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Five 30. G-Dragon

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Album(s) – Coup D’etat
Title Track(s) - Michi Go, Coup D’etat, Crooked & Who You
Favourite Track(s) – Window, Black, Crooked, Who You, Runaway, R.O.D, Michi Go

If I’ve learnt one thing about G-Dragon this year and it is that his vocals are far less than what I originally thought they were. As a song-writer, everyone generally gives him a free pass to everything, but as I listened to Black, Window and Who You, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed at how the tracks were being abstained from reaching their own heights at the residency of G-Dragon’s sharp inflections. As far as his artistry, he has travelled too far in such a short interval this year. He’s modifying his hair, he’s in another costume, he’s releasing another track, he’s collaborating with another artist. Not enough time is being set aside to allow any of us to breathe and it rubs off in the Coup D’etat album, which ultimately lacks an identity. His tendency to be overly artistic has become superficial rather than significant. He’s an amazing talent whom I appreciate on an entirely different level, however I still don’t think we have seen the best of him yet.


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29. KARA

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Album(s) – Full Bloom
Title Track(s) – Runaway & Damaged Lady
Favourite Track(s) – Runaway, Follow Me, Damaged Lady & Smoothie

2012 was remembered for the idol group fad which foresaw an influx of currently defunct/inactive rookie groups. 2013 will probably be most remembered for the fragility of our beloved senior groups: Dongho left UKISS, Areum left T-ara, Yookyung left A-Pink and one of the big departures that pins the nail on the coffin is Sohee’s withdrawal from the Wonder Girls. EDIT: Now that Nicole has left and Jiyoung is about to, it is quite bittersweet to look back on KARA’s five-year legacy as a quintuple line-up. KARA carried themselves with a distinct synth-pop sound and vocal harmonies that have been succeeded by no other. In the five years that consisted of headlines including Lupin, Jumping, Step and Pandora; there is really nothing more we could ask for. In September, Damaged Lady saw the very last of KARA’s pinnacle trademark where they abandoned their usual agile title arrangements and adopted something a little more acoustic synth-wise. I always thought they’d last far longer than 2014. It is unfortunate that I’ve had to address KARA in past-tense.


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28. Girl’s Day

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Album(s) – Expectation & Repackage (Female President)
Title Track(s) - Expectation & Female President
Favourite Track(s) – Don’t Forget Me, Don’t Trust Her, I Don’t Mind, Expectation, Female President, White Day

Having hated everything they’ve ever released during their aegyo-diseased days, Don’t Forget Me was a massive turning point for them and they haven’t disappointed me since. With Expectation and Female President, the girls step into an unexplored grey area as they cater to completely different demographic with a heavy pop identity. Though they reduce themselves to risqué innuendos in their headlining tracks, their evolved image has had a positive influence on their non-titles. Girl’s Day has never sounded better and that is on top of their multiplying album sales. The only ones who will bitch about these beauties will only be females with a double standard complex. Every day, Girl’s Day.


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27. T-ARA

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Album(s) – Again & Repackage (Again 1977)
Title Track(s) - Number 9, I Know The Feeling, Do You Know Me? & Hide & Seek
Favourite Track(s) – Number 9, Do You Know Me, Hurt & Sign-Post

T-ara had a reputation as the digital queens during 2011-2012. Roly Poly, Cry Cry and Lovey Dovey together received over twelve million downloads, releasing some of the most memorable KPOP titles to date. Returning to their original line-up after three years, Shinsadong Tiger’s Number Nine rides off the trampoline of every title track in T-ara’s retro disco-pop genre, unleashing what could have been one of the most commercially successful tracks of the year. Their fractional sales as of late reveal to us that there is still a T-ara stigma lingering above sea level, but Core Contents Media never fails these girls whenever it comes down to the music. It’s catchy, addictive and easily the most trademarked sound in KPOP. It’s unfortunate that T-ara is being carried down by notoriety.


