn’t dimmed over the years.
19. NCT Dream – Deja Vu
With member Mark returning after time away from NCT’s cutesiest unit there was a worry that he might have become a bit too mature for NCT Dream.
Deja Vu made it work by blending the group’s youthful fresh sound with a bit of an edge; the second half of that chorus is too catchy to be denied.
18. BLACKPINK – How You Like That
How You Like That is sparse; the main sound is an electronic twanging. However it allows Jennie, Jisoo, Rose and especially Lisa’s attitude to shine through.
‘Look at you, now look at me’ they taunt before demanding ‘Bring out your boss b***h!’ in a hyped finale. We like it a lot.
17. Stray Kids – God’s Menu
Littered with food references it sees the group compare themselves to all-powerful beings in the music world.
Felix’s low voice and Changbin’s bravado are used to great effect for this ferocious track. Add it to your running playlist.
16. Weeekly – Zig Zag
Newbies Weeekly got off to a strong start with Zig Zag. It’s playful, cute and more importantly for a rookie group, memorable. It might not be what you usually go for in the genre but you’ll catch yourself singing it in the shower, we bet. Keep an eye on these girls.
15. SuperM – Tiger Inside
With less noise, more vocals and an early-00s club vibe, Tiger Inside does something SuperM’s actual title track 100 didn’t – allow every member to shine. SM Entertainment’s crossover group both sound and look way more cohesive here.
14. cignature – Nun Nu Nan Na
Newbies cignature debuted in February with this cute-as-a-button lead single.
Fun to say and sing, Nun Nu Nan Na should be enjoyed for the simple, high energy, candy-coloured joy it is.
13. EVERGLOW – DUN DUN
Quite simply, DUN DUN is a hair-flipping, glowstick-waving riot with the best drop of the year.
‘I’ll dominate in a flash and leave you breathless’ Aisha spits out in her confident drawl. Mission accomplished!
12. Kai – 음 (Mmmh)
While he may be better known for his dancing than his singing, this chilled, seductive slow jam is suited to the EXO star’s voice. Kai doesn’t do too much and doesn’t need to. The ‘Mmm’ refrain does all the talking.
11. Dreamcatcher – Scream
Props to Dreamcatcher for staying firmly in their musical lane. This year they stood out with the fast, furious and dark Scream, a song no other group could pull off.
10. ITZY – Wannabe
‘I don’t wanna be somebody, just wanna be me’ say ITZY who came out swinging with this song.
No two parts of Wannabe are the same – other than the chorus – so it holds your attention throughout, and there’s a message of self-confidence delivered over a power chorus. It just rocks.
9. TWICE – Can’t Stop Me
Perhaps now more than ever people are longing for nostalgia, including in their music – the critical acclaim of Dua Lipa and Kylie Minogue’s latest albums are evidence of that. This could go some way to explaining why I Can’t Stop Me, a synth-pop rollercoaster ride back in time, sounds so bloomin’ good.
8. Irene & Seulgi – Monster
Sexy and slightly terrifying, Monster sounds as dangerous as the title suggests.
The crunchy, teeth-chattering baseline is a nice contrast with Irene and Seulgi’s sweet voices, and what is that mournful wail throughout? Spooky.
7. Taemin – Criminal
Taemin always delivers with his comebacks and this year he gave us the sultry dance single Criminal, elevated by his breathy vocals.
6. BoA – Better
K-Pop icon BoA delivered with a slice of sensual old school R’n’B telling her lover to step their game up.
This year saw her celebrate 20 years in the K-Pop industry and Better is a perfect way to mark it; it’s the sound that made her stand the test of time.
5. MAMAMOO – Dingga
Only MAMAMOO are cool enough to put the phrase ‘drink like a fish’ into a shimmering disco track about having a laugh with your mates. And who could resist Hwasa crooning ‘Do you wanna dance?’ right at you?
4. GOT7 – Breath
It’s the chorus that makes Breath great. The sound dropping out halfway is a clever production choice, while the whistling gets in your head and refuses to budge. Not that we want it to…
3. BTS – Black Swan
Launching their Map Of The Soul: 7 comeback with a sombre pre-release was a risk following the heights of Boy With Luv, but it paid off. The result is a stirring mix of strings and trap beats as the group reflect on what it means to be an artist.
2. GFRIEND – Apple
For some reason Apple passed a lot of people by when it was released in July, a hidden gem in the summer of BLACKPINK. Sweet and mysterious all at once, it hooks you right from the start with its 80s feel.
1. NCT 127 – Kick It
NCT 127 stood out in a year when the girls served up the bangers slightly more than the boys, proving yet again this group is indeed limitless and can mould themselves to any genre.
The martial arts concept, the head banging guitar riffs, the Bruce Lee shout out best yelled at the top of your voice – everything about Kick It was pure fun.
Baekhyun – Candy
Hwa Sa – Maria
(G)-IDLE – Oh My God
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Author: Sarah Deen