2021 In Review: Day 16 – Concluding Remarks and the Roundup

By  | 

2021 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

Death, taxes, and the release cycle that never stops. Even as we wrap up the 2021 In Review, the music of 2022 (and December 2021) is giving us plenty to reckon with. Expect to see excellent work from Ive, Van Siian, Eunjeong Hwang, and much more adorning this space in a year’s time.

To close the series, as we do every year we take a brief look at what other outlets have been selecting to their own 2021 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 included are IZM, MusicY, Tonplein, and the Korean Music Awards (when nominees are revealed in February). Bugs Music has unfortunately discontinued their Album of the Month series (which doubled as the year-end list) in May 2021. Weiv was included in our roundup until 2019, but did not post a year-end list in 2020; if they do post one for 2021 this post will be updated accordingly. Meanwhile, a few prominent outlets like Idology, Rhythmer, and the Korean Hip-hop Awards are not included as they focus on specific genres.

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 2021 In Review are listed in italics. (As in, not appearing in our “award” categories; doesn’t include Album Art or Other Recognition categories.) 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. We include the nominees at Tonplein and KMA, but not 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!


  • Agnes – Hegemony Shift [MusicY]
  • AkMu – Next Episode [Tonplein]
  • Asian Glow – Cull Ficle [Tonplein]
  • Bosudongcooler – 모래 (Sand) [MusicY]
  • Budung – 지지않는 곳으로 가자 (Let’s Take a Step to a Brighter Place) [MusicY]
  • Cacophony – Reborn [Tonplein]
  • Chancellor – Chancellor [MusicY]
  • ChoiLB – 독립음악 (Independent Music) [IZM]
  • Chungha – Querencia [Tonplein]
  • Chun Yong-sung – 수몰 (Drowned) [MusicY, Tonplein]
  • Drinking Boys and Girls Choir – Marriage License [Tonplein]
  • Enhypen – Border: Carnival [IZM]
  • Glowcean – Essence [Tonplein]
  • Haepaary – Born by Gorgeousness [Tonplein]
  • Heartcore – Heartcore [Tonplein]
  • IU – Lilac [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Jade – Hometown [Tonplein]
  • Jung Jaeil – Psalms [Tonplein]
  • Jang Pill-soon – 페트리코 – 장필순 (Petrichor – Jang Pillsoon) [Tonplein]
  • Jannabi – 환상의 나라 (The Land of Fantasy) [Tonplein]
  • Khundi Panda – MODM: Original Saga [Tonplein]
  • Kid Milli & Dress – Cliché [Tonplein]
  • Kim Hyun-chul – City Breeze and Love Song [MusicY]
  • Kim Il-du – 새 계 절 (New Season) [Tonplein]
  • Lang Lee – 늑대가 나타났다 (There Is a Wolf) [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Lil Cherry & Goldbuuda – Chef Talk [Tonplein]
  • Machaal – 마찰시험 (Friction Test) [MusicY]
  • Mind Combined – Circle [IZM]
  • NCT Dream – Hello Future [Tonplein]
  • Net Gala – 신파 (Shinpa) [MusicY]
  • Ohelen & Choisol – Pause [Tonplein]
  • Oh My Girl – Dear Ohmygirl [Tonplein]
  • Parannoul – To See the Next Part of the Dream [IZM]
  • Raai – Beautiful Moment [Tonplein]
  • Sagong – Optimist [Tonplein]
  • Seventeen – Attacca [Tonplein]
  • Sogumm – Precious [Tonplein]
  • Soumbalgwang – 기쁨, 꽃 (Happiness, Flower) [Tonplein]
  • SoundSupply Service – SCA1 (Side A) [Tonplein]
  • Thama – Don’t Die Colors [Tonplein]
  • TRPP – TRPP [Tonplein]
  • TXT – 혼돈의 장: Freeze (The Chaos Chapter: Freeze) [Tonplein]
  • Unofficialboyy & Haifhaif – 그물, 덫, 발사대기, 포획 (Net, Trap, Launcher, Capture) [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Wendy – Like Water [MusicY]
  • Yang Jin-seok – Barn Orchestra [IZM]
  • Yerin Baek – Tellusaboutyourself [Tonplein]
  • Yerin Baek – Tellusaboutyourself Remixes [Tonplein]
  • Youra – Gaussian [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Zeonpasa – 억겁의 싸이-키 (Psy-che of Eons) [MusicY]
  • Zior Park – Syndromez [IZM, Tonplein]


