Even with most touring plans still on hold, 2021 has been another major year for K-pop. Once considered more of a niche industry, K-pop’s explosion in recent years has transformed the genre into a force to be reckoned with.
The gateway for many listeners, particularly internationally, comes in the form of world-dominating groups like BTS or Blackpink, but there are plenty of exciting artists emerging, such as Aespa and CIX.
K-pop releases in 2021 have included R&B, punk rock, tropical and electronic influences. With the intent of highlighting all of those sounds, we’ve included recent picks from several promising rookies, as well as fresh cuts from more veteran acts like TWICE.
Whether you’re looking to discover a new favorite act or just brush up on releases you may have missed, each of the ten tracks below is worth streaming; scroll to the end for a convenient playlist.