2020 In Review: Day 16 – Concluding Remarks and the Roundup

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2020 In Review

1. Introduction + Best Album Art
2. Song of the Year
3. Album of the Year
4. R&B and Soul
5. Rock and Alternative
6. Rap and Hip-hop
7. Dance and Electronic
8. Pop and Ballad
9. Folk and Country
10. Jazz and Blues
11. Crossover and World
12. Best Collaborative Work
13. Rookie Artist of the Year
14. Artist of the Year
15. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

2020 is a not-so-distant memory now, but its music certainly deserves to be remembered. We hope that the past two weeks have provided a useful recap of this body of work. The joys of keeping up with releases never stops: we are already well into charting 2021, with the likes of Yerin Baek, Jaedal, IZ*ONE, QM, and more producing some surefire inclusions for next year’s list in December alone.

The 2020 series concludes here, but as we do at the end each year, we’ll do a quick roundup of what other publications have picked in their year-end lists.

The Roundup: What Others Have Picked

As we emphasize all the time, our series is not comprehensive, and some works are always going to fall through the cracks. A review of other publications’ selections can help fill in those gaps, and also show us what kind of works are getting widespread acclaim.

Below is a list of songs and albums that have been named to other publications’ year-end lists. Outlets surveyed are IZMWeiv, Bugs Music, MusicY, Tonplein, and the Korean Music Awards. At time of writing Weiv has not released their list, but this post will be updated if and when they do. Meanwhile, a few prominent outlets like Idology, Rhythmer, and the Korean Hip-hop Awards are not included as they focus on specific genres – though this policy is always being re-evaluated.

The selectors each have different systems. IZM picks the top 10 albums and singles, no order; Bugs picks just one album and song for each genre category; MusicY does an ordered top 10 for albums, singles and rookie albums, as well as nominees; Tonplein and KMA each do a full nominee list, with around five songs and albums for each category.

  • Works that did not appear anywhere in our 2020 In Review are listed in italics. (This doesn’t count Album Art or Other Recognition.) If a song did not get picked by us but the album containing it did, the song still gets italicized since it didn’t appear on its own merit.
  • Each entry also lists the publication(s) that selected that entry, and works that received multiple selections are bolded. If something is bold and italicized, you could say that we “whiffed” or deviated that much harder.
  • MusicY, Tonplein, and the KMAs publish nominees in addition to winners. I include the nominees at Tonplein and KMA, but no longer the MusicY nominees (as the list would get quite a bit longer).

Most of the italicized works below were also considered for our list before ultimately being cut, but some were legitimately missed. We hope that you will check them out as well!


