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K-pop's appeal reflected in global accolades

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K-pop act aespa / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

K-pop act aespa / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

By Pyo Kyung-min

K-pop's global influence in 2023 has been further cemented with international platforms and media outlets acknowledging their achievements.

The New York Times (NYT) included K-pop girl group aespa's song "Better Things," released in August, as one of the 71 tracks on the "Best Songs of 2023" list. The NYT praised the minimal dance tune, describing it as "a K-pop kiss-off with ingeniously cascading vocal harmonies and absolutely no regrets," in its list released on Thursday (local time).

The list also honored global pop stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Doja Cat, Lana Del Rey and Dolly Parton, solidifying aespa's position on the global stage as the sole K-pop artist in the lineup.

Aespa also earned a spot in "The FT's 25 Most Influential Women of 2023" by the British Financial Times (FT).

K-pop girl group NewJeans / Courtesy of ADOR

K-pop girl group NewJeans / Courtesy of ADOR

Another standout in the K-pop scene, NewJeans gained international acclaim with its hit song "Super Shy," securing the third spot in The Guardian's "The 20 best songs of 2023." The British daily praised the track as "fresher than a lightly spritzed bushel of mint" and a "cute eyelash-batting flirtation," commending the group's departure from the conventional K-pop sound.

The music video for "Super Shy" has amassed over 130 million views on YouTube and the song boasts more than 300 million streams on Spotify as of October, underlining its global popularity.

The quintet, along with other K-pop bands LE SSERAFIM, (G)I-DLE and NCT DoJaeJung also secured a spot in "The 50 Best Songs of 2023" by Britain's New Musical Express (NME).

"Super Shy" claimed the second spot overall, the highest among K-pop artists, with NME commenting, "Jersey Club-inspired ‘Super Shy' is the most immediate of the bunch, a bouncy, longing look at a crush which feels light as air under the hyperpop tutelage of co-writer Erika de Casier."

LE SSERAFIM's "Eve, Psyche & The Bluebeard's Wife" ranked 32nd, and (G)I-DLE's "Queencard" secured the 35th spot on the chart. Notably, NCT DoJaeJung's "Perfume," released in April, made history as the only charting K-pop male artist, securing the 45th position overall.

K-pop boy band NCT DOJAEJUNG / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

K-pop boy band NCT DOJAEJUNG / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Music and social media platforms have also recognized K-pop artists as the best artists of the year, further underscoring K-pop's growing global influence and the genre's ability to resonate with audiences worldwide.

On Thursday, Billboard unveiled its staff-curated year-end list, "The 100 Best Songs of 2023," highlighting groups like NewJeans, FIFTY FIFTY and BTS' Jungkook. "Super Shy" by NewJeans secured the 38th spot, while FIFTY FIFTY's viral hit "Cupid" claimed the 50th and BTS' Jungkook's official solo debut single, "Seven," took 55th.

TikTok also honored five K-pop artists in its "The Hitmakers' Global Top 10" list, recognizing those who garnered the most views on the platform this year.

According to TikTok's annual report, K-pop giant BLACKPINK clinched the third spot on this year's list, marking it as the highest-ranked K-pop act. BTS followed closely at No. 4, with boy band ENHYPEN at No. 6, LE SSERAFIM at No. 8 and NewJeans rounding out the list at No. 9.

Pyo Kyung-min


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