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K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2023

K-Pop ResolutionsDepending on when or where you’re reading this, it’s either the final day of 2022 or the first day of 2023. That means, it’s time to make my K-pop wishes for the new year. Many of these never end up coming true, but you’ve still got to put it into the universe, right??


1. More Long-Awaited Comebacks from the Legends

2022 was a good year for veteran girl groups, with both Girls’ Generation and Kara making long-awaited, successful returns. Now, it’s time for some veteran boy groups to follow suit. If 2023 doesn’t give us great comebacks from Infinite, TVXQ and SHINee I will riot! That last one is all-but confirmed and TVXQ is probably likely as well. But, will this finally be the year Infinite reunite for an album?

Whatever happens, these veteran groups are very dear to older fans like myself and I’d love to see more of them return with new music. Dare I hope for a Sistar or Girl’s Day album? What about a more left-field surprise, like ZE:A?


2. The Return of the Mega-Producer

Past K-pop eras have been defined by their hot music producers of the moment, with one or two names standing out as a talent everyone wanted to work with. Over time, it’s become far more common for companies to purchase material from a wide variety of producer teams — many of them not Korean at all. While it’s great to have a diversity of voices, it feels more like these outsourced productions are simply copying and pasting trends that have working in the past.

A certain amount of “copy and paste” goes along with having a trendy producer-of-the-moment, too. But in that case, it tends to feel like more of a unified vision — a musical era, to put it simply.


3. Better Utilization of Vocalists

I know K-pop’s charms involve much more than great singing. But if I had it my way, idol songs would shift back toward a focus on vocalists. There’s been a lot of sing-talk and a lot of shouting this year. I want to hear more melody in 2023. Give us those shining moments where we can really hear the skill of a group’s main vocalist. I want power notes galore, but ones that are properly woven into a melody and not simply added as ornamentation.


4. Maximalism

Along with those power notes, I need K-pop to fully embrace its bigness. Oftentimes, the visuals and concept are overwhelming but the songs themselves feel oddly subdued. I’m sick of anti-drops and threadbare grooves. I’d love producers to throw the kitchen sink at us. 2023 is a time for over-the-top anthems with production to match!


5. New-Gen Girl Groups Unveil Their Classics

2022 offered many great new girl groups and some have already released a song or two that feel like classics in the making. So far, so good.

In 2023, I’d like to see these groups throw down the gauntlet and deliver their signature hit — a track so great that it goes down in history and is still talked about a decade later. I know this is a lot to ask, but we have to dream big!


6. New-Gen Boy Groups, Where You At?

While new girl groups ruled 2022, the year wasn’t nearly as stuffed with notable boy group debuts. It’s only fair to turn the tables in 2023 and see the debut of a couple of big-name, popular-right-out-of-the-gate boy groups with fully-formed sounds and concepts that push the industry forward.

And while we’re at it, this better be the year JYP finally debuts his LOUD group. The wait is getting ridiculous.


7. Break the Template

This one is kind of sown into every resolution on the list, but I think it deserves its own mention.

For a blogger like me who writes about every major K-pop song released, it’s easy to notice certain songwriting templates and patterns. It’s becoming very rare (almost impossible, actually) for a K-pop song to genuinely surprise me. Compare this to J-pop’s continual reinventions and there’s a huge contrast. At this point, K-pop has become a well-oiled machine. But, I’d like to see a group or two play outside those established lines.


8. Justice for Spurned Idol Acts

There’s been a lot of drama this year, resulting in plenty of acts that deserve a leg up in 2023. Whether that’s long-neglected groups (iKON) or groups with legal stresses (LOONA) or simply groups who deserve a break after tons of hard work, let’s make 2023 the year of real comebacks (not just the typical K-pop definition of “comeback”).


9. More Recognition for Acts/Agencies who Consistently Release Excellence

As we head further down the list, these resolutions become more personal to me and my interests.

I don’t necessarily put much stock in “international recognition” and rarely follow outlets like Billboard and NME, but I often feel like I’m on an island of my own when I’m gushing about groups like Golden Child and DRIPPIN and OnlyOneOf. Sometimes it seems I’m the only international “critic” (if that’s what you want to call me) who’s enjoying these groups. Maybe my taste is just really specific, but it seems like so many year-end lists and coverage from major outlets focus on the same handful of acts while totally ignoring others, year after year.

I don’t even know what I want here, since omnipresent coverage and commentary is even more annoying than complete disregard. But, I’d like to see some of these consistently-great mid-tier groups get some recognition outside of their core fanbase.


10. K-Pop Tours, Please Come to the Pacific Northwest!

This is a very personal wish and I know it’s a bit silly because there are entire countries (even continents!) that never have K-pop tours pass through. But with so many acts coming to the States in 2022, I was irritated that hardly any stopped in Seattle or Vancouver.

I’m willing to travel for the acts I love most, but the Pacific Northwest is a big chunk of the country with a ton of fans eager to spend money. Come see us!

