This is part 2 of my list of favorite songs for 2021. You can read my ranking for the first half of the year here. As usual, all of these are just my opinions and you can feel free to discuss and share yours in the comment section. Let’s get 2021 over with!
Just like last time, before we get into the top 5, we have to acknowledge the bangers that didn’t quite make it. The 2nd half of 2021 was jam-packed with so many good songs that I hope y’all forgive me if I missed out on a few of them.
July marked the drop of Dreamcatcher’s BEcause which once again proved that these girls deserve a music show win because they’re killing it in their own niche of K-pop. Every dog has its day.
In the same month, nipping at the heels of summer, we have the upbeat songs Pool Party by Brave Girls and Bubble Up by Rocket Punch. These songs have different sounds but listening to them gives me the same feeling of happiness so of course they’re in my playlist.
K-pop living legend Sunmi released You Can’t Sit With Us and continues to show why she is one of the queens of the genre. One of the most-awaited solos, by Blackpink’s Lisa, dropped as well. I didn’t really like the title track as much, but Money really digs deep into my ears and I enjoy listening to it every now and then.
Kwon Eunbi also released her solo, Door, slaying me with her godlike visuals and performance. Another soloist and social media darling, AleXa, released Xtra which has the line “On my burger and my fries always extra cheese, yeah” which is probably my favorite lyric of the year.
fromis_9 came back with Talk & Talk and got their first music show win with this song. It’s going to go down as a special song within the fandom although I think they have had better songs.
Aespa also came back with Dreams Come True and I’m glad I can finally get another song aside from Forever that I can understand.
Another comeback is by Lightsum with Vivace. This group just debuted this year and I didn’t really get drawn to their sound. This comeback is an improvement and I wish the girls all the best in finding their own sound because they have great potential and are fun to watch in shows.
IVE is also another group that just debuted and with Yujin and Wonyoung in the group, there’s high hopes for them. Eleven is a good song as well and I’ve yet to find out more about the other members but Yujin is really a powerhouse.
Nearing the top of my list is Not Friends by LOONA. This song is an experience and the music video is a must-watch. Yves, Jinsoul, and Heejin are my biases so it’s a no-brainer why this song seems like a gift made exactly for me.
I got my fill of the YG sound from Somi’s XOXO which sounds like a Blackpink song. In fact, I can even imagine which member is singing some parts. I don’t mean it as a bad thing, but it’s really the signature Teddy sound and Somi pulls it off nicely.
And who can forget Twice’s first full English release, The Feels. They pulled it off without making it sound like a forced-to-be-English song and it’s also one of the songs that I immediately enjoyed. That “Boy I, Boy I, Boy I know” hook is so hard to forget.
Just off the top 5 spot by a very close margin is StayC’s comeback after ASAP, Stereotype. I still firmly believe that StayC has one of the most perfect discographies with no song I don’t like, but it’s hard to top the ones from their previous release.
Now, let’s get down to the meat of this article. Like I mentioned in my previous post, these songs caught my attention on the first listen and never went away. I will never get bored listening to these songs and they are a staple on my bike-to-work playlist.
5. Promise” by Everglow
My god. I can’t count how many times I’ve listened to this. I was confused at first because why did Everglow release a new song without much noise!? But I learned that this isn’t an official comeback. This was a song for the UNICEF Promise Campaign.
The song, the MV, the lyrics, and the performance come together to give me a feeling of peace and love, while still bringing the Everglow energy we know and love. This song is too good and deserves recognition. I’m going to ruffle some feathers and say that this song is even better than their latest comeback, Pirate.
It’s hard to top “First” which they released earlier this year, but this song went on a different direction and shows the versatility of Everglow. They really do deserve so much more attention.
4. “Weekend” by Weeekly
My favorite group, Weeekly, also came back with another title track this year. It’s hard to top After School and while they did deliver a catchy song, I found Holiday Party to be a bit formulaic and relied too much on the repeating melody for my taste.
But when I listened to their b-sides, I found the first track enchanting. The sounds in the intro caught my attention and I just had to pay attention. The soft voices of the girls and the beat lulled me into a groove until the build-up to the chorus.
And finally, the “brrrrrraaaaah!” just as the chorus began captured my heart. I can see why they didn’t choose this song to be the title track, but this is truly the superior song in the album. This is the sound I love Weeekly for and I hope they continue to make songs like this hidden in their b-sides.
It’s a shame that they never made a stage performance for this song, but I’m hoping that once they’re big enough to have a concert (that I can attend), they consider this song for a performance.
3. “술버릇 (운전만해 그후)” by Brave Girls
Homaygahd. This song is unreal. From the opening melody, I was already caught in a wave of emotions. Why is this song so moving?
I didn’t buy into the Brave Girls hype when they got popular with Rolling, but it’s hard not to notice them when they’re songs are this good.
I don’t even understand the lyrics, but this song touches me on a different level. It gets me nostalgic about memories I’ve never had. This is the kind of experience that music was made for. There’s nothing else to say about this song. I encourage you to take a listen and I hope you feel the same way I do. This song is simply a masterpiece.
2. “Swipe” by ITZY
Sheeeesh. What is it with b-sides of 2021 being far superior than the title tracks? I was disappointed with Loco because it didn’t catch me on the first listen like Wannabe, Dalla Dalla, and Not Shy did. But I learned to love it because it always played next whenever I listened to this song.
Swipe is engineered to be catchy, but because ITZY is performing it, it ascends another level. Yeji’s fatal looks and Ryujin’s swag is enough to carry this song to the charts. The simple chorus works precisely because of the way the girls deliver it.
I recommend watching the performance video over the music video to get the full Swipe experience. It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve watched this video while working or just doing other things.
This is probably the Itzy comeback with the most b-sides that I like. I recommend listening to Chillin’ Chillin’ which is almost at the same level as Swipe, but I decided not to include it as a separate entry because it’s by the same artist in the same album. That’s enough to tell you about the power of this comeback.
1. “Cast Pearls Before Swine” by Purple Kiss
And finally, my favorite song for 2021’s 2nd half is… another b-side.
This song is so unique. I love every part of it. When I listen to this song, I never want it to end. The fact that the members did the choreography themselves and also participated in making the song just make it even more special.
There’s just something about this song that makes you feel so cute and tough at the same time. Swan’s part in the bridge, as well as Yuki’s raps and the chanting are just *chef’s kiss*. I love how the choreography is perfectly suited to the melody and quite easy to follow as well. Every part of the song is so addicting and I’m glad that Purple Kiss made a standalone performance video for it.
It’s such a shame that they didn’t promote this song because it deserves to go viral. There was a time that I was just listening to this song on repeat all day and never got tired of it. This is truly peak musicality and coming from a group that just debuted this year gives me hope that they’ll keep making more bangers like this.
And that’s it for my favorite songs of 2021. I’ve been exclusively into K-pop for a while that I don’t know what songs are popular outside of the genre anymore. I’m not complaining though. Any addition to my playlist is a good thing.
Combining both lists, here’s my ranking of my favorite songs for 2021:
5. “ASAP” by StayC
4. “술버릇 (운전만해 그후)” by Brave Girls
3. “Swipe” by ITZY
2. “Cast Pearls Before Swine” by Purple Kiss
1. “After School” by Weeekly
I can’t wait for what’s in store for us in 2022. I’m hungrily anticipating the debut of VIVIZ. I hope there will be more good news for girl groups and K-pop in general.
What do you think? Did I miss out on any song? What are your favorite songs for 2021? Feel free to let me know. As always, stay safe!