In 2022 Korean artists once again provided us with a number of phenomenal releases. For me, this year was an equal mix of discovering new musicians and old favourites coming back. Here are my top picks for 2022.
TRPP : Here to stay
With their luscious rock sound, TRPP had to make my top list this year. It’s always a joy to see new artists grow with their every new release, and TRPP does so effortlessly. Their new album is deeper, better, and even more fun than last year’s debut. They are the indie rock band to watch, bringing a breath of fresh air with their classic and free sound.
Budung : Forgotten Words
My favourite indie discovery of this year. Budung’s unmatched artistic vision dazzles in each and every release. She has a natural talent for storytelling and creating enchanting melodies. Forgotten Words is a sweet but heartbreaking ballad. Like the rest of Budung’s music, it creates an unparalleled feeling of longing mixed with hopefulness.
GIRIBOY : DEMOTAPE
I particularly enjoyed this little EP. It is a perfect showcase of GIRIBOY’s versatility: a classic hip-hop anthem, a cutesy pop song and an elaborate, braggy rap collaboration. All produced to perfection, with his staple clever lyrics and puns (single “WAY” is entirely based on a classic pun on GIRIBOY’s name, which can be translated as “too see the way”). Phenomenal.
The Black Skirts : TEEN TROUBLES
There is a special place in my indie rock-loving heart reserved only for The Black Skirts’ music. This of course includes this long-awaited pop-rock release. Teen Troubles is everything a fan could want and “Ling Ling” takes the title as my favourite love song of 2022.
meenoi : NOI MAS
2022 was definitely meenoi’s year. After the smashing success of the newest season of meenoi’s Yorizori, the singer came out with a bubbly, holiday-themed EP. NOI MAS sprinkled some cute awkwardness onto the Korean music scene this winter.
Dept (뎁트) : Peter Pan
The sweet and comforting release caught my attention this autumn. Dept is kind of a unique figure in the K-Indie scene. With the bright R&B sound, intricate concepts, and frequent releases, his music strikes a perfect balance between indie and mainstream. Peter Pan showcases that with its charming melody and immaculate production.
Slom : WEATHER REPORT
In his soft and nostalgic debut album, Slom shows off his versatile producing skills. Groovy and melancholic at the same time, WEATHER REPORT is one of the most unique releases of this year. The addictive single “ANIRAGO” made it to every one of my playlists this year.
Chang Kiha : 2022/02/22
It’s difficult not to love Kiha’s unapologetic weirdness. He is not afraid to experiment with his music and the goofy 2022/02/22 is a perfect example of that. Making the rarest date in recent years into a catchy hook was a genius idea. The line “2022, February 22” recited in Kiha’s monotone mumble played somewhere in the back of my head all throughout this year. I’m hoping the year 2023 will get a release like this too!
NewJeans : New Jeans
I’m usually not a big fan of k-pop, but there is no resisting the minimalistic sound of NewJeans. Riding the wave of Y2K nostalgia, the girls delivered one of the strongest debuts of this year.