Korean artists made some of the most creative tracks this year. These are a few of our favorites. Skip navigation! Story from Music.
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For the visual elements, check out Emlyn's list of the best K-pop music videos! Did your faves make it? And if I missed your faves, I'd love to hear about them nicely! Cue the aww's. I know I'm not alone when I say that "Hip" is a masterpiece, and really shows off all of Mamamoo's strengths — in vocals, rap, confidence, and attitude. No one should be judged or looked down upon for what they wear — if you give women crap for "weird" fashion choices or not looking "perfect," reevaluate your life. Thus continues my tradition of choosing a non-title-track for BTS's entry.
The year was notably marked by a slew of rookie groups that came out swinging for their debuts, as well as female acts —new, up-and coming, and more established ones — constantly making waves in the scene with innovative concepts and music, and seemingly all the male acts went dark with their concepts, often with a deep house track. Whether that was topping the Billboard charts, performing at festivals, multiple world tours, or going on every other morning and late night TV show, K-pop was hard to overlook this year. As the decade came to a close, it unfortunately also took two K-pop greats: Sulli from f x and Goo Hara from KARA, highlighting the need to have conversations on online bullying, misogyny, and mental health and ultimately resolve the issues they raise. All of K-pop, past and present, is contained in Weki Meki. Who still makes songs that rhymes with their groups name and who so gleefully shouts the name of that group as arrogantly as they can. The sounds of birds chirping, of tea decanting from pot to cup, of the car door slamming, of heels hitting the pavement. Colde knows this too as he keeps his part quite laconic with only eleven lines, all reading like sedative poetry. Similarly, the song itself takes a number of familiar elements and crashes them together to make them fresh once more.
Every year, the South Korean music industry serves up a wide array of music that spreads its reach across the globe, experimenting with the limitations of popular music. The past 12 months, however, were transformative for reasons beyond the music: long-overdue conversations regarding the unjust structural and social issues became unavoidable. We went into the year disillusioned by idol culture and facing the grim realities of power dynamics in South Korea, and are coming out with increasingly loud cries to protect our idols , particularly women. With the world now truly entering what is largely being called the "Fourth Wave of K-pop", we are looking at an industry standing on the precipice of much-needed change: in terms of how it treats its stars, how they connect with fans, and how its existence is gradually becoming a normal part of global music culture. Taking this all into account, we put our heads together to determine what were the stand-out songs coming out of the Korean scene amid all of this. Focusing on singles, we named the top 25 songs of and shared our thoughts below. It turns out: yes, and resoundingly so. Everything marvelous about "Jopping" -- shouted vocals, airtight production, half-time choruses befitting pugilist highlight reels -- is rooted in how SuperM treat partying as a heroic act, as the most important of endeavors. Anchoring the single was Jvcki Wai, her Auto-Tuned crooning like caustic flecks of shrapnel. Their braggadocio was deserved.