  • ABTB – Daydream [Bugs, MusicY, KMA]
  • Ahn Da-young – Antihero [Tonplein]
  • A.Train – Paingreen [KMA]
  • Badlamb – Frightful Waves [MusicY, KMA]
  • Baekhyun – Delight [KMA]
  • Bae Young-gyoung – 여행기록 (Travel Record) [KMA]
  • B-Free – Free the Beast [KMA]
  • Bill Stax – Detox [KMA]
  • BTS – Map of the Soul: 7 [IZM, KMA]
  • Cadejo – Freebody [KMA]
  • Charlie Jung – Sein’s Blues [KMA]
  • Cho Yoonseung & Kim Sungwon – Stellive Vol. 5 | Blues in the Night [KMA]
  • Chudahye Chagis – 오늘밤 당산나무 아래서 (Underneath the Dangsan Tree Tonight) [IZM, Bugs, MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Cifika – Hana [Tonplein]
  • Combative Post – Whiteout [KMA]
  • Dabda – But, All the Shining Things Are [Tonplein]
  • Damye – The Sandwich Artist [Tonplein]
  • Deepflow – Founder [IZM, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Dreamcatcher – Dystopia: The Tree of Language [Tonplein]
  • Duoxini – Sins of Society [MusicY]
  • GaYoung Bae – Sepia Painting [KMA]
  • Gonia – A Tension [KMA]
  • Gong Joong Geu Neul – 연가 (Love Song) [KMA]
  • Gray by Silver – Eternal Gray [KMA]
  • Gwangil Jo – 암순응 (Dark Adaptation) [MusicY]
  • Heejin Jang – Dream Signal [Tonplein]
  • Hyukoh – 사랑으로 (Through Love) [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Jade – Mood [Tonplein]
  • JeHee – On the Wind (Ethnic Project_Europe) [KMA]
  • Jeongmilla – CheongPa Sonata [IZM, MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Jinbo – Don’t Think Too Much [IZM]
  • Ji Park & VRI String Quartet – Save the Planet [KMA]
  • Jo Dong-hee – 슬픔은 아름다움의 그림자 (Sadness is the Shadow of Beauty) [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Jo Dong-ik – 푸른 베개 (Blue Pillow) [KMA]
  • Julia Dream – 생과 사 (Life and Death) [KMA]
  • KoHeean Trio – Live at Jazz First [KMA]
  • Khundi Panda – 가로사옥 (Garosawk) [IZM, KMA]
  • Kim Il-du – 꿈 속 꿈 (Dream in Dream) [Tonplein]
  • Kim Jae-hyung – 사치 (Flex) [KMA]
  • Kim Sawol – 헤븐 (Heaven) [MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Kim Seok-june – 20세기 소년 (20th-Century Boy) [IZM]
  • Kim Ximya – Dog [Tonplein]
  • Leenalchi – 수궁가 (Sugungga) [MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Lofibaby – 미술관 (Art Museum) [KMA]
  • Loss of Infection – Dark Dimension [KMA]
  • Malo – 송창식 송북 (Song Chang Sik Song Book) [Bugs, KMA]
  • Meaningful Stone – 꿈에서 걸려온 전화 (A Call from My Dream) [Tonplein]
  • Messgram – Cheers for the Failures [KMA]
  • Methkamel – 20th Century [KMA]
  • Mogwaa – Open Mind [KMA]
  • NCT – NCT Resonance Pt. 1 [IZM]
  • NCT – NCT Resonance Pt. 2 [Tonplein]
  • Nucksal – 1Q87 [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Ohelen & Choisol – Oh [Tonplein]
  • Omega Sapien – Garlic [Tonplein]
  • Organic Beer – TCR (Trans-Continental Railway) [KMA]
  • Pinknoize – The Colours [Bugs]
  • Red Velvet – The Reve Festival Finale [Tonplein]
  • Remnants of the Fallen – All the Wounded and Broken [MusicY, KMA]
  • Samuel Seo – Unity II [KMA]
  • Seo Bo-kyung – 내면의 영화 (Inner Movie) [KMA]
  • Se So Neon – 비적응 (Nonadaptation) [KMA]
  • Shin Hae-gyeong – 속꿈, 속꿈 (In Dreams, In Dreams) [MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Siot and Breeze – 샘 (Spring) [Tonplein]
  • Song Youngnam – Worldless [Tonplein]
  • Soojin Suh – Colorist [KMA]
  • Soumbalgwang – 도화선 (Fuze) [Tonplein]
  • Squash Vines – 신세계 (New World) [MusicY, KMA]
  • Sukyung Kim – Lilac Hill [KMA]
  • Sumin – XX, [Tonplein]
  • Sumin Jung – 통감 (Sense of Agony) [KMA]
  • Sunwoojunga – Serenade [Weiv*, MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Swervy – Undercover Angel [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Swimrabbit – Pond [KMA]
  • Taemin – Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 1 [Tonplein]
  • The Blank Shop – Tailor [IZM, KMA]
  • Two Tone Shape – Fantastic Machines [KMA]
  • Uza & Shane – Classy [KMA]
  • Various Artists – Leg-Quency [Tonplein]
  • Various Artists – We, Do It Together [Tonplein]
  • WJSN – Neverland [Tonplein]
  • Wona – Thanatoid Butterfly [MusicY, Tonplein]
  • Yerin Baek – Every Letter I Sent You. [Bugs, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Yukika – 서울여자 (Soul Lady) [MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]


