K-Pop 2022: End of Year Reflection
Written by Viviana Zermeño on December 7, 2022
The year is officially wrapping up! As we enter the last month, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the K-pop scene this year.
First off, 2022 proved to be the year of the girl group! Girl groups continued to dominate Korea’s domestic streaming charts, and global stars Blackpink had a long awaited comeback following a nearly two year hiatus. This year also saw the debut of multiple girl groups leading the 4th generation of the genre into exciting new places.
K-pop’s success in the U.S and internationally continued to grow this year. BTS and Blackpink lead the charge, with both acts displaying remarkable success in award shows and special events. In August, Lisa Manoban of Blackpink made history by being the first female solo artist to win the “Best K-pop Award” at the VMAs.
Locally, K-pop hit Houston hard this year, with countless groups stopping here in H-town as part of their tour, including Seventeen, Oneus, Loona, Blackpink, P1Harmony and TXT. Thousands of Houston fans got to experience their favorites right here in town, breathing new energy into the local fan scene.
From the experimental to viral hits, here are five standout K-pop releases of the year:
Personally, I consider this the standout hit of 2022! It’s been a long time since a drop has refreshed the scene the way this one did. This chill and trendy debut immediately stood out against a very vibrant year of releases. The held-note chorus is one of the most satisfying song snippets of the year. Great to recommend to a non-kpop listener dipping their toes into the genre.
Legend of the industry Taeyeon gives it her all in this elegant comeback. Dreamy vocals met with a sweet and synth-y chorus create the perfect ambience. Her expert vocal delivery masterfully expresses the theme of delicate but complex love.
An effortlessly cool song with a danceable beat and great vibe. Soulja Boy and DeVita feature in and elevate this English/Korean track. “BTBT” represents how far the label of k-pop can stretch and the chill tracks that flourish within that range.
There is no other song like this one energy-wise. The producers and vocalists created an extremely fun and quirky release that feels tailor-made to the skill set of the group. You feel the build up to the chorus in your chest, and the last chorus ends the song on a full and bold note.
Loud in a really good way! It seems like every member is yelling at you at some point. This song is the magnum opus of the group: It’s passionate, meaningful and intensely energetic. Guerrilla also highlights K-pop’s uniqueness, by leaning into concepts in the song and music video production.
After taking a look at this year’s K-pop scene, it’s easy to say that 2022 has been full of solid releases. As newer groups look to expand their discographies and other artists announce potential solo releases, I predict 2023 will treat us K-pop fans well!