16 K-Pop Songs to Listen to This Break

Despite all the terrible tragedies that occurred in K-pop this year, 2019 has also been a revolutionary year for the industry. Rookie groups such as ATEEZ blew us away and showed us the power of the new generation of K-pop. Female artists such as Chung Ha and Sunmi embodied girl power with their striking solo performances. Third generations groups such as BTS and Twice continued to keep us engaged with their pieces. Here is a list of my top 16 favorite songs from the beginning of 2019. In this list, I tried to equally consider female and male artists and take into account the music video, choreography (for those that had it), musicality and overall "vibe of the song." While there are many more songs I enjoyed, here are a few that I still go back to listen to.

  1. All Night was a refreshing change from the hard-hitting, bass-heavy songs that many other boy groups have been releasing. Before this song, ASTRO's concept was cute and schoolboy-esque. All Night became the turning point of ASTRO's entire discography. It took a more lighthearted yet sensual approach giving the members a chance to showcase the depth and variety of their dancing skills as well as vocals. 

  2. Noir was an intriguing, mysterious song that addressed our crippling addiction to social media in a creative way. Its music video made great use of graphic imagery such as cutting off fingers to get "likes on Instagram." Also, the song's use of echos and prominent beats to complement Sunmi's melodious voice added to the beauty of the song. 

  3. Gotta Go was the first major release of 2019 and set the tone for a year of great releases. It was strikingly different from many of Chung Ha's previous pieces, which were bright, electric dance songs. It took a more dark approach and allowed her to showcase the power of her vocals as well as her trademark dance skills. The choreography of the song is arguably one of the most innovative and unique choreographies of the year as it made great use of not only Chung Ha but also her back up dancers and beautifully complimented the lyrics of the song perfectly. 

  4. 4. Fancy by TWICE 

    Once again, TWICE succeeded in creating an extremely catchy song along with an incredibly memorable dance. However, what was unique about this song is that it took a step toward a more mature song without losing the upbeat, happy quality central to their identity. It was a song that gave TWICE the medium to showcase the range and variety of their vocals. Each section of the song was simultaneously melodic, as well as upbeat and catchy. The dance also combined their signature cute, easy-to-copy point dance along with some more complicated, intricate dance beats. 

  5. Boom by NCT was a satisfying end to the NCT Dream's long-awaited comeback. This song was a refreshing change from NCT Dream's usual concept, which is a more sugary, bubble-gum pop style. This song gave many members a chance to shine and showcase their hidden potentials. For example, the youngest member Jisung wowed many NCTZENS with his deep, sultry singing voice and member, Renjun was able to showcase the range of his voice with his fantastic high note during the bridge of the song. Additionally, the members, Jaemin and Jeno, specifically were given the medium to showcase their alluring charms. 

  6. HALA HALA by ATEEZ proved to the world that ATEEZ is a powerhouse, rookie group that is not here to play. In this song, their confidence and skill are comparable to a well-seasoned senior group. The dark, aesthetic of the music video lured the viewer in, and awe-striking choreography entrapped the viewer along with the powerful, melodious vocals and impressive rapping that complimented the hard-hitting beats of the song. Overall, this song was a perfect package of aesthetic, vocals, rapping, and choreography.

  7. While Boy with Luv was a smashing success that topped charts and won awards, Make it right was my favorite track out of their whole album. Produced by Ed Sheeran, this song incorporated a simple beat with few electronic Instruments to give the members a perfect stage to showcase their ability. The soul and love behind each and every verse both rap and vocals were oozing through. Overall, it was a touching, heartfelt song for their fans. 

  8. The frontman of the rose creates an eccentric yet melodious song that perfectly showcases the unique style and timbre to his voice (cue Woosung's signature mini runs). The addictive chorus and hint of a guitar will have you bopping along and humming along. Additionally, the music video has great representation of different genders, races and ethnicities. 

  9. No One was a perfect end to the two-year-long wait for Lee Hi's next comeback. No One perfectly incorporated Lee Hi's impressive range and control over her vocals with the Arabian-esque backing track. Additionally, a former member of Ikon BI's rap blended perfectly instead of completely overtaking the song. 

  10. This year was a fantastic year for MAMAMOO with their win of Queendom and many other releases. However, out of all their songs, gogobebe would have to be my favorite. This song beautifully showcases each and every members' style, and simultaneously combines their typical sound with something new. 

  11. Out of all the Stray Kids releases this year, MIROH definitely stood out the most to me. Once again the self-producing group continues to move me with their motivational and touching lyrics making this the perfect song to boost one's morale. Stray Kids incorporated elements of New Zealand's native Maori ceremonial dance in their choreography.

  12. I'm not usually a big fan of many of Got7 title tracks, but You Calling My Name blew me away. Perhaps it was because the JYP entertainment group decided to try a style that they have never tried before in their previous music. The smooth, RnB mood along with the beautiful falsetto during the chorus made this comeback successful in my books.

  13. This song was the perfect summer bop. NCT 127 strayed from their typical hard-hitting, bass-heavy sound and decided to go for a brighter, more lighthearted concept. Despite this concept change, NCT 127 still wowed us with their incredibly synchronized and energetic choreography. Additionally, the choice of the uniform white shirts and the desert highway setting was a breath of fresh air from the usual, dark more techno music video styles.

  14. While this song is not in Korean, I had to include it on this list. Before this song, I was just a casual listener of MONSTA X. However, this song truly made me appreciate the versatility and artistry of the group. The group managed to create a completely unique song that showcases all the vocal prowess of all the members. Each and every note and beat of this song oozed with passion and longing, making the listener ask themselves question "who do U love?" MONSTA X also showed to the world their ability to sing nearly flawlessly in English.

  15. 15. Our Summer by TXT 

    I was curious to see what this group would be like as Big Hit's only group was BTS prior to their debut. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the group's bright, youthful sound. It was a refreshing change from the music of many of their contemporaries, who debuted with powerful, bass-heavy dark concepts. While most people enjoyed the tittle of TXT's debut album, my personal favorite was the track Our Summer. This song beautifully showcased the vocal skills of each member with the use of their falsettos in the chorus. Additionally, the backing track made this song an amalgamation of a beautiful ballad and a peppy summer song.

  16. In my opinion, Bon Bon Chocolate was one of the best girl group debuts of this year.  This song was a perfect mix of the girl-crush concept and a sleek, elegant concept. I was particularly impressed with the choreography of this song. There was not a single moment of the piece where I looked away. Its ability to hit every single beat, and leave the audience with a memorable point move was terrific. For a rookie group, this group also impressed me with their charisma and fiery stage presence. Additionally, the jewel purple tones of the music video made a beautiful, sparkly aesthetic.

Overall, this year was musically a fantastic year for K-pop. Want to listen to these songs? Check out this playlist I made with every one of these bops.