  • ABTB – Daydream (Feat. Shin Yoon-chul) [KMA]
  • Ahn Da-young – 지문 (Fingerprint) [Tonplein]
  • Aseul – Bye Bye Summer [KMA]
  • A.Train – Hurt [KMA]
  • Badlamb – 겁 (Frightful Waves) [MusicY, KMA]
  • Bibi – 사장님 도박은 재미로 하셔야 합니다 (Kazino) [Tonplein]
  • Big Issue – 서있는 남자 (Standing Man) (Feat. Sukhoon Jang) [Tonplein]
  • Bill Stax – Lonely Stoner (Feat. Yumdda, Rakon) [KMA]
  • Blackpink – Lovesick Girls [IZM]
  • BTS – Dynamite [MusicY, KMA]
  • BTS – Life Goes On [Tonplein]
  • Changmo – Meteor** [IZM]
  • Chin Sooyoung – 서로 말하지 않아도 (Ineffable) [Bugs]
  • Cho Jung-seok – 아로하 (Aloha) [IZM]
  • Chudahye Chagis – 리츄얼댄스 (Ritual Dance) [KMA]
  • Chudahye Chagis – 사는새 (Soul Birds) [Tonplein]
  • Cifika – Solar [Tonplein]
  • Cignature – 눈누난나 (Nun Nu Nan Na) [Tonplein]
  • Cotoba – Reyn [KMA]
  • Dabda – Light Comes Back [Tonplein]
  • Damye – 암낫욜쏜 (I’m Not Your Son) [KMA]
  • Dareharu – 너로피어오라 (Flowering) [Tonplein]
  • Day6 – Zombie [IZM}
  • Deepflow – 대중문화예술기획업 (Music Business License) [Tonplein]
  • DeVita – Evita! [KMA]
  • Gaho – 시작 (Start Over) [IZM]
  • Gong Joong Geu Neul -계절 (Season) [KMA]
  • Gwangil Jo – 곡예사 (Acrobat) [IZM]
  • H a lot – We Are [KMA]
  • Hyukoh – New Born [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Idiotape – Too Old to Die Young [KMA]
  • Idiots – 악당출현! (Villain Attack!) [Tonplein]
  • IU – 에잇 (Eight) (Prod./Feat. Suga) [IZM, KMA]
  • Jang Myung-sun – Remiel [KMA]
  • Jeongmilla – 광장 (The Square) [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Jeongmilla – 서울역에서 출발 (Departing from Seoul Station) [MusicY, KMA]
  • Jowall – 아무것도 기념하지 않는 (To Celebrate Nothing) [Tonplein]
  • Julia Dream – El Nuevo Mundo [KMA]
  • Kim Chang-wan – 노인의 벤치 (Old Man’s Bench) [KMA]
  • Kim Jae-hyung – 실패담 (Failure Story) [KMA]
  • Kim Sawol – 사랑하는 사람들에게 가장 상처 주는 키를 우리는 모두 가지고 있어 (Key) [KMA]
  • Kim Ximya – Uainrealli [Tonplein]
  • Khundi Panda – 네버코마니 (Nevercomanie) [KMA]
  • Lang Lee – 환란의 세대 (The Generation of Tribulation) [Tonplein]
  • Leenalchi – 범 내려온다 (Tiger Is Coming) [IZM, MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Meaningful Stone – 삐뽀삐뽀 (Beep-Boop, Beep-Boop) [Tonplein, KMA]
  • Meaningful Stone – 실패하지 않는 사랑이 있나요 (As If) [Tonplein]
  • Mogwaa – Reflex [KMA]
  • Mushvenom – 버르장멋 (Nice Head) (Feat. Kim Eung-soo AKA Mushgannom) [KMA]
  • Mushvenom – 보자보자 (Let’s See) [MusicY]
  • Naked Swan – Ophelia [Tonplein]
  • Nucksal – Akira (Feat. Gaeko) [KMA]
  • Nucksal – 추락 (The Fall) (Feat. DeVita) [Tonplein]
  • Ohelen & Choisol – She Died [Tonplein]
  • Oh My Girl – Dolphin [IZM, MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Omega Sapien – Happycore [Tonplein]
  • Red Velvet – Psycho [Tonplein]
  • Se So Neon – 난춘 (Nan Chun) [KMA]
  • Shin Hae-gyeong – 그대는 총천연색 (Colors of You) [KMA]
  • Silica Gel – Kyo181 [Tonplein]
  • Silica Gel – Kyo181 (Hwi Remix) [Tonplein]
  • Siot and Breeze – 소풍 (Going On) [Tonplein]
  • Sogumm X Ohhyuk – 야유회 (Yayou Hoi) [Tonplein]
  • Sonakbyul – 우물 (Well) [Bugs]
  • Song Youngnam – Multiples of A [Tonplein]
  • Soumbalgwang – 꽃밭에서 (In Flowers) [Bugs]
  • Sumin – 불켜 (Turnon) [Tonplein]
  • Sunjae Lee, Eunyoung Kim, Dayeon Seok – Pulse Theory [KMA]
  • Sunwoojunga – 도망가자 (Run with Me) [KMA]
  • Swervy – 파랑 (Blue) [Tonplein]
  • Swervy – Mama Lisa [Bugs, KMA]
  • Taemin – Criminal [Tonplein]
  • The Solutions – Dance with Me [Bugs]
  • Two Tone Shape – The Prophet [KMA]
  • WJSN – Pantomime [Tonplein]
  • Wona – When I Was Dead [Tonplein]
  • Yerin Baek – Rest [Tonplein]
  • Yerin Baek – Square (2017) [MusicY, Tonplein, KMA]
  • Yukika – 서울여자 (Soul Lady) [MusicY, KMA]
  • Zico – 아무노래 (Any Song) [IZM, MusicY, KMA]

*Serenade was named to Weiv’s 2019 albums list, but as it came out in December most other publications (including Hellokpop) had it in 2020 recaps.

**”Meteor” was released on November 29, 2019, so it was included in Hellokpop’s 2019 In Review instead.

Header album art (QM – Money Breath) from Bugs Music.

Read our past series:

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review

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