Edited by Han Sung Soo
Translated by Eungee Joh
K-pop continued its global dominance in 2023, moving beyond just a trend to become a major part of worldwide music. NewJeans made a splash across various music charts with their EP ‘GET UP,’ featuring standout hits like ‘Super Shy,’ ‘ETA,’ and ‘ASAP.’ This success opened doors for a special collaboration with the world’s most popular online game, League of Legends. Moreover, BTS’s youngest member, Jungkook, became the longest-charting K-pop soloist in 2023. His solo album claimed the number-one spot on the Billboard ‘Global’ chart for an impressive seven consecutive weeks.
The local indie scene has played a vital role in shaping the world of K-pop with fresh experiments and high-quality music by both seasoned artists and diverse newcomers. As we wrap up 2023, let’s delve into some of the standout tracks that have defined the Korean indie scene this year.
blah – EP hi and bye
blah, recognized as the emerging artist of 2023 by Apple Music Up Next Korea, is garnering widespread acclaim for his latest EP, hi and bye. The EP has been receiving considerable love, and tracks from his debut EP, The, have even secured a spot on Apple Music’s prestigious ‘Best 100 Music of 2023’ list.
DEAN -DIE 4 YOU
Dean has returned after a 4-year hiatus. Although there were rumors of his “disappearance” from the Korean music scene, he swiftly secured the top spot on various music charts with his new single “DIE 4 YOU,” all without any promotional activities upon its release. This not only affirms the anticipation of his fans but also highlights his exceptional talent, making the time gap seem unnoticeable.
Millic – Sea Sparkle
FIFTY FIFTY – Cupid
The year 2023 belonged to FIFTY FIFTY. Within only 110 days of debuting as a small idol group, they made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart and came in at No.1 on the Global chart. Despite various issues, the success of the song “Cupid” has served as an inspiration for many artists to once again challenge the global stage. Now that the storm has passed, all eyes are on what’s next for the second generation of FIFTY FIFTY.
THORNAPPLE – Extinction
Thorn Apple’s sharp and chilling song “Extinction” proved that rock is still alive in this generation. With their psychedelic and experimental sound, rich emotional melodies and philosophical lyrics, they bring anticipation for a new era of rock to emerge.