Op-Ed: Top 40 K-pop tracks of 2022

Client: DAZED

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There was, of course, the usual fill of major announcements – such as BTS Jin’s enlistment and the band’s shift in priority to solo projects, and the breaking up of HyunA and Dawn, one of K-pop’s most celebrated couples – and disbandments (notably NU’EST, Bvndit and D-Crunch all called time), and major tours from Dreamcatcher, Blackpink, TXT, Stray Kids and ATEEZ. 

But something unexpected was afoot: you can pin it on the natural cycle of culture or call it the Gen Z-ification of K-pop, but the year’s most talked about moments came via the industry’s most fledgling bands, girl groups IVE, NMIXX, NewJeans and Le Sserafim. The former released the viral blockbuster “Love Dive” and the latter are already widely heralded for their live performances, and it’s not just that they’re rookies making it exciting, it’s that each band is breaking away – musically and/or visually – from the current status quo.

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