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26. SECRET

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Album(s) – Letter From Secret & Gift From Secret
Title Track(s) - Yoo Hoo & I Do I Do
Favourite Track(s) – Because Of You, Snowmelt, Fantastic, Daddy Long Legs & Remember Me

2013 has travelled in waves this past year. SNSD, MYNAME and EXO are among the names of groups who have delivered horrible headliners and bolstered them with breath-taking albums. Among that list, Secret conforms to this influx above all others. This year, TS Entertainment made the bold decision to transition Secret backwards from the seductive to the perky, which seems so incongruous after a release that was sexually blooming as Poison was in 2012. The group seems to be at odds with where to align their title tracks. Having been a fan since the Madonna days, I have never been let down by their album content. Secret is almost unrivalled in their pop-ballads: Because Of You, Snowmelt, Daddy Long Legs and Remember Me. One of the refreshing tracks, Fantastic, was worthy of being a title track. It fills in the overall hard-hitting, laconic absence Secret has lacked with their titles.


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25. Girls Generation

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Album(s) – I Got A Boy, Love & Peace
Title Track(s) – I Got A Boy, Dancing Queen, Love & Girls, Galaxy Supernova, My Oh My
Favourite Track(s) – Beep Beep, Everyday Love, Blue Jeans, Lingua Franca, Lost In Love, Promise, Romantic St, Lips, Do The Catwalk, Karma Butterfly, Flyers

Before the December release of their Love & Peace album, Girls Generation originally ranked at forty. Much of their year has been weighted by the overshadowing dynamics of their Japanese tracks, which have been their career’s best work since their advancement in 2011. I Got A Boy is a musical piece that dissects itself with five separate arrangements which assimilate into an intricate multi-perspective experience a boy makes to their lives both personally and through the grape-vine of their social circle. Unfortunately, it is more ambitious than revolutionary. IGAB is convoluted and lacks the fundamental harmonies that have always been essential in SNSD’s musical footprint. In Love & Peace, we are invited to a second sequel of Japanese albums that embodies where the heart of SNSD lies. Beep Beep is the potentially the golden track of the group’s entire discography, capturing an integration of their aegyo-influenced tracks at the foot of their debut with the sophistication of their maturity, unfolded throughout their seven careers.


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24. Taeyang

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Single(s) – Ringa Ringa
Title Track(s) – Ringa Linga
Favourite Track(s) – Ringa Linga

As someone who treated Wedding Dress and I Need A Girl as fondly as gospels back in the day, I wasn’t thrilled that the silence of Taeyang’s three-year absence is broken by a dubstep/R&B/electro/bass-heavy musical arrangement that sounds right off the back of G-Dragon’s Coup D’etat album. Ringa Linga’s musical arrangement might take a while to grow acquainted with but the choreography is so undeniably remarkable that it surpasses Growl. Without question, the dance version holds a lot more with less (i.e the official video sucks) and it is with a spec of remorse that I mention how demolished Taeyang was. His accompanying dancers, who have been doing this for years, hit the choreography harder, faster and with such precision. When you do it right, I get hairs standing on the back of my neck. Ringa Linga is one of the best visual performances yet. The song on its own lacks something until you draw the association with the hard-hitting choreography. That is the reason why Taeyang has ranked as far as he has.


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23. SPICA

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Single(s) – Tonight
Title Track(s) – Tonight
Favourite Track(s) – Tonight

Tonight is the most exhilarating comeback this year. I haven’t heard a comeback throughout the year that equips the kind of frenetic heights SPICA carried in their end-of-Summer pop anthem. Tonight is a concept that feeds off the zest of life. It dives into changing what ‘tonight’ can become as opportunities are seized in the pursuit of our dreams. The MV projects the aesthetic visuals as powerfully as the lyrics demand it to be: from the arching motif of indie culture, to the colour throwing, to the lights that surround the bonfire. It is one of the most beautiful MVs that Korea has ever produced. As the music video concludes, the message narrows itself: Tonight actually ends when we watch the sunrise together. SPICA has aced it this year. Tonight is a vocal and lyrical masterpiece. If you see it for less than the hope it conveys, then you are grasping the track incorrectly. EDIT: The fuck-knuckles at AKP didn’t even list this in their top fifty MVs of 2013. Seriously?


