The winners of the 2022 edition of the Korean Music Awards have been announced, and there were a lot of names that will be familiar to those in the K-pop world, with Aespa, BTS, IU, Chungha, and AKMU all taking home awards.
Artist Of The Year: BTS
Song Of The Year: Aespa – “Next Level”
Album Of The Year: Lang Lee – ‘There Is A Wolf’
Rookie Of The Year: Aespa
Best K-Pop Song: Aespa – “Next Level”
Best K-Pop Album: Chungha – ‘Querencia’
Best Pop Song: AKMU (Feat. IU) – “NAKKA”
Best Pop Album: IU – ‘LILAC’
Best Rock Song: Soumbalgwang – “Dance”
Best Rock Album: Soumbalgwang – ‘Happiness, Flower’
Best Modern Rock Song: Silica Gel – “Desert Eagle”
Best Modern Rock Album: Wings Of The ISANG – ‘The Borderline Between Hope And Despair’
Best R&B And Soul Song: SUMIN & Slom – “THE GONLAN SONG”
Best R&B And Soul Album: THAMA – ‘DON’T DIE COLORS’
Best Rap And Hip Hop Song: CHANGMO – “TAIJI”
Best Rap And Hip Hop Album: Choi LB – ‘Independent Music’
Best Electronic Song: HAEPAARY – “Go To GPD And Then”
Best Electronic Album: HAEPAARY – ‘Born By Gorgeousness’
Best Folk Song: Chun Yongsung (Feat. Kang Mal Geum) – “Barley Tea”
Best Folk Album: Lang Lee – ‘There Is A Wolf’
Best Metal & Hardcore Album: AGNES – ‘Hegemony Shift’
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Maria Kim – ‘With Strings: Dream Of You’
Best Jazz Music Album: Jihye Lee Orchestra – ‘Daring Mind’
Achievement Award: Devils
Special Award: Han Kyung Rok
Special Award: Korea Jazz Guard
Other than the winners, and for those more into just finding new music from these, the nominees are recapped nicely on Wikipedia.
If you’re wondering why I choose to cover these awards and don’t bother with most others, it’s because at least here the winners and nominees are chosen by critics and judges instead of literally just being a popularity contest/numbers game that almost every other Korean music award is. Thus, it’s generally considered the Korean answer to the Grammy Awards.
Of course, much like the Grammys, this doesn’t mean the outcomes are absolute in judgment or even understandable. Like personally, while there are a handful of artists here that I definitely believe deserve recognition, I disagree with almost all of the winners. That said, I think this does provide a different and valuable perspective for international netizens, especially with regards to how the Korean critics and judges think of their own scene.