Here at Cosmo.ph, we eat, sleep, and breathe K-pop. We all have different tastes, so we love sharing music suggestions, too! This year, we decided to list down our favorite K-pop releases of 2020 and why we love them:
Cindy, Entertainment Editor
1. “Criminal” by Taemin
"Time and time again, Taemin proves that he really is SM’s ACE. Bondage, erotica, and a whole lotta sex appeal, Taemin’s 'Criminal' really does make me wanna do…bad things with him, LOL."
2. “God’s Menu” by Stray Kids
"'God’s Menu' is the song that made me into a Stay ‘cause it is just so freakin’ powerful and wild! Self-produced by Stray Kid’s 3RACHA, I can’t even imagine how far this group will go."
3. “From Home” by NCT U
"If there’s a song that continues to give me the chills ‘cause of how feelsy it is and how AMAZING the vocals are, it’s 'From Home.' Plus it’s sung in the members’ main languages—Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese!"
Hanna, K-Loka Content Producer
1. "NUNUNANA" by Jessi
"This is the first song I've heard by Jessi and my, oh, my, am I whipped for this queen! 'NUNUNANA' is such an iconic bop that I just can't help but ~put my hands up in the air~ every time I listen to it. Thank you, Psy oppa for letting Jessi shine and do her thang!"
2. "A Song For You" by Gaho
"I really, really want to include 'Start' and 'Running' by Gaho but that would be cheating because they're under K-drama OSTs, yet I equally love this song (for me, hehe)! For some reason, it makes me want to go all emo in a corner and pretend I'm heartbroken even when I'm not, LOL. His charismatic voice never fails to send chills down my spine—gosh, he deserves more recognition than what he's currently getting talaga!"
3. "On" by BTS
"I'm sad that this BTS track didn't get a lot of exposure compared to their other releases this year, but that's okay because I believe most of us ARMYs think that this is a complete masterpiece! And the lyrics? It's just so empowering that it makes me want to put my hair up in a ponytail ala Start-Up's Seo Dal Mi, and just look at my problems in the eye and say: 'Bring the pain on!'"
Andie, Assistant Social Media Editor
1. “Burn The Floor” by Super Junior
"A pre-release single ahead of their upcoming 10th album, The Renaissance, 'Burn The Floor' starts off sounding like a classical ballad thanks to the violin instrumentals, but the incredibly hyped chorus (and EDM-like dance break!) leave you wanting more. The music video was absolutely *gorgeous* and I cannot get over the amazing light play choreography. SOTY for 2021, I’m claiming it! LabelSJ, why isn’t this masterpiece on Spotify yet?!"
2. “Piano” by TVXQ’s Changmin
"An industry veteran (TVXQ is celebrating their 17th-anniversary debut on December 23!), my fave song from Changmin’s first solo mini-album Chocolate has to be the bass-heavy, sensual b-side, 'Piano'. Changmin’s vocals truly shine, showing off his incredible range by going low in the verses then using a bolder, higher key for the chorus. It’s a song you can’t help but play on repeat—to quote Changmin, “I like it, don’t stop.” P.S. If you, like me, felt like us Cassiopeia were *robbed* when SM didn’t drop a live performance video, may I direct you to Changmin’s solo stages for “Heaven’s Day” and “Closer”? Thank me later. *winks*"
3. “Offline” by Super Junior D&E
"As someone who works in digital media, this song just *speaks to me*. Fresh off Super Junior D&E’s 4th mini album Bad Blood, 'Offline' is the ultimate b-side. The catchy upbeat tempo hooks you in, and the lyrics are an important reminder from Donghae and Eunhyuk that everyone should take a break and slow down. “Only for today, our offline notification status is out.“—sounds like a great idea, amirite?"
Ysa, Associate Lifestyle & Relationships Editor
1. "Not Shy" by ITZY
"Actually, ITZY's 'Wannabe' was also released in 2020, and the world—myself included—tried to master Ryujin's shoulder shimmy. But I just love 'Not Shy' because the lyrics are so bold and powerful: I WANT IT ALL. GIVE ME ALL. NOT SHY TO SAY I WANT YOU."
2. "MAGO" by GFRIEND
"GFRIEND has a special place in my heart because my first EVER K-pop experience was their Manila concert, and they've come such a long way since then. Their music has developed and there's like this renewed fire in "Mago" without them completely losing their original sound."
3. "+5STAR+" by CL
Cheska, Beauty Editorial Assistant
1. "Monster" by Red Velvet's Irene & Seulgi
"'Monster' was legit the first song that made me dive *deeper* into Red Velvet's discography! I'm not really a fan of ~*bubblegum pop*~ (though I still do enjoy their "Red" concepts), so this darker, more sultry song made me an instant fan. Plus, the music video is EVERYTHING. The number of times I rewatched it is embarrassingly high."
2. "I Can't Stop Me" by TWICE
"When it comes to girl groups, I usually stick with either BLACKPINK or Red Velvet. I never really listened to TWICE, no matter how many times my friends tried convincing me to do so. I randomly saw the MV for 'I Can't Stop Me' on my YouTube recommended videos and I watched it on a whim, I was immediately hooked! I love the more ~mature~ concept they've taken on for this song. Plus, Nayeon's opening lines are still stuck in my head to this day, LOL."
3. "Life Goes On" by BTS
"I was never really a big BTS fan before up until 'Boy With Luv' and 'Dynamite' (though I admit that those two songs are BOPS), but it was only until I listened to 'Life Goes On' that I became interested in ~exploring~ their discography even further. The chorus is really catchy, and I love how it's an uplifting and hopeful kind of song—perfect for these trying times."
Retty, Managing Editor
1. "Candy" By Baekhyun
"Been listening to 'Candy' by Baekhyun non-stop since the summer. Really love this track and Baekhyun's smooth vocals. I'd say this song is *just* as addicting as candy, lol. If you love R&B, do give this a spin."
2. "eight" by IU Prod. & Feat. BTS Suga
"I love beautiful lyrics, and this IU-Suga masterpiece has the most beautiful words I've seen. IU shared in an interview that this song was a letter of sorts to her 28-year-old self, a remembrance of what life dealt her at this age: fatigue and helplessness. IU reimagines an 'Orange Island' where there are no sad feelings. So timely for 2020, don't you think?"
3. "Moon" by BTS
"BTS blessed us with so much music this year, and there are a lot to choose from. 'Life Goes On' is a new favorite, and their Japanese album is also worth listening to on-repeat. But I'd pick 'Moon' as a favorite from Map Of The Soul: 7, because it's just one of those songs that instantly puts you in a great mood. It's a bop. (Full disclosure: Jin is my bias.) Also, I lost it during Jin's first live performance as the Little Prince."
Follow Hanna on Instagram.