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22. MYNAME

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Album(s) – 2nd Single Album & 3rd Single Album
Title Track(s) – Just That Little Thing, Baby I'm Sorry & Day By Day
Favourite Track(s) – Day By Day, Outro, It's Gonna Be Alright, U-Turn, Memory, Goodbye & Astonished

I give sunggyuluver credit for this group. Your tagging paid off because I was done with this group from the moment they released what I decided was one of the worst albums of the year. MYNAME’s second mini-album is characterised by a blend of dry song-selections as well as their failure to vocally make sense of the mediocre debris. The harmonies were off, the lyrics were incoherent and the label seemed to swerve them in a direction that didn’t make sense. Everything about it was a mess and it pisses me off that they followed through with something so incredible. At twenty-two, MYNAME recovers by redeeming themselves with their third album which has a near perfect masterpiece of their pop-ballad genre. They’ve been blessed by some pretty white angels.


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21. IU

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Album(s) - Modern Times
Title Track(s) - Red Shoes
Favourite Track(s) – Love Of B, Bad Day, Between The Lips, Voicemail, Gloomy Clock & Everybody Has Secrets

If there was an award for most original album, Modern Times would win. KPOP or Korean music in general hasn’t really touched the 1920’s inspired era of music to the same magnitude IU has. If you’re not familiar with the roaring twenties, it was a significant period of music influenced by Broadway-dominant genres such as traditional jazz and blues. In a decade that consisted of the Great Depression, music was one of the few resources that remained untouched from the economy as soon as you tuned your radio. IU in Modern Times embodies a modernised reflection of that era. Just listen to Red Shoes and you can hear the strong brass and woodwind instruments. Speaking of Red Shoes, I remember studying it in Literature in high school. I believe it is based off the fairy-tale of the spoilt girl who couldn’t stop dancing to the point where she chopped off her feet. The moral of the fairy-tale teaches us about the sanctity of humility as the red shoes were a defining object of vanity. IU’s rendition when reading the lyrics detaches from that original storyline. I don’t personally understand IU’s rendition full swing but building a promotion based off famous literature I’ve read about keeps my inner-nerd at the edge of my seat. Like Ailee, controversies can only speak about you for so long. If you are the artist we know and respect you for, everything else should drown out, and it has. This was a powerful comeback. The non-titles become lighter and facilitate more acoustic-type tracks, however they don’t disappoint.
20. HISTORY

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Album(s) – Just Now & Blue Spring
Title Track(s) – Dreamer, Tell Me Love & What Am I To You?
Favourite Track(s) – Why Not, Blind, The Last Time, Easy, D-Day, Dreamer, Hello

HISTORY is my favourite rookie group this year. They made waves across forums with their Dreamer debut but they haven’t been very receptive on the charts at all, which is understandable since their title tracks don’t really make you flinch with intrigue. Lyrically, they fall on the very same lines of every group with their overcomplicated love conundrums. Their strength lies in their non-titles which have both hits and misses, however when they hit, it lands them at twenty. If they don’t manage to ground themselves in the definition of ‘fame’, I’m sure one of the reasons will be their group alias, History (refer to Airplane for my rant). In 2014, I hope to see Loen Entertainment lift up their game to the calibre of label-mates IU and Sunny Hill.


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19. The Luminaries Of Ballads (Davichi, K.Will, Huh Gak, Seo In Guk & 2AM)

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Album(s) – Various
Title Track(s) - Various
Favourite Track(s) – Various

If I had ranked each of these five ballad artists individually, I’d be going around in circles, articulating the same adjectives in repetition. That was a decision I almost made with Electroboyz/Kim Jin Pyo/Airplane/Geeks who are well versed in the similar hip-hop fields. Ballads weren’t exactly the height of my year and I feel the same way annually. After falling into the pit of KPOP as a regular listener, many of tracks eventually overlap themselves in sounding similar to one another; especially with OSTs (e.g Davichi’s If Love Told You That has a similar arrangement to Secret Garden’s That Woman). It is easy for the ballad genre to be castigated to the side for this reason. The luminaries lacked something ground-breaking this year but K.Will stood out as a favourite.

