The Yearly Round-Up: The Kpop 2020 Edition

2020, despite everything, was a pretty big year for me in terms of Kpop. I got into A LOT of groups this year, and most especially, I really got into Monsta X and Pentagon, who are in my top five ultimate groups of all time.

I also went to Kim Myung Soo’s fanmeeting in Manila on January 12,2020, and also participated in the high touch event. Never, in a billion years would I have thought that actually high five-ing my third ultimate male bias in Kpop would be possible. You can read all about that experience here.

Then on February 8, 2020, I watched Seventeen’s Ode To You World Tour concert at the Mall of Asia Arena, and made a whole little staycation out of it, as I actually booked a nearby hotel to stay at with my sister (it was also her birthday, so it was a staycation for her as well!) You can read all about that experience here.

I also attended a bunch of online concerts for some of my groups, such as Monsta X, Pentagon, Onewe, Golden Child, Infinite’s Kim Sunggyu and The Boyz. I had a lot of fun in all of these! I also attended three fanmeetings, namely, Seventeen’s Caratland, PentagON:AIR and CIX’s Hello, Fix. I also enjoyed all of these, except that for Caratland, the server kept on crashing, so there were chunks of the fanmeeting that I wasn’t able to see. However, these online concerts and fanmeetings, even though it did cost money, were the things that I really looked forward to throughout the year.

I also watched Mnet’s “Road to Kingdom” and recapped it here on the blog. I got pretty stressed while watching it, but I also rewatched it recently and was able to enjoy it having the mindset of knowing where all these groups are now. You can check out my recap of the first three episodes here.

I also watched a lot of Kpop content and I listened to a lot of Kpop music, which is why I decided to come up with my own list of my top twenty favorite Kpop songs from 2020, and my favorite rookies of the year.

Here’s my list!

Top 20 Favorite Songs

Special Mentions:  “Feel Good” by fromis_9, “Why Not” by Loona, “Answer” and “Inception” by Ateez

20. Back Door by Stray Kids

“God’s Menu” was definitely a great track, but 3Racha outdid themselves by creating a very unique track that is rhythmic, and has a very interesting funky bass guitar. Definitely one of the most unique Kpop tracks ever and of the year!

 

19. Open Mind by Wonho 

Many have been waiting for Wonho’s solo debut, and what a debut it was! It rode a little bit on the retro trend, but it worked, and was very smooth indeed, with all those funk elements in it! Wonho is back, and I’m so excited to see what he’ll be offering us next!

18. Goblin (Favorite Boys) by ACE

Apparently ACE is the group that I didn’t know that I needed to discover until now. A gorgeously aesthetic MV, a bombastic song with touches of rock that doesn’t let up and delivers from start to finish, it’s no wonder why this underrated group is finally starting to get the attention they deserve now.

17. Salute by AB6IX

Confession time- I actually followed AB6IX’s promotion of this song on music shows, and I still like this song until now. I liked the concept of adding marching band elements, and adding brass elements to the song was really interesting. Also, Daehwi rapping? I’ve always thought of him as more of a vocalist, but this makes me see how much of an all-rounder he his. This is another group I’m going to start collecting this year!

16. Duhmdurum by Apink

Apink definitely is still here to stay, and is one of the few 2nd Gen groups that are still very much alive and kicking. I personally loved “%%”, and Duhmdurum is a nice follow up to that. The chorus is catchy, and I love how breathy or airy it feels. The entire LOOK album is great as well!

15. Ridin’ by NCT Dream

Urban, trendy, and a very SM-esque track,  NCT Dream manages to pull off this off well, making it one of my favorite tracks this year. Plus, I love the repetitive chorus, and I actually have fun dancing along to this!

