It’s Official: The 25 Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To NME

There are plenty of B-sides included!

With the end of 2022 fast approaching, it seems that every popular entertainment publication has been releasing lists of their top K-Pop releases of the year. And British brand NME (New Musical Express) is among those who are! Unlike most other year-end best lists, NME not only listed their 25 best K-Pop songs, but they are ranked from 25th to a definitive 1st rather than having the songs in no particular order. Here are their 25 best K-Pop songs from 2022, according to this list!

25. “Guerrilla” by ATEEZ

“Guerrilla” was released on July 29 on ATEEZ’s The World EP.1: Movement album.

Best bit: Jongho just going off with his vocals at the end of each chorus.

— NME

24. “MANIAC” by Stray Kids

“MANIAC” was released on March 18 on Stray Kids’ ODDINARY album.

Best bit: The first chorus where Felix’s guttural voice transitions to Hyunjin’s razor-sharp tone, piercing over Bang Chan’s delightful ad libs.

— NME

23. “Sexy Nukim” by Balming Tiger (ft. RM)

“Sexy Nukim” was released on September 1 as a digital single.

Best bit: RM’s witty songwriting seriously shines through in his brief verse; he harmonises with a line in Omega Sapien’s previous verse (‘how you doin’ boy?’) by bending and distorting the words to punctuate his delivery (‘what you doin’ boy?’).

— NME

22. “POP!” by Nayeon

“POP!” was released on June 24 on Nayeon’s IM NAYEON album.

Best bit: When that final chorus hits, somehow more effervescent and spectacular than any time before.

— NME

21. “FEARLESS” by LE SSERAFIM

“FEARLESS” was released on May 2 on LE SSERAFIM’s FEARLESS album.

Best bit: If ‘Bam, ba-ba-ba-bam-bam’ doesn’t get stuck in your head, you are lying.

— NME

20. “Shadow” by SEVENTEEN

“Shadow” was released on May 27 on SEVENTEEN’s Face The Sun album.

Best bit: Mingyu and S.Coups’ raspy hand-off on the bridge, before Dino bowls us over like a torrential wave.

— NME

19. “Super Yuppers!” by WJSN Chocome

“Super Yuppers!” was released on January 5 on WJSN Chocome’s Super Yuppers! album.

Best bit: Dayoung’s peppy introduction in the beginning of the song, which quickly segues into colourful synths that Orange Caramel would be proud of.

— NME

18. “Polaroid Love” by ENHYPEN

“Polaroid Love” was released on January 10 on ENHYPEN’s Dimension: Answer album.

Best bit: The first pre-chorus, delivered in a sickly sweet falsetto by Heeseung and Sunoo, that oozes with an unmistakable earnestness, which culminates in the syrupy, by now totally familiar chorus.

— NME

17. “Illusion” by aespa

“Illusion” was released on June 1 on as a pre-release single for aespa’s Girls album.

Best bit: Karina and Winter’s gorgeous harmonisation on the bridge’s climactic high note. Also, the slurps.

— NME

16. “Another Life” by Key

“Another Life” was released on August 30 on Key’s Gasoline album.

Best bit: Key’s transition from cooing in the chorus to a punchy rap verse – just one of the moments that cement him as one of K-Pop’s GOATs.

— NME

15. “Color Me” by Junny (ft. Chungha)

“Color Me” was released on June 23 as a digital single.

Best bit: The refrain, which showcases Junny’s rich, textured tones.

— NME

14. “Panorama” by Lee Chanhyuk

“Panorama” was released on October 17 on Chanhyuk’s Error album.

Best bit: The beautifully timed synth arrangement on the chorus – when combined with the beats, it feels like being shocked back to life. Message received, Chanhyuk.

— NME

13. “Heart Burn” by Sunmi

“Heart Burn” was released on June 29 as a digital single.

Best bit: The post-chorus refrain, where the looping melody is backed by Sunmi’s poignant accompaniments of ‘Ae yo, ae yo’.

— NME

12. “Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go” by TXT

“Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go” was released on May 9 on TXT’s Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child album.

Best bit: Taehyun’s raw, feverish declaration of ‘it’s tougher than the road I’ve come’ in the bridge.

— NME

11. “Impurities” by LE SSERAFIM

“Impurities” was released on October 17 on LE SSERAFIM’s Antifragile album.

Best bit: Aside from the fact that it lacks a single weakness? The seamless vocal fluidity of the chorus ramping up to a vibey bridge.

— NME

10. “Generation” by tripleS’s Acid Angel from Asia

“Generation” was released on October 22 on Acud Angel from Asia’s Access album.

Best bit: The la-la-la’s, which we will be humming until the end of time.

— NME

9. “Cyberpunk” by ATEEZ

“Cyberpunk” was released on July 29 on ATEEZ’s The World EP.1: Movement album.

Best bit: The odd but sticky melody in the chorus before Jongho howls.

— NME

8. “GingaMingaYo” by Billlie

“GingaMingaYo” was released on February 23 on Billlie’s The Collective Soul and Unconscious: Chapter One album.

Best bit: We take our hats off every time Moon Sua enters the scene spitting fire.

— NME

7. “Attention” by NewJeans

“Attention” was released as a pre-release single on July 22 for NewJeans’ New Jeans album.

Best bit: The layered, dreamy harmonisation when they go ‘You got me looking for attention’.

— NME

6. “Love Dive” by IVE

“Love Dive” was released on April 5 on IVE’s Love Dive album.

Best bit: It’s impossible not to chant along to Gaeul and Rei in the pre-chorus when they go ‘Yeah, it’s so bad, it’s good.’

— NME

5. “Antifragile” by LE SSERAFIM

“Antifragile” was released on October 17 on LE SSERAFIM’s Antifragile album.

Best bit: Kazuha striding into the second verse and confidently dropping ‘Lovey lovey lovey / Dovey dovey dovey’ – a snippet that continuously keeps pulling you back in for more.

— NME

4. “After LIKE” by IVE

“After LIKE” was released on August 22 on IVE’s After LIKE album.

Best bit: Gaeul’s pre-chorus, though the instrumental break is a very close second.

— NME

3. “INVU” by Taeyeon

“INVU” was released on February 14 on Taeyeon’s INVU album.

Best bit: The accompanying choreography with the assertive “INVU” chant on the airy chorus.

— NME

2. “BTBT” by B.I & Soulja Boy (ft. DeVita)

“BTBT” was released as a pre-release single on May 13 for B.I’s Love or Loved Part.1 album.

Best bit: The slickness in the way B.I transitions from a rhythmic rap in the pre-chorus to the honeyed serenade of the chorus – as expected of a multi-hyphenate as talented as he is.

— NME

1. “Hype Boy” by NewJeans

“Hype Boy” was released as a pre-release single on July 23 for NewJeans’ New Jeans album.

Best bit: When the NewJeans members deliver teasing, honeyed vocals over lush R&B beats before belting out passionately in the euphoric chorus.

— NME

Source: NME