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Top 13 of 2023: K-Pop Songs

Popular K-Pop girl group FiftyFifty performs on stage. // Image courtesy of Korea Daily
Popular K-Pop girl group FiftyFifty performs on stage. // Image courtesy of Korea Daily

Korean pop (K-pop) has come a long way since its first appearance in the late 1990s, quickly becoming a global sensation loved by millions. 2023 was an explosive year for K-pop, with several songs breaking records on Billboard charts and others going viral on social media platforms. With every group owning its own vivid color, some groups gave us refreshingly new concepts while others stuck with what they did best, delivering anything from soft, harmonious vocals to aggressive, upbeat dance music. A genre of true variety, K-pop has something favorable for everyone. 

Here are 2023’s top 13 K-pop songs.

13. “Baggy Jeans” by NCT U
Photo courtesy of IMDb

As part of their fourth studio album, “Golden Age,” NCT decided to bring out the street hip-hop in themselves with their release of “Baggy Jeans.” The track opens with member Mark’s impactful rapping, followed by the elegant vocals of member Jaehyun. The deep-voiced repetition of “In my baggy baggy baggy baggy baggy baggy jeans” on top of booming drum bass beats can be seen in the chorus. In contrast to their usual fast-paced, modern, electronic-beat songs, this rare side of NCT was extremely loved by fans all around the world.

12. “Guilty” by TAEMIN
Photo courtesy of SM Entertainment

Often referred to as one of the most legendary solo artists of K-pop, Taemin’s irreplaceable charm has never faltered throughout his decade of working as a soloist. His new track in 2023, “Guilty,” reaches depths of K-pop that have never been reached before. An unconventional storyline in the K-pop scene, “Guilty” explores the meaning of a manipulative relationship and the vulnerability that comes with it. Through his sophisticated vocals, Taemin effectively conveys the painful and confused emotions that arise from the story. The fresh choreography was also praised amongst fans, with many taking part in the “Guilty” dance challenge.

11. “S-Class” by Stray Kids
Photo courtesy of JYP Entertainment

Rising with fame more than ever now, Stray Kids and their self-created music have always had fans coming back for more. In contrast to their previous title tracks, “S-Class” brings out a new kind of finesse from Stray Kids. From soulful vocals to playful raps and fierce dance breaks, “S-Class” has it all. The album surpassed five million in cumulative sales, breaking multiple records shortly after its release.

10. “Fast Forward” by JEON SOMI
Photo courtesy of Youtube/The Black Label

Headstrong soloist Jeon Somi is known for being able to pull off any style or concept. Her most recent comeback’s title track “Fast Forward” takes the listener along a journey in a futuristic world powered by its electronic beats and tecktonik dance moves. Displaying both feminine and masculine sides herself, Jeon Somi managed to make the most of the concept with her confident stage presence.

9. “Flower” by JISOO
Photo courtesy of @NEWSJISOO/X

Part of the biggest girl group worldwide, Blackpink member Jisoo was the last member of the iconic band to debut solo, with her single “Flower.” Currently with 456 million views, her “Flower” music video became the first music video released in 2023 to garner over 400 million views. She also broke a record by achieving one million album pre-orders, the highest for a record by a female K-pop solo artist. The single, with a catchy chorus beat, displays Jisoo’s elegant and graceful beauty that goes perfectly with the traditional Korean flower representations seen throughout the visual film. The easy-to-follow choreography also helped the dance challenge blow up over platforms like YouTube Shorts.

8. “Spicy” by aespa
Photo courtesy of

Bringing out a completely new side to them, SM Entertainment’s four-member girl group, aespa, shocked the world with their song “Spicy,”  portraying a bright, teen crush concept never before seen in their songs. Usually known for more of their “metal-flavored” songs in conjunction with their AI concept, aespa took a turn in their usual storyline by leaving the AI world and entering the human one with the exact song to cool off with in the summer. The song was the perfect opportunity to show off aespa’s vocals and their effervescent charm.

