Kpop has been instrumental in helping us get past the last twelve months with our sanity intact. Come find out what songs/MVs stuck with us throughout 2020.
Karie the Maknae
Gaho’s “Start” from Itaewon Class has a permanent position on my playlist. I really love this version because Gaho became his own backup singer and hit some amazing high notes that gave me the chills. SO. MUCH. LOVE.
Tale of the Nine Tailed had not one, but TWO perfect songs on the OST. First up is “Blue Moon” by Kim Jong Wan. This vibe is so suited to Lee Yeon — dark and mysterious and confident.
“Wanna Be Bad” was the perfect anthem for Yoon Shi Yoon’s character in Psychopath Diary. And bonus, it’s sung by WooSung from one of my favorite Kpop bands, The Rose!
I absolutely loved the bright and uplifting vibe of “Dive” by Jung JinWoo from the OST for Mystic Pop-Up Bar!
Doko brings all the angsty guitar rock with “Psycho.” It was the perfect pairing to all the drama that ensued with Flower of Evil.
And I had to add this as an honorable mention- I just adored the quirky, campy sound that totally mirrored the feel of the drama! “Going” by Byun JinSub, from the OST for Zombie Detective.
So I’ve always thought of this category as the full package. Yeah, some dramas have a song I like here and there, but it’s not like the entire show’s music caught my attention. So, I’m giving my award to It’s Okay to Not be Okay. The intro is mesmerizing, and each song is curated to help tell the story. It’s actually part of the reason I wish I liked Cdramas more; I tend to like their soundtracks a lot.
You know I am a total sucker for when dramas use older songs. And this year, no one did it better than Hospital Playlist.
Best Girl Group/Solo MVs
Karie the Maknae
YongYong’s “Lost Ember” is the girl rock I never knew I needed. Plus that furry pink coat? LOVE IT.
Totally fell in love with Riaa’s voice from the very beginning of “Spring”. It just begs to be listened to!
I don’t usually listen much to girl groups or female solo artists (although I have added a handful of new names to the list this year). But, when “Dumdi Dumdi” by (G)I-dle came out, I just knew it was the fun song-of-summer I had been looking for!
Sadly, I just don’t think I listened to any female Asian artists this year. (Note: a large percentage of the songs on my favorite OST are done by women, and my iTunes is full of women, but they’re mostly Western artists.) I’m going to cheat and put Halsey. Her entire 2020 album Manic was so raw and truthful and beautiful. She spoke about mental illness, and the pain of miscarriage, and so much more. For the Kpop listener, I’ll put Suga’s Interlude below, but don’t be shy and check out the rest of her album.
Red Velvet introduced a sub-group consisting of Irene and Seulgi and I am loving their MV Naughty. Not only is it a great song but the choreography is truly top-notch.
Chunga released her first English song, Dream of You, this year, and while the promotions were limited due to her contracting Covid, it still impressed me. I loved the song, the dancing, and the styling, so it deserves to be on my best of 2020 list.
Sunmi rounds out my favorite female MVs with ppoprappippam. The styling, is as always, flawless. There is rarely a year that goes by that Sunmi doesn’t make my list and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite performers.
Best Boy Group/Solo MVs
Karie the Maknae
ATEEZ’s cover of “Black Cat” from Immortal Songs 2 is STILL a video I watch regularly. The energy and the artistry of the performance, combined with the audience’s reaction, gives me life. PLUS, Jongho scaling up to that high note while Mingi hypes him up?? PERFECTION.
There’s something incredibly compelling about Agust D’s “Daechwita” MV. The contrast between contemporary Yoongi and tyrannical historical Yoongi has SO many layers, and the song itself is just so CONFIDENT.
(I have no idea how to narrow down my playlist – of nearly 200 new songs – to just a few top favorites. This is HARD!!!)
Okay, I have to start off with my favorite pirate boys, ATEEZ! “Thanxx” exudes a thanks-but-no-thanks attitude befitting of this roguish group. They are quickly paving their own way with their own style of music. And I LOVE IT!!!
