80 Monsta X – “Fighter”
The sheer scope of Monsta X’s “Fighter” is an impressive feat on its own. The instrumental succeeds in setting an energizing tone while the guys come all the way through in this epic hype track.
79 OH MY GIRL – “LIAR LIAR”
OH MY GIRL’s “Liar Liar” is interesting in that it blurs the lines between verses, hooks, and transitions. It’s one continuous run of infectious melodies and bubbly vocals that is admittedly very hard to put down.
78 Lee Hi – “MY STAR”
In 2016, Lee Hi introduced us back to the soulful style that garnered her so much popularity early in her career – this time, with her upbeat comeback single “My Star.” It’s the Lee Hi I remember loving and that I hope to hear a lot more of in the near future. *crosses fingers*
77 EXO-CBX – “Hey Mama!”
While EXO’s music has a tendency to be aggressive, subunit ChenBaekXi opted for a far more laid back route with their debut single “Hey Mama!”. This energetic and funky number is performed to perfection by some of K-Pop’s leading voices.
76 DAY6 – “놓아 놓아 놓아 (Letting Go)”
Release Date: 3/30/16
Genre: Rock, Dance
“Letting Go” follows in the footsteps of 2015’s “Congratulations” as it feeds glowing electric guitar nuances into a beautiful arrangement and allows the group’s unique vocal tones to shine.
75 NU’EST – “R.L.T.L (Real Love True Love) (One Morning)”
Release Date: 8/29/16
In an unexpected turn of events, NU’EST provided one of K-Pop’s strongest electro-pop tracks of the year. “Real Love True Love” is a dreamy piece of music that feels fresh and subtly progressive.
74 B.A.P – “Skydive”
B.A.P returned to their signature loudness this year with “Skydive,” a ferocious up-tempo that features an electro-rock instrumental that succeeds in being as ambitious as its corresponding music video.
73 BLACKPINK – “불장난 (Playing With Fire)”
BLACKPINK’s softer approach to music is a pleasant sound to hear coming from a YG Entertainment group. “Playing With Fire” might lack the gutsy attitude a lot of us remember from 2NE1, but their cleaner style and tighter vocals is something I can get behind.
72 Kiha & The Faces (장기하와 얼굴들) – “ㅋ”
If you’ve ever poured your heart out via text to someone expecting something meaningful in return but received a lousy “lol” instead, Kiha & The Faces feels your pain and dedicates “ㅋ” to you.
71 The Quiett – “Ride To Atlantis”
Release Date: 4/29/16
Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop, Instrumental
The Quiett is one of Korea’s finest beat-makers and this year he offered a full album’s worth of some of his best work in the form of Q Train 2. The jazzy “Ride To Atlantis” is only one of a slew of transfixing instrumentals to find on the extended collection.