K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2022

K-Pop ResolutionsIt’s the new year!! 2021 was a real mixed bag, but I’m optimistic about 2022. For my first post of the year, it’s time to look at some humble wishes for the K-pop industry. I apologize if this comes across as more of a rant than a celebration, but you know how I can be.

Here’s to another jam-packed K-pop year!

1. Comebacks and Stages that Feel Genuinely Fun

This is a last-minute addition, but it crystallizes so many of my 2022 K-pop wishes. This thought came to me last night while watching K-pop’s MBC Gayo and immediately following it with Johnny’s (J-pop agency) Countdown. The difference was so striking. While so many of the K-pop performances felt stilted and humorless, the J-idols were just goofing around and mugging for the camera and genuinely having a good time. In other words, it felt like a festival.

This is what I’d like to see more of from K-pop. It’s so much more entertaining to watch a group genuinely enjoy themselves than watch an act scowl and posture and try to look badass in a hyper-rehearsed way. This is probably a change in my own preference, but I would love if the industry gave K-pop idols a chance to loosen up a little. Perfection is boring and a little disengaging. I want to see performances that take advantage of idols’ genuine charisma rather than a carefully constructed façade.

To do this, K-pop songs also need to lighten up. I’m not talking about incessantly bright material – just material that has room to breathe and isn’t so tightly constricted. This goes against a lot of the aspects that made K-pop popular in the first place, but I do think we’re at a point where the industry needs this shift in tone and expectations.

2. Lasting Producer/Artist Partnerships

More than ever, K-pop comebacks feel like a revolving door of production credits. The same handful of names are plastered on the majority of tracks. Producers move from one artist to another at the drop of a hat, creating an environment where every group starts to sound the same.

If we can learn anything from the successes of 2021, it’s that a producer-artist partnership is vital. Look at ONF’s incredible output with Hwang Hyun. All the songs were a bit different, but since they spawned from the same visionary they fit together naturally. I want more of this for K-pop idols. Right now, the industry’s hodgepodge approach makes it difficult to anticipate comebacks from anyone. There’s no sense of trust or reliability.

3. No. More. Shouting.

I’m so tired of songs shouting at me. This happens most often during the chorus, but can pepper verses as well. The urge to shout-sing rather than… well… sing, made me lose a lot enthusiasm for girl group material in 2021. But, boy groups are equally at fault. Sometimes I think K-pop feels the only way to “go hard” on a track is to shout and bluster your way through it.

I have my own theories about why this approach has become so popular. They’d probably piss off a fair amount of stans, so I’ll keep them to myself. But, I wish the industry didn’t undersell the potency of a fully sung chorus. Shouting discourages melody – and you know I’m all about melody.

4. Onomatopoeia No No

This is a direct companion to K-pop shouting. Can we stop it with all the “Bum dum dum” “Ta ta ta” “Wagi momo dodo” title tracks? I understand these nonsense onomatopoeia words effectively bridge the language barrier in an industry that’s increasingly global, but they simplify songs way too much and often result in the kind of sing-talk (or sing-shout) that drives me crazy. At worst, the affectation infantilizes the idols themselves.

5. An Exciting New Crop of Rookies

2021 was pretty lackluster when it came to rookies, though things did perk up at the tail end of the year. This year, I’m hoping for a new crop of acts that emerge with their own sound and energy. This would give 2022 a welcome shot in the arm.

6. Cut it with the Competition

I’m so tired of K-pop competition. Yes, we all want to see our favorites do well, but the hobby has somehow turned into a game (or death match). Who can sell the most albums? Who can garner the most streams? It sparks awful fan wars, inspires the worst in people and ultimately blunts the importance of the actual music. Can we all just tone it down a bit in 2022 and tweet about how much we love a song rather than how many YouTube views it gained in its first twenty-four hours? Most of these achievements have long since lost their luster anyway.

7. The Return of Classic Producers

I feel like I’ve already included this resolution in past years, but it bears repeating.

Brave Girls’ 2021 resurgence was one of the year’s biggest triumphs, but so was the return of their producer Brave Brothers. With “retro” still in full bloom, why not mine K-pop’s own history? Where are Sweetune, Duble Sidekick, E-Tribe, Nam Gisang, Shinhye and others? If we’re not going to get a ton of new distinct voices behind the scenes, we could at least do with some of their expertise.

