What were the top Kpop Solo Albums of 2021? 2021 has been hard for many in the music industry, and the same can be said for the Kpop industry. Kpop concerts that sold out sporting stadiums in the past continued to be shut down in 2021, and reopenings are not likely anytime soon in 2022. However, because of the boom in the digital music scene, many Kpop idols who spent much of 2020 in relative seclusion came into 2021 with a boom. Some of the top Kpop albums of 2021 were by solo artists, which is the focus of this article. We also did an article for the best Kpop groups albums of 2021 so make sure to check that out.
Kpop continues to make a global impact while pushing the boundaries and creating innovation back in South Korea. 2021 was filled with hybrid sounds, and many Kpop artists released solo albums to showcase their individuality and creativity. These Kpop solo artists below showed that even in a hectic year, they can still produce great music.
IU – Lilac
Our choice for the best Kpop solo album of 2021 goes to IU. IU says goodbye to her 20s and hello to her 30s with her album Lilac. The album has ten tracks dealing with relationships and their impact on your life. Many of the songs on the album are about UI healing from past heartbreaks and learning to love herself. Her flawless vocals are on full display in her dance and R&B styles.
- My Sea
D.O. – Empathy
The long-awaited solo debut of D.O. finally came in 2021. The EXO member was able to showcase his creativity and had the freedom to experiment with both ballads, and R&B. Empathy is our choice as the 2nd best Kpop solo album due to D.O.’s amazing voice and the hit singles that took off in 2021. Three languages across eight tracks show off his deep voice and unique smooth style. Empathy is a masterpiece in regards to lyrics and the deep meanings behind them. Those that love romantic music should give Empathy a try.
- It’s Love
- I’m Fine
KAI – Peaches
Another EXO member came out with a solo album in 2021 after his successful 2020 solo debut. KAI’s second solo album is called Peaches, and it does a great job blending R&B with a bit of pop. It is a bit lighter than his debut album, but this shows KAI’s range as an artist. Thanks to this album, you can be sure that KAI will not only be known as one of the most excellent Kpop dancers of all time but also someone with an amazing voice.
Key – Bad Love
SHINee not only came out with a group album, but Key also came out with his solo album Bad Love. It has gotten a lot of praise from critics. The sounds are very innovative, which shows he still has it after all these years in the business. He used a combination that’s familiar to fans of 80s music. Those looking for that retro sound that made SHINee so successful will love Key’s album. One of the songs features Girls Generation’s Taeyeon, which is a refreshing mellow track compared to many dance tracks.
- Bad Love
- Hate That
Baekhyun – Bambi
EXO/SuperM member Baekyun has come out with his solo album Bambi. Baekyun’s falsetto voice is at the forefront of most of the love songs on the album. Those that are fans of Baekyun’s R&B and soulful sound will find this album very relaxing. However, I don’t think it does not offer a lot of emotion and feeling as the lyrics are impactful.
- Love Scene
- Cry for Love
SUNMI – ⅙
Sunmi was able to showcase her many dimensions with ⅙ and proves she is one of South Korea’s top female solo performers out there. She has entertained her fans since 2017, but this album offered a lighter and more honest side. She played a large role in the songwriting, which explains why many tracks showcase her strong falsetto. The album varies by decade, so there is something for everyone.
Chung Ha – Querencia
Chung Ha’s debut album Querencia has been a great escape for those in quarantine. If you want to get transported to a new fun world, then you can do so with Querencia. She gets a lot of inspiration from Latin America, and the title track is from the Spanish word for a place where one finds peace of mind. Therefore the album blends Korean and Spanish into dance beats that are both exciting and infectious.
- Stay Tonight
Kang Daniel – Yellow
This is Kang Daniel’s last installment to his trilogy project, which does not disappoint. He really lets the listeners in into what he is going through. Those that are fans of R&B, Hip Hop, and rock will love this album. The album brings the full trilogy to a close but does not expect Kang Daniel to slow down moving forward.
CL – ALPHA
CL finally came out with her solo album since departing from her former label in 2019. She can finally showcase her skills with this debut album which should be one of many more. The album was co-written by CL, and you can tell she brings many of her personal experiences to the verses. Those looking for CL’s signature sound will find it with ALPHA.
- 5 Star
Wendy – Like Water
The album has not had many tracks (5 in total), but each song can showcase Wendy’s dynamic vocals and passion. Those that love ballads will love Wendy’s moving sound as she does not hold back. She said in a live stream that this album was for her fans. They will not be disappointed. How much money K-pop stars make is unknown, but Wendy would have gotten paid for this album.
- Like Water
- When this Rain Stops
- Why Can’t You Love Me
B.I. – Waterfall
B.I.’s first full-length solo album Waterfall tells his time away from the Kpop scene. It is a 12-track album where he collaborated with producers Millennium, Choice37, and Saint Leonard. The album goes into his drug allegations and his fight to prove his name. B.I. has been a credited songwriter for his group iKON, and he brings that talent to this album.
- illa illa