The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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.

  How old was Patrick Mahomes when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl?

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.

  Before the Chiefs drafted him, Patrick Mahomes wanted to be with the Bears

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