  • Aespa – Next Level [IZM, MusicY, Tonplein]
  • Aespa – Savage [Tonplein]
  • Ahn Da-young – 걸작 (Masterpiece) [Tonplein]
  • AkMu – 낙하 (Nakka) (Feat. IU) [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Alive Funk – To-Kyo (Feat. Samuel Seo) [IZM]
  • Ash Island – 멜로디 (Melody) [IZM]
  • Atom Music Heart – 망명자 이즘 (Exile of Izm) [MusicY]
  • Badlamb – 정오의 순간 (Noon Moment) [MusicY]
  • BewhY – Celebration [Tonplein]
  • Bibi, 88Rising – The Weekend [IZM]
  • Brave Girls – Rollin’* [IZM]
  • BTS – Butter [MusicY]
  • Budung – 씬이 버린 아이들 (Guess Who?) [IZM, MusicY]
  • Changmo – 태지 (Taiji) [Tonplein]
  • Chungha – Bicycle [Tonplein]
  • Chun Yong-sung – 붉은 밤 (Das Erhabene) [Tonplein]
  • D-Hack, Pateko – Ohayo My Night* [IZM]
  • Enhypen – Drunk-Dazed [Tonplein]
  • Glowcean – Pure [Tonplein]
  • Gong Joong Geu Neul – 모래탑 (Sand Tower) [Tonplein]
  • Guinneissik – Ionisation [Tonplein]
  • Haepaary – 소무-독경 (A Shining Warrior – Heartfelt Joy) [Tonplein]
  • Heartcore – 60 BPM [Tonplein]
  • Jang Pill-soon – 숲의 레퀴엠 (Forest Requiem) [Tonplein]
  • Jaurim – Péon Péon [Tonplein]
  • Jeon Yoo-dong – 숲으로 (To the Forest) [MusicY]
  • Kang Asol-  사랑을 하고 있어 (I’m in Love) [Tonplein]
  • Kid Milli & Dress – Cliché [Tonplein]
  • Kim Jae-hyung – 중독 (Addiction) [MusicY]
  • Kisewa – Rocky Hollow Log Ride [Tonplein]
  • Lang Lee – 늑대가 나타났다 (There Is a Wolf) [MusicY, Tonplein]
  • Leenalchi – 여보나리 (Please Don’t Go) [Tonplein]
  • Lee Seol-ah – 보물찾기 (Wonder Road) [Tonplein]
  • Lee Seung-hwan & Sunwoojunga – 어쩜 (How Could You) [MusicY]
  • Minwhee Lee – 당신의 사월 (Yellow Ribbon) OST [Tonplein]
  • Numnum – 말이 먼저 나는 새 (Birds Fly Talk First) [Tonplein]
  • Ohelen & Choisol – 마음 (Maum) [Tonplein]
  • Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance [Tonplein]
  • ONF – Beautiful Beautiful [IZM]
  • Sogumm – Baennorae (Busan & Tongyeong) [Tonplein]
  • Soumbalgwang – 기쁨 (Happiness) [Tonplein]
  • Starex – 돈내놔 (Rob) [Tonplein]
  • StayC – ASAP [IZM, Tonplein]
  • Sumin & Slom – 여기저기 (Yogijogi) [Tonplein]
  • Synsnake – Saturn in the Loop [MusicY]
  • TRPP – Pause [Tonplein]
  • Wendy – When This Rain Stops [MusicY]
  • Wonstein – 적외선 카메라 (Infrared Camera) [Tonplein]
  • Yerin Baek – Lovegame (Kimhanjoo Remix) [Tonplein]
  • Younha – 오르트구름 (Oort Cloud) [Tonplein]
  • Youra – 분홍 (Pink!) [Tonplein]

*While it is well-understood why “Rollin'” and “Ohayo My Night” were selected at IZM, they don’t meet Hellokpop’s inclusion criteria as these were released prior to 2021.

Header album art (Hyxe – The Lie: Palette) from Bugs Music.

Read our past series:

2020 In Review

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review

How does this story make you feel?

Loading spinner