7. “Super” by Seventeen
Photo courtesy of HYBE LABELS/Youtube

Approaching their ninth anniversary, the thirteen-member group Seventeen continues to surprise fans even after so many years. Their song “Super” from their top-charting album, “FML,” is an extremely upbeat dance song, with a chorus filled with strong beats and accents. The song describes how far Seventeen has come so far as a team, and how they’re willing to reach new heights. A lyric reads “I love my team, I love my crew, we already made it this far.” The intense and anthem-like melody paired with the hard-hitting choreography perfectly encompasses Seventeen’s charisma.

6. “Queencard” by (G)-IDLE
Photo courtesy of (G)I-DLE/Youtube

“I am a Queencard, you wanna be the Queencard?” (G)-IDLE throws the question at you with their female-empowering song “Queencard.” The Korean title pronounced “Queen-Ka,” is a word to describe the prettiest or most popular girl. Their music video references popular movies and music videos such as “Mean Girls,” “White Chicks,” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” by Ariana Grande. Through the lyrics (G)-IDLE encourages everyone to find confidence and self-love as their version of a Queencard. The group’s honest and bubbly charm keeps them loved by fans and many others as they spread their message of positivity.

5. “I AM” by IVE
Photo courtesy of starshipTV/Youtube

Taking the world by storm since their debut, the six-member girl group IVE has stayed true to their concept of narcissism since day one. Their title song “I AM” from their 2023 album, “I’VE IVE,” speaks the empowering message of choosing to follow your path as your true self. The song displays IVE’s charismatic vocals as they hit extremely high notes in the chorus. The album ended up winning Album of the Year at the Melon Music Awards (MMAs) in 2023.

4. “Eve, Psyche and The Bluebeard’s Wife” by LE SSERAFIM
Photo courtesy of HYBE LABELS/Youtube

Known for its powerful choreography and synchronized beats, LE SSERAFIM’s “Eve, Psyche and The Bluebeard’s Wife” caught the attention of many with its unique title and lyrics. The song opens with a punching beat followed by the self-written English lyrics of member Huh Yunjin that read, “I’m a mess in distress, but we’re still the best dressed, fearless, say yes, we don’t dress to impress,” emphasizing the fearless motto of their team. Alongside groups like New Jeans and IVE, LE SSERAFIM is one of the most popular fourth-generation girl groups up to date, and continues to surprise fans with their synchronized choreography and notable stage presence.

3. “Super Shy” by NewJeans
Photo courtesy of NewJeansWiki

NewJeans brought a breath of fresh air into the K-pop industry with their debut in 2022, and have since been releasing consecutive hits that have always made it to the top of the charts. Their second EP released in July 2023, “Get Up,” was no different, gifting feelings of nostalgia to fans with their collaboration with the “Powerpuff Girls.” The pre-release song “Super Shy,” highlights the members’ harmonious voices with a soothing melody that opens the song. Boosting NewJeans up to number one on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart, “Get Up” allowed them to make a successful wrap-up to the 2023 year. Definitely an easy listen, “Super Shy” is the perfect song for those who prefer calmer melodies over loud beats.

2. “Seven” by Jungkook
Photo courtesy of BIGHIT Music

Jungkook, the “Golden Maknae,” or youngest member, of K-pop’s global pioneer BTS, released his debut solo album in 2023, titled “Golden.” The pre-release song, “Seven,” features female rapper Latto and showcases the unique color of Jungkook’s voice, which pairs well with Latto’s rhythmic rapping. The music video also features actress Han So Hee as the female lead, and many have praised her chemistry with Jungkook in portraying the story. 

1. “Cupid” by FiftyFifty
Photo courtesy of ATTRAKT Creative Content Group

A massive hit on social media platforms such as TikTok, Fifty Fifty’s first entrance into the world was a huge breakthrough with the release of their debut single, “Cupid,” usually heard with a fast playback speed on social media background music. The song, released in both a Korean and English version, discusses the struggles and disappointments that come with pursuing love. Peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it became the longest-charting song by a K-pop girl group. Despite all the fame, the group didn’t see a future ahead together, and three of the members ended up terminating their contract in October 2023 after the end of a long lawsuit between themselves and their management company. 

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