1. Seventeen - FML
  2. The Boyz - Phantasy: Pt.1 Christmas in August
  4. Everglow - All My Girls
  5. NCT 127 - Fact Check
  6. Stray Kids - Rock-Star
  7. P1Harmony - HARMONY: ALL IN
  8. WayV - On My Youth
  9. ZEROBASEONE - Youth in the Shade
  10. Jisoo - Me
  11. NCT Dream - ISTJ
  13. Treasure - REBOOT
  14. TAEMIN - Guilty
  15. LUN8 - Continue?

Honorable Mentions

  2. (G)I-DLE - HEAT
  4. KAI - ROVER
  5. ITZY - Kill My Doubt

About Asian Music Kingdom

Article by Asian Music Kingdom

"What a year!", one might say. Well, trust me: for K-pop it was a very fruitful time.

As 2023 is nearing its end, I've decided to compile a list of K-pop releases, which are, in my opinion, definitely worth highlighting. From well-known acts such as NCT 127 or The Boyz through newly established groups like Xikers and LUN8, the last few months sure were full of music gems with notable impact.

*Every "Instagram post" on the top of each article let you to a great photo of the group/artist regarding the article by Asian Music Kingdom.

Seventeen - FML

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cs1dtboMmr3/

Item from CDJapan listing

To be fair, I knew I'd put this album on my list right after I heard it for the first time. "Super" was an excellent choice for the title track, and b-sides are impeccable in every sense of that word as well. "Fire" or more pop-oriented songs "Dust" and "April shower" only highlight the fact that Seventeen is in the league of their own.

The Boyz - Phantasy: Pt.1 Christmas in August

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cx6CQ5RswZT/

Item from CDJapan listing

The Boyz never fail to deliver great music to their fans. Although I liked some of their past releases more than others, the first part of their 2nd full album is probably one of my favorites so far. There's not a single track I'd skip, and "Lipgloss" is exactly how a perfect summer pop song should sound like. We got a lot of strong b-sides too, with the ones of "Passion Fruit" or "Fire Eyes". Definitely a great era for them.


Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzZfSCVM-j2/

Item from CDJapan listing

TXT never fails to amaze me, and they did it again this year. "The Name Chapter: FREEFALL" is diverse, full of pop gems, but most of all - and I mean it - it truly feels "very TXT". Songs like "Chasing That Feeling" or "Back for More" are not only enjoyable, but might also serve as a great introduction to their discography. This album is just another proof of how much the boys have to offer.

Everglow - All My Girls

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxltDNzsAZ2/

Item from CDJapan listing

I've waited so long for this! After a very long hiatus, Everglow finally made a comeback with "All My Girls" and its title track "Slay". And on top of that, what a comeback it was - the dance floor-ready track lived rent-free in my head for the next weeks and I do believe it might be one of their catchiest works to date. Let's just hope it's not their last.

NCT 127 - Fact Check

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0SJtzcsdLk/

Item from CDJapan listing

NCT 127 did it again this year. In my heart, "Fact Check" feels like a return to form for the boys, as I wasn't a huge fan of "2 Baddies" (sorry!). "Angel Eyes" is simply magical, "Real Life" makes me sing along every single time, and "Je Ne Sais Quoi" has been stuck in my head since day one. All of these songs are quintessential NCT in their own ways, and the title track is definitely very catchy. Fact-check - what a great album it is!

Stray Kids - Rock-Star

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CyJXcPmsc01/

Item from CDJapan listing

Stray Kids made a comeback with one of the catchiest title tracks this year and reminded the whole world they're at the top of the game. While "Rock-Star" as a whole might've been more cohesive, it has certainly brought back this indispensable fun factor, which I felt was missing during the "5-STAR" era. "LALALALA" and "COMFLEX" are great, but so are slower and more emotional "Cover Me" and "Leave".


Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cz4j58csC13/

Item from CDJapan listing

If I'd have to name one K-pop group, which I feel is criminally underrated, it'd be P1Harmony. I have a soft spot for the "HARMONY" series, because each new entry is better than the previous. "JUMP" is an absolute masterclass, and it set the bar very high - not only for them, but for all K-pop groups altogether. B-sides are marvelous as well, with "Heartbeat Drum" and "New Classic" as my personal highlights.

WayV - On My Youth

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CppZJHCAArs/

Item from CDJapan listing

I'll just state it right away - I was blown away how good WayV's new album was. "On My Youth" let us see the boys the way we didn't see them before, and the b-sides tracks are just immaculate. "Rodeo", "Moonlight", "Invincible" and "Lighthouse" are a delight to listen to and might be atop my personal list for this era. I couldn't be more proud of them.

ZEROBASEONE - Youth in the Shade

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cwn3_Fjs2p8/

Item from CDJapan listing

Fans of survival shows, anyone? Well, not me. My introduction to ZB1 was different to many, as I got to know them through their music. I'm glad I gave them a shot though, because their first mini grew on me a lot since its release. There's a lot of potential, and I finally understand the hype. "In Bloom" is a great song, but the rest of the material is just as good, with "New Kidz On The Block" and "Our Season" as my personal standouts.