20 thoughts on “K-Pop New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Things I Want To See Happen In 2023

  1. I saw a few days ago that all but one of the members of Infinite reunited and took some photos together. I don’t know how to embed links, but the headline is “INFINITE members get together before the end of the year, but Sungjong wouldn’t pick up his phone.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and some are spinning this as the beginning of a rumored comeback. I’ll believe it when I see it because this feels like pretty threadbare evidence.

      Still good to see them together, though!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I totally agree with your comment number 7. Trying something new is very risky in terms of business – because they have to recoup the investment – but I don’t think it’s bad to try something new if they have a certain level of fandom. This is because it is clear that the fans are also fed up with the one-size-fits-all songs.

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  3. At this point we won’t ever recognize LOUD’s maknae line. Keiju must look so different by now. Come on, JYP, just debut those boys already!!!

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    • IST really need to get their shit together. They neglected their new acts from gaining bigger successes by scoring awful title tracks, less actual material for Weeekly, and it feels they didn’t have a certain plan for 2022. Maybe they can start with bringing an actually good song and concept for TBZ AND Weeekly.

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  4. Next year ONF, A.C.E., and Victon will have their full lineups back and they usually deliver in the vocals. I know they don’t get much attention but VAV will also return and they have some amazing vocalist. Onlyoneof will have their American tour so hopefully they’ll receive more recognition for their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. #2: It would be great to hear a new “signature sound” develop from a young producer. Maybe it could be a current idol who produces some smashes for their current group and other acts like a Soyeon? Or, someone like Bang Yedam who (reportedly) is focused on growing as a producer?

    Also, can we get a company to let one producer, or a small group of Western producers, handle a single project if they insist on using someone from the West? I think the song camp approach to picking random songs from Western creators doesn’t always create the most cohesive project.

    3. I’d love more choruses actually sung in harmony by the entire group versus the harmony being created by one or two members through layered vocals. There’s something about a well sung group chorus that just hits in the right way.

    6. I’d like to SM debut a non-NCT boy group with a different sound and concept to the current NCT units.

    8. Justice for Omega X and Loona.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My dream 2nd gen groups I want to reunite and release some new music are 2NE1, f(x), Sistar, and Wonder Girls. I think 2NE1 and Sistar are the likeliest of those!
    Would also love for massive hits for Weki Meki and Everglow to cement them properly after a year of relative absence, and why not a Gfriend reunion and comeback while we’re at it?
    Totally manifesting Loona gets out of their legal hell and some members redebut solo or in smaller groups or a company can sweep them all up, or they can leave the idol industry entirely; whatever is best for them 🙂
    And maybe the full album from Sunmi to celebrate ten years of her solo debut! (please)

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  7. I’ve always agreed with your opinion on groups like golden child and drippin, but for some reason I find them really hard to overlook. I can’t put my finger on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if others had a similar perception. I know they’re awesome but why don’t I feel like returning to that awesomeness very often

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  8. One thing I want more of in 2023 is cohesive, story-like projects. Although a few groups do do it, I want to see more. I guess this want comes from listening to DPR Ian’s Mood Swings in to Order as a holistic album and how it almost sounds better as a collective than the singles do on their own. Ofc, I dont want songs that dont make sense on their own but I sometimes feel like a lot of projects recently are just the standard mix of basic genre and song tropes

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would add: military boy groups coming back strong. As in groups that have their members coming back fully this year come out and release a banger out the gate. No fanservice ballad trope. Shinee, vav, ace, etc. I’m looking at you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a wish similar to #9, more diverse critics in the K-pop community. It seems like most of the big, professional critics like to… uh is ‘suck up’ the right word?… to big groups. Like I’d understand if these opinions were individualistic but most of the time they aren’t. I’d like to see more individualism in K-pop critics, and just K-pop fans in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 1. Taeyong will have a solo album where he just makes modem noises for an hour and I will buy it.

    2. Kenta and Sanggyun (ex JBJ95) will get credit along with Omega X and others for fighting the man, and will hopefully put out some music, which I will buy.

    3. I wish there would be some more musical personality – solos played in real time by instruments, varied backing tracks, and actual beginnings and endings. Also, more performances with live bands that are not suffocatingly tasteful.

    4. Conversely, I would like to see K-pop embrace the robotic in a thoughtful, Kraftwerkian way.

    Otherwise just looking forward at a short window of EXO almost at full strength, SHINee being back, SuperM being back, and whatever happens with UP10tion and Hui after Boy’s Planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi finally making my debut on the site! I’ve been a fan of your blog a while this is the only I can keep up with the latest releases in k-pop. I really appreciate that! I hope some your k-pop wishes do come true. I do hope we see more variety in 2023. I can’t help but think we could hear more new jeans- like songs coming form other groups. I was watching a video from k-pop producer saying that new jeans is generating a lot of buzz in the k-pop industry. not shocking to hear tbh.

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