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The Top 40 K-Pop Album Tracks & B-Sides of 2022 (20-1)

The Top 40 K-Pop B-Sides of 2022I spend the whole year plucking “buried treasures” from K-pop’s vast slate of albums, and now it’s time for those b-sides to have their own countdown! As usual, some of 2022’s strongest music was never promoted with a glossy video or music show blitz. Over the next two days, I’ll be counting down my forty favorite b-sides of the year.

This countdown encompasses any track that didn’t receive a full music video. This includes album tracks, as well as songs that may have been performed but never actively promoted. It also includes Japanese b-sides from Korean acts. Just like the Top 50 Singles list, all songs here were released between December 1st, 2021 and November 30th, 2022.

Check out tracks 40-21 here!


2022 YEAR-END MASTERPOST


20. GOLDEN CHILD – MIRACLE


Golden Child’s excellent Aura album closes with this bounding dance track. It’s stuffed with breakdowns and glitchy electronics, but always revolves around the group’s powerful performance. (full review)


19. CRAVITY – COLORFUL


CRAVITY wring everything they can from Colorful‘s measured thump while putting a much-appreciated focus on their vocals. When that lush chorus sweeps in, everything’s right with the world.


18. KEY – GUILTY PLEASURE


Guilty Pleasure‘s single-minded electro groove takes Key straight to the dancefloor. I love the hypnotic production and the slight percussive switch-ups during the hook. (full review)


17. NAYEON – NO PROBLEM (FT. FELIX)


If the English-language No Problem is any indication, Nayeon has been listening to some Carly Rae Jepsen. She and Stray Kids’ Felix make a perfect match with the song’s bubbly production and earworm chorus. (full review)


16. DREAMCATCHER – STARLIGHT


Will Dreamcatcher ever choose a synthwave track for promotions? I know they’re loved for their rock sound, but songs like Starlight are just too good to bury on an album. (full review)


15. PSY – NOW (FT. HWASA)


I did not have “PSY and Hwasa cover a cheesy Jermaine Jackson/Pia Zadora 80’s cult classic” on my 2022 K-pop bingo card. This is one of the year’s most leftfield (and welcomed!) surprises. (full review)


14. CHANGMIN – FEVER


Changmin keeps the classic Yoo Youngjin SM sound alive with this theatrical standout. His otherworldly vocals — paired with a stomping, jazzy instrumental — make Fever hard to forget. (full review)


13. BRAVE GIRLS – CAN I LOVE YOU


Can I Love You is the most exciting Brave Girls track of the year, fueled by an unflagging dancefloor throb and piercing post-chorus that’s sure to get your pulse racing. (full review)


12. ENHYPEN – SHOUT OUT


HYBE artists tend to excel at this style of radio-friendly 5SOS-esque power rock. ENHYPEN out-TXTed TXT in this regard with the cathartic Shout Out. It’s a song that gets more addictive each time you hear it. (full review)


11. TXT – THURSDAY’S CHILD HAS FAR TO GO


Speaking of TXT, this was by far my favorite 2022 song of theirs. Thursday’s Child melds a brilliant melody with beautiful synth and a propulsive beat that gives the track anthemic heft. (full review)


10. CRAVITY – AUTOMATIC


Automatic is such an earworm. It sneaks up on your over time — each little hook burrowing into memory until you can’t wait to play it again. I’m surprised how much longevity it’s had on my playlist. (full review)


9. ATBO – GRAFFITI


Graffiti is a real outlier on this year’s list, coming from a rookie group whose title tracks I actively disliked. But buried within the murk was this gleaming gem — a perfect distillation of immense, percussive 80’s funk pop. (full review)


8. WJSN – DONE


WJSN have slowly transformed into dancefloor warriors and Done is the furthest they’ve delved into club sounds yet. The two-part chorus is pure heaven, showcasing range and drama within its taut frame. (full review)


7. DRIPPIN – GAME


I chose the wrong “buried treasure” for DRIPPIN back in June. Trick And Treat is fun, but Game proved to be the real MVP. I adore the lush, layered chorus and resounding thump of the instrumental. And rather than stall momentum, the second verse sweeps in to elevate the entire track.


6. GIRLS’ GENERATION (SNSD) – LUCKY LIKE THAT


I chose the wrong “buried treasure” again! Initially, I was smitten with the more experimental You Better Run. But when it comes down to it, what I really want from Girls’ Generation is epic pop fluff. Throw in an electric guitar solo and I’m sold.