14. Parting by Onewe

As you all know, I have a very soft spot for bands, and Onewe is one of them. I love that Onewe switches up their sound, and they pull it off perfectly. Aside from this, you can actually tell which member had more of a hand in writing particular songs. Yonghoon’s songs range from cutely gushing about his first times to mournful ballads talking about exes; CyA likes to experiment with sounds; while Kanghyun likes to play with words or creates sad songs which are inspired by books he read. This song is definitely a very Kanghyun song as his inspiration was him wondering what he would tell his loved ones if tonight was the last day on earth before an asteroid hits, and is a spiritual sequel to “Regulus” that was inspired by “The Little Prince”. The result is a moody, atmospheric song that features Yonghoon’s excellent vocals, and is reminiscent of an anime opening.

13. Not by the Moon by GOT7

This song was sorrowful yet beautiful, and that was perfectly paired with  a gorgeous music video. It’s really a shame that this song was only promoted for a week, as this song was definitely a bop! Also, I absolutely LOVED Jackson’s voice here.

12. Inside Me by Kim Sunggyu

This was a comeback that many were waiting for ever since Sunggyu was discharged in early 2020. It’s interesting that he switched up his sound a little bit this time around, but Infinite’s leader NEVER fails to impress music and vocal wise!

11. Love Killa by Monsta X

“Fantasia” was a great dance track, but it was “Love Killa” that I kept on playing on repeat and actually singing. I loved the entire vibe of song. Prior to the song’s release, Minhyuk hyped the song up before it was released by telling us that it had “Dramarama” vibes, and as someone who loves that song and this one, I agree!

10. Without You by Golden Child 

The sequel to the trilogy that began with 2019’s “Wannabe”, “Without You” is more of a minimalistic song that sounds ethereal and  desperately haunting. The choreography for this song is wonderful, as it feels more flow-y as compared to “Wannabe”. I personally love Joochan’s part in the beginning; Seungmin’s entrance at 00:45; and most especially Ji Beom’s entrance a minute into the song.

9.My My by Seventeen

This song just makes me feel a lot of emotions whenever I hear it. Aside from it being a feel good song, it’s a song that inspires and uplifts me every time I listen to it!

8. Mago by Gfriend

Each of Gfriend’s tracks this year were different from each other and great, but I had to pick “Mago” as my favorite as I can’t help but have fun with the disco vibe this song had!

7.  New World by ONF

Co-written by member MK as their final song for “Road to Kingdom”, this song is ambitious, still contains that special ONF vibe, and quite literally takes you on a journey to a new world! This was my second favorite “Road to Kingdom” finale song, and I love that it still connects to ONF’s overall storyline!

6.Nonstop by Oh My Girl

“Nonstop” was one of the most recognizable songs of the year, as it was not just a beautiful song, but definitely very catchy. This song will definitely put you in a good mood, and despite the numerous performances, I haven’t gotten tired of it yet!

5. One (Lucid Dream) by Golden Child

I really tried hard not to have repeat artists on my list but it’s that synth laden instrumental break somewhere towards the end that truly elevates this song to a different level. Another mindblowing Golden Child thing for this year is the fact that they performed “Wannabe”, “Without You”, and “One (Lucid Dream)”, straight for around twelve minutes in their most recent online concert.

4. Dr. Bebe by Pentagon

To be honest, all three of the Pentagon’s releases this year were just SO good. However, I’m going to pick Dr. Bebe as my favorite of their releases because it’s strides a fine line between the intensity of “Basquiat” and something palatable for the general public. I can’t get over the intro of this song!

3. Jungle by CIX 

This comeback was delayed because of Bae Jinyoung’s injury, but the wait was worth it as “Jungle” was a definite bop! I love how the song is a little bit of a slow burn, but is intense and delivers all the time! I can actually listen to this song over and over again! CIX is definitely a young group that will definitely make it big!

2.Reveal by The Boyz

Easily my favorite track now from The Boyz, “Reveal” shows a darker more mature side to them, more than my other favorite, “No Air” did! Also, this song can be rearranged to wonderful effect as seen with how they changed things up for their rendition of “Reveal” for “Road to Kingdom”.

