The 5+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2023, According To Rolling Stone

Did your fav make the list?

Rolling Stone magazine has released their end-of-the-year ranking of their writers’ favorite songs, appropriately titled “The 100 Best Songs of 2023.”

Rolling Stone

While Mexican group Eslabon Armado and singer Peso Pluma‘s “Ella Baila Sola” ranked No. 1, nine fantastic K-Pop songs made the list.

| Rolling Stone

See how they ranked below.

9. BTS’s Jungkook feat. Latto, “Seven”

BTS’s maknae Jungkook made his solo debut this year with his album GOLDEN. Yet, one song stood out, his first pre-release, “Seven,” which kicked off the list at #99.

BTS member Jung Kook’s soulful vocals are backed by an insistent garage beat on this swirling confection that’s squarely focused on getting down every day of the week. He drives home his lust with some well-placed falsetto runs, while his foil, the “Big Energy” MC Latto, delivers a winking verse that manages to turn the dance-floor-filling DJ staple “Cha Cha Slide” into a teasing come-on.

— M.J.

8. aespa, “Spicy”

“Spicy” was a fan-favorite among this girl group’s releases, ranking at #95.

The K-pop group Aespa tried something new this year with “Spicy,” the lead single from their third EP, My World — The Third Mini Album. Previous releases had an experimental sound and leaned heavily into AR and virtual reality with a unique concept featuring an imagined world, villains, and avatar members. “Spicy” showcased a new side of Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning. With strong vocals, grimy synths, rolling bass, and huge drum buildups, the song brought the girls closer into the real world of universal pop thrills, reminiscent of early 2000s pop a la Britney Spears. As they tell us in the lyrics, it’s a “10 out of 10, honestly.”

— K.K.

7. XG, “Left Right”

While XG is a Japanese girl group, they are based in South Korea. “Left Right” became a K-Pop fav, ranking at #77.

On “Left Right,” XG masterfully creates the kind of late-Nineties and early-2000s-channeling hit that would otherwise only emerge from the use of an obvious sample. The record is nostalgic in presentation, but futuristic in delivery. The seven-piece Japanese girl group — based in South Korea — are evident students of the K-Pop titans. Each member’s strengths are highlighted as they demonstrate a vocal expertise that brings to mind their other prime influences: the R&B girl groups of the TRL era.

— L.P.

6. FIFTY FIFTY, “Cupid”

While “Cupid” ranked at #75 on Rolling Stone‘s list, there’s no denying it took over our FYPs and got many netizens into K-Pop.

The breakthrough single from K-pop group Fifty Fifty is a delectable chunk of happy-sad bubblegum, its plush harmonies and sing-song lead vocals making its gently frustrated lyrics (“So skeptical of love … but still, I want it more, more, more”) feel like they were transposed straight from a fluffy pink diary with a stubborn lock and entries written in loopy, heart-adorned script. Sadly, Fifty Fifty’s tenure was as fleeting as the romance “Cupid” longs for; three of its four members were cut from the group by its agency Attrakt in October, a few months after the track peaked in the Hot 100’s Top 20.

— M.J.

5. BLACKPINK’s Jisoo, “Flower”

Jisoo released her long-anticipated solo debut with “Flower,” which again dominated social media apps. It ranked at #67.

Jisoo was the last member of Blackpink to release solo music, creating a feverish anticipation among fans. It was the worth the wait. “Flower” cemented the singer as a certified solo star. A sophisticated track with a staccato, Latin-tinged melody and Caribbean-inspired percussion, “Flower” feels instantly familiar yet unlike anything else on the radio. There’s a confidence to her voice that isn’t always as apparent when it’s blended with three other singers. But on this solo track, it’s clear that Jisoo is firmly in control.

— T.C.

4. BTS’s V, “Rainy Days”

V also made his solo debut this year with the album Layover. “Rainy Days” was a classic, jazzy vibe that rightfully earned its spot at #58.

Each BTS solo project has its own distinct musical personality. V is the member of the group with the deepest love of R&B, soul, and jazz, a fan of legends like Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra who’s also a former saxophone player. He unfurled his old-school credentials on “Rainy Days,” crooning over a forlorn piano and laidback beat as he explored the refined depths of his deliciously cloudy baritone. The result was an undisputedly umbrella-worthy, new-look, quiet-storm pleasure.

— J.D.

3. TWICE, “Moonlight Sunrise”

Anyone who said K-Pop English releases aren’t good hasn’t listened to “Moonlight Sunrise.” TWICE’s single ranked at #55.

Twice played their first stateside stadium show last summer (which made them the first K-pop girl group to headline a stadium in the U.S.). It was a peak moment in their eight-year run. “Moonlight Sunrise,” the group’s second English-language single, was inspired by the moonlight at that Banc of California Stadium performance. “Baby, you can hit up my line when you need it/Said that you tried?/Baby, you succeeded,” they rap with elevated English skills. Twice underscored their maturity by showing an artistic range beyond their signature bubblegum pop, with a Miami bass-infused R&B track.

— K.K.

2. SEVENTEEN, “Super”

Although this was released months ago, “Super” stays on repeat. It ranked at #47.

For their victory-lap single “Super,” Seventeen found inspiration in the supernatural tales of Chinese mythological figure Sun Wukong. Finding his journey a fitting metaphor for the group’s persevering eight-year career, members Woozi, Vernon, and S.Coups (alongside Pledis hitmaker Bumzu and Filipino-Canadian producer August Rigo) embedded images of flying clouds and magical staffs into a drum-heavy EDM anthem that evokes militarism through Jersey club rhythms. As the boys chant, “I love my team/I love my crew,” it’s a proud affirmation of how Seventeen reached their current success: There’s strength in the collective.

— M.H.K.

1. NewJeans, “Super Shy”

Unsurprisingly, NewJeans reigned supreme with their hit song “Super Shy!” It ranked #6.

NewJeans have been enjoying viral hits for awhile, but “Super Shy” was a breakthrough for the Korean girl group, reaching Number Two on the Billboard Global chart. It might’ve deserved even better: The song is one the purest pop thrills of the year, with a dreamy melody; a bright drum-and-bass beat; and Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein sharing crushed-out lyrics you can’t help but sing along with. In true K-pop fashion, the accompanying music video is just as captivating, with synchronized choreography that experiments with the Seventies disco style waacking.

— K.K.

Check out last year’s below.

The 10+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To Rolling Stone

Source: Rolling Stone

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