Paper’s Top 10 best Kpop songs of 2021: 4th gen idols dominate, BTS – BLACKPINK are absent

BTS and BLACKPINK are surprisingly not included in the Top 10, while their junior groups take the lead. 

2021, a memorable year for Kpop artists, has come to an end. Throughout the year, numerous quality songs were released, achieving outstanding success. Recently, Paper – an American fashion, pop culture, art and entertainment magazine revealed a ranking of 40 best Kpop songs of 2021. Let’s take a look to see which song came out on top. 

10. NAKKA – AKMU ft.  IU

9. Scientist – TWICE

8. Lilac – IU

7. Luna – ONEUS


5. Bad Love – Key (SHINee)

Key is a rare 2nd generation idol along with IU to enter the Top 10. The retro track Bad Love shows off Key’s powerful vocal and matches well with his unique musical identity. Bad Love marks an outstanding solo comeback of Key after a long time.

4. After School – Weeekly

Similar to STAYC‘s ASAP, rookie Weeekly went viral after their debut with After School. Thanks to the song’s success, Weeekly’s popularity has also been strengthened compared to other rookie girl groups that debuted in the past 1-2 years.

3. Savage – aespa

Instead of Next Level, the smash hit that took over digital music charts for many months, an aespa‘s song that made it into the Top 3 is Savage.  Although the impact is not equal to Next Level, Savage impresses listeners with its unique and addictive sound.

2. 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) – TXT

TXT‘s music in 2021 is highly appreciated for its artistic quality, expressed not only through the melody but also the lyrics. 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) is exactly the group’s best song in 2021. The 2nd place is completely worthy of the value that the song brings to listeners.

1. Hello Future – NCT Dream

2021 is a very successful year for NCT Dream. They had excellent achievements in album sales, digital music, and music quality with the two songs Hot Sauce and Hello Future. With Hello Future – the winner of this list – it conveys positive energy about a bright future through an exciting and youthful melody, true to the vibe of NCT Dream.

Top 40 best Kpop songs in 2021 voted by Paper:

1. Hello Future – NCT Dream

2. 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) – TXT

3. Savage – aespa

4. After School – Weekly

5. Bad Love – Key (SHINee)


7. Luna – ONEUS

8. Lilac – IU

9. Scientist – TWICE

10. NAKKA – AKMU ft. IU

11. Thunderous – Stray Kids

12. Don’t Call Me – SHINee

13. Gambler – MONSTA X

14. Bambi – Baekhyun (EXO)

15. Eleven – IVE

16. Advice – Taemin (SHINee)

17. Rock With You – SEVENTEEN

18. Cinema – CIX

19. Butter – BTS

20. Bewitched – PIXY

21. Tamed-Dashed – ENHYPEN

22. After We Ride – Brave Girls

23. libidO – OnlyOneOf

24. Mafia in the Morning – ITZY

25. Love So Sweet – Cherry Bullet

26. Sticker – NCT 127


28. Bonnie & Clyde – Yuqi ((G)I-DLE)

29. Beautiful Beautiful – ONF

30. Peaches – Kai (EXO)

31. We Go – fromis_9

32. Pirate – Everglow

33. What Type Of X – Jessi

34. Queendom – Red Velvet

35. BEcause – Dreamcatcher

36. Like Water – Wendy (Red Velvet)

37. XOXO – Jeon Somi

38. Madonna – LUNA

39. My Treasure – TREASURE

40. Vamos – Omega X

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