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The 25 Best K-Pop Albums of 2023

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Partly for the prolific volume of projects artists release each year and partly for the fluid definition of an album (running anywhere from three to 13 tracks), an annual ranking of K-pop albums is never easy. As South Korea continues to extend its global musical influence, certain projects transcend hit-song compilations, presenting larger visions and conceptual narratives.

In 2023, stars like V, WOODZ and ONEW used their latest solo projects to share the music that inspires them at their core as artists and let listeners settle into sonic worlds they’ve developed. Meanwhile, artists like IVE, SEVENTEEN, Kim Sejeong, TOMORROW X TOGETHER and BTS’ Suga as Agust D used their projects to show their range as artists whose inspirations run deep and varied, offering satisfying surprises for audiences. Meanwhile, the likes of JOOHONEY, (G)I-DLE, Stray Kids and NCT DREAM used their projects to speak to the topics most important to them and their fans.

While artists who have operated in the Korean entertainment system are typically lumped into an all-encompassing “K-pop” term, several projects that would have caught fans’ attention are challenging to deem as K-pop. A slew of top-notch projects like Jung Kook’s Golden, (G) I-DLE’s Heat, DPR IAN’s Dear Insanity, Mark Tuan’s Fallin’, Yerin Baek’s New Year, Eric Nam’s House on a Hill all deserve their rightful acclaim, but this K-pop list focuses on albums with Korean as the primary language.

In 2023, K-pop represents far more than music from idols as more artists dabble in new genres, soundscapes and inspirations to encompass burgeoning Korean sub-genres in this space. The albums that moved us this year speak to the continuing importance of full-length projects even in an increasingly single-focused global market. (And speaking of singles, check out our list of the 25 Best K-Pop Songs of 2023 here.)

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