Davichi (Mystic Ballad) – Taste The Tears & Containers Wanna Dye My Hair
K.Will (Will In Fall) – You Don’t Know Love
Huh Gak (Little Giant & Reminisce) – I Like To Sing
Seo In Guk (With Laughter Or With Tears) – No Matter What
2AM (One Spring Day & Nocturne) – To An Angel


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18. Younha

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Album(s) – Just Listen & Subsonic
Title Track(s) – The Real Reason Why We Broke Up, Nothing, Home, Unacceptable, Fade & Please Tell Me
Favourite Track(s) - All

Naturally, Younha always makes my list. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving the way her silky voice delivers in her songs. Keeping this short, she has had a good year.


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17. Lee Juck

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Album(s) – The Meaning Of Solitude
Title Track(s) – Lie Lie Lie & Before Sunrise
Favourite Track(s) – Lie Lie Lie, The Meaning Of Solitude, Diseases, Before Sunrise, After 20 Years

Lee Juck pierces our hearts with abandonment through Lie Lie Lie’s delicate piano arrangement and echoic vocals. Another one I’m keeping short, he defined beauty with his latest album.


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16. Brand New Music & Dynamic Duo (Phantom, Verbal Jint, Miss $, San-E, Swings, Bumkey, BIZNIZ & As One)

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Album(s) – Various
Title Track(s) - Various
Favourite Track(s) – Various

This is the last time I keep it to a sentence. Brand New Music is mustered with pure artists and easily stands firm as Korea’s best label. I’m just going to announce are titles you need to get on top of:

Dynamic Duo – Hot Wings
San-E - Break Up Dinner
Phantom - Like Cho Yong Pil
Verbal Jint - If It Ain’t Love
Miss $ - You Were Not The …
Swings - A Real Lady
Bumkey – Attraction
BIZNIZ - Get It Wet
As One - Awkward Love


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15. Drunken Tiger, Yoon Mi Rae & Bizzy (MFBTY)

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Album(s) – The Cure
Title Track(s) - Sweet Dream & The Cure
Favourite Track(s) – Sweet Dream, Get It In, Time Travel & Beautiful Life

I’m not quite sure why they didn’t release ‘The Cure’ under the MFBTY alias rather than ‘Drunken Tiger with YMR & Bizzy). As far as I know, DJ Shine of Drunken Tiger left years ago. Otherwise, there is something I am missing. Throughout this ranking, I’ve skim-listened to each artist/group to validate my thoughts. When it came around to listening to tracks like Sweet Dream and Time Travel, they ranked higher and higher. MFBTY have consolidated themselves as rap artists beyond their genre. I haven’t heard a single bad thing about any members of this trio, particularly with Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae who are respected at every corner of the industry. I am semi-familiar with Tiger JK’s work and from a light eavesdrop, this is a withdrawal from the nature he is well versed in and famous for. The Cure is the most heart-warming track released all year that calls forth the light acoustics and lyrics that come from the heart. The Cure is a profound message of hope in the midst of our adversities. Though cliché, a song that spreads this kind of good-will moulded with such musical eloquence deserves the upmost respect.


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14. Lim Kim

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Album(s) - Goodbye 20
Title Track(s) – All Right, Rain, Goodbye 20
Favourite Track(s) - Without Knowing It All, Goodbye 20, Urban Green, Voice

As a 1992-born, I’ve been waiting to see a younger female idol/artist tear shit up and surprise me. For the most part, I’ve been twinkled numerous times with the aegyo nonsense. I know it is part of their culture but young adults acting like their inner ten year old just doesn’t present itself with any kind of appeal. Lim Kim is one of those artists that sounds beyond her years. Her musical influence arches into the indie-jazz genre. It makes sense since her label is Mystic89, an indie label whose title sounds like an email alias I would’ve created in the early years of high-school because I was cool like that. I was shitting bricks once I found out that she was born in January ’94. When there are younger people who succeed astronomically, it does lower your ego, much in the same way when you find out that IU is younger than you. Lim Kim, of course, sounds reminiscent of IU. Lim Kim’s voice possesses that kind of light-raspy warmth. Her management had the right vision for her artistry by pushing her to sing raw upbeat acoustic tracks. Without Knowing It All is probably the best move yet. I haven’t heard a song this year that sounds so well-matched elementally. Lim Kim’s whispering vocals combined with that warm instrumental coalesces into one of the best tracks of the year. Some of you will disagree because you Tumblr heads burn out with boredom, but bottom line, Lim Kim is an exceptional artist with a prosperous future.


