The 16 best K-pop songs of 2022

The 16 best K-pop songs of 2022

The 16 best K-pop songs of

As K-pop continues to expand its reach round the globe, its acts are manufacturing additional music than ever. (BLACKPINK, we are waiting with patience.) From electrical guitars and '80s synths to lure bangers and R&B crooning, there is one thing for everybody during this year's K-pop releases — and 2022 is not even over however.

But that is the joy of K-pop: whether or not you are a casual attender or a multi with twelve biases, you will ne'er be bored. there'll forever be new music to concentrate to. And this year, K-pop acts experimented with trends (the pop-punk revival is alive and well in K-pop) and leaped out of their comfort zones, whereas fourth-gen teams declared their dominance on the charts and business titans BTS gave North American country a sentimental "see you later." With such a lot happening, it will be laborious to grasp wherever to start out. ne'er concern — we have got you coated.

In no specific order, here square measure a number of the simplest K-pop songs of the year up to now. and since generally you've got to concentrate to quite simply the one to induce to the actually transcendent stuff, this list contains each single and B-sides.

1. "Charmer," Stray youngsters

Though "MANIAC" was the lead single on Stray Kids' chart-topping March EP ODDINARY, B-side "Charmer" totally delighted fans with its confident lyrics and hypnotic pungi refrain. Evoking the sound of wind instruments popularly related to snake charming, it's an enticing song that uses a perennial falling scale and are available here whistle to effectively lead listeners down into a Stray kids obsession.

"Charmer" could be a inventive, engaging new sound from a bunch that's perpetually exploring and wiggling with audio, whereas still remaining remarkably Stray kids. This song could be a fan favorite permanently reason, and charming enough to beguile listeners into striking replay.

A special shout-out additionally goes to Stray Kids' "Muddy Water," that is a superb '90s hip-hop track that due additional attention than it got. —Amanda Yeo

2. "Dirt on my animal skin," WOODZ

I'm a touch uninterested in writing solely nice things concerning WOODZ, however it is the solely reasonably praise his work deserves. The guy ne'er misses. colourful TRAUMA, his fourth EP in 2 years, is as sensible because the 3 that preceded it. He faucets into the rock and pop-punk revitalisation we have seen growing within the business with '80s hair metal prospers however avoids sounding crummy or contrived by fully committing to the bit.

On Dirt on my leather he wails I'm able to die! over talkative rock guitars and drums with such convincing fervor that I truly believe him. once he asks Why you gonna be thus sad? Rub some dirt on that, I’m wiping away my tears and checking out the closest patch of earth. —Elizabeth First State Roman deity

3. "Thursday’s kid Has so much to travel," TOMORROW X along

The easiest thanks to describe "Thursday's kid Has so much To Go" is that it seems like freedom. perhaps it is the sparkling '80s synths or the upbeat melody, however it’s the type of song that pushes you forward. It makes Maine wish to drive somewhere, anywhere, windows down and stereo blaring. (I don’t have a driver's licence, thus Lyft driver, please pass Maine the aux wire.) A unit song from Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Soobin on TOMORROW X TOGETHER's most up-to-date EP, Thursday's kid, the addictive track could be a burst of bright energy on an album jam-packed with emo breakup songs.

As such, "Thursday’s kid Has so much To Go" — co-produced by Beomgyu and that includes lyrics and toplining from Taehyun — reminds North American country that life goes on when grief. "I'm wanting forward to the marvellous days, sings Soobin. are we not tending to all? —Crystal Bell

4. "BUT YOU," iKON

"BUT YOU" are that the reasonably song that jogs my memory why I like popular music genre, and its hold on Maine is visceral. I detected it for the primary time whereas painting a shut in my living accommodations and froze — middle brushstroke, mouth agape — as its unhappy synths and crisp drums gave thanks to the fragile softness of DK's gap line: "I'm smitten once more." Despite that hopeful begin, and therefore the song's upbeat melody, "BUT YOU" are truly a melancholy lament over unanswered love. Like several of the simplest pop songs, it’s primarily concerning crying within the club.

iKON is a relative anomaly in Korean pop: vastly fashionable third generation hip-hop-influenced idol cluster still systematically creating music that feels fun and recent. The band has had to become old laborious and quick over the last 3 years: Leader and musician Bi left the cluster in 2019 as a result of a national scandal. And rapper police officer proclaimed last year that he would be each married and a father in an exceedingly matter of months, 2 life changes that square measure nearly remarkable within the notoriously rigid K-pop business. in spite of everything that, it's vastly satisfying to examine iKON back within the spotlight with an almost good pop track merit their huge talent and flexibility. —EDL

5. "Thank You," Brave girls

Of all the songs on this list, Brave Girls' Thank You has one amongst the simplest stories behind it. The four-member girl cluster was catapulted to fame in 2021 once a video compilation of them playing their 2017 song "Rollin'" went microorganism. currently they've issued a billet doux to their fans within the type of funky retro discotheque bop "Thank You, expressing feeling for his or her support similarly as joy at finally achieving success when years of labor. it is a delightfully happy song, and arguably even catchier than "Rollin'."

