Although many of us had been locked up in our houses for more than half of the year and have hardly been able to attend face-to-face fan meets or live concerts, thankfully, our K-pop idols had made sure to keep us happy during that hard period. 2021 will be known for the satisfying comebacks of some of the most popular K-pop groups and solo artists. These artists keep reaffirming their roles in the Korean music industry by giving us jaw-dropping content to obsess over one after the other.
Well, now that our favorite K-pop idols are back to their regular schedule and that some of them already have a tour coming up, why don’t we take a note on which K-pop act had the best comeback this year! Here is a list of the top ten best K-pop comebacks of 2021 you must know about. So let’s get started!
Lead Single: Celebrity
Album name: Lilac
The Nation’s Sister, IU, released her fifth studio album this year in March, which has been certified platinum by Korea’s Music Content Association. ‘Lilac’ focuses on the concept of bidding farewell, which the artist has penned down saying goodbye to her twenties and entering her thirties on a clean slate.
The first single of the album, ‘Celebrity’ is a cheerful dance-pop and electro-pop track with which she has begun her venture into a more upbeat and energetic genre of music. It lyrically explores the notion of living as a celebrity, the identity, and fame that comes with it, the unending insecurities and loss. The song peaked at number three under the US World Digital Songs on Billboard and number 78 under Billboard Global 200.
Lead Single: After School
Album: After School
It hasn’t been long since the second girl group of IST Entertainment’ Weekly’ debuted, and they are already ruling the world with their super catchy songs. ‘After School’ is the title track as well as the third song of their third mini-album titled, ‘We Play’, which became a huge success this year and went viral on popular social media like Tik Tok and Instagram. The song is clearly a bubbly pop track with a gorgeous melody, screaming some of the quirky Red Velvet songs that they delivered in their early years.
It’s amazing how ‘After School’ has managed to catch the playfulness of the second-generation K-pop along with the use of some modernized and trendy elements! It’s cute and bright but nowhere close to being cringy. If you wanna drag your non-K-pop friends into the world of K-pop music, you might as well suggest this number. Even the choreography is so interesting and appealing to watch!
Lead Single: The Feels
Album name: Formula of Love: O+T=<3
The popular girl group Twice released their third Korean studio album this year and made a comeback with the lead single titled, ‘The Feels’, which marks the first English-language track of the band. The song is an infectious, fun bop that has done a great job of focusing on the all-consuming nature of love with the help of its obsessive and cliché lyrics.
On the Billboard Global 200, ‘The Feels’ debuted at number 12 and became Twice’s highest performing song on the chart. Moreover, it replaced Lisa’s ‘Money’ and ranked at number one position on the weekly ranking of YouTube for the most-viewed MVs in the world.
Lead Single: In The Morning
Extended Play: Guess Who
In the Morning is the lead single of ITZY’s fourth extended play, which is a powerful hip-hop number with an impressive dance-trap composition. The lyrics aim at the theme of stealing someone’s heart by comparing their powers to that of a mafia and owning the heart of their future partner.
The music video sports a dark atmosphere which amplifies the core concepts of the track like ambiguity and suspense. It peaked at the Global Excl. U.S. chart as well as the Global 200 chart, both of which are the highest for the group. Recently, ITZY’s Ryujin performed on ‘In the Morning,’ flexing her powerful dancing skills at the MAMAs.
Lead Single: Hawaa
Extended Play: I Burn
(G)I-dle made their comeback in the very beginning of the year 2021 with an instantly catchy banger! While the girl group makes sure to come up with a unique concept every time they make a comeback, their fourth extended play, ‘I Burn’ is exceptionally powerful. The lyrics come right from the mind of (G) I-dle’s leader and main rapper, Soyeon, who has penned down the loneliness of a woman trapped in winter, trying to move on from painful memories.
‘Hwaa’ is a synth-pop song with dark and dreamy vibes which ended up becoming one of the top five hits of the group, peaking on several domestic and Korean music charts.
5. Stray Kids
Lead Single: Thunderous
Album name: NoEasy
Stray Kids never fail to disappoint us, and the lead single of their second studio album, ‘NoEasy’ is a song full of authenticity, making it a work of art. A hip hop and trap track, ‘Thunderous’ utilizes Korean traditional music accompanied by brass instruments, making an attempt to express their determination of always sticking to their principles irrespective of anyone’s opinion.
It managed to become an immediate bop, peaking at the 33rd position on the Gaon Digital Chart upon its release, the highest for the band. It debuted at number 80 on the Global 200, and on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales, it charted at number 3. More than 1.3 million copies of the album has been sold, making it the first million-selling album for Stray Kids as well as their label.
Lead Single: 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)
Album name: The Chaos Chapter: Freeze
One of the most successful albums of the band TXT, ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’ became Triple Platinum certified by KMCA in November and is said to have sold more than 740,000 copies. The lead single, ‘0X1=LOVESONG’ belongs to the rock and pop genre, which has memorable instrumentation and is very pleasing during the post-chorus hook. The track also features Seori, whose vocals add a crispy and refreshing touch to the overall song.
The song is indeed a fine one that lyrically conveys about the idea of believing in love even when your whole world is collapsing, and there are thousands of doubts whirling about in your mind. No doubt, TXT has made a great comeback in 2021.
Track Name: Next Level
The South Korean girl group Aespa has debuted just a year ago but judging by the momentum that they have picked ever since the debut, it seems like they are going to be the next-generation revolutionary bands. The song is a dance hip-hop number with groovy rap, an upbeat jazz bridge accompanied by an energetic bass riff, and powerful vocals of the members of Aespa. The song continues the band’s story from their first single titled, ‘Black Mamba,’ released last year and set in a fictional Kwangya universe, narrating their quest for the aforementioned evil.
The music video of ‘Next Level’ broke the record for being the fastest mv by a fourth-generation girl group to surpass 100 million views within only 32-days of its premiere. Well, Aespa has already broken their own record with another single ‘Savage,’ the lead track from their first Extended Play of the same name.
2. NCT Dream
Track name: Hot Sauce
Album name: Hot Sauce
‘Hot Sauce’ is the first full-length studio album of the South Korean boy group NCT Dream, and also the first project after the re-entry of Mark, completing the seven-member unit. The album is one of the best-selling South Korea albums of 2021, selling more than 2 million copies within a month of its release! The title track of the album is a hip-hop number spiced up with an afrobeat.
The unique chanting part of the song contacts the minimalist track and helps it to sound more compelling. Later, the album was repackaged with three new songs as ‘Hello Future’, including a title track as well.
Track name- Butter
Type- Digital Single
Although BTS’s comebacks are always great, this year, it was their digital single, Butter, that became a global sensation and broke multiple records. The track marks the second English-language single of the K-pop band and ended up topping charts in Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, and the US. Released as a summer song that became commercially successful, it aimed at flaunting the charms and skills of different members of the band, something that they fell short of in their first-ever English single, ‘Dynamite’.
The song is extremely catchy with a pulsating, delectable, and bass-heavy beat chorus, perfect for every happy occasion! Not to mention how the ARMYs backed the group up by making the music video the most-watched video on YouTube in the first 24 hours with a total of 108.2 million views. Soon after the world began to hum the song non-stop, the American rapper Megan Thee Stallion released a remix version of the song featuring her rap, making the track even more appealing!