Another trophy for the Buddies
It was a tight race, but GFRIEND have won. Whew, we've discussed them at length all year, but what an absolute amazing year for them: a trinity of three absolute killer comebacks- the ballady "Crossroads", the ethereal "Apple", and the disco-synthy "MAGO"- and their respective albums, which contained literally some of the best collective B-Sides of all time methinks - in their "回" series.
I think what made them so special and distinct this year was really just the fact that they struck gold and perfectly executed the balancing of slightly evolving their music but without it feeling like they were sacrificing their original sound, either. Seeing them dip into the more decadent 80s type of synthpop sound just felt very natural and organic. Now we just need the k-netz to evolve their tastebuds and ears too.
TWICE comes in second, and it was another great year for them too - well, for the second half of the year kii. It was kind of crickets from them until June, where they released their 9th EP More & More which had a couple nice b-sides, but they had some of us girlies worried with the title track of the same name.
However, in October they released their second studio album "Eyes Wide Open" which is... downright one of the most cohesive and satisfying k-pop albums from the year, and every song slaps. This album also debuted at #72 in the US Billboard 200, their highest entry, and making them only the third k-pop girl group to break within the top 100 of the chart. This also spawned the trendy synthpoppy comeback "I Can't Stop Me" which was an incredible step-up compared to More & More, and this song became their U.S. debut, with them performing it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
They then followed this release up a few weeks later in November with another great Japanese comeback "BETTER", and then the following month they debuted the surprise song "Cry For Me" at the MAMA2020s.
They also found the time for a cute little collab with forum favourites K/DA, on their song "I'll Show You" which features members Nayeon, Sana, Jihyo, and Chaeyoung.
So, basically, we got absolutely stuffed.
LOONA comes in third, starting off the year controversially with their "So What" comeback, which saw them go full-throttle for a lil girl krush concept, which was a bit of a depart from their previous music. Some of y'all hated it and some of y'all loved it, and I'm definitely in the latter. For me the song slaps and it still feels like LOONA to me so, bop!! Oh, and the ep "[#]" is a serve too!
In October, however, they released "Why Not?" which was a fucking serve - it definitely felt like an evolution to "So What", and the music video is so fucking good, having it reference pretty much all their past MVs, and Gowon hovering over the earth while there's a hurricane brewing is like one of the best aesthetics ever. That is not something they fucking made that is some professional like...
Attached to the song is their third EP "[12:00]" and this is definitely probably my most played album of the year, I think. I loooove every single song on this, my personal favourite being a tie between "Star" and "OOPS!". Even the intro is a track I put on repeat for like ten times nn.
In fourth place is brat-pop pioneers ITZY, who kicked off their year in March with their bop "WANNABE", and the EP "IT'z Me". I don't really use Wannabe too much since it feels like February from 2020 happened five years ago at this point, but I eat up all of their b-sides, especially That's A No No (which is one of my most played songs of the year actually nn), I Don't Wanna Dance, and even Ting Ting Ting bops too.
They followed this up in August with "Not Shy" - which at the time of this writing is a few days away from an English version release of it - and another boppy EP, with, again, outstanding B-Sides. My particular faves are Surf, Don't Give A What (it gives me That's A No No teas), and ID - which kind of sounds like Cherry Bullet's Q&A now that I think about it nn. Bops!
and in last place is IZ*ONE who had a very consistent - [That Japanese album "Twelve" never happened. You simply imagined it, and wiz*ones do not claim it.] - packed year. I still don't think FIESTA is for me, but Secret Story of The Swan is amazing, but Panorama is even better!!!! They also had an amazing run of b-sides in their eras this year, which would take me a million years to list all of them but everyone SHOULD have Daydream, Ayayaya, Pink Blusher, Rococo, Sequence, and Mise-en-Scène in their playlists. Period. Also, stay tuned for their uhh... cf??? song (I think this is for a commercial) "D-D-DANCE" coz it's giving me Song of The Year 2021 teas.
And just an honourable mention to BLACKPINK and Dreamcatcher who were tied for 6th place and BARELY missed a placement. Both of these groups had some great music and new career highlights from 2020, so stay perched.
Holy shit this post is really long sorry ff