20 Must-Hear Underrated K-Pop Songs From The Second Half Of 2020
While we bid 2020 a rather relieved farewell, we can still continue to enjoy all the awesome music that the K-pop world has brought us throughout the year. And that means that it’s the perfect time to take stock of the hidden gems and under-appreciated tracks of 2020! Following off our favorite underrated tracks from the first half of 2020, here are 20 more underrated songs released roughly in the second half of the year. From groups that deserve more to overshadowed singles and b-sides from popular artists, this list will give you plenty to feast your ears on!
1. “BBUSYEO” — ONEUS
The fun and peppy “BBUSYEO” is the perfect way to start off this list! This bright and funky concept was a new one for ONEUS, once again proving the group’s amazing versatility — but sadly, it didn’t get the attention that some of the group’s other comebacks have. “BBUSYEO” is colorful, quirky, and easy to love, so don’t miss it:
2. “Tears of Chaos” — E’LAST
E’LAST debuted just this year, but they’re already proving that they’re a group to keep our eye on. “Tears of Chaos” is a bold second release for a rookie group: it’s dramatic, dark, and markedly mature. Building from a mournful start to a powerful, brassy chorus, “Tears of Chaos” ultimately works in symphonic string sounds and breathless raps before cutting the instrumental to focus dramatically on the members’ voices. It’s a musically complex masterpiece with an interesting and aesthetic music video to match.
3. “Mermaid” — CLC’s Yeeun
“Mermaid” is a sparkling, echoing track that calls to mind a magical underwater world, and Yeeun’s vocals are as enchanting as a siren’s — which is amazing, considering that she is CLC’s main rapper! The song marked Yeeun’s final performance from Mnet’s hip hop reality show “Good Girl” (you can also check out her live performance of it featuring Rohann), and is a mesmerizingly beautiful gem that you don’t want to miss.
4. “Pit A Pat” — Kim Junsu (XIA)
Kim Junsu’s distinctive vocals bring us back to the earlier days of K-pop, and “Pit a Pat” leans into this vibe with an instrumental that is reminiscent of the 2010s. But that’s not the only reason “Pit a Pat” is such a strong track: it has a wonderfully positive energy that is hard not to love and a dramatic urgency that it maintains from start to finish without getting dull.
Taemin releases so much good music that it’s hard to keep track, and “2 KIDS” got criminally overshadowed by his other releases this year. While “Criminal” and “IDEA” are more Taemin’s signature sultry style, “2 KIDS” is a gorgeous, reflective, and nostalgic piece about a bygone romance of one’s youth. In this MV, Taemin shows off spectacularly emotional choreo as he wonders how things might have turned out differently if he and a lover hadn’t been “just too young and dumb.”
6. “Obliviate” — Lovelyz
Lovelyz brought us their most mature concept yet in “Obliviate,” in which they cast a spell to erase the memories of a painful romance. Yet the group continues to be taken for granted, only garnering one music show win for the mysterious, magical track. “Obliviate” is a strong and undeniably catchy release and deserved way more!
7. “Bad Guy” — 1THE9
In August we said a sad goodbye to project group 1THE9, formed through the survival audition show “Under 19.” But before the members parted ways, they left us some powerful and very underrated tracks. “Bad Guy” is one of these: it offers a burst of intensity with a memorable chorus, in which the guys boldly proclaim that they’ll do anything for a girl — even be a villain!
8. “Abracadabra” — Oh My Girl’s YooA
Every song off of YooA’s “Bon Voyage” EP is a gem, marking this a strong solo debut for the Oh My Girl vocalist! “Abracadabra” stands out for its funky vibe as well as for the way it showcases YooA’s outstanding and versatile talent: she starts the chorus sexily before switching gears to let her clear vocals sparkle playfully — and that’s to say nothing of the must-watch performance video!
