Best K-Pop Songs Of 2021 - Girl Group/Solo Edition | #KHIGHRewind

This year was exciting for female releases as we had monster rookies like aespa, STAYC, Tri.be, Purple Kiss and IVE dominating the music scene, as well as underrated acts like Dreamcatcher, GWSN and AleXa finally going viral with their 2021 releases. We also got trend-setting comebacks, debuts and experimental songs from the likes of IU and Loona while global sensations TWICE and Blackpink’s Lisa took over the Western music industry with just singles. Take a look at the best songs of the 2021 girl group/solo edition of #KHIGHRewind. Here are 10 of our favourite K-Pop songs by female acts released this year listed in no particular rank.

[The list is unranked. This is a compilation based on the critiques of the Team KHIGH.]

AleXa – Xtra with KARD’s BM

Everyone’s favourite punk princess AleXa has been gifting fans with content left right and centre and one of them happened to be the summer bop ‘Xtra’. The bubblegum pop song is signature AleXa as she experiments with retro and trap sounds. The equally funky music video has AleXa going extra as it stars KARD’s BM who is just having the time of his life enjoying and just being himself.

Blackpink’s Lisa – Money

While everyone expected Lisa’s solo debut ‘Lalisa’ to be a success, it was the b-side track ‘Money’ that took everyone by surprise. The Blackpink member shows off her swagger and penchant for hip hop songs with aggressive verses, heavy basslines and sharp moves in ‘Money’. As evident with the chorus going viral on social media, it is impossible not to move and vibe to ‘Money’ when it starts playing.

Chungha – Bicycle

Chungha had been teasing her first studio album ‘Querencia’ since 2020 and thanks to it we got several iconic singles like ‘Stay Tonight’ and ‘Play’. We finally got the album and its lead single ‘Bicycle’ early this year as Chungha shows off her dynamic range with this experimental project. ‘Bicycle’ dabbles in the noise music we usually see in boy group title tracks while still maintaining Chungha’s affinity for club-house music and elegant dance form.

CL – Spicy

Former 2NE1 leader CL seems to be going all out for her first studio album ever as she dropped the pre-release single ‘Spicy’ by roping in Hollywood veteran John Malkovich. Like the 2015 single ‘Hello Bitches’ which is still going viral, ‘Spicyis quintessential CL, from the aggressive rap and her unique flow to the simple but strong dance moves and avant-garde fashion. CL does what she does best as the hip hop song is an adrenaline-pumping performance that gives us a sneak-peak of her album ‘Alpha’.

IU – Coin

IU set the mood for the whole year by releasing her dynamic album and the retro jazzy single ‘Coin’ which set off the theme of vintage, old-school concepts and retro pop songs that defined 2021. The funky track keeps us on our toes with brassy sounds, groovy melody and a glamorous music video. Also a fashionista, fans and non-fans were swooning over her gender-fluid fashion, graceful moves and the hidden trick up her sleeve that happened to be rapping.

Loona – PTT (Paint The Town)

While K-pop has often taken inspiration from other cultures like Latin pop, reggae, moombahton and Japanese city pop, there aren’t many acts that look to India and Bollywood music which is why fans were over the moon when ‘PTT (Paint the Town)’ took elements from Indian culture. From the traditional drums and beats to the beautiful headpieces like ‘matha patti’, Loona shows the difference between cultural appreciation and appropriation as they also experiment with hip hop and EDM arrangements. 

Mamamoo’s Wheein – water color

Unlike the bubblegum pop songs and high teen girl crush concepts, Mamamoo broke the standard and introduced a variety of concepts, genres and experimental songs for K-pop girl groups and continued to do so with the members’ solo debuts. Fans were excited for Wheein, the last member to go solo and she did not disappoint with the retro-pop ‘water color’ full of funky synth sounds and a catchy hook that will make you want to listen to the song on repeat.

STAYC – ASAP

Every artist has that one song when they are starting out that makes them go viral and finally solidifies their position in the music industry. For super rookies STAYC, that just might be the fun summer release ‘ASAP’. The laidback bubblegum pop song has a punchy hook and synth-filled beats just like the punching dance move that gets stuck in your head for the whole day. The music video is similarly fun and cheery, full of fun animations, quirky hairstyles and vibrant outfits.

Sunmi – Tail

‘Tail’ is not simply a sexy song with pretty outfits and shocking choreography. It displays Sunmi’s creativity and ingenuity as the self-made song complements the well thought out choreography that visually paints a picture like the clever tail move, the Catwoman-esque outfits and noir music video that all tell a story of a woman scorned. And of course, while appreciating the symbolism and thought process, Sunmi and her backup dancers put out a seductive performance of the city-pop song that had everyone falling for her.

TWICE – The Feels

With earworm songs like ‘TT’, ‘Likey’ and ‘Cheer Up’ it is impossible for TWICE not to drop one viral hit every year. And this year we got their first English single ‘The Feels’. The girls go to prom in the disco-pop song and glittery music video as they confess their love to the crush. Whether it’s the line “Boy I boy I boy I know” or “You have stolen my heart, oh yeah,” social media is full of clips of people vibing to it as they sing along to the addictive song.

 

Which of these songs is your favourite? Is your choice on the list? Let us know your favorite female act songs of 2021 in the comments below.
If you enjoyed reading, please do consider supporting independent journalism.