Another favorite group of mine is the K-band Day6! And they released an MV for their song “Zombie” that just resonated with me immensely – especially this year.
Last, but definitely NOT least, is Taemin. (I’m a relative Kpop newbie, so forgive me for not knowing about this stellar artist earlier – better late than never!) He has released TWO fantastic albums this year, and “Think of You” is one of my favorite new songs – I love the lyrics. And, all the smiles he brings in this MV make me melt!
Two male solo artists stand out to me in 2020. Taemin has proven himself before, but 2020 really was his year. He showed so much depth and maturity with both of his albums. I loved hearing him talk about why he put certain things in Criminal. Every move in this MV is perfection.
The other solo artist had a lot to prove. Wonho left Monsta X and was thankfully allowed to debut on his own. He took Tik Tok by storm with his personally designed outfits and smooth moves. More than going viral, he showed South Korea that he can hold his own as an artist. He also proved he spends ALOT of time in the gym. Someone get me a fan!
The Rose – Black Rose was such a great song that it might have gotten overlooked. This is constantly on repeat on my playlist.
Due to the international pandemic and the accompanying quarantine, 2020 has felt like it has gone on FOREVER. So it is no wonder that i was a tiny bit shocked to realize that BTS released ON this year. But it 100% deserves to be on my favorites list. This, as well as Black Swan, played heavily in my playlist that helped me stay sane over the past year.
Favorite Kpop Music Videos of 2020 (Those MVS that just make you happy that they exist)
Karie the Maknae
Despite the crappiness that was this year, there were a LOT of MVs that made me happy. For example, the entire concept of Lay’s “Lit” MV feels like a story that’s just waiting to be told. Also….DRAGONS!
There’s something about iKON that just speaks “chaotic energy”, and it’s brilliantly captured in this MV for “Dive”. Even putting them in separate boxes can’t contain it, and I am HERE for that energy.
And the MV for “We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal” from BTS drew me in from the first frame — I love this look at BTS’ journey and showing how connected they are to ARMY.
According to Spotify, this is my most listened to song of 2020. I think I played to BTS’s “Dynamite” every morning (and an additional couple of times during the day, for good measure) for a month straight after it dropped. It’s just the happy vitamin I needed to keep going during this difficult year. I dare you to watch this video and NOT smile!
It took me a bit, but I’ve spent the latter half of the year delving into all the music from Stray Kids, and I think it’s safe to say I’m a Stay now! They have such STRONG songs, and I LOVE the unique choreography they show us with each new MV. My favorite for this year is “Back Door” – I never tire of watching!
To round out my favorites, another ATEEZ song (sorry, not sorry)! “Answer” came out right at the beginning of 2020 and is my second most played song of the year. Each ATEEZ song has its own captivating flavor, but I especially love the theatrical element that was added for their combined performance of “Inception” and “Answer” at the 2020 MAMA awards. They truly are master performers!!
For me, this year has been marked with many songs that have helped me get through, but none more than BTS’s Life Goes On. There was just so much realness and connection to what we’re actually going through. Each stage they’ve performed this song on has been a different version of a series of rooms. We have been shut away almost all year. Living in our rooms. It’s not an escapism happy place; it’s not the summer bop (which was Dynamite, and exactly what I needed at the time) but the stark reality of what the world has endured in 2020. But also hope, because our life is continuing to go on, and we will have a 2021, with new wonderful songs. 🙂
I really love how so many female performers have been able to stretch beyond the usual female kpop vibe in the last few years. My first pick is Maria by Hwa Sa, who has really pushed the idea that only stick-thin idols with no curves can make it in the industry.
It has been a great year for (G)i-dle, and since Miatamama already recommended Dumdi Dumdi, I’m going to throw in Oh My God into the mix. They are such an amazing group, and I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings from them.
My last pick is Akmu’s Happening. There is something so soothing about this song and it is perfect to help me relax when I get too stressed.
So there you have it! Our favorite MVs of 2020. Let us know what your top list is in the comments, and be sure to check out all our 2020 End of Year lists HERE!
See you in 2021,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi