The 10+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To Rolling Stone (2023)

Rolling Stone magazine has released their end-of-the-year ranking of their writers’ favorite songs, appropriately titled “The 100 Best Songs of 2022.”

The 10+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To Rolling Stone (1)

WHAT MADE A great song in 2022? Was it an irresistible beat and a sense of humor? An introspective, bittersweet dream? An absolute dance floor banger? Was it lo-fi, high-res, loud, soft, twangy, poppy, sleek, distorted, hugely anthemic, or perfectly tiny? The answer was yes — all that and more. Or maybe it was a song that imperiously declared any and all doubters to be a bunch of munches. You’ll have to listen to all 100 songs here to be sure.

Rolling Stone

While Bad Bunny reigned supreme with “Titi Me Preguntó,”13 awesome K-Pop songs made the list.

The 10+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To Rolling Stone (2)

Here’s how they ranked:

13. “That That” by PSY, featuring BTS’s Suga

Perhaps the most iconic collab of 2022 is PSY and Suga’s “That That!” It ranked #93 overall.

On ‘That That,’ the lead single of the first album released under his own label, Psy fuses the renegade spirit of a cowboy with his classic showman chops. Fueled by a Mexican horn riff that chugs exuberantly on a dance beat produced by BTS’ Suga, the track is an endless celebration of liking whatever the hell you want. As a foil to Psy’s good vibes, the Bangtan producer-rapper offers a fiery tongue-twister verse that encourages ‘lightly slapping’ your haters and ends with a cheeky reference to Nineties K-pop. Paired with winning choreography — featuring both shoot-out gestures and the ‘shoot’ dance — the song took its place as the latest in Psy’s string of global hits.

— M.H.K. via Rolling Stone

12. “Nxde” by (G)I-DLE

“Nxde” is not only catchy but has an important message. It rightfully earned its spot at #88.

(G)I-dle’s music seems to gain new layers of depth and meaning with each release. Just when we thought ‘Tomboy’ couldn’t be topped, (G)I-dle dropped this groundbreaking track, based on the powerful lyrics and arrangement of the group’s leader, Soyeon. You might expect a song called ‘Nxde’ (pronounced ‘nude’) to be a sexy, sultry one, but they redefine the word to emphasize the idea of being one’s truest, barest self. With a melody taken from the 1875 opera Carmen and references to Marilyn Monroe in the lyrics and the video, ‘Nxde’ addresses the objectification of women in a way that’s rare for a K-pop girl group.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

11. “POP!” by TWICE’s Nayeon

Nayeon is the first TWICE member to debut as a solo artist, and she did not disappoint! Her title track, “POP!” ranked #86.

The pressure was on for Nayeon’s solo debut as she became the first Twice member to go solo after seven years as a nine-piece act — but the group’s oldest member exceeded expectations and served vocals, rap, outfits, and choreo with ‘Pop!’ With all the makings of a pop hit, Nayeon leaned into Twice’s classic bubblegum sound and made it her own. ‘You’re under my control,’ she sings, summing up the chokehold she and Twice have on candy pop.

— K.Kvia Rolling Stone

10. “Antifragile” byLE SSERAFIM

It’s been one month, and “Antifragile” still dominates our TikTok FYP. It ranked at #75.

Le Sserafim earned their spot on a list like this with their debut track, ‘Fearless,’ but they really upped the ante with this wildly catchy single. ‘Anti-ti-ti-ti-fragile, fragile’ is the refrain that’s been ringing in our ears all year (especially after the deepfaked-yet-iconic Drake version made the rounds on TikTok). ‘I really liked it as soon as I heard it,’ member Huh Yunjin told Rolling Stone earlier this year. Same.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

9. “Still Life” by BIGBANG

BIGBANG made their long-anticipated comeback with “Still Life” this year, earning their spot at #73.

After four long years, Big Bang finally returned to grace us with this soft-rock hit. It’s not a party song like some of Big Bang’s classic fan favorites — it actually couldn’t be further from that in terms of sound. But ‘Still Life’ has most of the other elements that make up a great Big Bang song, from G-Dragon’s lyricism and soft-spoken voice to T.O.P’s heavier raps and Taeyang and Daesung’s vocals (which, while both strong, are easily differentiated). In the group’s first song as a foursome, the members reflect on their careers, which started in the 2000s, before K-pop became the global force it is today. Although Big Bang sing ‘Goodbye now to my beloved young days,’ we’re surely nowhere near ready to bid them farewell.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

8. “2 Baddies” by NCT 127

NCT 127’s highly catchy title track from their 4th album of the same name ranked at #71.

Cars are fixtures in the music of NCT 127, who use these sleek machines as symbols of futurism, masculinity, and technological progress befitting of their experimental electro-hip-hop production style. On their latest hit, ‘2 Baddies,’ the Porsche is their muse, as the nine-member group brag about their success over rubbery bass lines and twinkling metallic percussion. Between fluid raps about ‘cutting the line’ and charismatic outbursts — ‘Now you wanna ride these wheels?’ leader Taeyong growls — the group reveals their determination to keep racing toward their goals on an ‘open road covered in white.’ As Haechan and Doyoung sing in the climatic bridge: Their next destination is the moon, then infinity and beyond.

— M.H.K.via Rolling Stone

7. “The Astronaut” by BTS’s Jin

BTS and Coldplay proved to be a match made in heaven with yet another collaboration following “My Universe.” Jin and Chris Martin collaborated for the solo dedicated to ARMY ahead of Jin’s military enlistment. It ranked #68.

Jin of BTS teamed up with Coldplay’s Chris Martin for ‘The Astronaut,’ which was released as a message to fans ahead of Jin’s upcoming mandatory enlistment in South Korea’s military. The lyrics capture how BTS make their fans feel: ‘When I’m with you/There’s no one else/I get heaven to myself.’ Fans will surely be listening to Jin’s strong vocals and heartfelt message in ‘The Astronaut’ for years to come, especially while they miss Jin’s presence as he completes his service.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

6. “Girls” by aespa

aespa’s epic “Girls” earned its spot at #65 with not only a powerful track but a MV to match.

‘Girls’ captured Aespa‘s signature sound with its strong bass and synth sound, blending hip-hop with touches of hyper-pop and EDM. With a music video whose sets and costumes were more reminiscent of a high-budget blockbuster film, the Korean group unveiled more of their storytelling — this time, the girls and their digital avatars are continuing with their pursuit of defeating the evil Black Mamba. You don’t need to know that to enjoy a hit as catchy as this one, though. ‘Bow down to these girls.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

5. “MANIAC” by Stray Kids

“MANIAC” is a comeback that certainly did not disappoint. Stray Kids more than deserve their spot on the list at #56.

K-pop never gets old because groups are always experimenting with new sounds and genres, and Stray Kids’ ‘Maniac’ deserves recognition for the way it pushes that envelope. The group’s sixth EP, Oddinary, is all about ‘odd’ people breaking ‘ordinary’ social norms; this song’s harsh, twitchy electronic production makes that theme real. Felix’s repeated ‘Maniac’ in the chorus will have you ‘spinning, going crazy,’ as intended.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

4. “After LIKE” by IVE

With hit tracks “ELEVEN,” “LOVE DIVE,” and recently “After LIKE,” IVE are killing it! “After LIKE” ranked at #53.

2022 was quite a year for girl groups in K-pop. IVE, although they officially debuted in December of 2021, had a first year full of hits, and choosing between ‘Eleven,’ ‘Love Dive,’ and ‘After Like’ was a struggle. Three iconic bops stood before us; “After Like” made it out on top. From its disco-pop beat to the Gloria Gaynor sample to the dance break to the fireworks scene in the music video, ‘After Like’ gets better and better with each listen.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

3. “HOT” by SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN owned 2022 with their catchy tracks and choreography to match. “HOT” ranked at #38 of all.

Seventeen’s popularity grew exponentially this year following the release of their fourth studio album, Face the Sun. The 13-member South Korean group known for self-producing, both in songwriting and choreographing, filled the album with hits like ‘Cheers’ and ‘Darling,’ but ‘Hot,’ the lead single, towers above them all. You can’t help but to ‘drop it like hot, hot, hot’ when you hear the Wild West-inspired guitar strum that kicks off the track.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

2. “Pink Venom” by BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK finally made their comeback this year, and they delivered with “Pink Venom,” ranking at #35.

When Rosé yells, ‘I’m so rock & roll!,’ believe the woman. Blackpink kick down the door in their summer hit ‘Pink Venom,’ an unbelievably fun raising-hell anthem full of Eighties hair-metal glam. Even the song title sounds like the name of a tribute band playing Poison and Def Leppard covers at the sleaziest bar in town. The Blackpink queens warn you not to mess with them, because you can’t handle their ‘Pink Venom,’ boasting in Korean and English. It peaks as Rosé sneers, ‘Look what you made us do,’ proving that bad blood is a universal language.

— R.S.

1. “Hype Boy” by NewJeans

NewJeans might have just debuted this year and have only released four songs with their first EP, but they are all hits. “Hype Boy” especially has taken over the K-Pop industry as not only the girls’ peers, but even seniors have covered the choreography. While it ranked #24, it is the highest of all the K-Pop songs.

With its addictive choreography and catchy chorus — ‘Cause I know what you like, boy/You’re my chemical, hype boy’ — this was a standout from NewJeans’ hit-filled first EP. ‘Hype Boy’ lets each member’s voice really shine through, and Hanni notably contributed to the cute lyrics that encapsulate young love (‘got me chasing a daydream’). NewJeans’ peers and seniors in the K-pop industry, likeStray Kids, StayC, Twice, and evenJYPare still covering the ‘Hype Boy’ dance at events and concerts.RM of BTSwas also recently captured singing and dancing along to a recent performance.It’s the kind of phenomenon that makes it clear NewJeans have hit on something special.

— K.K.via Rolling Stone

What’s your favorite K-Pop song of 2022?

Check out the previous picks from 2021 below.

These Are The Best K-Pop Songs Of 2021, According To Rolling Stone Magazine

The 10+ Best K-Pop Songs Of 2022, According To Rolling Stone (3)

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