2020 was another year filled with amazing K-Pop releases. Out of the countless new songs that came our way this year, here are the favorites that the allkpop staff loved the most!
ishani-sarkar's Pick: Gaho - Start
Gaho's OST for 'Itaewon Class' is the perfect anthem for life and embodies the energy that I hope to carry forward to next year.
lorraineye's Pick: GOT7 - Poison
Though it isn't a title track, GOT7's "Poison" tops my list as my favorite song of this year. Released on DYE, there's just something about the song's energy and vibe that makes it so intoxicatingly addicting to enjoy. I've put many friends onto this song, and its palatability is seriously perfect for both diehard fans of K-Pop and folks who have absolutely no interest in it alike. One of my friends (with zero interest in K-Pop) even messaged me recently to tell me that "Poison" topped her Spotify Wrapped this year, so if that isn't indicative that this track hit all the right buttons, then I'm not sure what is. "Poison" is a sultry yet upbeat display of falsetto vocals and riffs that's so catchy that you'll find yourself mumbling the melody without realizing it.
Paul's Pick: Paul Blanco - Winter
This Korean Canadian is so talented. A lot of his songs are in English and he also produces most of his own songs. Just check out the vocals in this track, smooth as butter. He doesn't appear to be signed to any company, but I really think he can blow up and become a well-known star on a global scale with the right management.
AmieAmore's Pick: Se So Neon - Midnight Train
The song poetically expresses the fears in life's unknown factors as the lyrics describe a trip to an unknown destination on a Midnight Train. The song transcends to all individuals of all ages as everyone goes through the unpredictable passage of life.
Mocha89's Pick: Jessi - NUNU NANA
I chose "NUNU NANA" by Jessi because of the song's liberating message (being yourself and not caring about the negative comments people say). It was the most relatable song for me.
moonkun's Pick: SuperM - With You
I first heard "With You" live at the SuperM concert I attended earlier this year (Pre-COVID) and seeing the members running around the stage while singing this adorable song made this easily my favorite song of 2020. SuperM also released a Facetime-style video of themselves singing "With You" doing different quarantine activities a few months ago, and it really helped raise a lot of spirits for SuperM fans!
olmal's Pick: BoA - Temptations
Honestly, it was so hard to choose just a single song out of so many good songs that made our lives in quarantine so much better. (Thanks K-Pop) But the original K-Pop queen has returned to finish the year of 2020 on a positive note and I had to choose her song as my favorite of 2020. BoA's "Temptations" quenches my thirst for the veteran singer's mesmerizing and seductive vocals accompanied by modern and mature beats. She has proved herself as a K-Pop mogul for two decades, but she never stops adapting herself as a trend-setter, always impressing her long-time fans as well as her new listeners. Don't forget to check out her 10th full album after listening to this song ;).
KayRosa's Pick: ATEEZ - Answer
Judging by ATEEZ's unquestionable success, it might be puzzling to hear that the group once released a title song that didn't deserve enough attention. For me, that song is definitely "Answer." Even though ATEEZ opened the year 2020 with this remarkable track, the song/MV garnered just a little over 50 million views on YouTube (as of December 2020), which is only a few steps above "Inception" and "THANXX" (released about four months ago) and definitely a good 20 million below "Wonderland" (released three months prior to "Answer"). Now, I am usually not one to play number games and gauge the legacy of a group based on their music program wins. However, I strongly believe that "Answer" deserved a win on at least one channel, as the epic track boasts both powerful and sentimental sounds and lyrics. I wouldn't even bother going into detail about why this track is a good song musically, because it's enough to play just the first few seconds of the song to see what I mean. It's a shame that it didn't reach the top on music shows, but that doesn't remove the fact that "Answer" turns heads and freezes hearts, even with a few seconds of the intro.
hannahleex's Pick: Zico - Any Song
ZICO’s “Any Song” went just as viral as iKON’s “Love Scenario” did in 2018. In fact, it even broke the record for the most weeks at number one in the Gaon Chart’s history. Upon its release, there was almost no one who didn’t know of the song, and people all around the world took part in the “Any Song Challenge.” ZICO has never released a bad track, and this song was no exception. Beginning with the simple, jazzy piano riff and progressing to the addictively catchy chorus, this song is one that is impossible not to be hooked on. Despite how many times I listen to it, I am always left in awe by the ZICO’s production, singing, and rapping skills.
KG's Pick: BTS - Dynamite
This is the song we needed during the pandemic. When everyone was feeling blue from staying indoors all day, BTS delivered a fun-loving song that everyone needed. Just when you thought BTS might have hit their limit, they go beyond expectations. The first K-pop song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this song made history.
jennywill's Pick: N.Flying - Starlight
"Starlight" was written by N.Flying's leader Seunghyub, inspired by the real story of his own grandparents. The song has to be appreciated along with its MV, which tells the story of the love between his grandparents and his grandmother's sorrow as his grandfather suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.
danisurst's Pick: BTS - On
I am a sucker when it comes to anthemic pop songs, so the first time I listened to "On," I was hooked as soon as the intro percussion hit. The more that BTS has experienced fame on a global stage, the more they have been criticized by people both within and outside of the K-Pop world, and while I have never been heavily involved in the ARMY fandom, I felt a sense of pride in the group through the song "On" and its message of perseverance. Another reason why I love the single so much is that it does a beautifully even job of showcasing the talents of each member. The choreography is full of energy, the vocal line really shines through their parts, and each rapper brings their own unique flair to their delivery. While "Dynamite" and "Life Goes On" are seeing much more success on Billboard right now, "On" is definitely the BTS single of the year that I like most and is just my favorite single of the year in general.
germainej's Pick: BLACKPINK - How You Like That
The sass and attitude of "How You Like That" in combination with the beat makes it one of the most addictive tracks of the year for me.
veryuyu's Pick: B.O.Y - We
B.O.Y's album is a close second for my favorite album this year, but this b-side-track "We" is definitely my favorite track this year. Many may not have heard this song before, but this song effectively utilizes synths and text painting that never fails to hit me with a wave of nostalgia.
beansss' Pick: ASTRO - Knock
I personally felt that 2020 was a great year for ASTRO. A lot of times, K-Pop groups tend to kind of lose their color and go into a weird, stale transition process around their 3rd or 4th year. When groups don't have strong fanbases to support these uncomfortable phases, they usually fall off the grid. For ASTRO, 2020 almost represented a total, successful rebranding. I was a big fan of ASTRO's bright and youthful debut concept, and it took me a long time before I could accept the fact that they had grown out of that phase, especially last year. But their 6-member comeback with "Knock" completely blew me away and proved that ASTRO is stronger than ever. In fact, nothing about ASTRO had changed from their debut days except for that every member had improved noticeably in the past 3~4 years. Everything about "Knock" was well-executed. The vocal dynamics are better than ever and the performances are better than ever, by maintaining the rigor of ASTRO choreographies while adding each of the members' experience and uniqueness. The 'Gateway' album also introduced the start of a new storyline for ASTRO in their rebranding process, which then continued in Moonbin & Sanha's 'In-Out.' I could almost say that "Knock" felt like ASTRO's re-debut. It was a song that captured the group's new, representative sound, image, and concept definitively and it set up the groundwork for so many new possibilities ahead.