Jisoo - Me

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CvA9d65s5uS/

Item from CDJapan listing

Jisoo was the last, but certainly not least, out of BLACKPINK members to have a solo release. Both "FLOWER" and "All Eyes On Me" are solid pop songs the girls are known for, and I enjoyed this era way more than I thought I would. Was it groundbreaking? No, but YG never painted it out to be. It sure was fun, though - and that's what matters to me.

NCT Dream - ISTJ

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxBn4B6seLN/

Item from CDJapan listing

These boys simply can do no wrong, and "ISTJ" is only proving my point. It's very hard to pick one bad song on this album, as all of it feels powerful, polished and unapologetically catchy. Tracks like "Broken Melodies", "Yogurt Shake" and "SOS" are absolute pop masterpieces, which should be taken as an example for generations to come. I'm positive there's something for everyone on "ISTJ" - try for yourself!


Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzZf82asZVY/

Item from CDJapan listing

"THE UNSEEN" was the album I wasn't sold on at first. My perspective changed when I saw Shownu and Hyungwon performing the songs live at K-pop Nation in Warsaw. Their charisma and stage presence helped the tracks grow on me, and now I perceive this mini as the greatest showcase of the boys' talent. They really proved me wrong - and so I'm glad they did.

Treasure - REBOOT

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0gf9SWsigu/

Item from CDJapan listing

Treasure really caught me off guard with "REBOOT". It's full of potential hits and the songs blend well together, creating a complete body of work, which might be their best to date. "I Want Your Love", "Wonderland" or "Stupid" are perfect pop tracks in their very YG-esque essence. Not to mention the album's title, "BONA BONA", which I still think about a lot.

TAEMIN - Guilty

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0SJd-PMgvs/

Item from CDJapan listing

Taemin is back and he's better than ever. "Guilty" is just proving my point, as it might be his most mature and cohesive work so far. I do appreciate his artistic vision, and what really struck me were the visuals and the Archive Box version of the album. It all felt meaningful and thought through, which appealed to me even more. Great era for him!

LUN8 - Continue?

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CyJXK9vspY1/

Item from CDJapan listing

Out of all the new groups, which debuted throughout this year, my absolute favorites were XIKERS and LUN8. Ultimately, I went with the latter, as I do believe the former still needs time to find their own flavor. On LUN8's debut we got a blend of genres, like hip-hop, disco or rock, which ended up becoming a surprisingly consistent and well-rounded debut. Remember their names, as I'm sure they're here to stay.

Honorable Mention: ENHYPEN - DARK BLOOD

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cv5u3PisdY0/

Item from CDJapan listing

It's been a very good year for ENHYPEN. "Bite Me" is a remarkable song and probably one of their strongest so far, so it's no-brainer I had to mention them on the list. I'm not feeling the rest of the songs on the album, as they're not necessarily my type, but I need to give them credit where it's due, and I'm sure there's so much more to come.

Honorable Mention: (G)I-DLE - HEAT

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0aDms6s-vc/

Item from CDJapan listing

(G)I-DLE really proved themselves with this mini album. I know this might sound controversial, but there are many reasons why I do believe it's a very interesting EP. "Eyes Roll" and "I Want That" are easily two of my most favorite songs this year, with "Flip it" also high on the list. What I think could've gone better are the lyrics and how the tracks all blend together, as it feels eclectic at times and not in a good way. I still enjoyed this era a lot, though.

Honorable Mention: KEY - GOOD & GREAT

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzE85z1MwR_/

Item from CDJapan listing

Key's creativity is one of his greatest features, and he knows how to use it effectively. "Good & Great" was a great title track, however, this time the rest of the material seemed to lack personality he's been known for so long. What he really excels at though is packaging, and he did it again, making his album look like an employee's personnel file. It's so clever, especially since it fits the theme so well. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Honorable Mention: KAI - ROVER

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CwLjVTpsepD/

Item from CDJapan listing

Every K-pop fan knows Kai is a powerhouse. His debut was very strong, and "Peaches" has grown to be one of my favorite albums ever, so naturally I was excited to see what's next for him. Was "Rover" a good era? Sure, the song scored big and went viral for weeks, but I think I liked his previous works better. I enjoyed it for what it was though, and "Bomba" is a great b-side track. I know he can do better - and I'm sure he will.

Honorable Mention: ITZY - Kill My Doubt

Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxBnYqWsDgn/

Item from CDJapan listing

I've followed Itzy on their journey to stardom from the very beginning, and I'm very proud of how far they went. Unfortunately, I think we lost each other somewhere along the way, as I felt some of their past eras might have been underwhelming. "Kill My Doubt", however, seems like a return to form, and I'm happy to be able to finally say that. Regardless of what the future holds, I'm still rooting for the girls and always will.

About Asian Music Kingdom

Hi! I'm Przemek, a friendly but introvertive person behind Asian Music Kingdom. Music is my calling and K-Pop is my getaway, but I sure love J-Pop and everything Japan-related. If there's a CD I like, I'm getting my hands on it no matter what. Join me on my adventures through colorful collages and current music trends on Instagram!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asianmusickingdom/ *All the SNS posts in this page are provided by Asian Music Kingdom.

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