Can you believe it’s already the halfway point of 2022? Time really does move so fast without you knowing it. But crossing over into July means it’s time for me to list my favorite songs of the year so far!
This year, what’s been interesting for me is that going into putting my list together, I felt like I wouldn’t have many songs to include on a Top 40. I was ready to just do a Top 10 or 20. Part of the reason is because I haven’t really fallen for many of the title tracks that have been released so far this year. And instead, I found many of the songs I enjoyed the most were B-side, non-title tracks.
I also found that most of those songs were on the mellower side as well. Maybe less of the more upbeat kinds of tracks that might have populated my lists in the past two years.
So without further ado, here are my Top 40 favorite songs of 2022, so far!
40. “Ghostin'” by Kim Woo Seok
Fresh off his great run on the recently concluded Bulgasal, UP10TION’s Kim Woo Seok returned with his third solo release 3rd Desire [Reve]. “Sugar” was one of my favorite tracks of last year. Title track “Switch” combined the bright sweetness of that track and the sexiness of his solo debut “Red Moon.” The rest of the album is solid. But my favorite tracks included the dreamy “Shame” and most especially the groovy opener “Ghostin.”
39. “Creature” by E’LAST
E’LAST returned with another captivating track in “Creature.” Continuing along the world they have established with their releases, “Creature” tells the story of the emotions triggered by a betrayal and misunderstanding. The dramatic song is matched by an equally dramatic and lush MV and a performance that is always powerful from the group. I definitely love the softer pre-chorus as it leads into the period of a chorus.
38. “Marvelous” by MIRAE
Rookie group MIRAE released their 3rd mini album and this might be my favorite title track from them yet. “Marvelous” is a great pop-dance track with a very catchy and irresistible hook. It brings together the group’s youthful vibe from their debut and their more charismatic sides from their follow-up. Together, it’s an enjoyable showcase for their continued growth and being able to establish themselves in their first year.
37. “Move” by TNX
Psy debuted his first boy group at P Nation, TNX. Title track “Move” leads the album “Way Up” and it perfectly introduces the group as they aim to make a name for themselves in the industry. The confident track blends the rap and sung parts in a great way that allows the bumping, affirmative chorus to not feel empty or out of place. The group definitely shows off their potential and talent with their performance.
36. “Addiction” by D-CRUNCH
D-CRUNCH returned with their latest single album “Addiction” and its title track of the same name. This album comes after the departure of member Minhyuk and with the absence of Dylan who is on hiatus as he focuses on his physical and mental health. “Addiction” is a dramatic EDM dance track that has the members showing off their talent and charisma as they bring to life the lyrics about speeding quickly toward the objects of their affection. It is a strong track and even stronger performance from the group.
35. “Made For You” by JWiiver
Rookie group JWiiver made their debut with the track “Jtrap.” I liked it a lot and it definitely left a great first impression for them. The catchy dance track gives them the opportunity to introduce themselves with their strong vocals and eye-catching performance. But my favorite track from their debut album is definitely “Made For You.” A nice, bright track that allows the group to show off their versatility.
34. “Peacemaker” by P1Harmony
I thought P1Harmony’s “Do It Like This” was an okay title track and it definitely grew on me after a couple more listens. But my favorite track from their recent album quickly became “Peacemaker.” The track is definitely different from the group’s powerful titles. But it’s the kind of unexpected, but welcome performance that one can really love.
33. “Villain” by TRENDZ
TRENDZ had a great debut. And they followed up their strong title track “TNT (Truth&Trust)” with the also awesome “Villain.” The guys exude confidence and charisma with the song and its lyrics. But it is their performance that really stands out. An excellent showcase for these super rookies’ talents.
32. “Pity Party” by Jamie
Jamie is back and stronger than ever with the R&B dance track “Pity Party.” Yes! A dance track from the artist also known as Park Jimin. It is definitely a new and different side of Jamie. But she more than delivers, as she always does. The song allows Jamie to also show off a different flavor of her voice, but still has ample opportunity to highlight the powerful vocals she is known for. Not to mention being able to remind everyone that she is a strong, confident woman as well.
31. “Just a Little Bit” by TEMPEST
TEMPEST had a fun and energetic debut with “Bad News.” But my favorite track from their debut album is definitely the sweet pop track “Just a Little Bit.”
