Right on schedule, my indecisive self says hello once again! During my annual New Year’s Eve/Day listen to my favorite songs of the year, these ten songs popped up on the playlist and they definitely left a lasting impression on my 2021 music year. So here’s ten more tracks worthy of my Top 70 (80?!) of 2021!
“Burn It,” Golden Child
Golden Child returned with a bit of a curveball earlier in 2021, but it was a good one. “Burn It” signaled the group fully leaping into its more mature sound that they’d been growing into the last year or so. The reggaeton-infused song is a very appealing listen. And an interestingly dramatic vibe as well that lends itself to the cinematic music video.
“Love Song,” Yoon Jisung
Yoon Jisung made his first comeback since his discharge from the military. The bright-sounding title track “Love Song” has an appealing contrast to the bittersweet lyrics. The song is also a bit more upbeat compared to his two pre-enlistment releases which were anchored by ballads. Like he was able to showcase his vocals with those ballads, he does so here and with a different vibe that allows him to show his versatility for the first time as a solo artist.
“Will You Make a Mistake,” BLITZERS
BLITZERS made an impactful debut earlier this year with a refreshing rock-infused pop/hip-hop sound. And their first comeback “Will Make a Mistake” is another rousing track in the same vein. The song is an energetic message of encouragement to get right back up even when you fall down. A sentiment that matches the group’s youthful and confident image. The rest of the album includes a diverse group of songs that showcase the group’s versatility as well. An excellent comeback.
My favorite new artist of 2020, the talented Demian returned with his fourth single “A Blue Not Blues” and its title track “Love%”. His most uptempo track yet had Demian introducing a different side of himself with this moody dance track that will have you vibing in no time. The bouncy melody is a fascinating contrast to the almost melancholic lyrics. And the dramatic music video, which has Demian showing off his acting skills for the first time, is a perfect visual pairing for the song. Definitely something different from him, but as great as all his releases so far.
“Tell Me,” Tae Ho
IMFACT’s Taeho returned with his second solo release and “Tell Me” is an amazing track. The smooth Motown R&B vibes are a pleasant surprise. Composed by Taeho, his vocals glide across the soulful track. A real treat from the talented artist.
Criminally underrated DONGKIZ returned with another great track. “Universe” saw the group back to a bit of a brighter concept after last year’s darker and sexier “Beautiful” and “Lupin.” “Universe” is sort of a balance between the bright, upbeat image they debuted with and the more mature sides they were able to effectively show off last year. And it results in a thoroughly enjoyable, fun and charming track. Complete with another great performance from the group of course.
“Behind U,” Half feat. YunGGI
KNK is one of my favorite groups. And member Kim Jihun made his solo debut as HALF with the single “Behind U.” Accompanied by rapper-songwriter YunGGI, HALF presents a soulful R&B track about unrequited love and hiding one’s feelings for a friend you are resigned to remain close to and supportive of. Anyone who has followed KNK (which I very much suggest you do 😊) knows of Jihun’s wonderfully soft vocals. And it suits the vibe of the song, especially paired with YunGGI’s impactful rap. A great, great song!
“Sneakers,” Ha Sung Woon
Ha Sung Woon’s “Sneakers” is the perfect summer escape anthem. The title track is a breezy song about being free to run and explore, certainly a timely sentiment for many. Ha Sung Woon’s always smooth vocals power the positive, uplifting vibes of this catchy comeback.
“Make It,” 2PM
The comeback track “Make It” is definitely a song that picks up right where 2PM left off in 2016 with “Promise (I’ll Be).” Actually, the song shares a similar vibe and melody with “My House.” This more mature, yet still playful vibe certainly suits the group’s age and this point in their careers. There’s no question the guys have still got it. And “Make It” is a perfect reminder of what has made them so successful these last 10+ years.
“Used to This,” Jang Hanbyul
It was so awesome to see Hanbyul back with a brand-new song. And it is an excellent one. The fun, playful track is a definite warm mood maker. It’s honestly been a while since I’ve seen Hanbyul performing. And his on stage and music video performances for this song reminded me of his wittiness, charm and charisma. As well as his smooth vocals of course.