"I ne'er thought it might happen," scan the lyrics' English translation. "So, several days I cried secretly. i do not apprehend if i would be here while not you." —AY


"Ash" makes Maine wish to burn down everything in view, then play within the smoldering ruins sort of a sandbox.

While the lyrics of its pre-chorus — "the handful that is left from everything burning, ash. Let's build a brand-new ark and withdraw into the world" — may inspire visions of reinvention or a tabula rasa, SEVENTEEN is actually simply here to publicity themselves up. "Do or die, I am a player," they brag. "I'm assured during this game, tens of thousands of possibilities. i am simply creating selections. The gilded ring of their voices, crooked by Auto-Tune and filters, tinge them with associate addictive, nonnatural quality. It's an uncommon however welcome selection for SEVENTEEN, who seldom dabble during this level of vocal manipulation. —EDL

7. "Blue Flame," LE SSERAFIM

Newcomers LE SSERAFIM (an anagram for "I'm fearless") came out swinging on their debut single "FEARLESS," within which they not-so-humbly declared themselves as K-pop's newest queens of confidence. The plucky song prioritizes mood over melody; however B-side track "Blue Flame" proves that LE SSERAFIM are quite one note. colourful vocal riffs associated a fab bassline create "Blue Flame" a straightforward listen — an intoxicating summer bop, if you'll — and its charm has already captivated TikTok, wherever my FYP has been inundated with innumerable fan-made edits, fan cams, and videos of individuals terpsichore on to the song's catchy choreography.

Surprisingly, this can be the primary of 2 entries on this list to incorporate the lyric "will-o' the-wisp." solely some months into their careers and LE SSERAFIM square measure already trendsetters! —CB


IVE debuted in Dec with earworm hit "ELEVEN," sweet confessing their excitement over a crush that "makes Maine dream an extended dream" and "dance to the purpose wherever I’m dizzy." On "LOVE DIVE," they've wilfully plunged into the intoxicating depths of feeling wished. "Narcissistic, my god, I like it" they sing with pouty insolence whereas playing purpose choreography within which they faux to envision their look in an exceedingly compact mirror. notwithstanding you are not affected by that significantly galvanized little bit of genius, "LOVE DIVE's" hypnotic production — its sleepyheaded "oohs," coltish "la la las," and a voiceless bridge — ought to be intriguing enough to place you beneath IVE's spell. —EDL

9. "Burning Up" (featuring R3HAB), MONSTA X

My main question concerning "Burning Up" is: Why wasn't this slick tune form of LOVE's title track?

MONSTA X's song concerning fiery attraction is simply straight-up satisfying to concentrate to, an addictive beat excellently dead and served with polish. it's not essentially unconventional or stunning, which can be one reason why "LOVE" was chosen as MONSTA X's lead single instead. However "Burning Up" neither aims to nor has to push boundaries. This jam is aware of what it's and is assured in with expertise delivering a crowd-pleasing however unforgettable rhythm, sort of a delicious cake from a hatted bakeshop. "Burning Up" is unbothered, in its lane, focused, and flourishing. —AY

10. "Blessed-Cursed," ENHYPEN

When ENHYPEN debuted in 2020 with a vampiric idea, I expected Twilight-level drama. Instead, they've leveraged aliveness to explore the sound and designs of different eras in an exceedingly clever twist on time travel.

On "Blessed-Cursed," we discover the band at the flip of the century, celebrating the new millennium with year vogue. 2021's Dimension: perplexity album saw the cluster experimenting with rock and pop punk components on "Blockbuster" and "Attention, please!" that also are with success incorporated here. "Blessed-Cursed" delivers what past releases may not; it finally makes use of Niki's oversize dance talent and Jay's charming brashness (he could be a Taurus, when all) to make distinctive points of sonic and visual interest. the assembly has additionally mellowed compared to past singles, adding fewer effects to the members' voices so their distinct colours are not any longer two-dimensional into uniformity.

"Blessed-Cursed" isn't an ideal song — that may need a bridge, that is notably absent — however it will want an exciting peek into what ENHYPEN is capable of. —EDL

11. "Illusion," aespa

No cluster is presently creating popular music genre as potent as aespa. The fabulous foursome had a record-setting 2021, due to the seismal success of their single "Next Level," and currently they’re poised to continue their meteoric rise with their summer EP women, set for unharness on July eight. The album has already achieved a million stock pre-orders, creating them the second Korean girl cluster when BLACKPINK to succeed in the milestone.

