To say that K-Pop has dominated year 2019 is no understatement at all. With multiple chart-topping hits from a long list of Korean leading boy/girl groups, emerging bands and solo artists like BTS, GOT7, I.U, Mamamoo, Blackpink, Chungha and more.
And since K-Pop has become a regular topic for team L'Officiel, we are, of course, very excited for the many comebacks happening in the first quarter of 2020 including BTS's Map Of The Soul 7 comeback on 20th February, Blackpink's rumoured comeback, iKON's new music video and Big Bang's imminent return at Coachella 2020.
So ahead of the big hits in 2020, we decided to round up the best of 2019 K-Pop releases that are still topping our own playlist!
BTS – MIKROKOSMOS (MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA)
Everyone knows the legendary BTS hit, Boy With Luv (feat. Halsey), which is also the #1 most viewed video in 24 hours the history of YouTube but for our list, we decided to pick another BTS song that we love to put on repeat – Mikrokromos.
A wordplay of "microcosmos", which means small universe, this pop ballad is one that spreads the message of wholeness and self-realization to tell its listeners that even though you are just a single entity amongst billions, you shine bright as yourself. Truly a BTS creation where they always spread love and positivity for all.
DAY6 – SWEET CHAOS (THE BOOK OF US: ENTROPY)
Instead of your regular "textbook" K-Pop tracks we are familiar with, Day6 sets themselves apart with a rock interpretation of the genre and has been the buzz of the scene since their new album release, titled "The Book Of Us: Entropy".
And the most loved among the tracks is the title track Sweet Chaos, a song that combines swing and punk rock into a singular tune that will keep you hyped all day long!
HWASA – TWIT
Despite launching as a digital single, Twit by Mamamoo's Hwasa is, without a doubt, one of the biggest K-pop bops of 2019, which has swept countless year-end awards and weekly music charts.
From winning Gaon Chart Music Awards 2020 and Golden Disc Awards 2019 to charting on Billboard and iTunes, this energetic solo debut track that combines powerful vocals, catchy melody and impactful dance moves is one not to be missed. Her performance at Goan Chart Music Awards recently was the talk of the town (check the video here).
(G)I-DLE – LION
A song created for the competitive reality show Queendom, this majestic song, titled Lion, by (G)I-dle shows us exactly why the group can be considered one of the top monster rookies of K-Pop right now.
Having just debuted in 2018, this girl group is one of the fastest-growing Korean idol groups with many chart-topping hits like Latata, Uh Oh and Senorita. Also, you need to watch the MV which features an epic production that mixes medieval aesthetics and costumes ala Joan Of Arc and Game of Thrones style. Definitely one to watch out for in 2020.
BLACKPINK – KICK IT (KILL THIS LOVE)
One of the most popular Korean girl groups in the world, Blackpink had the world buzzing so much that they are the first K-pop group to have a music video (Ddu Du Ddu Du) with more than 1 billion views on YouTube.
And in 2019, they rocked the world with their Kill This Love EP and the title track itself broke many records as one of the fastest music video to hit 100 million views and one of the highest views in 24 hours on YouTube. But here, we want to highlight its B-side track Kick It, an upbeat song that wowed Coachella goers last year, mainly because of the rapper and dancer of the group, Lisa.
Fun, cheerful and with plenty of swag, Kick It is the perfect track to jam to, all year round.
RED VELVET – PSYCHO (THE REVE FESTIVAL: FINALE)
While Red Velvet has many hit songs released in 2019 (think Zimzalabim and Umpah Umpah), their last release of 2019, Psycho, definitely takes the crown as their top songs of 2019.
Part of The ReVe Festival: Finale album, the third part of The ReVe Festival trilogy, the songs sings about ‘fools in love’ and how lovers can be caught in a never-ending cycle of love and hate. An electric tune that mixes cute and fun with edgy and cool, the song is our go-to track to sing in the shower.
EXO – Obsession (Obsession – The 6th Album)
If we talk about power dance tunes, EXO is definitely the king of it. In their latest album release, Obsession, their title track of the same name, is a hypnotising track that draws you into an endless loop.