9. “THIS IS NOT A SONG, 1929” — 2PM’s Jun.K
2PM’s Jun.K composed, arranged, and wrote lyrics for this gorgeous ballad, which showcases the singer’s rich and powerful vocals. The chorus is downright shiver-inducing, and its unique title is derived from the artist René Magritte’s famous 1929 painting that emphasizes the phrase “This is not a pipe.” Take a listen and let Jun.K touch your heart with his velvety voice:
10. “HELL IN HEAVEN” — TWICE
“HELL IN HEAVEN” is a b-side off of TWICE’s “Eyes Wide Open” album, and it plays off the same theme of temptation as their title track “I CAN’T STOP ME.” But with flirty beats and sultry, breathless vocals, this song is a hit in its own right. “HELL IN HEAVEN” makes you feel like you’re immersed in a steamy jungle of these ladies’ charm, and you won’t want to escape!
11. “IMAGINE” — BROOKLYN
If you haven’t heard of BROOKLYN, this solo artist debuted in 2019 and is only getting better, turning up the heat for his 2020 release! “IMAGINE” is an intense dance track with a dark, edgy feel. With its driving instrumentals and catchy lines, we guarantee you’ll have “imagine that, girl” running through your head!
12. “9LIVES” — Hyolyn
“9LIVES” not only is a beautiful ballad, but also has a mesmerizing dance-focused music video that you’ll want to watch over and over. The song is in English, and through her powerful and emotion-laden vocals, Hyolyn tells a story about being on her last “life for love,” hoping that this final chance will work out rather than leaving her broken.
13. “Cartoon” — Block B’s Zico
Zico has been the ray of sunshine we all needed this year, and if you loved his hit “Any Song,” you’ll also enjoy its underrated cousin “Cartoon.” The track has the same winning combination of infectious energy and catchy melody, which means it’s bound to make you smile — as will its music video, which puts a quirky spin on a post-apocalyptic concept!
As its title suggests, “Let Me Go” is a breakup song, as R&B singer Crush and Taeyeon tell two sides of an impending parting. While it is wistful, the ballad is also soothing and above all, beautiful: Crush’s and Tayeon’s voices are each heavenly enough on their own, but when the two come together to duet in the second half of the song, it’s truly a treat for the ears.
15. “RIDE” — KNK
KNK is a perennially underrated group, and “RIDE” is their latest: a polished dance track with fresh synths, the track is a smooth trip befitting of the mini album concept for “KNK AIRLINE.” Let the boys take you on a ride with this cool song, and make sure you don’t miss their intricate choreography!
16. “MISS YOU” — B.O.Y
Listening to “MISS YOU” is like being wrapped in a soft blanket: it’s soothing, feel-good warmth. The song is simple, but that’s what makes it such a perfect profession of sweet feelings. It’s B.O.Y’s fourth release as a duo, following the disbandment of MYTEEN, and we’re excited to see what the guys have in store for us in the future!
17. “D.B.D.B.DIB” — SATURDAY
“D.B.D.B.DIB” is just pure fun, and its infectious energy is hard to resist! The ladies alternate between a more typical youthful girl group concept and flirtier sections with heavy bass and raps, keeping things interesting. But it’s the saxophone riffs in the chorus that make this song stand out and make it one of the more unique dance tracks of 2020!
“Run away” is the title track off of Song Mino’s second solo album, but somehow didn’t get nearly the attention that his 2018 “Fiancé” garnered. This might be because “Run away” is more emotional and raw, as Mino begs a lover to get away from him before their romance causes more pain. With notes of emptiness, incredible rap verses, and an explosively powerful chorus, “Run away” hits deep.
19. “OOPSY” — Weki Meki
Weki Meki has had a string of solid releases this year, and while they finally caught attention with the bold “COOL,” their earlier release “OOPSY” is also a hit in its own right! With lyrics about accidentally starting to crush on someone, the song is a coy, playful delight that is bound to get stuck in your head.
20. “Like a Movie” — B1A4
“Like a Movie” is B1A4’s first comeback as a trio, and it sounds like something out of a fairytale. The song has an old-fashioned cinematic feel that is befitting of these K-pop princes, and its warm and fuzzy vibe makes it not only one of the strongest, underrated hits of 2020 but also a timeless feel-good song.
Hey Soompiers, which of these songs or artists is your fave? What other songs do you think were underrated this year? Let us know in the comments below!
hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases.