As part of our Annual Report, we’ve put together the 2023 K-Pop Yearbook with accolades for our favorite idols. See what else we celebrated in music, film, and TV across the year by checking out our full report here.
Well, class, another great year has come to an end.
2023 was filled with so many special moments: we asked for ETAs, we slow danced, we got lost in the lights — and my God, did we sit back and relax, man, before making it bouncy. From promising new talent like KISS OF LIFE and ZEROBASEONE making a splash to established favorites like SEVENTEEN continuing to climb, these (metaphorical, internet-based) halls echoed with so much joy over the past 12 months. The engaging albums, eye-catching music videos, sharp choreography, and fun team dynamics that have become hallmarks of K-pop were on full display.
For that reason, I wanted to do something a little different from past roundups to celebrate this year’s impressive crop. Whereas the last few annual reports have featured lists highlighting 10 K-pop acts that dominated their respective years, it just felt too limiting in a time as stacked as this. So instead, I rounded up 10 tracks and 10 acts for a superlative-style look at 2023, and even had the chance to connect with most of the artists here to get their thoughts.
So without further ado, please enjoy the 2023 K-Pop Yearbook.
(Editor’s Note: You can also check out the exclusive TOMORROW X TOGETHER Consequence cover story box set available on the Consequence Shop, now 25% off!)
Innovators of the Year
While the metaverse and AI have been hot topics for a few years now, it still feels like aespa were always on the cutting edge. The group has embraced elements of futurism in everything from their aesthetics to their sound from day one, and they’ve established a distinct audiovisual style that helps them stand out from a crowd of very talented acts. While plenty of groups have experimented with AI, aespa took the concept far enough to create a metaverse character, known as Naevis, to bring it all home — she’s even featured on some of there songs. Hyperpop isn’t easy to pull off, but it’s become this group’s bread and butter.
“We believe that being ‘innovators’ means fearlessly embracing new things and constantly challenging ourselves,” the band shares over email. “We always strive to showcase our growth and new sides to the audience. It is gratifying to see that those who watch us grow also appreciate our efforts.”