1. Ladidida by Everglow

An absolute bop from start to finish, Everglow keeps on topping themselves every single release, and this was no exception, with a song that felt like it came straight out of the ’80s!

Rookies

Apparently, I end up paying attention to around nine rookies every year. Here were my favorite rookie debuts from 2020! If I were to actually start collecting, I might end up collecting Drippin, Cravity, P1Harmony, TOO and MCND, but let’s see!

Special Mention: E’last 

9.WEi

To be honest, the only thing I knew about this groups was the fact that Kim Donghan was in it, and that Pentagon’s Hui co-composed this song. I think that this group does have a lot of potential waiting to be unleashed, especially with two former Produce 101 alumni in its roster and a former Rainz member.

8.StayC

There was no way that this group wasn’t going to have a killer debut song as they are produced by famous Kpop producers Black Eyed Pilsung. I loved everything about this debut!  I was also impressed by J’s unique low tone, and shocked by the fact that my favorite lines in this song were sung by Park Si Eun, whom I’ve seen in dramas such as Still 17 and Just Between Lovers. I can’t wait to see how their discography is going to be like!

7.Ghost9

Definitely embracing a darker and more intense style, I also think that Ghost9  are good performers. I find it interesting that they have a very sci-fi concept and I’m very interested to see where they’ll go with that, and with their music as well, as they definitely have their own unique style.

6.MCND

MCND is a far cry from my usual fare, (at this point, can someone tell me what my taste in Kpop is?) but I kind of love the colorful playful sets, the way they commit to their concept, the amount of swag and charisma the boys exude, and I just like their songs as a whole. I think that they are definitely very unique and I can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring for them.

5.TOO

This rookie group definitely impressed me as they definitely showcased their potential by joining “Road to Kingdom” and started filming it before they even officially debuted. This group is a diamond in the rough, and is versatile enough to pull off concepts from dark to bright. It’s such a shame that their third mini album is being delayed as the two companies co-managing them are currently udergoing a dispute of some sorts. I’m very much ready to stan this group, too!

4.Lucy

I have a very soft spot for Korean idol bands, but what makes me love Lucy is THAT VIOLIN, and that the group isn’t afraid to take risks with their music. “Snooze” clocks in at almost five minutes, but it’s a beautiful work of art that simply transcends, especially with that epic and ethereal violin solo!

3.Drippin

I really need to talk to someone in Woollim about this group’s name. I mean, you guys came up with names such as Infinite, Golden Child, Rocket Punch, surely you could have come up with a more creative name right? Regardless, Drippin’s debut track “Nostalgia” definitely sounds nostalgic, and their live stages are better than the MV itself, as it showcases that Woollim indeed lives up to its name of producing talented vocalists and strong synchronized dancers. Woollim knows exactly what I want when it comes to boy groups, so it’ll be no surprise if I start stanning this group. (Also, doesn’t Minseo kind of look like Golden Child’s Seungmin; and doesn’t Cha Junho look a bit like Infinite’s L/Kim Myung Soo?)

2.P1Harmony

Hailing from FNC Entertainment, P1Harmony charged out the gates with a solid debut with “Siren”. I absolutely loved the song, as it felt reminiscent of the older Kpop sound that I love. The entire album is great too, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll have in store for us next! This is definitely a group I’d consider stanning, but I want to wait for their next two comebacks to see whether I’ll commit to stanning them.

1. Cravity

Although “Break All the Rules” did remind me a little bit of senior labelmate Monsta X, going through the two mini albums they’ve put was a wonderful musical ride for me. This group has a lot of potential, and I think that if I do really like their upcoming release on January 19, this will probably be the first rookie group from last year that I’ll commit to stanning.

 

All in all, I thought it was a strong year for Kpop and I had such a blast consuming all things Kpop this year! What were your favorite Kpop songs of 2020, and which rookies are you most excited about? What Kpop experiences did you have in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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