This week, we're continuing to look back at some of our favourite albums of the year, week-by-week and genre-by-genre. 2023 was a year filled with some long awaited solo debut projects and bodies of work from groups we already loved. These were a few of our favourites...
Jimin – “FACE”
Jimin rose to fame as part of the iconic K-Pop group BTS and 2023 was the year he released his long awaited first solo album FACE. The 6-track project is a blend of pop, hip-hop and R&B, making this a great entrance point for new listeners who want to get into K-Pop. Conceptually, FACE carries deeply personal themes regarding healing from inner wounds, the contrasts between a ‘pure face’ and a hard outer shell, and allusions to the Sisyphus myth of eternal punishment. FACE illustrates honest feelings Jimin experienced during the pandemic and represents the breakthrough and growth achieved through loneliness and stardom. Standout tracks include the triumphant "Set Me Free Pt.2" and synth-driven "Like Crazy."
Jung Kook – “GOLDEN”
This year marked the release of the first solo album from global popstar Jung Kook of BTS. Having been known as the 'Golden Maknae' ('golden youngest' in Korean) of BTS, GOLDEN illustrates his growth from his young yet golden debut in his early career to the global popstar he is today. The album includes show-stopping vocals from Jung Kook, features from Latto, Jack Harlow, Major Lazer and DJ Snake, and writing contributions from Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran. Standout tracks include the Platinum-certified hit "Seven (feat. Latto)" and fan favourites like "3D (feat. Jack Harlow)" and "Standing Next to You."
TWICE – “READY TO BE”
TWICE's 12th EP READY TO BE is a versatile collection of bops that make it clear why they are one of the biggest K-Pop girl groups in the world. Whether they're singing over the smooth R&B beats of "MOONLIGHT SUNRISE," the disco-infused instrumental of "SET ME FREE" or the washy electric guitar of "GOT THE THRILLS"—it's always a hit.
Stray Kids – “5-STAR”
This dark 12-track project captures K-Pop boy group Stray Kids at the top of their game as they deliver hip-hop verses at blazingly fast speeds that give way to larger than life pop hooks. Hip-hop fans will love tracks like "Hall of Fame" for it's gritty performance and hard hitting production, while pop fans still have plenty of songs more colourful songs to enjoy like "Collision" and "FNF."
NewJeans – “NewJeans 2nd EP 'Get Up'”
NewJeans 2nd EP 'Get Up' proves that the group is in a lane of their own with this signature combination of R&B and electronic influences. Songs like "Super Shy" bring UK garage style drums to a whole new audience as the group deliver one of the most unforgettable perfromances on the EP. Since NewJeans' debut last year, they have continually delivered great music with every release and 'Get Up' is no exception.