Curated Playlist: The Best K-pop Songs and Albums of 2022 So Far

Best K-POP 2022

Edited by Yoon
Translated by Ashtyn Lee

Best K-POP 2022
Credit: CUBE Entertainment, Starship Entertainment, SM Entertainment

This year, the K-pop industry is reviving slowly from COVID headwinds. It’s not a stretch to say that the business is getting back on track with large concerts being switched back to in-person events, like the ‘2022 Dream Concert.’ The K-POP industry has progressed through four generations, and girl groups are enjoying their popularity more than ever. Following ITZY, the iconic fourth-generation K-pop ambassador, IVE, Kep1er, Billie, and LESSERAFIM rose to fame, and numerous female artists entered various music charts.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the list of the best K-pop songs and albums of 2022 so far.

 

BEST SONG

(G)I-DLE – TOMBOY (03.14)

This year’s most successful K-POP song would be “TOMBOY” by (G)I-DLE. The song stayed atop numerous music charts for multiple weeks and is maintaining its spot as one of the most popular K-pop songs of the year. “TOMBOY” has made good use of its trendy rhythm combined with So Yeon and Mi Yeon’s catchy voice, and Minnie and Yuqi’s unique but harmonious voice. The bridge and outro are also very neat, which makes it a quality album of (G)I-DLE. Due to controversies over Soo Jin’s school violence and her leaving the team, (G)I-DLE went through tough times and had to take a break from their career. However, they made their long-awaited comeback through the song “I NEVER DIE” and settled all the controversies.

 

IVE – LOVE DIVE (04.05)

IVE proved the group’s potential with their debut single, “Eleven,” and “LOVE DIVE” confirmed that the success of “ELEVEN” was no coincidence. IVE tweaked the hackneyed teenage music into something new and created the famous saying, “hold your breath and LOVE DIVE.” Following “Eleven,” “LOVE DIVE” topped both music programs and charts, seeing an outstanding result for a second single album by a girl group. Although Jang Won Young and Ahn Yoo Jin were famous before their debut, the secret to their success does not only lie in their members.

 

DRIPPIN – ZERO (06.15)

It was a bold decision. They used guitar and bass sounds and created a track that can easily be a piece of band music than dance-pop music. The performance is also significantly more intense and detailed than anything we’ve seen from Drippin. It reminds us of artists like MONSTA X, NCT, and ENHYPEN, yet it attempts to find Drippin’s own color. The song also gives us a precious opportunity to notice an incredibly talented member, Hwang Yun Sung, who is incredible at giving off the song’s feel using his unique facial expression.

 

BEST ALBUM

TAEYEON – INVU (02.14)

Taeyeon proved her talent and showed her goal as a vocalist through her first and second full-length albums. The third full-length album, INVU, talks about relationships between people.

This album can be roughly divided into two parts: #1 to #7 and #8 to #13. The first half of the music contains the feeling of ‘envy’ (“INVU”) beyond just love, which reaches an uncontrollable state (“Can’t Control Myself”) after enduring “Some Nights,” resulting in one throwing themself on fire (“Set Myself on Fire”). The one wallows in self-pity and considers themself as an adult child (“Toddler”), describing their situation “Cold as Hell.” This tragic story steps into a brighter light as one gets determined (“Timeless, No Love Again”), takes a break (“Weekend”) and gradually mends the bad blood (“Ending Credits”).

Ranging from her deep resonating voice to perfect vibrato and wide vocal range to superb lyrical delivery, it’s been a while since we came across a song that is led by the voice of the singer rather than synthetic sounds.

 

NCT DREAM – Glitch Mode (03.28)

Last year, NCT DREAM achieved their new career-high with “Hot Sauce.” The title track of the second full-length album, “Glitch Mode,” is much like “Hot Sauce.” The song structure that employs chant melodies in the chorus and melodic lines in the main vocals is not novel but appealing. Furthermore, the boundaries between NCT and its other unit, NCT 127, are very distinct. The lyrics and voice are lively and witty, and the A&R team’s clever plan and the members’ outstanding performances have made a piece of fantastic music.

 

TXT – minisode 2: Thursday’s Child (05.09)

TXT’s fourth mini-album, minisode 2: Thursday’s Child, has a bold message and an aggressive sound, yet it’s not too serious or heavy. You can feel the song’s narrative at the beginning and the feeble and sorrowful vibe that is often found in BTS’ music. With its members’ different vibe, it may feel like a bonus track on one of TXT’s albums, but the album title “minisode” safeguards the artist’s distinct identity.

 

Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.

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