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13. Cho Yong Pil

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Album(s) – Hello
Title Track(s) – Bounce & Hello
Favourite Track(s) – Entire Album

Whenever I listen to Bounce, I am reminded so fondly of Guitar Hero. Some of my best years were spent doing all-nighters and pumping Guitar Hero for bets and punishments. I said it from the beginning; Cho Yong Pil’s rock anthem would rack up a bucket of accolades from this release in the same way Busker Busker did last year. Prior to the release of this album, I knew only one thing about him; he was the only Korean artist to perform in North Korea. Furthermore, I’ve learnt that he is a musical legend whose career peaked immensely in the 80’s, with trademark tracks that are still a hit at karaoke bars today. He had been on a ten year hiatus so when news spread that he was making his big return to the music industry, Korea was flipping out. Even Phantom wrote a song in his name. Bounce is the most rational and uncontroversial choice for song of the year as it was during MAMA in November. If you haven’t given Cho Yong Pil a chance, I insist that you do. His music appeals to all the ages and based on the trending charts, it seems quite rare that the middle-bracket demographic places any input unless it is an OST from a drama. Cho Yong Pil grounds KPOP with what the industry was all about in the 80’s; music. Bounce is by far the most inviting track this year. If you can get North Korea to love you, you’ve done it right.


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12. Ailee

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Album(s) - A's Doll House
Title Track(s) - Shower Of Tears, U&I & Ice Flower
Favourite Track(s) – Higher + Entire Album

Appearing at the Melon Music Awards shortly after the controversy was the best thing this woman could do for herself. That acceptance speech she gave us was a pure moment of clarity, closure and justice. Having the support of an entire stadium in the midst of feeling insecure and ashamed is the most unsettling and liberating feeling ever. I don’t touch AKP and I doubt they published an article on the heavy fan chant she received that night as a result of their provocation (journalistic integrity, right?) Ailee was primarily a victim and neitzens got it right. Some of you will contest that Ailee was stupid for doing what she did but you’d be a dunce if you believe that exposing someone’s privacy for monetary gain is in any way comparable to a young adult’s mistake. If we have learnt anything this year, it is that AKP is led by two men who are oblivious to moral correctness. On top of this, who could forget the NeitzenBuzz ousting? It is disgraceful that this controversy benefits AKP in the long-run especially when, for years, they’ve created their livelihoods off the backs of the Korean industry. Like EXO, Ailee is stuck in a little bit of a limbo. Having debuted only last year, the pace of her career has sky-rocketed so fast that it seems almost rude to persist in calling her a rookie. Doll House is the second mini-album to succeed Invitation. When you compare the two, there are some major differences. Doll House brings Ailee’s voice to life with some strong pop elements. Given all the OST projects she’s done prior to this album’s release, there is little need to further prove her potential with overly serious themes. In other words, Doll House pretty much delivers good ol’ Ailee. She is a well-established singer and we expect no less.


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11. Untouchable

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Album(s) - Trip
Title Track(s) – Call Me, Vain
Favourite Track(s) – Trip, Keep In Touch, Vain, Call Me, No Make Up

Untouchable’s Vain dives into the journey of life after love. The lyrics illustrate the first-person narrative of a protagonist who ties his life to the legacy of his last love, which is ingrained to his self-worth as deep as the significance of a tattoo. Vain was visually portrayed with body art as the underlying theme where each of Action’s tattoos illustrate the major milestones in his life. Untouchable was one of the first Korean hip-hop groups I got into and their overwhelming growth and consistency lies at the heart of why I still continue to support this duo. You can downgrade TS Entertainment for Secret and BAP’s loss of momentum this year but Untouchable has demolished almost every comeback. Their instrumentals carry heavy beats and their rapping is more fluid than I remember it.
10. SHINee

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Album(s) – Misconceptions of Us & Everybody
Title Track(s) - Dream Girl, Why So Serious & Everybody
Favourite Track(s) – Spoiler, Symptoms, Better Off, Runaway, Excuse Me Miss, Close The Door, Dangerous, Like A Fire, Dream Girl, Aside, Selene, Sleepless Night

