2020 has been a difficult year, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been navigating feelings of uncertainty and the loneliness of quarantine. But K-pop gave us the strength to combat those feelings. Though the pandemic has left us all less able to socialize in person with our friends and family, music is one way to remind us that we are not alone.
Over the past 12 months, the K-pop industry has seen countless exciting releases, and in no particular order, here are the 10 K-pop songs that we think defined the year 2020.
Any Song – ZICO
Remember #AnySongChallenge? Any Song by Zico of Block B topped weekly domestic music charts and video platform TikTok after its release in January. According to Zico, the song’s message is that it has no message. He wanted to make a song people could listen to when they’re not thinking about anything.
Zombie – DAY6
As a fan, we know by the fact that Day6 has a song for almost every mood. Their latest release, Zombie represents an emotional imbalance, the same feeling of emptiness that we all feel right now. After a year of trying to survive the pandemic, many are still uncertain of what’s to come in the following days. Through Zombie DAY6 hopes to bring a form of comfort and emotional support to their listeners.
Eight – IU (feat. SUGA)
Eight is about the fears, lessons, and challenges of growing older. IU sings about feeling young and spending days living on memories. The song itself is a lesson on how to reflect and what a person chooses to cherish as they get older. IU shared that Eight is like a short novel of confession of her twenty-eight-year-old self to a fictional character using different metaphors.
HOME;RUN – SEVENTEEN
After the success of their seventh mini-album Heng:garae last July, SEVENTEEN released a new special album ; [Semicolon] with HOME;RUN as the title track. The group described their EP as a “journey of youth” because it told the story of them chasing after their dreams while facing several challenges along the way. HOME;RUN seeks to encourage and send a message to their fans to explore the necessity of taking this time to breathe, reflect, and enjoy youth at the moment.
Don’t Touch Me – Refund Sisters
Need a song to play while maintaining physical distance? (pun intended) Don’t Touch Me by Refund Sisters made everyone raved with this badass song. It soared to the top of all music charts in South Korea, ranking right alongside K-Pop’s hottest tracks!
Refund Sisters is a South Korean project group comprised of the divas Lee Hyori, Uhm Junghwa, Jessi and Hwasa formed through MBC’s reality show Hangout with Yoo.
Life Goes On – BTS
Life Goes On is BTS’ third No. 1 hit in the U.S. charts and their second to debut in the first place. It is about having strength during difficult times, so it’s a perfect anthem for everyone who’s having a hard time right now. The song is full of longing and aching for human connection, but it seeks to energize and comfort the listeners.
Daisy – Pentagon
Pentagon’s latest album release titled WE:TH, a combination of “we” and “with,” is a mini-album that expresses the connection between PENTAGON and their fans UNIVERSE. Their title song Daisy is an alternative rock-influenced track that expresses longing and sadness after a breakup.
Where The Sea Sleeps – DAY6 (Even of Day)
Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon of DAY6 have come together to form their first subunit, Even of Day. The subunit makes its debut with a heart-warming song Where The Sea Sleeps. The song is about reassuring someone that regardless of what the day holds, they will always be by each other’s side. As we are alone and craving human interaction, it is comforting to hear that someone is fighting to stay by your side.
I Can’t Stop Me – TWICE
Following their More & More comeback from earlier this year, TWICE’s latest release I Can’t Stop Me will have your eyes and ears wide open. The song expresses the difficulties of controlling oneself while conflicting over good and evil. I Can’t Stop Me has an upbeat sound that will remind you of 80’s pop music.
God’s Menu – Stray Kids
God’s Menu takes on a unique theme of cooking as it speaks the group’s determination to set their course. The music is hip and combines different elements of pop and hip hop.
Have a Wagyupsal K-BBQ party at home while watching Stray Kids in chef-inspired outfits!
How about you? What are your favorite K-Pop tracks from 2020?
Words by Hannah Viray
Featured image from Big Hit Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, MBC