Feature

The Top 10 K-Pop Artists of 2022

Top 10 K-Pop Artists of 2022This year, I’m going to flip things around and honor my top ten K-pop artists before turning to the rookies tomorrow. While 2022 offered many strong debuts, I just wasn’t as thrilled by many of the industry’s established artists. That makes today’s countdown a bit easier to compile. As usual, the criteria is built around these three facets:

  1. Quality of work
  2. Quantity of work
  3. Influence of work on the industry

Also as usual, the first criteria far outweighs the next two, and is entirely subjective. This is not a countdown of the most successful or prolific acts in 2022. This is a celebration of the groups/artists that really shaped the year for me. Rookies are ineligible, as they have their own countdown. No honorable mentions this year!

2022 END-OF-YEAR MASTERPOST


10. WJSN

wjsn

Though they didn’t release much music this year, WJSN makes the cut because all of the music they did release was very good. Add their victory on this year’s Queendom and you’ve got a veteran group that feels recharged for the next stage of their career.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Super Yuppers!, Last Sequence


9. GIRLS’ GENERATION

snsd

Girls’ Generation’s long-awaited comeback exceeded expectations thanks to a strong album and incredible single. Solo projects from Taeyeon and Hyoyeon continued to deepen the group’s musical reach. And, the general public was eager to re-embrace these legends, resulting in continued chart success and fan adoration.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Forever 1
Solo Singles: Can’t Control Myself, INVU, Deep


8. TWICE

Twice

Twice have become a staple on this countdown. Though 2022 wasn’t their most prolific year, it was a very important one. The group beat K-pop’s famed “seven year curse” and renewed their contracts right before releasing one of their strongest title tracks. We also can’t forget Nayeon’s successful debut.

Last Year: 7

2022 Singles: Celebrate, Talk That Talk
Solo Singles: Pop!


7. TREASURE

Treasure

Despite losing members, Treasure was quite active in 2022. After the polarizing JIKJIN, they rebounded with an excellent reinvention of Darari and the super-fun Hello. Sub-unit track VolKno also displayed a new facet of their sound, positioning them well for the future.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: JIKJIN, Darari (Remix), Hello, VolKno


6. GOLDEN CHILD

Golden Child

I’ll admit to bias keeping Golden Child on this countdown, but how could I not include an artist who released a single as excellent as Replay and an album as fantastic as Aura? (We’ll just ignore those Japanese songs.) And though they only delivered one comeback in 2022, the group’s variety game remained strong (and plentiful).

Last Year: 4

2022 Singles: A Woo, Rata Tat Tat, Replay


5. TO1

TO1

I know TO1’s reconfiguration proved controversial among fans, but it offered an entry point for me and I found myself totally embracing their new sound. For the first time, it feels like the group’s music has real focus and personality. I hope this continues in 2023.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Drummin, Freeze Tag


4. CRAVITY

cravity

CRAVITY went from “beep beep, skrrt skrrt” posturing to pop excellence this year. This transformation has been a long time coming and resulted in two great mini albums and a newfound clarity and purpose in their music. It feels like they’re finally starting to take advantage of their strengths.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Adrenaline, Party Rock


3. ONLYONEOF

OnlyOneOf

2022 kicked off with a strong comeback from OnlyOneOf, but it’s their Underground Idol series of solo tracks that land them this high on the countdown. I’m not sure there’s a current K-pop group as unique as they are, both in sound and concept. And while they may never go fully mainstream, I love them as K-pop’s quirky art school counterpoints.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Skinz, Begin, Be Free, Be Mine, Because, Beat, Zurui Onna


2. DRIPPIN

drippin

For me, no other K-pop act released as much solid material this year as DRIPPIN. This isn’t surprising. I’ve long considered Woollim Entertainment to be one of the industry’s strongest musical purveyors. But, I wasn’t 100% sold on DRIPPIN’s discography until this new Villain trilogy. They’ve finally found their niche and are thriving within that sound.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Villain, Zero, The One, So Good


1. IVE

IVE

IVE’s 2022 represents the perfect storm of fantastic songs and massive industry influence. They felt like the trendiest group of the year and accomplished that feat through a trilogy of diverse tracks that somehow managed to be consistent and daring at the same time. They may not have released as much music as some others on this list, but everything they touched was a hit. If I could, I’d revamp last year’s rookie countdown and give them the top spot.

Last Year: n/a

2022 Singles: Eleven (technically 2021), Love Dive, After Like

10 thoughts on “The Top 10 K-Pop Artists of 2022

  1. IVE! The industry is quite saturated, so being the “it” group is hard to define, but if I were to try and pick, they would be my group of choice. 2022 was their year.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My top artists this year are:
    Rolling Quartz- released my favourite mini album this year and always exciting to see an all-female rock band!

    Viviz- I miss Gfriend so much but I loved Viviz’s mini albums this year and their Queendom stint was a blast

    Red Velvet- two incredibly cohesive minis and Seulgi’s excellent solo, glad they’ve had a busy year!

    Purple Kiss- consistently making better bsides than their title tracks (Zombie excluded!) Sad to see Jieun leave but excited to see what they’ll do next year (full album and a first music show win please!)

    Kwon Eunbi- she’s rapidly cemented herself as my favourite post-Iz*One project, I love her voice

    Loona- Desperately hoping a big rich company will take them after the BBC disaster! But with my favourite Queendom performances, a successful if unorganised tour, a Korean and Japanese comeback, I loved Loona this year and wish them nothing but the best

    Hyolyn- destroyed, ate, slayed, served. Love to see 2nd gen idols absolutely thriving!

    Girls Generation- I cried listening to Taeyeon’s album, I cried listening to Forever 1,I cried watching Forever 1 performances, I shook ass to Deep by Hyo. Really hope SNSD sets a precedent for groups being active in their 15th year!

    Twice-THEY RESIGNED!!! I loved their mini, the Japanese album, and Nayeon’s solo, and can’t wait for their future.

    Bibi- her album was one of my absolute favourites this year, and her collabs with idols continue to be excellent

    Like

  3. Heck yeah. WJSN is here. They released some really good music as well as great performances and song remixes this year.

    OnlyOneOf’s underground idol series was so great this year.

    Like

  4. I can agree with all these girl group choices (I don’t follow boys groups enough as a whole to have a firm opinion on any of these LOL) and would also toss in Kara for Honorable mention, if only because the mini as a whole is solid and they recently won Music Bank, becoming the first girl group in kpop history to have a music show win in 3 different decades. Congrats ladies!

    Like

  5. My top artists for this year are Ive, Cravity, Treasure, Drippin and Kingdom! Multiple solid comebacks, great performances and very high staying power throughout the year ❤

    Like

  6. Artist that did not rest this year therefore deserve this title! I mean, comeback after comeback and “world” tours!

    1.The Boyz
    2.Ateez
    3.Enhypen
    4.P1Harmony
    5.Seventeen
    6.MonstaX (I consider The Dreaming a 2022 coneback)
    7.Stray Kids (I don’t listen to their music but they worked hard!)
    8.Itzy
    9.Twice
    10.OnlyOneOf (no concert, but their underground idol series made them stand out)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.