Based on the concept of duality, the MV has each active member of the group fight against their evil doppelgangers, making it an action-packed production that showcases each member's superpowers (Avengers style) – a concurrent theme of EXO since their debut.
Not to mention, the "I want you, I want you" chant in the chorus will have you obsessed in no time (pun intended).
WINNER – SOSO (CROSS)
A group that we have always stanned, Winner makes an impactful comeback in 2019 with their mini-album, CROSS and their title track SOSO is one we want you to add to the playlist.
Even if it is claimed by some to be less commercially successful as other groups in 2019 (we beg to differ), the powerfully artistic MV paired with their signature hip-hop swag (Mino and Seung Hoon) and powerful vocals (Jinu and Seung Yoon) is definitely one that has been constantly played on our Spotify since its release.
And not to mention, we are ecstatic for its coming concert in KL (which you can learn more about here). Will you be there too?
SEVENTEEN – HIT (AN ODE)
Another great dance track to add to your playlist from 2019 is HIT by Seventeen, the title track for their latest album An Ode.
Bright, vibrant and dynamic, this electric pop song is one that fits into any clubs around the world and it also makes a great track for your gym sessions. What we love about this track is its more mature tones that brings out the more charismatic side of Seventeen as an idol group.
MAMAMOO – HIP (REALITY IN BLACK)
Known for their powerful vocals as a group, Mamamoo makes an impactful comeback with HIP, the title track for the album reality in BLACK.
Overflowing with swagger, the track sings against criticism, bullying and negativity – an ongoing issue in society and prevalently in the K-Pop scene. A bop right from the start, we adore this track also for its uplifting messages – from climate change to LGBTQI representation and equality for women.
A song that asks women to stand tall and own themselves, what more can we ask for?
I.U – BLUEMING (LOVE POEM)
One of the five artists to achieve "perfect all-kill" in the 2019 Korean music charts (with a total of 6 songs), IU is the only artist with two songs that achieved the accolade – first was Love Poem and the other was Blueming.
Here we highlight Blueming, a refreshing spring-like track that showcases IU's signature vocals that has an equally upbeat and fresh MV to go with it.
Dubbed one of the most successful Korean solo artist of today (and also the "nation's little sister"), IU presents herself in a visually stunning MV that gets us on our feet and dancing in seconds.
AKMU – HOW CAN I LOVE THE HEARTBREAK, YOU'RE THE ONE I LOVE (SAILING)
Another hit ballad that achieved the "perfect all-kill" is the spectacular brother-sister duo AKMU's How Can I Love The Heartbreak, You`re The One I Love (yes, that is a mouthful but it's worth it).
A release that came almost immediately after Chanhyuk's (the brother) release from military service. Self-written and composed by Chanhyuk, featuring Suhyun's (the sister) sweet and alluring vocals that is accompanied by the calm notes of the brother, this song could actually bring tears when you listen carefully to the lyrics (or in our case, reading the subtitles).
GOT7 – YOU CALLING MY NAME (CALL MY NAME)
Back to more upbeat tunes, GOT7's You Calling My Name is one not to be missed. One of the reigning K-Pop boy bands, GOT7's latest comeback in 2019 is a catchy tune that combines haunting synths, catchy rap verses and spectacular choreography that is as addictive as it is captivating.
With a touch of sleek sophistication in its arrangement, their style turned for the sultrier, much to the delight of its female fans. Hear it for yourself.
TXT – RUN AWAY (THE DREAM CHAPTER: MAGIC)
To say that this new title track from TXT's new album The Dream Chapter: Magic is a magical music adventure is no exaggeration. Inspired by Harry Potter and all things magical, the song Run Away (where its Korean name translates to Platform 9 3/4) is a mood-lifting track perfect for as a Monday Blues cure.
Inviting its listeners to escape from the mundane and enter the fantastical world of TXT, this monster rookie group has been sweeping charts and winning newcomer's awards at every corner!