The end of the year countdowns are finally here! As always, we’ll kick off with the big one: The Bias List’s top 50 songs of the year! Each day this week, I’ll be counting down ten of the year’s best, until number one is revealed on Friday.
To be eligible for this top 50 list, songs must have had a Korean release as a title track, follow-up or promotional video between Dec. 1st, 2021 and Nov. 30th, 2022.
Curious about past countdowns? Check out the masterpost here!
20. PSY – That That (ft. Suga)
It’s the return of a legend, flanked by another legend. PSY’s goofy schtick should be getting old by now, but That That’s lively groove and series of addictive hooks yet again secures his place as K-pop’s number one life of the party. (full review)
19. ONF – Goosebumps
Putting a temporary capper on ONF’s imperial phase, Goosebumps made for an unexpected swan song before enlistment. It’s a rugged funk workout, playing with sound and structure in a thrilling composition that hits hard. (full review)
18. Rocket Punch – Chiquita
After flirting with retro influences on past title tracks, Chiquita completed Rocket Punch’s transformation into synth warriors. Its mighty riff gives them plenty of ammunition and the song’s chorus seizes that energy with panache. (full review)
17. Key – Another Life
By now, Key should be well aware how much we love his embrace of synthwave sounds. Fan favorite Another Life made the perfect pre-release, pleasing longtime fans as it deepened the majestic energy of last year’s Bad Love. (full review)
16. NewJeans – Attention
If executed well, laidback grooves can be just as thrilling as club-ready bangers. Attention pulls from airy 90’s pop to reinvent how a modern K-pop debut might sound. The song’s influence quickly became clear, but even after its reign on the charts has ended that harmonic chorus that will stand the test of time. (full review)
15. WJSN – Last Sequence
After winning this year’s Queendom competition, WJSN took a well-deserved victory lap with the stomping Last Sequence. The ladies aimed straight for the dancefloor and hit their mark, resulting in a track that only grew more addictive with time. (full review)
14. Rie – Because
OnlyOneOf’s Underground Idol bore plenty of fruit in 2022, but no song resonated as clearly as Because. Over a sentimental pop/rock soundscape, Rie bears his all in a performance that evokes nostalgia. It’s amazing how many nuances he can pack into the song’s plentiful “yeah yeah yeah” ad-libs. (full review)
13. CSR – Pop? Pop!
Many girl groups debuted this year, but CSR’s Pop? Pop! stands as one of the most memorable arrivals. I have a serious soft spot for this early Lovelyz/GFriend sound and instantly fell in love with this rush of sugary sweet melody. A bounding dance break is the cherry on top of an already-delicious confection. (full review)
12. Twice – Talk That Talk
Jumping aboard K-pop’s retro train for the first time since 2020’s I Can’t Stop Me, Talk That Talk is the ebullient sound of a group confident in their own power. Its blissful chorus sweeps you off your feet and the instrumental crackles with a buoyant pop energy. (full review)
11. iKON – But You
I would’ve never expected iKON to go full-on synthwave, but the genre turns out to fit them like aglove. But You surges on anthemic energy, tied together by an emotive performance that sees the group taking full advantage of their vocalists. It’s one of the year’s most underrated tracks. (full review)