8. Big Songs that Stay Big

You know me. I love a big, bombastic track. Lately, it feels like K-pop doles out the bombast in fits and starts, resulting in songs that feel disjointed. I’m not saying every track has to be a big club anthem that goes hard across its entire running time, but we could have a handful of those in 2022, right?

9. The Return of Cheering Songs (ie: less “I,” more “You”)

I love cheering songs – big, gregarious tracks that push the listener to seize the day and get things done. K-pop used to have more of these – especially from girl groups. But, the focus of title tracks has narrowed its subject matter and too many songs are simply vehicles for bragging about how cool or edgy their artist is. I challenge producers to take the “I” and “me” out of the equation and write some material directed to the fans and general public. We all need the encouragement these days, and idol groups are the perfect conduit. Just ask Japan. They’ve mastered the format.

10. Loving More “Big” Groups

This one’s specific to me. I really want to fall in love with songs from K-pop’s biggest groups. These are the groups who perform on all the special shows and suck up most of the oxygen when it comes to K-pop discourse. It’s been a while since I’ve loved their output, which makes me feel a little dissociated from the K-pop trends. My faves tend to be a bit more under-the-radar these days, which is fine. But, sometimes I feel like I’m sitting at the kiddie table while everyone else is having fun at the main event.


33 thoughts on “K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2022

  1. Except for maybe point 5 I would agree with a lot of these 🙂

    I genuinely enjoyed ALL the rookie groups of this year in one way or the other. Ones which fell short with their debut for me like Epex, Lightsum and Ciipher immediately picked up their game with their comebacks which I enjoyed tremendously! Similarly rookies which had slightly less good comebacks like Mirae, JustB and Blitzers made up for it with amazing stages! I enjoyed all the others as well – Ive, Pixy, Kingdom, T1419, Purple Kiss, Majors and Billlie (a grower for sure) 2022 could be fun for rookies too! I already like the sound of Trendz! Hopefully TNT is nice as the teaser! 🙂

    I really do want fun stages though! I think last year Pentagon Do or Not, Seventeen Rock With You and ONF’s Beautiful Beautiful & Poppin were kinda fun on stage! Also NCT Dream and 127 always give a fun vibe on stage for me when they perform!

    I think more than wanting boy groups to loosen up, I want girl groups to loosen up 😅 Bg even in their tough songs they do go wild at times and goof off but gg very rarely let themselves go so freely…

    As for the ‘No Shouting’ – Hard Agree! All I can think is Maverick 😂 The song had such a grand pre-chorus and every time it pops in my mind I’m confused on which song it is! I love melodic choruses too and most of the times that is what saves a song for me so I really hope there are no more choruses where they just repeat the catchphrase over and over again in an annoying hypnotic way!

    I really agree with the cut it with the competition! Sometimes it gets so obnoxious that it’s frustrating! A lot of the groups themselves seem very chill with the other groups but the fans create all these imaginary wars and stories. And the whole “This song is better because it got 10m views in two days…” Like… why? If I ask someone why this song is amazing the least I expect is “I like the beat” 😂 People selling the achievements always piss me off. I would rather hear them say how they feel about the song – whether it made them happy or emotional or confident rather than how it is the No.1 on this list or the other!

    As for the last point – Yes. I think there are only a few bigger groups I follow – SKZ and Ateez (do they even count as big lol. Idk.) I really want to get into the other “bigger groups” but mostly… I find their songs aren’t for me. It’s nothing to do with the group. If I find a song I like, regardless of which group puts it out, I can enjoy the song. And yeah occassionally I get the feeling that I’m missing out on some huge event as well when the big groups release stuff and I just given a quick listen and continue on my way…

    What I want for 2021 specifically :

    1. TBZ plz create a MV for Kingdom Come (I can dream)
    2. Cravity plz no more racecar theme. It’s okay… but come on! New year! XD
    3. Ciipher do not go back to the autotune mess and Epex plz do not go all bad boy again
    4. Dreamcatcher – I want them to go hard like their old songs but I know there’s less chance of that
    5. It is kinda impossible… but I hope someone can fill ONF’s void – fresh vocally strong energetic fun songs which can be performed the heck out of ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Onomatopeia No No has not started off well with WA DA DA coming out at the start of the year (though it was delayed so maybe that doesn’t count) not to mention it seems like it’s chorus is pretty shout-y and chanty. We’ll see about that when it comes out but not looking great there.

