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    These Are The Top K-Pop Songs Of 2022

    These are just some of the K-pop songs we had on repeat in 2022.

    2022 was a fantastic year for music, and there is so much to be celebrated in the world of K-pop, and the Korean music world at large. Here are some of our picks from what we've been playing on repeat all year:

    Note: These songs are not ranked in any order. All songs have been picked by our editor, Jessica Bui, and video editor, Cailyn Cardenas-Hoertz.

    "Best Group Debuts of 2022"

    NewJeans

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    HYBE LABELS / Via youtube.com

    The five-member group, NewJeans, debuted on July 1, 2022 under the company ADOR, an independent label owned by HYBE. I think most of us can agree that their debut made a huge impact in the K-pop world with their debut song "Attention" being everywhere from the minute it dropped. The youthful and fresh pop/R&B sound the group brought to the table is something that I feel the K-pop genre has been needing. With how popular their entire first EP was this year, I am so excited to see what this group does in the future.

    LE SSERAFIM

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    HYBE LABELS / Via youtube.com

    LE SSERAFIM has had an eventful first year. Debuting on May 2, 2022, they've already had multiple hit songs and a scandal ending with one member leaving the group. Regardless, the now-five-member group hasn't let the drama stop them, and they've put out two stellar EPs. "FEARLESS" and their newest title track "ANTIFRAGILE," along with the groups refreshing dance skills, have proven that this girl group will be a force to be reckoned with in the genre. 

    NMIXX

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    The six-member girl group under JYP Entertainment debuted February 22, 2022 with their title track "O.O." The song made huge waves in the K-pop community when it dropped with varying opinions on the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the track. The choreography even became a viral challenge on TikTok due to its difficulty. However, whether you loved or hated it, you can't deny that this group has been on everyone's radar since their debut. Just in their first year, NMIXX has gained a loyal following, recently had a comeback with the title track "DICE," and performed at KCON LA along with many other large performances. This is definitely a group that has caused heads to turn this year, and I think everyone is anticipating what they'll do next!

    Kep1er

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    WAKEONE and Swing Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    The nine-member girl group formed through Mnet's reality survival show Girls Planet 999 debuted on January 3, 2022 with the powerhouse of a song "WA DA DA." If you like K-pop, then you have definitely heard of Kep1er and probably have had their debut track stuck in your head for the past year; at least I know I have. Kep1er has stood out this year with viral choreography, members with multiple talents, amazing visuals, and impressive genre range in their releases so far. All nine members seem to be having the time of their lives in this group and definitely have a bright future ahead of them!

    "Best Songs of 2022"

    "Glitch Mode" by NCT DREAM

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    This electric pop song from NCT Dream was a comeback the group had been needing. From the top of the song, you know it's going to be a dance hit with the vocals leading followed by an addictive, repetitive bass to give a "glitch" effect, perfectly tying in the track's title. What makes it even better is the sharp contrast the bridge of the song brings with soft vocals and a smooth melody before throwing you right back in to give the song a high-energy ending. This one definitely had to be in our top because you just can't sit still when listening to it!

    "Charmer" by Stray Kids

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    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    It's incredibly difficult to pick only one song to highlight from Stray Kids' impressive discography from this year. The fan-favorite song "Charmer" is the third track on the boy group's album ODDINARY and is one of our favorites, and for good reason!  Stray Kids themselves confirmed that the message they want to convey is “we are going to charm you,” and I think we can all agree that they accomplished that.

    "Cheers" by Seventeen

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    HYBE LABELS / Via youtube.com

    This hip-hop track from Seventeen's leader line is the ultimate party song. The track's dynamic energy keeps you locked in from S.Coups's whispery sequence, Woozi's smooth vocals, to Hoshi's "eondeongi pang pang" in the highly addictive bridge. Paired with the music video and incredible choreography that went viral on TikTok, this song has it all!

    "Doom Du Doom" by P1Harmony

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    This super fun release from P1Harmony highlights the slight rock influence that we've been seeing lately in K-pop. The repetitive and catchy chorus pulls you in while the energetic raps flow perfectly to keep the tempo up. I would even love P1Harmony to go full on rock in the future after hearing how amazing their vocalists sound in this track. This group is definitely a growing force in the genre, and I'm always excited to see what's next from them!

