K-Pop artists definitely over-delivered when it came to releasing great music this year!
All year long, we’ve been treated to great albums and mini albums, and it’s time to look back on some of the greatest music from the past year as we wrap up 2021. Here are the 15 best K-Pop albums and mini albums of the year according to Harper’s Bazaar!
15. Bambi by Baekhyun (EXO)
Baekhyun’s Bambi is an absolute masterpiece!
The mini album is filled with showstopping vocal moments and raw emotions that show just how much of a vocal powerhouse Baekhyun is. From the title track “Bambi” to B-sides like “All I Got” and “Cry for Love,” this entire mini album deserves to be replayed over and over again!
14. The Good Days Boys Vol. 5 by Jimmy Brown and Sweet the Kid
These best friends took listeners on quite the musical journey with their The Good Days Boys project!
So far, the project is made up of 7 single albums and mini albums, and each one is filled with incredible R&B tunes. Every track on The Good Days Boys Vol. 5 is a vibe and the whole mini album is perfect for a late-night drive!
13. XYZ by MRSHLL
MRSHLL is no stranger to R&B jams, and XYZ is truly him at his best!
The mini album centers around unrequited romance, and the mini album’s story unfolds through jazzy tunes and slinky slow jams. From the first track “FooLISH” to the last track “PuZZLE,” every song on this mini album is great!
12. Don’t Call Me by SHINee
SHINee came back with a MASSIVE hit this year!
These second-generation kings showed they can truly master any sound and concept with this album, and the album is proof that they absolutely deserve their legendary status. From the hip-hop inspired title track “Don’t Call Me” to the reggae-inspired B-side “Body Rhythm,” this whole album deserves a replay!
11. Peaches by Kai (EXO)
Kai followed up the massive success of his first album with the Peaches mini album, and it’s full of bops!
The title track “Peaches” is full of lo-fi and R&B elements that hook listeners in right away. The mini album shows Kai’s versatility with slow jams like “Vanilla” and the club banger “Domino.” We definitely have Peaches on repeat!
10. Planet Nine: Alter Ego by ONEWE
ONEWE’s first mini album is an absolute masterpiece!
The mini album is full of otherworldly-sounding tracks that transport listeners to Planet Nine alongside the band’s members. Planet Nine: Alter Ego shows the members’ creativity in each and every track. From “Intro: Spaceship” to the mini album’s final track “COSMOS,” each track is worth a repeat!
9. Life is a Bi… by BIBI
BIBI is definitely a hit-maker!
In this mini album, BIBI explores toxic relationships between people and toxic relationships that people can form with themselves. Although the lyrics are hard-hitting and full of deep messages, they’re juxtaposed with fun, groovy beats and catchy riffs. The mini album is full of bops like “BAD SAD AND MAD” and “Birthday Cake.”
8. Savage by aespa
Aespa’s first mini album is amazing!
Savage is full of aespa’s signature sound and the group flips the script on listeners many times throughout the mini album. The entire mini album is full of bops like “Savage” and “YEPPI YEPPI.” Savage is full of bops that are worthy of a spot on your playlist!
7. Favorite by NCT 127
The Sticker album is a masterpiece on its own, but the repackaged album Favorite gave us even more NCT 127 songs to love!
“Love on the Floor,” “Pilot,” and “Favorite” added to the already incredible soundscape of the Sticker album to make an even more wonderful album. It’s safe to say we’ll always count this album among our favorites!
6. STEREOTYPE by STAYC
The STAYC girls are going down in history!
The group’s first mini album builds on the sound their fans have already come to know and love. STEREOTYPE gave us plenty of playlist-worthy jams like “STEREOTYPE” and “SLOW DOWN” that will remain iconic for years to come.
5. Hello Future by NCT DREAM
Hello Future is truly NCT DREAM at their best!
This repackage of the Hot Sauce album gave us even more NCT DREAM songs to obsess over, like “Hello Future,” “Life Is Still Going On,” and “Bungee.” The album is packed with hit after hit!
4. DON’T DIE COLORS by THAMA
THAMA’s first full-length album is full of bops!
THAMA has been in the K-Pop industry for a long time, both as a soloist and as a producer for other artists like EXO and NCT 127. The DON’T DIE COLORS album shows his versatility through hip-hop bops to slow, jazzy R&B songs and to everything in between.
3. Don’t Fight the Feeling by EXO
The Don’t Fight the Feeling mini album is simply spectacular!
This highly anticipated mini album is packed with jams like the title track “Don’t Fight the Feeling, “Paradise,” and “Just as usual.” We’ll never get tired of Don’t Fight the Feeling!
2. Idealism by Colde
Colde’s idealism is beyond amazing!
The mini album shows Colde at his best, and he shows he’s truly at the top of the R&B game with songs like “The Museum” and “Dream.” He even explores alt-rock in the opening track “Lighter!”
1. Empathy by D.O. (EXO)
D.O.’s first mini album is simply perfect!
The mini album is full of acoustic pop jams that we’ll have on repeat for basically forever. From the first few notes of “Rose” all the way to the last track “Si Fueras Mía,” Empathy gave us many chances to fall in love with D.O.’s voice over and over again!