    I pretty much agree with most of this, probably most importantly the whole competition fighting thing, although I did think there were some good debuts in 2021. Also, It’s too easy to relate to the whole small groups thing.

    Uh, as for me.

    I don’t know how to feel about what I want in 2022 generically, because most of it is very group-specific… to one group. I don’t know why PIXY has become my hyperfixation, but it is and I’ve just accepted that. Unfortunately, it ended up muting a lot of my enthusiasm for the rest of the k-pop space. I guess ADHD does that.

    Early 2021 was SO exploratory for me in the k-pop realm. I was actively reviewing and anticipating k-pop releases as they came and went… and then I started looking into PIXY because of one of those reviews. I distinctly remember making that one ginormous comment on Let Me Know, and slowly but surely I just stopped commenting. Once that enthusiasm kickstarted, it was hard to go back to listening to music that I just wasn’t invested in, even if I did like it. Thankfully I don’t have a giant blog that forces me to review every release, because I certainly wouldn’t have lasted a year.

    I guess I will say I hope PIXY succeeds in stabilizing and keeping themselves in the industry and delivering great music, but I also would love to see all the gems that 2022 can come up with. Songs like Luna or RING X RING released later by the year still keep me looking at releases to see which catch me, even if I’m not totally as invested as I used to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I the onomatopoeia one hits, especially with keplers upcoming release. Wa da da da….sighs. I’m unsure whether I’ll like the hook or not, but we will see.

    Also Nick, I know you haven’t liked Ateez’s fever series as much as their treasure series. However, what album in the fever series do you like the best? I’m curious

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My thoughts:
    1) I could definitely do with more fun. There’s something about idols being genuinely happy and enjoying themselves on stage that make a performance ten time better. So yeah we could all do with more fun.

    2) I think overall my biggest wish when it comes to the producing is to limit the number of people behind the scenes more. I’ll never understand how or why ten plus people need to work on one three minute song. If longstanding artist/producer relationships is the way to do that I do think it would be an improvement.

    3) 100% agree. I am biased by nothing more that soaring vocals so fully sung choruses, hell fully sung songs songs are absolutely my preference.

    4) I dearly wish the onomatopoeia would stop but if Wa Da Da is any indication it doesn’t seem like it will. It just comes off as nonsensical or childish. Wa Da Da already seems to verging on legitimate baby talk and I straight up don’t get it.

    5) I quite enjoyed the crop of 2021 rookies we got however, I think the problem they all shared was consistency. 2021 rookies with strong debuts had underwhelming comebacks and 2021 rookies with poor debuts had better comebacks. So my wish wouldn’t necessarily be more exciting rookies, but rookies that manage to have some consistency across the quality of their comebacks; of course that’s a tall order for almost any group these days.

    6) I really don’t think this will ever change but I absolutely wish it would. There is so much wrong with how fans/fandoms act these days and I wish it would all stop. Kpop at its core is entertainment, it is meant to be enjoyed and the blatant sense of nastiness and competition that pollutes the fandom scene these days is straight up sucking the fun out of everything. Were all here for the same reason to enjoy our favorite music/artists and I get wanting your favorites to be recognized but this is not the way to do it. I cant even imagine how hurtful these sentiments are towards actual idols, who are all pretty damn friendly with each other. I’ll never understand the needless hate people spread, there is no world where putting another group down is going to benefit yours. In the end it will only wind up hurting those you claim to love too.

    7) I don’t know all that much about producers but I tend to like kpop best when its being as kpop as possible so if bringing back classic producers does that I’m all in.

    8) Big songs that stay big, sounds good to me.

