The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2023

Monthly Round-UpAt the end of each month, I look back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists. I take my own ratings into account, but there’s a bit of wiggle room as certain songs tend to grow or fade.

January 2023 Overall Thoughts

For the second month in a row, I couldn’t really find any songs to place in my “top three.” I picked songs anyway, but they’re essentially placeholders and are very subject to change. I haven’t replayed any of them more than a few times and I can’t see anything from this month going on to be an enduring favorite. With that said, you’ll probably be surprised by my number three choice since I was so flummoxed by it on release day! I’m still not completely sold, but I’ve decided to try to focus on its strengths rather than its shortcomings.

However, just because I’m bored with K-pop at the moment doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening to any music this January. In fact, my playlists have been stacked. I’ve taken deep dives into avenues of J-pop history I hadn’t yet explored and listened to quite a few great standouts from other countries. And just last week there were two albums released that I’m absolutely in love with.

Mid-way through the month, I was shocked at how quiet the K-pop industry had become. Then, I remembered this year’s Lunar New Year occurred during mid-January instead of early February. That explains the vacant release schedule. On the plus side, this means February should be uncharacteristically busy. The industry could certainly use a jolt of energy. Everything at the moment feels so predictable and samey — both title tracks and b-sides.

J-pop had a more fruitful month, though I can’t say there was one song that stood far above everything else. It was difficult to pick my top track of January, but there were many honorable mentions. One of my resolutions this year is to keep up with J-pop releases even more closely than I have before. Eventually, this may mean a separate monthly round-up just for them. At the moment, I’m more excited by what’s happening in Japan than Korea — at least when it comes to diversity of sound and genre.

Here’s hoping February sweeps in and turns this lumbering K-pop ship around because these last eight weeks have been brutally dull. There are some promising comebacks on the horizon, so I think there’s reason to be optimistic.

Month Cumulative Rating: 7.8

(compiled by averaging the scores of every K-pop review from this month)

J-Pop Highlights

DISH// – Ban Ban Zai (video)

J Soul Brothers – Stars (video)

Kaela Kimura – Magnetic (ft. AI) (video)

KinKi Kids – The Story Of Us (video)

The Last Rockstars – The Last Rockstars (video)

Lil League – Hunter (video)

OnlyOneOf – chrOme arts (review)

Sakurazaka46 – Sakuratsuki (video)

TVXQ – Parallel Parallel (review)

Yuma Nakayama – Weekend (video)


Official HIGE DANdism – White Noise


Honorable Mentions

BXB – Fly Away (review)

Cignature – Aura (review)

H1-KEY – Rose Blossom (review)

ILY:1 – Twinkle, Twinkle (review)

Monsta X – Beautiful Liar (review)

Nine (OnlyOneOf) – Beyond (review)

SF9 – Puzzle (review)

THE7 – Get Loose (review)

This Month’s Risers and Fallers


3. TXT – Sugar Rush Ride (review)

2. VIVIZ – Pull Up (review)

1. Taeyang – Vibe (ft. Jimin) (review)

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of December 2022

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of November 2022

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of October 2022

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of September 2022

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of August 2022

Top Three K-Pop Songs Of July 2022

2010-2020 Archive Here


24 thoughts on “The Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2023

  1. I was really surprised by all three, especially TXT’s tune. I get it though. Once I got over what it *wasn’t*, I accepted it for what it is. Other than Nine (OnlyOneOf) – Beyond (the one tune I know I’ll still be listening to at the end of the year), my top 3 has been changing on an almost daily basis.


    • That’s been my experience as well. In fact, a couple of these songs may have grabbed the slots on recency bias alone! They haven’t had time to fade like the tracks released earlier in the month 😅

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ok, Sugar Rush here is certainly a surprise after the way your review went 😂😂 But I kinda agree – I would say it’s a song I enjoyed this month too.

    I haven’t listened to any of the releases over the last week or so yet because I was busy, but so far my top 3 might be H1-Key Rose Blossom (it gets better and better), SF9 Puzzle and Monsta X Beautiful Liar. TXT Sugar Rush, DC Reason, ILY Twinkle Twinkle and Cignature Aurora as honorable mentions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My top 3 is
    Dreamcatcher – Reason
    SF9 – Puzzle
    Viviz – Pull Up

    January felt even longer with kpop being so quiet, like the industry is oversaturated but where is everyone?