To mark the beginning of their new era, aespa born "Illusion," an electronic pre-release track that builds on the group’s synth-pop line and affinity for sticky, hypnotic hooks. to completely grasp the lyrics ("you’re therefore pleasant-tasting in my tummy tummy" is however Winter opens the track) you may ought to have some understanding of aespa’s sci-fi cognitive content, otherwise you may simply ambiance and let the women lull you into submission. "Follow me, return and obtain illusion," they sing. And who am I to not be entranced? —CB

12. "Yet to come back," BTS

The Bangtan Boys became a world development, tearing up music charts round the world and creating the name BTS nearly synonymous  with K-pop. In their sentimental single "Yet to come back," discharged simply this month, the cluster reflects on the burden that stratospheric quality is, whereas reaffirming their love of music and determination to continue moving forward.

It's a final word to commentators, a promise to fans, and an awfully fitting tone. there's a non-zero chance that this may be BTS' last massive unharness for a short time, because the looming issue of South Korea's obligatory military service could place a disruption on their cluster activities within the close to future. The members themselves recently proclaimed a possibility to figure on solo endeavors and private growth.

"Yet to Come" is that the wise, humbly victorious final song at the tip of a movie, within which its heroes acknowledge what proportion they've learned on their journey as they give the impression of being hopefully toward the longer term. —AY

13. "CHIQUITA," Rocket Punch

I'm a sucker for a few sensible '80s electronica, and Rocket Punch's "CHIQUITA" delivers unquestionably. This synthtastic song hurls listeners straight into the retro vibes from the terribly starting, delivering a bop that would not be out of place in an '80s show paste-up.

The chorus's melodic three-chord synth riff was already enough to win "CHIQUITA" a spot on my K-pop listing. However Rocket Punch's bright, neon-soaked groove keeps the mood going from verse to chorus to electronica bridge, not belongings go of the theme for a flash. It makes Maine wish to crimp my hair, throw on a denim jacket, and rollerblade to an arcade. —AY


Youth is that the essence of K-pop. I’m not entirely talking regarding age, however rather the sensation of being young. Young and loving. Young and dumb. Young and reckless. Young and afraid. Young and annoyed. Enter STAYC’s "YOUNG LUV," a kaleidoscopic song that seamlessly captures all of these emotions and a lot of. A B-side track off the tyro woman group’s EP YOUNG-LUV.COM, the song attracts inspiration from early 2000s pop-rock hits from the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne.

On "YOUNG LUV," the women belt their stadium-sized feelings over an electrical stringed instrument line that sounds a lot of wistful than wild. STAYC's "teen fresh" image has captivated audiences globally since their 2020 debut, and "YOUNG LUV" doubles down on their juvenility while not ignoring the messier elements of returning older. —CB

15. "To My initial," NCT Dream

As a general rule, you don’t sleep on NCT Dream’s B-sides. Case in point: "To My initial." (Not to be confused with "My initial And Last" or "Bye My First…") If you're missing the unhappy R&B crooning of early 2000s boy bands, then "To My First" is here to wrap you in an exceedingly cozy weighted blanket. an incredible showcase for vocal trio Haechan, Renjun, and Chenle, the song packs an emotional wallop because the seven members of NCT Dream sing of a primary love that is run its course.

Perhaps in another decade, this boy band would have lamented their former flame within the running rain, masking their tears, however these information Z children have it all discovered. "You know, typically in life," Mark drawls with the arrogance solely a 22-year-old international maven will muster, "things simply aren’t meant to be." that will be true once it involves love. However NCT Dream has perpetually been destined for greatness. —CB

16. "Nonstop," RoaD-B

"Nonstop" is already a ambiance from the start, however it's regarding forty five seconds in this you notice RoaD-B's track is fairly distinctive in K-pop. This track subverts expectations in an exceedingly delightfully sudden approach that I am going to ne'er get fed up, and that I want a lot of folks to grasp regarding it.

While "Nonstop" does not essentially have a comprehensible, standout hook that may right away catch in your brain, it is a clever, inventive tune that is nice whereas you are taking note of it and leaves you desire a lot of. in this regard, it is a bit just like the K-pop equivalent of fairy floss — and who does not love fairy floss? at one time referred to as BXK, Road-B may be a comparatively unknown cluster compared to other names on this list. Fingers crossed they keep exploring this sound and building during this direction as a result of there is definite potential. —AY

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