    9) I never really though about it this way, but yeah I could definitely go for more songs with positive messages directed at the audience. Personally I always quite enjoyed the fact that I cant understand the lyrics most of the time because then I don’t have worry about them damaging my enjoyment of the song. But across the board from the concept, to the music, to the lyrics I think we could all use more positive and inclusive messages. Also my quota for “I/we are the best” tracks is full.

    10) For me its not so much that I want to love more big name groups its more that I want to rediscover the love I once had for the now big groups that I already loved, namely Seventeen and NCT. Both Seventeen and NCT were two of my earliest kpop loves and they are both certainly big name groups now but I haven’t loved much of their recent output. For Seventeen I have not been genuinely in love with one of their titles since Hit. For NCT its more recent as they did release my favorite album of 2020 in Wayv’s awaken the world but their 2021 material has mostly not measured up. For the amount of music they released I only loved maybe 20% of it. I really wish SM would take more time crafting a killer comeback rather than throwing things together like NCT 2021 just for the sake of selling another two million albums. I want to love my old favorites again, I really do.

    Things I would like in 2022:

    1) More variety in group appearances at award shows, festivals and end of year stages because my god this years shows have been pretty boring. There are literally so many other groups with great material can we please switch it up a bit, and if it must be so popularity based I could still name several groups with a pretty decent following that have been nowhere near these shows. Or at the very least have the big name groups promote some b sides, I can only watch Hot Sauce so many times.

    2) Rock heavy concepts that go full on rock (not rock lite or remixes). I know dreamcatcher has cornered the girl group rock market but I could use more boy group rock. Or maybe some electronic music too. How about an electro rock opera, whatever that would be but still more rock would be good.

    3) Girl groups please try something else because I never really liked girl crush concepts and now I am truly sick of it. Please come up with some new ideas and then gift us with the full girl group albums 2021 was missing.

    4) I really wish the industry as a whole would learn that groups don’t need bravado, posturing, or self indulgent I am the best lyrics to be badass. The concept of a comeback doesn’t need to be centered around being badass to actually be badass. To be badass one only needs a good song regardless of style and performers who can crush the material they are given. That alone is inherently more badass that any blustering ever could be.

    5) Not everything has to be badass. I think the industry might benefit from a dictionary or a thesaurus when it comes to comeback concepts.

    6) More orchestral instrumentation in kpop songs. I’m thinking epic movie soundtracks as backing tracks.

    7) Less pandering to western audiences. There are already plenty of international kpop fans as is, if you water down everything that makes kpop special to acquire new fans… well are they really kpop fans then?

    8) More kpop group collaborations that are not specifically for holidays or special stages. How cool would it be to see groups actually team up for a single or something where they really go for it.

    9) Less cringy English lyrics. While there will always be cringy English lyrics I could go for some slightly less cringy ones.

    10) No more jewel cases, come on kpop I thought we were beyond this.

    Sorry that was long but its a holiday and I had the time. January already looks stacked because as always kpop doesn’t slow down so I guess we will see pretty quick what 2022 might offer. Whatever the new year brings my hope always is that it brings good things for everyone, artists and fans alike.

    Liked by 5 people

    • The consistency one on 2021 rookies is VERY true. The dissapointment i felt when Mirae released Splash was immeasurable and I’ll never get over it.


    • “Rock heavy concepts that go full on rock (not rock lite or remixes). I know dreamcatcher has cornered the girl group rock market but I could use more boy group rock. Or maybe some electronic music too. How about an electro rock opera, whatever that would be but still more rock would be good.”

      Yes, please! I was thinking about BTS or EXO coming back with a punk rock-focused title track and it would sound amazing! I’m sure the “punk-rock/angst” genre is here to stay with a lot of idols releasing songs here and there and it being reinstated in the West.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This comment ended up much longer than I’d planned, sorry!

    I’ve decided to go with four 2022 resolutions about self-written and self-produced material. Important caveat: self-written and self-produced material is not INHERENTLY superior to material produced by professional writers and producers! Idols can write terrible material for themselves! Idols can produce terrible songs! In these four cases, it’s not just that I want self-produced material for its own sake – it’s that I am genuinely excited by these idols’ output and I want to hear more of their voices.