30. “Odyssey” by YOUNITE
YOUNITE also had a great debut. My favorite track from their album is the dreamy hip-hop-infused dance track “Odyssey.”
29. “Lights On” by JUST B
JUST B finally released some new music in April and my favorite track from the album is the mellow “Lights On.” A change of pace from the group’s strong title tracks, but just the kind of song I will definitely have on my Night Drive playlist.
28. “In My Heart” by Black Level
Continuing the strong debuts of this year, Black Level had one with the charismatic “Infection.” My favorite from their debut album though is “In My Heart.” I don’t know how many times I’ve hummed the chorus since first listening to the song. The guitar and bass help to make the song a sweet and dreamy track.
The group’s “I’ll Wait” was also great and just on the cusp of my Top 40.
27. “Get Away” by DKB
DKB made a confident comeback with the piano-infused hip-hop dance track “Sober.” The group’s swagger and charisma was on full display with their performance. My favorite though is the refreshing, summery hip-hop track “Get Away.” A contrast to the title track, but equally engaging.
26. “X-Ray” by GHOST9
GHOST9 made their first comeback after a few member departures and they reintroduce themselves with the powerful “X-Ray.” The charismatic rock-infused hip-hop track is definitely a song that allows the group to show off their vocal and performance skills. It’s a great step forward for fans who have been with them from the beginning and a great gateway for any new fans who may be listening to and watching them for the first time.
25. “I’ll Go First” by EPEX
EPEX had another good comeback in April. And my favorite track is the mellow and comforting “I’ll Go First.” A perfect closer for the strong album.
24. “Adrenaline” by CRAVITY
Just like the title says, CRAVITY’s latest comeback is definitely a big shot of “Adrenaline.” The groovy and energetic dance track is a great song that is effortlessly brought to life by a charismatic and youthful performance from the group.
23. “It Ain’t Over” by NOA
NOA has released a diverse mix of songs since his debut and he’s delivered great performances with each on. The groovy “It Ain’t Over” is no different in that sense, but definitely a different kind of vibe from the talented solo artist. And just another awesome display of his talent and charisma.
22. “Sunset With You” by Def.
When I first listened to “Sunset With You,” my first thought was “Oh, I really like this song a lot more than his solo debut because this sounds more like the songs he used to upload on soundcloud.” Then I realized Jay B released his album as Def and it made so much more sense. I’ve always been a fan of Im Jaebum and I really loved the songs he would post on soundcloud a few years back. So the entire LOVE. album is definitely more my vibe.
21. “Dessert” by Kim Yo Han
Fresh off his drama debut, Kim Yo Han made his solo debut with the release of Illusion. Title track “Dessert” is a fun and funky track that plays up the cheeky lyrics with its disco-tinged melody. Taking part in the song’s rap-making, the song is a great showcase for his solo talents. And he effortlessly takes ownership of his solo stage with a strong performance. *spoiler alert* This won’t be the last you’ll see of Kim Yo Han on this list!
20. “Sa Panaginip Na Lang” by ALAMAT
I’ve become a big fan of ALAMAT and they’ve released a diverse mix of title tracks so far. But their track “Sa Panaginip Na Lang” is a beautiful OPM ballad. And it’s such a refreshing track to hear, especially from a P-pop group in a time when P-pop artists are doing their best in announcing their arrivals through big, performance-heavy dance tracks. The song reminds me very much of the days I would listen to the many OPM pop-rock bands of the 2000s. So it’s definitely a throwback, but also contemporary as well. And of course, it’s a chance for ALAMAT to show off their wonderful voices in a slower track that is all their own.
19. “W.A.T.1” by MCND
MCND prepared for their upcoming comeback with the pre-release track “W.A.T.1” and definitely got me excited. I’ll admit I’ve been 50/50 with their comebacks lately. I like them fine. But none have really caught my ear. I guess that’s partly thanks to just how perfect “Ice Age” was. “W.A.T.1,” however, is probably the closest I’ve felt to being excited about an MCND release since that debut. I certainly hope the rest of their upcoming album is in a similar vibe and style as this track. The rock-infused pop dance track suits them so well. And it would signal perhaps a step forward for the group, having them show a different side of themselves. I like this a lot!
18. “On a Highway” by Ciipher
Ciipher came back with their latest album The Code and its title track “Fame.” The song is an immediately engaging pop-dance track that blends together some feel-good K-pop vibes and a modern sound. It is definitely my favorite title track from them so far and definitely just missed out on my Top 40. But R&B dance track “On a Highway” ended up being my favorite from the album.