  4. Actually, I was not that surprised by TXT on #3 because I just KNEW that it would be a grower from the start. Even when I read your initial review I though “yeah Nick will probably mention how the song grew on him in like, less than a week” and then I saw your tweet lol. As someone else said I think you can really appreciate the single’s strenghts once you accept it for what it is. Similar to how I overcame my initial dissapointment with Beautiful Lie’s low-key chorus once I got used to it and accepted that it was not the song I expected on my first listen.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sugar Rush Ride is still really strong for me, the verses keep pulling me in, they’re just too good. I can’t say I have a definite top 3 though. I’m absolutely loving Diamonds and Dancefloors too, and I need miss Ava Max to make Ghost the next single.


  6. I again insist that if people could love Zimzalabim or Next Level on first listen that they were being too hard on TXT! Perhaps expectations simply were spun in a direction that made it hard to live up too but I’ve noticed the more I heard it the less the chorus feels out of place and structurally it all holds together just fine. Will it make top 10 of their entire career? Maybe not but It’s still good and a solidly bold concept choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. January seemed like an exceptionally quiet month and looking ahead to February, it’s not looking much better. I did enjoy songs I never thought I’d end up enjoying, but I felt like I was happy to get even anything above average. NewJeans “OMG” was one of my biggest growers this month, still not into what TXT did with “Sugar Rush Ride” though.

    Top 3 Jan. 2023:
    1. TAEYANG (ft. JIMIN) – VIBE
    2. Nine – BeyOnd
    3. MONSTA X – Beautiful Liar

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It was a sparse month but I found some stuff . No order except for #1, no specific location or genre. 5 picks
    1. Monsta X , Beautiful Liar
    2. Li Young Ji, guy who guests on everything, and cool gal from Se So Neon – Witch
    3. R+++…- Phony
    4. Higedan – White Noise
    5. NCT 127- Ay-Yo


    • H1-Key “Rose Blossom” came around my youtube feed again on a “live” performance, and the girls did really well. They are punching far above their agency size with quality. Solid straight ahead pop song without all the fuss and posturing. Really easy to enjoy!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. like i’ve been too busy being tortured by Velma (aka the worst piece of media to come out this year so far) than to be excited for a new kpop release this month. goes to show how dry this month has been

    Liked by 2 people

  10. January did feel very quiet,the only releases I cared about were Moonlight Sunrise and Pull Up. I’m excited for February to get underway, especially the STAYC and Purple Kiss comebacks as they tend to impress me

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard it and it’s decent, but I decided not to cover it since I didn’t have much to say and it’s an English-language release. Glad they’re still releasing music, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m currently addicted to TXT’s new album.

    My ranking would be:
    1. Sugar Rush Ride – TXT
    2. Pandora – MAVE
    3. OMG – NewJeans

    As for B-sides:
    1. Farewell, Neverland – TXT

    2. Devil by the Window – TXT
    3. Take Me Back – THE BOYZ ( An OST single for an anime that went under the radar)

    (There is a space between no 1. and 2. to emphasise my love for ‘Farewell, Neverland’)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. MonstaX’s Beautiful Liar – it’s the progression of the song that makes it interesting for me.

    Aimer’s Fireworks” – the pre chorus and chorus lift my mood every time.

    I’m going to cheat and put The7’s “Get Loose” and 8Turn’s “Tic Tac” as one because they are both fun songs that follow the Kpop formula I prefer. I understand they are not trendsetters, but these kind of songs will always appeal to me.

    Honorable mention: BxB “Fly Away”

    Still on the fence with TxT’s Sugar Rush Ride…it’s not bad, it just hasn’t won me over.


  13. I had to remember what came out in January. It wasn’t a whole lot. I loved NewJeans new songs. They’re really great. Vibe is really good too. Last is Monsta X Beautiful Liar. That song is great and grew on me a lot. Viviz too is great but I only listened to it yesterday. They’re in an awkward spot of the month. Moonlight Sunrise is a favorite too. Twice has my whole heart. If they do a thing its gonna be favorite thing ever. We got the first MiSaMo song too. Bouquet was such a great song.


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