    1. I want more self-written and self-produced songs from TXT.

    My absolute favourite song of TXT’s (outstanding) year is “Dear Sputnik”, which was co-written and co-produced by Huening Kai. My favourite song of Enhypen’s (also very good!) year is “Blockbuster”, in which TXT Yeonjun featured and wrote his own rap. One of my favourite verses of this year was Yeonjun’s self-written rap from “LO$ER=LO♡ER”.

    TXT performed some great material this year written by other writers – “Zero Times One Equals Lovesong Brackets I Know I Love You End Brackets” was written by one of Kpop’s best lyricists! (We’ll come to that.) But some of their best moments of the year were written and produced by the members themselves, and I’m very excited to see that continue and expand (especially if they continue on their current pop-punk-rock trajectory).

    2. I want more self-written or self-produced songs from NCT Mark.

    Mark! The Infinite Canadian! Mister NCT! Mark has an absurdly busy schedule between NCT 127, NCT Dream, NCT U and whenever SuperM returns in whatever form. But he’s ubiquitous for a reason: he’s a really talented and interesting rapper, and some of his best moments have been with his own self-written material; his rap in “Yestoday” shows great potential for a more personal, emotional style than some of what we’ve seen to date. In 2022, I really want to hear more work in that vein.

    3. I want (a continued supply of) self-written and self-produced songs from Monsta X.

    Monsta X had two really successful title songs written and produced by Jooheon in 2021. Jooheon and IM have obviously always written their own raps, but I’m really excited for them to continue driving the group’s sound. Jooheon’s mixtape in 2020 and IM’s mixtape in 2021 were both interesting and ambitious projects and I’d love to see more of that sound in Monsta X’s group work.

    Beyond that: in 2021, Hyungwon, Jooheon and IM co-wrote “Secrets”, an English track from One of a Kind. Some of the lyrics are…bold. (“Postin’ on the couch, yeh my daily routine / Ain’t no clothes yeh that’s what I need.” IM in the DMs.) But it’s also tremendous overwrought fun. If Kpop artists are going to continue releasing English material (and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t!), I’d like to see labels give them more room to swing for the fences and try writing their own material, even if the results are a little colourful.

    4. I want more self-written and self-produced songs from BTS.

    It can be very exhausting to talk about BTS on the internet, pro or con. This is for a variety of reasons. I am a huge fan of BTS and what follows is in that spirit.

    One of my favourite forms of Kpop content is RM’s post-album Vlives in which he goes through each album and explains the production process. And my favourite of those Vlives is his Map of the Soul Persona Vlive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx5pp80tomA), in which he explains how he wrote the album. (And as he explains he DID write the album, more than any other: he estimates that he wrote 80% or 90% of the lyrics, excluding Suga and J-Hope’s rap verses.) What shines through is the enormous and obvious care with which he writes lyrics: the ten or twenty rejected drafts of the first line of “Boy with Luv”, the way his rap verse in that song unfolded in a steady stream from the line “I’ll speak very frankly”, his self-critical post-mortem in “Mikrokosmos”.

    I’m not especially fussed about whether BTS sing in Korean or English for their own sake. They have some dumb lines in Korean. They have some great lines in English, even (especially) self-written lines. (“Tokyo” from “Mono” is entirely in English!) But RM, Suga and J-Hope are all exceptional lyricists, and my favourite BTS moments of this year were in work to which they contributed their own lines: ‘Don’t’, ‘My Universe’, ‘Girl of my Dreams’. (Plus “Zero Times One Equals Lovesong Brackets I Know I Love You End Brackets”, the best song written by a BTS member this year!) Whichever language they sing in this year, I want to hear those lyricists’ own words. They’re very good at it.

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  6. Almost shed a tear when I heard those kep1er teasers. I’m gonna act like MVSK is the title track. I agree with mainly everything here tho.

    My biggest kpop wish is probably for GGs to get some more shine next year. I mentioned in the “albums” post but it’s unfortunate that a lot of successful girl groups were relegated to one mini album this year while most their male counterparts released boatloads of material.

