Top K-Pop Albums of 2022 (So Far)

Bias List Mid-Year Best OfYesterday, I struck a disappointed note when rounding up this year’s strongest singles, and this albums list is going to be quite similar. 2022 has delivered some decent albums so far, but nothing close to a My Name/City Of ONF, Don’t Call Me/Atlantis, YES, Summer Queen, Gatcha or The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. In fact, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t listened to any 2022 K-pop album more than three times (!) all the way through.

Another 2022 quirk: there’s not a single boy group album in my mid-year list. That’s pretty shocking, coming from me!

*As usual, albums must have at least four full songs to be eligible for this list (otherwise, DRIPPIN’s most recent single album would be included)

What are your thoughts, readers? Leave your own picks in the comments!


Dreamcatcher – Apocalypse: Save Us


Dreamcatcher often find a place on my albums lists. Despite broadening their sonic spectrum on Apocalypse, the album still feels distinct to them.

Best album tracks: Starlight, Cherry, Beauty Full

Oh My Girl – Real Love

oh my girl

Real Love is a frustrating example of an album where the b-sides are far more interesting than the title track. It plays to the group’s strengths, while simultaneously pushing them in new directions.

Best album tracks: Blink, Drip, Replay, Parachute

PSY – PSY 9th


K-pop royalty returns as strong as ever. PSY brought a ton of friends along for this album, and those guest features make it feel like the coolest party ever.

Best album tracks: Now, Dear Me, Everyday, Ganji


Brave Girls – Thank You

brave girls

This is all killer, no filler — a rarity in the song-camp reality of today’s K-pop market. It feels like four singles, back to back.

Best album tracks: Can I Love You, Love Is Gone

Changmin – Devil


Though it loses some steam at the end, Devil opens with a triple punch that reminds listeners what a dynamic force Changmin can be.

Best album tracks: Fever

Jinjin & Rocky – Restore

jinjin & rocky

Restore is a grab-bag of funky, retro influences. Its title track is fun, but the b-sides back this energy up with personality and flair.

Best album tracks: Lock Down, CPR

LE SSERAFIM – Fearless

le sserafim

The strongest debut of the year (so far), giving LE SSERAFIM their own sound that echoes elements from K-pop’s storied past. Heads up to producers Score & Megatone, which give the album a consistency that’s vital to its success.

Best album tracks: The Great Mermaid, Blue Flame

Woodz – Colorful Trauma


It may lack to high highs of his last album, but Woodz delivers a convincing punk-rock alternative on the bold Colorful Trauma.

Best album tracks: Better And Better, Hijack

Yena – Smiley


Smiley fulfills the promise of its title. Stuffed with bright, punchy pop music, the album will certainly raise your spirits.

Best album tracks: Pretty Boys, Lxxk 2 U

16 thoughts on “Top K-Pop Albums of 2022 (So Far)

  1. Yes Yena’s Smiley is the winner for sure. Charming and fun front to back.

    I can’t lie that I’ve listened to Le SSerafim’s record many many times over. I think it’s super digestible and works cohesively. It’s a very cool release!
    Also youngluv.com by Stayc. But it think showing my affinity to these releases exposes my bias/taste. Also both releases have tracks…”sour grapes” and “same same” that are fantastic sped up/nightcore style.

    Also this past month I ended up spinning Lightsum’s “into the Light” mini album. I enjoyed that one a lot as well. It felt very much like Galactika’s vision. I’m curious to see if that collaboration will continue, I see Galactika are also behind the upcoming Itzy comeback.

    I would really love for a bg release to come and floor me in 2022. Maybe TXT can come back with some good music haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Le Sserafim’s FEARLESS, Suho’s ‘Grey Suit’ and Red Velvet’s ‘Feel My Rhythm’.

    Kpop albums need to slay (e.g. aespa’s Savage 🙏🙏), but only one track stands out on most. With this, will you be doing a bside feature too?


