10 K-Pop Releases From 2021 That Prove The Sound Of The Year Is Rock

From pop rock to nu-metal, rock music is having its moment!

K-Pop as a genre is based on a fusion of tons of different genres, whether it’s rock, R&B, funk, or rap. Last year the trend was retro — or “newtro,” as it’s called in South Korea. This year, the rock influence seems stronger than ever! Here’s a list of 10 songs released this year that have some kind of rock inspiration.


Even though many K-Pop fans associate Soyeon with rap and hip hop, the idol totally nailed this powerful chorus with punk rock elements in “BEAM BEAM.”

9. Dreamcatcher – “Odd Eye”

Dreamcatcher are not at all new to the rock side of K-Pop; they’ve been delivering amazing rock-based releases since their debut. Their single “Odd Eye” is a nu metal song that combines heavy metal and hip hop.

8. Chungha – “X”

Chungha slowed it down in her heartfelt rock ballad “X” off of her album QUERENCIA. It’s such a departure from her lead single “Bicycle” and shows off her artistic range.

7. YUQI – “Bonnie & Clyde”

Yuqi’s “Bonnie & Clyde” is a unique mix of trance, a style of electronic dance music, and rock. This dance rock song fits Yuqi’s powerful voice so well!

6. PENTAGON – “Do Or Not”

Pentagon released their pop rock masterpiece “Do Or Not” earlier this year! It’s a much brighter display of rock than their alternative rock song “Daisy” from last November, and they pull it off perfectly.

5. Jessi – “What Type Of X”

Though Jessi is most known for her history as a rapper, her single “What Type Of X” features some seriously heavy guitar riffs that move this song into pop rock territory!

4. Joy – “Hello”

Joy made her solo debut with a cover of Park Hye Kyung‘s modern rock song “Hello!” It’s so different from Joy’s R&B and pop releases with Red Velvet, but her bright vocals feel so natural in this track.

3. Rosé – “On The Ground”

BLACKPINK‘s indie queen Rosé truly delivered something special with her solo debut “On The Ground.” The prominent guitar in the verses and the pop-powered chorus embody Rosé as an artist so well.

2. Ten – “Paint Me Naked”

Ten’s solo song “Paint Me Naked” was described by SM Entertainment as a pop rock track with “attractive guitar riffs,” and they were totally right! It’s that perfect pop rock mix of refreshing, familiar, and super energetic.


TXT have been diving deeper and deeper into their rock influence with their recent releases. “0X1=LOVESONG” is a stand-out pop rock song that perfectly captures their angsty concept.


TXT’s repack teaser for The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT or ESCAPE revealed that the band will be continuing their rock genre adventures, and we couldn’t be more excited! The album will include an emo-core remix of “0X1=LOVESONG” as well as the pop rock title track, “LOSER=LOVER.”

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