    I also wish some of the overaching GGs trends change. I don’t really care for the whole girl crush Blackpink/ITZY sound so I’m hoping we see a shift. If history is anything to go by, this new JYP girl group could usher in a new musical trend for GGs, as for what that trend is…idk hopefully something good tho

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also…Queendom 2. As toxic as an environment as it creates…the results speak for themselves. Would like to see groups like Weki Meki or Momoland get second winds of popularity. Plus I think groups like Dreamcatcher, LOONA, WJSN, and someone like Weeekly could do really well on it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I am 100% on board for Queendom 2 for this exact reason. Just look at what it did for Oh My Girl, and for (G)I-dle and Mamamoo as well (though Mamamoo was already on the rise at the time iirc). The possibilities of the groups are super exciting, can’t wait to see the lineup and how the show (hopefully) boosts their popularity.


      • My Queendom 2 dream teams (using the formula of replacing the first seasons lineup):

        Park Bom > Lee Hi
        AOA > Dreamcatcher
        mamamoo > Brave Girls
        Lovelyz > Apink
        Oh My Girl > WJSN
        (G)I-dle > PIXY

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think a lot of these fall under one key goal: once you have less competition in kpop, that would also lead to more fun club anthems, less “shouting”/focus on concepts being “badass”, and more focus on songs oriented toward the audience and not the singers. If this became a popular style among big groups, you’d probably end up liking more of those too. I would feel very happy with a less competitive kpop scene.

    Many of my favorite songs are ones where the message is more “self-oriented” than toward the audience—stuff like “cheer up baby!” or songs about them being in love with you or you being their number one have always felt fake to me. That’s not a criticism of the lyricists or artists, it’s just a quirk of mine. I prefer stuff like “Damaged Lady” about the rawness of an individual’s experience. That doesn’t make a song for me; it’s just the icing on the cake that adds a bit more emotional resonance to music I already like.

    There are more rookies than ever, but less of them seem to have taken the public by storm. There seems to be either a focus on “the changing of the old guard” where lots of rookies can blow up, or a focus on existing groups building up their fanbase. Maybe people don’t have the energy for both?

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  8. 1. Agree. K-Pop groups can save the perfect precision and moody presentations for their music videos. When they appear on stage, they need to be more literal about performing “live”; as in, alive, living, lively, etc..

    2. I’ve always championed dedicated in-house production.

    3. I don’t mind when a group gets experimental (i.e., 4Minute Crazy/Hate), but it’s not an experiment when it becomes regular. Aggressive singing works well with certain styles (e.g., Rock, Punk, etc.), and it’s okay to get a little loud if you’re putting out an anthemic piece (Jessi “What Type of X”) or a cheerleader piece (DreamNote “Dream Note”), but Pop music is not generally known for red-level angst. Next thing you know, we’ll get shouty ballads.

    4. As with point 3, somethings are okay if your trying to color outside the lines once in a while, lyric wise. Lately, it seems like I’m waiting for someone to color inside the lines. I’m not talking completely paint by numbers, but let’s try and keep most of the paint on the canvas. Then again, Dada was a painting style, so do Dada da, da do Dada.

    5. More rookies? I don’t know. Part of what I think is a problem with K-pop, lately, is that it’s becoming too much of a kluge. There are so many groups debuting from new agencies. Lately, it seems like everyone is trying to become the next SM, YG, JYP. That should be a good thing because it introduces variety, but it’s a double edged sword. It’s getting harder for any one group to stand out and develop a large following. Second gen groups use to have releases that stayed relevant for a couple of months. Nowadays, it seems like most songs last a month, if that. This is one subject that I have a LOT of personal thought invested in, but I’m not going to into the bulk of it.

    6. Agree, but this is a “reap what you sew” scenario, isn’t it. The agencies want the fans to feel that “Oppa/Hyung only cares about you!” or “Noona/Unni will wait for you!”. So much so that idols aren’t allowed to date or have friends of the opposite sex. I get really upset when I see any idol getting bashed because they liked someone’s Insta-Tic-Tweety-Face post. For cripes sake, let them friggin’ breathe.

    7. Agree; provisionally. There’s room for everyone at the trough. Of course, I’d love to see some of the masters putting notes to paper. I also think there’s enough room for new writers too. So.. ..both?