    "MORE" by J-Hope

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    HYBE LABELS / Via youtube.com

    We, of course, had to include this absolute banger by J-Hope of BTS. The track brings a grunge pop twist with a fiery burst of energy in the chorus, making whoever is listening instantly want to join a mosh pit or at least do some head-banging. When this song and album, Jack in the Box, came out, it's safe to say the dark aesthetic and mood took fans by surprise especially following the bright and dreamy aesthetic of his first album Hope World. However, this contrast only proves the dynamic range J-Hope has, and I'm sure he will continue to keep us on our toes with future releases. 

    "Sour" by The Rose

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    It's usually not an easy task to find a good pop rock band under the K-pop umbrella, but The Rose has been a leader in the genre for a while now. This English comeback from them is a beautiful showcase as to why they deserve to be a household name in the K-pop world. From the beautiful lyrics, synths, instrumentals, and unstoppable vocals from lead singer Woo-sung, this song is easily one of their best. 

    "Shut Down" by BLACKPINK

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    BLACKPINK did not disappoint BLINKS with their highly anticipated album, Born Pink. This track was my favorite track from the album because it is undeniably catchy and almost impossible to not get stuck in your head. The trap hip-hop sound stays true to the group's style while still standing out in their discography with the continuous violin instrumental and solid raps and vocals. 

    "Designer" by NCT 127

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    NCT 127 / Via youtube.com

    NCT127 had a stellar comeback this year with the 2 Baddies album, and while the title track was amazing, the song "Designer" off the album really stuck out to me. It's a very classic 127 song with an overarching R&B feel where they utilize all nine of their voices in the chorus to create smooth melodies while their rappers' lyricism creates effortlessly catchy verses. This song really showcases the group's vocal range as well as their ability to create a slower tempo'd bop.

    "Talk that Talk" by TWICE

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    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    This electric dance pop track from girl group TWICE is a showstopper to say the least. With its synth and percussion leading the song and its undeniably catchy chorus, the song pulls you in quick and keeps you locked in through the end. In true TWICE fashion, the track is brilliantly clean, dynamic, and high energy. 

    "_WORLD" by Seventeen

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    Anyone who loves them knows Seventeen has huge range in their discography, and they truly showed us yet another side of them with this mid-tempo, funky, and slightly retro track. It screams summer, and the group's rap-line really nailed the verses to keep you looped in through to the energetic chorus that just makes you want to dance. It's the perfect light, sweet, and warm melody that embodies the group's essence perfectly!

    "Hype Boy" by NewJeans

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    This modern twist on Y2K pop and R&B took the K-pop world by storm this year to say the least. The track hooks you right from the beginning with the addicting melody, dreamy vocals, and building percussion. NewJeans's vocals and sound are undeniably refreshing to see in the genre, and although they only debuted this year, they have shown a true commitment to their sound and aesthetic as a whole. Even just the chorus of this track alone proves it deserves to be known as one of the best K-pop releases this year. 

    "Mango" by Super Junior

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    This electric-pop track from K-pop legends, Super Junior, stands out with its highly addictive melodies throughout both the chorus and verses. It's one of those songs that just makes you bop your head and dance even when you're sitting. It's easy on the ears, and it's pleasantness is something refreshing in a genre that many times relies on heavy EDM beats and noise music. All of this, at least to me, definitely makes it one of the group's best releases in recent years.

    "ZOOM" by Jessi

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    PNation Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Although this song was Jessi's final comeback before leaving PNation, she can definitely say she went out with a bang. The hip-hop trap track is dynamic, her raps are consistently impressive, and it has a viral nature that proved true with it going viral on TikTok for a few weeks following its release. The song features an addicting synth loop that builds and breaks throughout the song, keeping the listener on their toes to hear what's coming next. 

    "RUN2U" by STAYC

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    This electric-pop track has it all, starting off strong with a pulsing synth loop and then taking a sharp turn into a smooth, more lightweight instrumental, leading into the chorus. At first listen, this could throw the listener off, but the more you listen, the catchier it becomes, and the shift between the verses and chorus grows more and more sleek. The members' vocal performance perfectly aligns with the energy of the song all the way through, and the track truly represents a blend of all of the group's past fabulous releases. 

    "Opening Sequence" by TOMORROW X TOGETHER

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    This track had me hooked from the very first listen. TXT's vocal performance first and foremost is unstoppable, and they truly showcased their intense range. The song itself leaves you with an almost eerie feeling while also making you feel a calm sadness. It carries this feeling throughout the entire song until the instrumental in the bridge and final chorus takes a sharp and darker turn. It strips down and almost crashes to give an intense and powerful ending to this dynamic song.

