the top 15 k-pop songs of 2020

Bet you thought I was never coming back! I kid.

Despite everything that’s been going on in my life, from securing myself a new job and starting school again, I’ve been keeping on track with a lot of K-pop in 2020. In a year that is probably the weirdest, 2020 delivered on the K-pop track with various songs ranging from haunting to straight up wonky. It seems like there was no way coronavirus was gonna bring K-pop down. I’ve narrowed it down to fifteen songs to keep it small, but here is my list of songs from December 2019 to December 2020… and here’s a warning: don’t be surprised if it’s majorly girl groups. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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TWICE (트와이스) | Eyes wide open

Next up on the Korean artist spotlight series is TWICE’s most recent release: ‘Eyes wide open’, their second full-length album released just shy of Halloween.

I gotta admit, I was hoping that it would be another Halloween-related release, but this concept is just as fabulous for the fall season of TWICEtober. ‘Eyes wide open’ takes TWICE’s image even further with a fashionista concept, evoking the mature growth that TWICE has gone through in a span of 5 years (let’s not forget, they did debut at this time in 2015… how time flies).

TWICE’s eyes are wide open after a long journey in the K-pop industry, but will our eyes ‘open’ to the sounds of the album, or are they going to close because it’s unbearable? Read on…

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TWICE (트와이스) | TWICEcoaster : LANE 1

How about let’s do a Korean artist spotlight?! Since it’s Halloween coming soon, we have to have the queens of fun Halloween concepts (and queens of autumn releases, to be honest): TWICE!

I’ll be covering five of their albums: this one, THE STORY BEGINS, YES or YES, twicetagram, and their newest effort, Eyes wide open, as part of their ‘fall’ release line-up (as all of these releases have been released in October/early November, and I also covered Feel Special here). I wanted to start with TWICEcoaster : LANE 1 first because it is one I have been working on reviewing for YEARS, and it’s about time it came to its full stop (lol).

‘TWICEcoaster : LANE 1’ is the third effort from the nine-member JYP group and came on the heels of their success with their second mini. We then have to wonder, was this rollercoaster of a mini-album worth the trial or are we riding on the kiddie ride? Check out the review!

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시그니처 (cignature) | cignature 1st EP ALBUM ‘Listen and Speak’

Are you familiar with C9 GIRLZ? If you aren’t, that’s okay! Consisting of former members of GOOD DAY, as well as containing members who were previously on the reality competition show The Unit, C9 GIRLZ became a hot topic. Eventually, they would go on to debut under the improperly-spelt cignature with fun track ‘Nun Nu Nan Na’.

They return with their very first mini-album titled ‘Listen and Speak’, tackling a sound that may be confusing upon first listen. This begs the question: is this ‘ARISONG’ a bad song because of its ‘arisonghae’ cig-nature or does it make it unique and fun? Read on!

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EVERGLOW (에버글로우) | -77.82X-78.29

EVERGLOW has returned!

Popular with international fans, EVERGLOW comes back with their second mini-album and their second release of 2020. The girls return to the girl-crush concept, but here, it looks like they’re taking on a very futuristic, very ‘drive-in-the-night’ concept. They’re slaying the hardcore game with the darker visuals and the wicked latex outfits. That being said, is this release’s coordinates going to send us into the future with edge or are we going to be transported to boredom? Let’s visit their new mini!

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IZ*ONE (아이즈원) | BLOOM*IZ

Remember sometime last year when I was worried that IZ*ONE was never going to release again when there was the Produce scandal? Remember when we thought this full album was never going to see the light of day? Then somehow, closer to my birthday, I find out that the album was indeed going to proceed and promotions would continue and IZ*ONE would still be a group until the end of their contract. Guess when the album released? I’ll leave you in suspense (P.S. it’s my birthday!).

BLOOM*IZ came and made its impact, fighting against all odds (and eventually selling A LOT, and I mean A LOT, of copies). Was the album worth all the wait? Was it the serene blooming of a group that fought through all the lies and betrayal? Or is this a wilting flower that should have disbanded the group? Carry on…

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ITZY (있지) | Not Shy

August and September seems to be the month of comebacks, as ITZY, JYP Entertainment’s girl-crush and individuality concept girl group, is back! In this latest effort from the five-member group, ITZY takes the concept of not being shy and merges it with a western feel, which they’ve previously incorporated into their music before, but never image-wise.

With this comeback comes six new songs to showcase ITZY’s growth as a girl group since their stellar debut last year. But is the release just the right combination of elements for a perfect comeback or is it just shy of getting there? Let’s take a look!

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유아 (오마이걸) | Bon Voyage

Guess who’s back? YooA! Well, this is actually her debut as a soloist, rather than as a comeback with OH MY GIRL. An interesting venture, YooA possesses a distinct vocal out of her OMG members, and when I came across the opening trailer for the release, excitement was the word that best described how I felt prior to its arrival. YooA also happens to be my OMG bias, so this was a treat.

In this release, YooA goes on a journey, hence the name ‘Bon Voyage’. With its name, we can only hope that we’re taken on a great journey through all the songs on this mini-album, but this poses a few questions: can YooA succeed as a soloist, and will this mini-album and its title track be a journey worth traveling? Let’s dive into it, below!

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에이프릴 (APRIL) | 에이프릴 (APRIL) 7th Mini Album ‘Da Capo’

What a time April 2020 was. Despite it being one of the few months of 2020 where all hell seems to have broken loose, and we all know why, April has brought upon a lovely array of K-pop comebacks to tide ourselves over while we are all in quarantine. One such group is APRIL, with a name that’s as appropriate as the timing they set their comeback, who are now delivering a concept that incorporates a slightly different style than their usual fluttery sound with a new feel to their choreography.

Coming in the form of their 7th mini album, shortened to ‘Da Capo’, APRIL attempt to reach into a darker side with new title track ‘LALALILALA’, but is this darker side going to have listeners sing along to their tune or is this a lala-lackluster release?

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