17. “Remember” by DRIPPIN
DRIPPIN has made big strides in their growth and maturity. They’ve had a couple of great releases this year. But my favorite of their new music this year has been “Remember.” The tropical house-infused pop dance track is an irresistible listen.
16. “Again” by NU’EST
NU’EST wrapped up their time together as a group with the release of “Again.” The beautifully nostalgic track was a wonderful, though of course bittersweet, way for the group to end on a high note and gift fans and audiences alike with one last excellent performance.
15. “Behind Cut” by 2Z
I know to always expect something great from 2Z. And “Behind Cut” is no different. As much as I enjoy when the band has rocked out with more upbeat tracks, my favorite songs from them have been their more mellow and perhaps more emotional ones such as “All I Need” (my favorite). “Behind Cut” fits into the latter category and it’s a song I immediately love. The song begins with a piano perfectly evoking that mellow feeling before it builds and crescendos into a wonderfully soaring emotional climax.
14. “Candy Sugar Pop” by ASTRO
ASTRO’s “Candy Sugar Pop” is indeed a sweet track. The retro-infused pop-dance track is probably my favorite ASTRO title track in a while, especially since their obvious shift in style last year. It’s a fun, energetic track that actually harkens back to ASTRO’s early days, but with a contemporary feel.
13. “Parallel Universe” by NINE.i
Ten member group NINE.i made their debut with the title track “Parallel Universe” and I love it. The dreamy pop dance track and its motivating message is a great way for the group to introduce themselves to the public. And the rest of the debut album follows suit with wonderful vibes. It’s a different route for a rookie group to take in terms of style and sound. But in doing so, NINE.i has definitely set themselves apart from the rest. Might be my favorite debut title track of the year so far.
12. “Find You” by BZ-Boys
BZ-Boys made my list of favorite songs of 2021 with the great “Close Your Eyes.” And they started off 2022 with their latest comeback track “Find You.” The midtempo house track evokes a great nostalgic atmosphere as their smooth vocals sing of longing and regret for a past relationship. The group has really been able to find their voice with every comeback. And it’s awesome to see their exponential growth with every one. So good! Hope they can release lots of new music this year.
11. “WEOL” by from20
from20 has become one of my favorite solo artists after his amazing releases last year. He came back with his new single “WEOL” and the synth-infused track is very much a spiritual successor to his excellent “Because It’ll Be Faster For You to Forget Me Than Me Loving You.” The similar kinetic vibes of both the songs and music videos are really such a great showcase for from20’s creative mind. Kim Raehwan is just simply a talented man and “WEOL” is more proof of that.
10. “Beauty and the Beast” by The Rose
As great as The Rose’s dips into other flavors of rock have been, it is wonderful to see their first release in two years harken back to their iconic debut “Sorry” which immediately enthralled listeners and fans. “Beauty and the Beast” is an excellent, emotional and moving rock ballad about love in all its forms. With the band back together after their members have completed their military service, “Beauty and the Beast” is the perfect song to announce their comeback, reminding old fans and introducing themselves to potential new fans of how talented they are.
9. “Universe” by ONEWE
ONEWE released Planet Nine: VOYAGER at the beginning of the year and “Universe” is a stunningly beautiful title track. Leader Yonghoon co-wrote the soaring, emotional rock ballad and is very much what one might come to expect from the talented band. Both the song and accompanying music video builds up and crescendos with a stirring and emotional finish as they sing of always being by their loved ones, physically, emotionally and through the cherished memories when those loved ones may be far away. Truly a heartrending song performed with captivating passion. As ONEWE often does.
8. “Crazy About You” by UP10TION
It’s been a while since I’ve truly loved an UP10TION title track. But that immediately changed with the release of their latest “Crazy About You.” It’s a more mature UP10TION as the currently 7-member group offer up the dramatic and emotional song about longing for the moments once spent with someone now gone. The chorus is especially appealing and it’s the kind of soaring melody I don’t know I’ve heard from them. At least, not in a long time.
7. “O” by VERIVERY
I had no idea what to expect from the song when I first went in to the MV of “O.” But it definitely was not this!