  3. Big freaking yes to both Smiley and Thank You! The two are clear cut above the competition for me personally. I’m the kind of listener that rarely likes an album all the way through, but both minis do the best job in offering the short but consistently sweet listening experiences that I tend to gravitate towards when it comes to these kind of discussions.

    Alongside those two, I’d also add ‘Crazy Driver’ by the Jeon Jiyoon-fronted PRSNT – quite possibly the most underrated (and I mean <20k streams underrated lmao) release of the year IMO.

    It was the nocturnal synth-driven Like a Butterfly that drew me in initially, but the rest of the EP might legitimately be stronger all around – the cheesy, step-on-the-gas madness of Crazy Driver, the lively coast side energy of I Don’t Know Where to Go, Take That Back’s stirring, melancholic melodies, and then the Intro and Outro to set the tone perfectly and tie it all up into neat little package. It’s pretty good stuff ❤


  4. For me one album would be P1Harmony’s. I loved everything including the title track! ❤ Before the Dawn is especially my favorite! Agree with Dreamcatcher too! My favorites besides Maison include Beautyfull and Entrancing.


  5. Nick joining the GG agenda??? :OO

    Brave Girls’ Thank You album is probably on top for me so far, what a killer list of songs. Other than that, I also have Dreamcatcher’s full album, Le Sserafim’s mini, and also Nayeon’s mini.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The year started with Changmin’s “Devil”: what an epic album! As stated in the article, “Devil”, “Maniac” and especially “Fever” are just phenomenal! Speaking of TVXQ!, Yunho’s Japanese EP “Kimi wa Saki e Iku” is also pretty solid (the title as well as “Refill”).

    Two of the best full-length albums of the year were released on the same day. The first one is “INVU” by Taeyeon, I’m so obsessed with her LPs – all of them being extremely solid pop albums. For real, every single track could have been a title track, and I’m so glad she’s releasing “live clips” for some of the songs these days. The other one is Apink’s special album “HORN” which includes bops as “Dilemma”, “My oh My” and “Just Like This”.

    Rocket Punch’s “YELLOW PUNCH” is such an uplifting and anthemic record, one of the highlight of the year. Despite being so short, (G)I-DLE’s “I NEVER DIE” was quite interesting after the really disappointing “I burn”, it includes one of my favorite B-side of the year, “POLAROID”. Kwon Eun Bi showed various shades of her talent in “Color”: from hyper-dynamic “Glitch” to the mature “Magnetic” and the jazzy “Speed of Love”, I love this album.

    K-Indie scene has some amazing acts too. Both BOL4’s “Seoul” and MeloMance’s “Invitation” made me cry haha. Lastly, I’d like to mention 3 stand out solo albums: Kim Sung Kyu’s “SAVIOR”, Lee Su Jeon’s “My Name” and Youngjae’s “SUGAR”.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ive been obsessed with Dreamcatcher songs lately including their newest release. Although the title track (Maison) didnt have much impact on me. The longevity was lower for me than I thought.


  8. Only Taeyeon INVU is the best 2022 album for me. Every song in this album is really gold and can become title track especially ‘siren’, ‘toddler’ & ‘cold as hell’.


  9. No real order or format
    JinJin and Rocky – Restore
    Max Changmin – Devil
    Astro – Drive to the Starry Road
    Onew -Dice
    NINE-I – New World
    Yena – Smiley
    NCT DREAM – Glitch Mode/Beatbox
    Rocket Punch – Yellow Punch
    TVXQ! – Epitaph


  10. My favourite albums in no particular order

    – Real Love by Oh My Girl (lots of great b-sides on this one)
    – Eric Nam’s There and Back Again (songs aren’t anything crazy but he sounds great!)
    – Leserrafim’s fearless (a very well put together album)
    – Nayeon’s debut album
    – Taeyeon’s INVU (her albums always win me over, her voice is that powerful!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. looking forward to what twice’s next album would offer. i’ve seen you loved their previous album releases so i hope they’d catch up with the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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