60 Guten Birds (구텐버즈) – “밤신호 (The Night Signal)”
Release Date: 9/27/16
I appreciate the pings of vocal nuances in Guten Birds’ steady mid-tempo “The Night Signal.” The song possesses a quiet aggression about it that is nicely paralleled by vocalist 모호’s delicate delivery.
59 Taemin – “Soldier”
Release Date: 2/23/16
Taemin’s solo work continues to prove that his potential stretches far beyond his dancing obligations on stage. “Soldier,” a stripped down b-side, provides one of Taemin’s most emotional performances to date.
58 Cha Ji Yeon (차지연) & LDN Noise – “My Show”
It’s a shame Cha Ji Yeon’s collab with LDN Noise went relatively unnoticed over the summer, because it’s not only one hell of a dance anthem, but also one of LDN Noise’s strongest productions all year.
57 TWICE – “TT”
Release Date: 10/24/16
TWICE was inescapable this year. They struck big early on with “Cheer Up” (a song to look out for down the list) but lightning struck again for the girls with their autumn comeback, “TT.” The song’s mystifying arrangement lent a spooky backdrop to a slew of relentless hooks I still can’t seem to shake off.
56 HyunA – “나팔꽃 (Morning Glory) (Feat. Isle Qim)”
There’s something to be said for an artist that sees trends before they fully materialize and is capable of both capitalizing on them and furthering their own sound in the process, and HyunA accomplishes this with “Morning Glory,” her smoothest effort in years. To think this song came from the same artist that released “Bubble Pop” years ago is astounding.
55 Jun Hyo-Seong (전효성) – “나를 찾아줘 (Find Me) (Feat. D.Action)”
Sometimes, good-ole classic K-Pop arrangements are the remedy the doctor ordered, because “Find Me” by Jun Hyo-Seong checks off all the boxes of what a standard power pop anthem is supposed to sound like and slays them to a bloody pulp.
54 Feel Kim – “괴수 (Monster) (Feat. Echae Kang & 고상지)”
Release Date: 11/8/16
Icy, emotive, and transcendent, Feel Kim’s “Monster” fiddles with crescendoes in such a way that each rise and fall of the intricate violin and bandoneon instrumental leaves as much of an impression as the singer’s gut-wrenching performance.
53 Don Mills – “Stuffs In The Head”
Release Date: 7/8/16
The inauspicious instrumental of Don Mills’ “Stuffs In The Head” succeeds in setting a tight and tense listening experience, one that is amplified by Mills’ groggy bars and heavy-leaning hook.
52 ZICO – “너는 나 나는 너 (I Am You, You Are Me)”
Mellow music found a home among mainstream airwaves in 2016, with heavy hitters dialing tempos back and broadening arrangements to accommodate fluidity. ZICO’s “I Am You, You Are Me” did this effectively well, as the rapper dusted off his pipes to croon for a verse or two, sounding pretty great in the process.
51 Jonghyun – “White T-Shirt”
Release Date: 5/24/16
SHINee’s Jonghyun is known for his overt sensuality and there sure is a lot of it on his debut album 좋아 – The 1st Album. Perhaps that’s why “White T-Shirt,” a toned down, groovy number, stood out so well as one of the singer’s freshest b-side tracks on the collection.