5. CSR – EURATCHA!


Sweetune! It’s Sweetune, everybody! They’re at their brightest and cutesiest with Euratcha, but there’s no mistaking the layered arrangement of the song’s robust chorus. This kind of K-pop will never go out of style. (full review)


4. GOLDEN CHILD – 3! 6! 5!


Golden Child deliver excellent songs whatever concept they tackle, but I’ll always have a soft spot for their bright, debut-era pop sound. 3! 6! 5! revisits that energy with gleeful abandon, standing as the summer’s most effusive joy bomb. (full review)


3. ATEEZ – CYBERPUNK


ATEEZ haven’t yet embraced the techno cyberpunk sound I envision for them, but they threw me a bone with this b-side. I mean… they even called it Cyberpunk! Its hard-hitting, jagged electronics resonate immediately, crafting a larger-than-life energy that surpasses all of their recent title tracks. When an artist is capable of something this great, I want everyone to hear it. (full review)


2. DRIPPIN – SILENCE


The instrumental underlining Silence‘s gargantuan chorus sounds a lot like The Chaser. For me, there is no higher praise than that. I’ve come around to the song’s slower moments, if only for their ability to set-up some incredible climaxes that keep Silence compelling throughout. But when the track drops its beat and lets loose, there’s nothing stopping it. (full review)


1. GOLDEN CHILD – KNOCKING ON MY DOOR


Some pop songs just soar. When Knocking On My Door‘s chorus unfurls, it’s the sonic equivalent of lifting off and taking flight. To think Woollim had this track kicking around in their vault for over a year! The vocal performance here is stirring, perfectly matched to the song’s ever-growing energy. From start to finish, Knocking On My Door is a tonic for the ears and the heart. It just  makes me feel giddy. (full review)

15 thoughts on “The Top 40 K-Pop Album Tracks & B-Sides of 2022 (20-1)

    • I had to de-lurk, because I feel this year has been especially good for album tracks. Here are mine, in no order.

      I was a bit surprised to not find the Lee Chanhyuk tracks on your list, as they have both great momentum and fantastic multi-genre electronica/”cyberpunk” sounds. As an 80s kid, I really loved them both. (Honestly, I prefer them both the the title track.)

      ATEEZ – Cyberpunk
      Lee Chanhyuk (AKMU) – Eyewitness Account
      Lee Chanhyuk (AKMU) – Siren
      Le Sserafim – The Great Mermaid
      TRENDZ – Villain
      PSY – Now (feat. Hwa Sa)
      Cravity – Automatic
      Kep1er – MVSK
      ATBO – Graffiti
      Seventeen – Domino
      Ghost9 – Monster
      Astro – More
      IVE – My Satisfaction

      Like

      • I love it when people de-lurk!!

        I didn’t connect with Chanhyuk’s album the way I had hoped to, which is a shame because like you said some of the sounds are right in my wheelhouse.

        Like

  1. Of the ones above that I’m familiar with, my two favorites are Dreamcatcher’s Starlight and Changmin’s Fever; they’ve been on my playlists are year long. Look forward to adding the others; this is why I love end-of-year lists 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder which Golden Child song will rank 4th, ATEEZ song 3rd, and DRIPPIN song 2nd next year, seeing as we’re establishing a pattern!

    Like

  3. Lucky Like That was love at first chorus for me (…so it was pretty instantaneous). Definitely my enduring favorite B-side on that album, though I love most of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Top 40 K-Pop Album Tracks & B-Sides of 2022 (20-1) - Rapgurus

  5. Holy crap, you liked that Cravity album. As I did, and I’ll eventually buy it even though Boogie Woogie just chills my blood being a veteran of terrible 70s disco variety shows. I really loved that E’last album, even though Creature was not such a great audition for the musical “Danger: The Taemin Experience”. Same with 2Baddies even though the title track is dopey, even though I did enjoy the shirtless Yuta video.
    I’ll share my top ten as I’m attention-seeking like that. Also I include everything on my list.
    1. Suho – Decanting
    2. NCT 127 – Faster
    3. Ateez – Cyberpunk
    4. E’Last – Shelter
    5. Beyonce – Alien Superstar
    6. Kinoj2sly and Beagle – Act!
    7. UP10tion – Flash!
    8. The Man BLK – Deja Vu
    9. NCT 127 – Time Lapse
    10. Mirae – Welcome to the Future