I absolutely love it. Within the first few seconds of the song, I was already thinking to myself, “Woah, what is this song?!” I started to get a feeling what it might end up sounding like and was hoping so much that it would pan out the way I was envisioning. And it did. This smooth, dreamy R&B track is definitely not the VERIVERY one might expect. But it is very much the natural next step forward for a group that has grown with every release since debut.
6. “Illusion” by KINGDOM
There’s been some bittersweet news from KINGDOM since the release of their latest album. But that does not get in the way of appreciating their always excellent music. Title track “Ascension” was another amazing all-around performance. But my favorite track from the album is definitely the dreamy, synth-infused “Illusion.” KINGDOM has so many hidden gems as B-side tracks on their albums. Everyone should definitely check them out.
5. “Run Up (Korean Version)” by T1419
T1419 may have just released my favorite track from them as well with the Korean version of Japanese single “Run Up.” It’s a bit of a different feel from their powerful and intense title tracks so far. But it’s definitely the kind of song that I immediately gravitate to.
I chose the Korean version over the Japanese original mainly because of one specific moment in the track. I even tweeted for help identifying the second voice in the 2nd chorus of the track:
A question for any #T1419 fans/EDELWEISS out there. Who's the second voice in the 2nd chorus that harmonizes the "Run Up"? It's my favorite part of the song. 😊
Around 1:33 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9AW3oIrrUS
— DryedMangoez (@dryedmangoez) June 1, 2022
T1419’s wonderful fans EDELWEISS definitely came to help and let me know that it was actually the voice of Sian. I don’t know what it is, but I really love that moment in the song so much. And that’s even as I love the song as a whole already.
It’s a refreshing track from the rookie group where they are still able to deliver that charismatic performance while offering up a charming dance melody in a way they have not yet done. I would love to see their next Korean release with this same vibe.
4. “But You” by iKON
iKON’s latest title track “But You” is an awesome retro dance track. The group has branched out in sound and style with their recent releases. And “But You” continues that as the nostalgic track fits perfectly with the theme of their album Flashback. The more I listened to the track, the more I loved it.
3. “Wish You Were Here” by LUMINOUS
LUMINOUS released their first single album with the track “Wish You Were Here” and it is an unexpectedly sweet midtempo pop song encouraging the youth during hard times. The band says this is a special treat for fans before they continue on with the third story of their debut Luminous series. A great way for the talented group to show off a different side of themselves. But the more I listened to it, the more I fell in love with it. A really beautiful track that’s been on repeat since its release.
2. “Selfish” by Kim Yo Han
Another track that’s been on repeat has been Kim Yo Han’s “Selfish.” An absolutely perfect track. Everything about it from the vibes to Yo Han’s voice to the music to the lyrics; I love it all. I just wish Yo Han had performed it live or had an MV for it. It really deserves so much attention. Love it!
1. “Lovender” by Han Seung Yun
I was definitely a fan of Lunafly back in the day. So I’m so happy to see Han Seung Yun back and releasing new music. And the title track of the album of the same name, “Lovender,” might just be one of my favorites of the year so far. Such an excellent track that highlights Seung Yun’s beautiful and powerful vocals. The rock-infused pop ballad has an impactful and memorable melody. And it’s not hard to just get lost in the song. The rest of the album is also great as it allows Seung Yun to show off his versatility to an audience that might have just been introduced to him in the last year. So excited to see what’s ahead for him.
But if I were to say which songs I’ve had on repeat the most this year so far, it has to be these two songs from the web series Light On Me. Though both songs were released last year when the series first aired, I only got the chance to watch Light On Me this year. And thus, was only exposed to these two amazing tracks in 2022. I couldn’t leave them off my list though considering how much I’ve loved and listened to both these tracks this year.
“Fever” by Mook
“Fever” encapsulates Light On Me‘s emotions and storyline so well. When the song kicks in at the end of the episode, it just feels right. MOOK’s great vocals match the modern piano and synth-infused melody.
“Spark” by A.C.E
“Spark” immediately caught my attention while watching Light On Me. Little did I know it’s performed by one of my favorite groups which only made me love it even more. I’m sorry I didn’t hear this song sooner because it absolutely would’ve made my list of favorite songs of 2021. Maybe even Top 10, to be honest. The song is that good. So I just had to include it here.
The energetic, yet romantic track captures the show’s feelings so well. But even beyond that, it’s simply just an irresistible song.