    8. See my points under number 5. Part of what is stealing the oxygen out of the rooms is the room has become much more crowded.

    9. TWICE “Cheer Up”, Laboum “Hwi Hwi”, WJSN “Happy”. Oh My Girl “Liar Liar”, SNSD “Love & Girls”, KARA “We’re With You”, After School “Bang!”.. ..nope, I have no idea what you could possibly be referring to.

    10. Size doesn’t matter! ..or does it?

    7 = Oh My Girl, Dreamcatcher, Cherry Bullet, Weeekly, Purple Kiss, cignature, Elris, GWSN, Rainbow, DIA, Tri.be
    8 = Pink Fantasy, Weki Meki, Lightsum, Lovelyz, gugudan, Fanatics, OMG (debut)
    9 = TWICE, fromis_9, Nature, SNSD (Original), Momoland (debut), 9Muses, gugudan (debut)
    12 = LOONA
    Then again..
    4 = BP, Brave Girls, mamamoo, aespa, SISTAR, 2NE1, 4TEN, BESTie, Girl’s Day, KARA
    5 = 4Minute, Red Velvet, EXID, ITZY, Secret Number
    6 = (G)I-dle, STAYC, Everglow, Apink, GFRIEND, PIXY, April

    Note: I know some groups listed are disbanded, but I included them to help emphasize my point of member count/quality.

    Not sure if the size of group matters. I will say that larger groups are more entertaining to watch. My eye muscles are definitely getting a better workout watching LOONA versus Brave Girls. Additionally, some people complain when groups are too big because their bias doesn’t get enough lines. In the end, I don’t think the roster count matters to me that much, as long as I’m entertained one way or the other.

    As far as feeling left out from what the masses are enjoying, welcome to my world. It definitely hurts to see your faves struggling while a precious few are getting all of the accolades. Especially since the material those darlings of the genre are releasing is not “that” much better than what everyone else is doing. I’d argue that I’m getting better quality listens from what everyone else is ignoring.

    I’m only going to make one wish for 2022. Making a statement with your releases is all fine and dandy, but can we please try to remember that music is more than a soapbox or a pulpit for your cause. Sometimes, it’s just about being alive and happy. Given everything ordinary life dishes out, I just want to smile when I hit the play button; is that too much to ask?

    Liked by 2 people

    • So much insight. Although… point 10 was about popularity, not the number of members in groups. Still a nice read, but I think the point was more that Nick doesn’t really engage with a lot of the popular groups that get the year-end shows and discussions online at least this year, since most of their output he didn’t really like.

      I’d would be a little odd if he disliked large groups, considering his favorite group has 10 members, and SEVENTEEN has like 13 and he’s never been bothered much by that.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. All good points, Nick.

    I have a long wish list for k-pop 2022, but I’ll condense mine down to just three points:

    a) More melody. And by that I also mean, more chords – and more interesting chords. When your song is literally only 4 chords, there’s only so many places a melody can go. And when those 4 chords are the same ones used in pop since the 1960s (and excessively used just in the past decade!!), there’s hardly any fresh ground to write anything genuinely new and interesting.

    b) Fewer writers per song. Too many cooks… If you really need 8 songwriters for your 4-chord song, perhaps you should seriously consider finding just one or two really good songwriters. The majority of classic pop songs of the 20th century had only one or two songwriters. I appreciate that the music business works differently these days, but also, how many classics are being composed these days?

    c) Stop trying copy whatever the latest hit was. It’s cringey and loudly broadcasts an utter lack of artistic integrity – both the performers and the writers. Hasn’t anyone pointed out that those k-pop performers and writers who just do their own thing, regardless of trends, tend to be the actual trend setters?


  10. love this post because most of the points are really true

    really agree with how tiring it is seeing kpop artists only ever talk about how cool and edgy they are. last cheering song i remember genuinely enjoying was seventeen’s clap and I want songs like that to come back


  11. I think what I don’t like with the current kpop performances is that everyone is trying to be cool or badass (yes even the supposedly bright songs are still trying to be cool in some way) and it doesn’t come from an authentic and empowered place. It just looks forced and corporate for me. Maybe if they allow themselves to be vulnerable for once I think that would create more enjoyable performances.


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