    "RUN BTS" by BTS

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    Of course, BTS had to make this list. This track has been everywhere since it came out, even going viral on TikTok with a dance trend. It is an extremely high-energy song with upbeat drums, meaningful lyrics, and impressive ad-libs. The song focuses on the group's hardships and what they have gone through to become the worldwide superstars they are today. The flow in the rap sections and the explosive ending to this song really stand out to me and definitely put this song on a very high standing in their extensive discography. 

    "LOVE DIVE" by IVE

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    This track from the rookie girl group gives very much dark siren while still feeling hyper-femme and has a strong production quality. There is a haunting aspect to the song specifically in the dance break portion with the whispery vocals. The instrumental of the song was extremely textured and stayed dynamic throughout the entire track, matching the girls' flow and vocal performance. The part of the song that sticks out the most to me is the pre-chorus going into the first chorus. It is shocking on first listen and really breaks down the feeling you're going to get from the remainder of the track.

    "POP!" by Nayeon

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    I think it's safe to say this was absolutely the song of the summer in the K-pop world with members from countless groups participating in the viral TikTok dance challenge and the song shooting up the charts. The track did not shy away from creating an explosive, catchy, and impressive production. The melody stays strong throughout the entire track while not overpowering but complementing Nayeon's smooth vocals perfectly. 

    "Vengeance" by BIBI

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    BIBI is a solo artist who has pushed boundaries ever since her debut and does not adhere to the typical delicate and pure aesthetic that many female K-pop idols do. Instead, she tends to be more adventurous and promiscuous in her concepts, similar to artists like Jessi and Hyolyn. "Vengeance" is a stellar example of this and an excellent addition to her discography, further pushing her to be a leader in this subsection of K-pop. The track has a subtle Latin influence and a strong girl-power and don't-fuck-with-me tone in the lyrics. The intense catchiness of the song paired with BIBI's impressive acting in the MV definitely earned a spot on this list.

    "Blessed-Cursed" by ENHYPEN

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    HYBE Labels / Via youtube.com

    ENHYPEN has had no shortcomings on powerful title tracks since their debut. This pop/hard-rock-influenced track further proved their dynamic sound and impressive vocals. The song has a strong guitar opener which continues in the instrumental throughout the track and carries the intense rock vibe that was refreshing to hear from this group. It is a high-energy track from start to finish with a dark underlying tone that gives the song an angsty and mysterious feel that isn't exactly new to the boys but something I continuously love to see from them. Overall, this song stuck out to me for its innate ability to pull you in and make you keep listening. There's something so mesmerizing about this track, and I listened to it way too many times this year for it not to make the list!

    "2nd-Generation Groups That Heard Our Prayers And Gave us Comebacks This Year"

    Apink

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    Apink made their long-awaited comeback with studio album HORN and opening track "Dilemma." The track is a pop-dance track with a catchy hook, and the song is about a woman’s dilemma of whether to give up on a relationship after realizing that the other person’s feelings have faded. This song also gained social media popularity after a clip went viral showing a fan explaining that the pronunciation of "dilemma" in said song sounded like a Cantonese curse.

    2NE1

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    Girl group stans, rise up! The iconic girl group 2NE1 made a return to the stage this year at Coachella, where leader CL was set to perform. Fans were stunned when at the end of CL's set, the stage went black and lit back up to reveal four silhouettes — the four members of 2NE1, a sight which hasn't been seen since 2015. The group reunited to perform their hit song "I AM THE BEST," and it was a reminder that they, in fact, were and still are the best.  

    Kara

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    One of the top second-generation girl groups, Kara made their comeback after a seven-year-long hiatus to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Their 15th anniversary special mini-album Move Again includes former members Nicole and Kang Ji-young — who left the act in 2014 — before youngest member Heo Young-ji was added to its lineup. Notably, this is the group's first release without member Goo Ha-ra, who was pronounced dead back in 2019, but her memory lives in the music video for the track "When I Move." This album features tracks penned by the members, and Kara fans believe the title track of this album to be one of the group's best yet.

    Girls' Generation

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    Reuniting after a five-year hiatus and celebrating their 15th anniversary, Girls' Generation's Forever 1 succeeded in doing something that is rare in the industry — recapturing the magic of the early days of their impressive careers. In the early days of their career, Girls' Generation (also known as SNSD) broke barriers in the music scene and helped lead K-pop into international charts. Now, with Forever 1, the octet sends a love letter for all things SNSD and to their fans, SONE. Written and produced by Kenzie, who penned their debut single "Into the New World," it is a full circle moment — members who are thriving in their solo careers being reunited and coming onto the stage again as one.