    Liked by 1 person

  6. knocking on my door ate and deserved the top spot

    anyway for some more good news, LOONA’S COMEBACK GOT POSTPONED 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Cyberpunk at 3! Great list Nick, it seems I need to listen to that Cravity album ahaha. I thought B-sides this year were really strong! I managed to cobble together an actual list this year too, heres mine:

    1. ATEEZ – Cyberpunk
    2. TWICE – Basics
    3. Dreamcatcher – Starlight
    4. TXT – Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go
    5. Kep1er – MVSK
    6. Brave Girls – Can I Love You
    7. Dreamcatcher – Fairytale
    8. STAYC – Young Luv
    9. LE SSERAFIM – The Great Mermaid
    10. Nayeon ft. Felix – No Problem
    11. Dreamcatcher (Dami) – Beauty Full
    12. IVE – My Satisfaction
    13. VIVIZ – Love Love Love
    14. Rocket Punch – In My World
    15. LE SSERAFIM – Blue Flame
    16. Stray Kids – Give Me Your TMI
    17. Yena – Pretty Boys
    18. WJSN – Done
    19. Golden Child – 3! 6! 5!
    20. Enhypen – Shout Out

    HM:
    Chungha – Love Me Out Loud
    CSR – Euratcha!
    H1-KEY – Heart Light
    Red Velvet – In My Dreams
    Seventeen – Don Quixote

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Got chills seeing your top 2, since those are exactly the two I would’ve picked, and which one I like more seems to change from day to day. Add Euratcha! and you’ve got one hell of a trifecta!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My favourite bsides this year! (in no particular order)
    -Lxxk 2 U and With or Without by Yena, I love pop-punk immensely and any kpop artist tackling it has a special place in my heart. Would love this sound on a title track from her!

    -Young Luv by Stayc, this is hands down my favourite song by them, it has made me cry an embarrassing amount of times

    -Love is Gone and Can I Love You by Brave Girls, in a perfect world these would have been title tracks for the minialbums and repackages they relased after Queendom. Dancey, synthy, perfection

    -In My Dreams by Red Velvet, One Of These Nights is genuinely one of my fav RV titles so I love a lush and layered emotional song from them. Wendy’s high notes give me chills every time

    -Cursor, Pretty Psycho, Love is Dead, and Hate Me Hurt Me Love Me by Purple Kiss; I genuinely cannot choose! They’re some of my favourite bside artists right now and I love how much writing and composing they do.

    -Hola by Secret Number, the only song I’ve liked from them this year unfortunately. The tropical sound almost feels nostalgic now and I would’ve killed for this as a title track!

    -Need U and Pale Blue Dot by Loona, these reminded me of their debut era and Butterfly a lot, my favourite sound from them is this kind of magical, summery, slightly left-field pop, and I’m glad they got more of it this year!

    -Love Love Love by Viviz, WHY was this not a title track!! A stunning sequel to Mago and the choreography is so good too

    -Illusion by Aespa, the only song I liked from them this year too. The slurp, the ‘yummy in my tummy’ I don’t care. It’s camp! I like Aespa when they’re weird as hell and this certainly was

    -Bad Dog by Hyuna, I really love a rock sound with her voice! This reads as a sequel to Good Girl, which is… hilarious, and this is my favourite song from her in a long time

    -Lucky Like That and Villain by Girls Generation, I could’ve put the entire album in here but these two really stood out for me. Solid entries into their discography and just really good pop songs! I expect nothing less from SNSD

    -Queen of Hearts by Twice, I really would love for them to have a pop-punk title too! They really can slay any genre and I wish this had been promoted as a bside a bit more since it was all in English too (Jeongyeon’s chorus… insane)

    -Dead Man Runnin, Los Angeles, and Crown by Seulgi; these were my favourites off her mini album! I loved how atmospheric and haunting the entire project felt and her vocals were incredible in these ones. (Need the Los Angeles choreo stat too)

    -Toddler, Siren, and No Love Again by Taeyeon- Dance Taeyeon or complete emotional breakdown Taeyeon are my favourites and her album had plenty to choose from for both.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 10. Company by Everglow
    9. Blue by Jackson Wang
    8. Shadow by Seventeen
    7. Welcome to the Future by Mirae
    6. Opening Sequence by TXT
    5. Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go by TXT
    4. Circles by Seventeen
    3. Don’t Speak by Everglow
    2. Safety Zone by Jhope
    1. Future by Jhope

    not bad.

    Liked by 1 person

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