I’m one of those K-pop fans who scours pre-release track lists for producer credits. I often become more excited by my favorite composer’s name on a track than the actual artist themselves. Because of this, my “top producers of the year” countdown has become a fun annual tradition. After all, these songs don’t materialize from thin air!
Here are ten talents that stood out to me in 2022.
Compared to some producers on this list, Monotree had a sprawling 2022 discography. This resulted in plenty of peaks and valleys in quality, but they had more hits than misses — including a handful of great b-sides.
Tempest – Bad News, Find Me, Start Up
CSR – ♡TiCON
MCND – #Mood
DRIPPIN – Delusion
BoA – The Greatest
ONF – Your Song, Runaway
ONEUS – Bring It On
Mamamoo – 1,2,3 Eoi!
Apink Chobom – Oscar
Moonbyul – Lunatic
ATBO – Run, Magic
Yoon Jisung – Bloom
Billlie – Highway Romance, My B = The Birth Of Emotion
UP10TION – Give Love
Luminous – Engine
Kenzie earns her spot on this list thanks to three fantastic title tracks: Girls’ Generation’s Forever 1, Nayeon’s Pop and Key’s Gasoline. Twenty years in the business and she’s still making hits!
8. RYAN JHUN
Ryan Jhun has been a staple on this list, and how could he not be? His name is a part of so many different K-pop tracks. 2022 wasn’t quite as prolific for him, but he was involved in highlights like IVE’s After Like, Super Junior’s Mango and Oh My Girl’s Real Love album.
IVE – After Like, My Satisfaction
Oh My Girl – Real Love, Eden, Replay, Parachute, Kiss & Fix, Blink, Dear Rose
Super Junior – Mango
Lee Chaeyeon – Hush Rush, Danny, Aquamarine, Same But Different
aespa – Girls, ICU
Kihyun – Voyager, Youth
TVXQ – Like Snow-White
Taeyeon – Can’t Control Myself
NCT Dream – Better Than Gold
VIVIZ – Fiesta, Love You Like
Key – Burn
Pentagon – Feelin’ Like
Monsta X – Breathe
Ha Sungwoon – Focus
Luminous – Matryoshka
7. CHRISTOFFER SEMELIUS
A newcomer to my list, Semelius earns a spot thanks to a strong suite of pop-informed tracks this year. Can’t Stop Shining and Adrenaline were personal highlights of 2022, while b-sides like DRIPPIN’s Trick And Treat and ITZY’s Free Fall were weirdly addictive in their left-field choices.
Edenary continued their work with ATEEZ and Dreamcatcher this year. I don’t think either group had a standout year, but both released a ton of solid material. I’m always impressed by the breadth of the Edenary sound. I hope they experiment further in 2023.
ATEEZ – Rocky (Boxers Version), Guerrilla, Cyberpunk, WDIG (Where Do I Go), New World, The King
Dreamcatcher – Maison, Vision, Starlight, Fairytale, Together, Cherry (Real Miracle), Beauty Full, Some Love
Trendz – Vagabond
5. 13 (SCORE & MEGATONE)
The 13 team helped steer LE SSERAFIM’s successful debut year, having a hand in all of their tracks. This prevented them from working with other acts (I need another Born To Be Wild and Fanfare!), but they were certainly one of 2022’s trendiest creators.
Sweetune are back! They may be working with groups most people probably haven’t heard of, but the triple punch of Nonstop, Icarus and Euratcha is the strongest the duo have sounded since 2018. We want more, guys!
Collapsedone makes his Bias List countdown debut! His bright, breezy pop sound crafted highlights for many girl groups this year. He was probably the most consistently great producer of the year. He’s really found his niche.
2. NAP!ER, HAEIL, KB & NINE
Though other composers collaborate here and there, this quartet seems to be the core force behind OnlyOneOf’s sound. I’ve been impressed by how diverse their 2022 work has been, from edgy, angular dance music to the melodic sentimentality of Rie’s Because. They’re one of the most exciting teams working in K-pop right now.
1. NEWTYPE (CORBIN, 1TAKE & TAK)
1Take and TAK have appeared on this countdown before, but this year we bring in Corbin under the team moniker “Newtype.” It’s their first time at number one, thanks to a standout 2022 that saw them experimenting with rock influences. Their music fueled all of Woollim Entertainment’s acts this year. Their collaboration with DRIPPIN resulted in the most exciting standouts, but everything they touched was a hit with me.
The Bias List Producer Spotlight (1Take & TAK)