I have been blind-sided with this group for a number of reasons: I generally don’t like male groups, Ring Ding Dong is atrocious, Jonghyun rubbed off as a douche and their line-up of music felt too ‘SM’ and didn’t resonate with the kind of popularity they were receiving. I suppose you could say that they’ve been too ‘cute’ up until this year. 2013 was SHINee’s golden year. How SM managed to accelerate EXO at the same time is really staggering. Misconceptions Of Us and Everybody contains what is essential for a magnificent album; range. From ballads, to funk, to retro, to rock, to old-school; it is a well-lit album that contains at least one track that raises an eyebrow. I think the bigger statement SHINee has made is their broadening musical maturity. I’ve grazed through their past albums and this 2013 collection feels like a breakthrough. If I were in a judging panel, my attempt at being unbiased would probably nominate SHINee for album of the year. It is that good. I concede, SHINee proved me wrong.


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09. VIXX

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Album(s) – Hyde, Repackage (Jekyll) & Voodoo
Title Track(s) – On & On, Hyde, G.R.8.U, Girls Why?, Only U & Voodoo Doll
Favourite Track(s) – Voodoo Doll, Someday, G.R.8.U, Only U, On & On, Body, Secret Night & Beautiful Killer

I hate to say it, but I might be a VIXX supporter this year especially with how they closed off their year with the relentlessly ominous Voodoo Doll. I’ve been throwing labels under the bus for playing it too safe with 19+ concepts but alongside Troublemaker and BEG, VIXX precisely delivers what I’ve been waiting to see. The gore and bloody visuals fused with the Western portrayal of voodoo craft antiques as one of the most powerful and chilling concepts ever from a comeback. The title track, whilst holding a major ground for itself falls short of the concept to a degree but I say this on a greater standard because I see a group like Big Bang demolishing a concept like this in the most hauntingly beautiful way possible. I love that last shots of the MV where Hongbin is severely tortured to inanimacy. The Voodoo album is one of my favourites this year.


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08. BNR

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Album(s) – Irreversible
Title Track(s) – Did Not Say Anything
Favourite Track(s) – Did Not Say Anything, Got The Shakes, Somehow

Did Not Say Anything is my second most repeated track this year and for that, I had to extract BNR from the Brand New Music collection and edge the duo closer to the finish. I was going insane over this song when the MV released in late May. Did Not Say Anything is a smooth, low-tempo RNB track with a very steady beat and attractive chorus. It’s hard to articulate how good a song is when it really just is. It was all I was listening to for an entire week. The song isn’t necessarily equipped with any perks that make it a desirable song, it just sounds brilliant. You can’t expect any less from a Brand New Music artist. Some of you will get it, some of you won’t. In this instance, I would rather let the music speak for itself.


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07. B.A.P

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Album(s) - Badman
Title Track(s) – Rain Sound, One Shot, Coffee Shop, Hurricane & Badman
Favourite Track(s) – Coffee Shop, One Shot & Excuse Me

Coffee Shop has broken ground this year.

Coffee Shop is the one song in BAP’s 2013 collection that carries them this far into the ranking. Let it be known that I didn’t like BAP prior to this, with the exception to One Shot being pretty dope. Their robust music style was an acquired taste that I had not quite reached yet. This year, one of their least prolific songs highlighted my year: Coffee Shop. For a single soothing piano-centred jazz-ballad track to completely turn the tables is a huge statement to what a gem this song is. I don’t think I’ve seen a music video more fitting to a song; BAP in slo-mo wandering the urban streets and sceneries of America filtered in a light sepia tone. That is what a jazz-ballad should look like. Coffee Shop might possibly be my favourite track this year and that is based on the play count on iTunes which succeeds the triple digits. BAP might have wandered in the shadows of EXO this year but I don’t give a shit; Coffee Shop is the song of the year. To those who’ve complain about the song being boring; fuq u.


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06. Hyorin

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Album(s) - Love & Hate
Title Track(s) - Lonely & One Way Love
Favourite Track(s) – Don’t Love Me, Stalker, Closer, Falling, Massage, Lonely, Tonight, One Way Love, O.M.G, Red Lipstick

Hyorin is essentially a SISTAR album subtracting a few elements. It’s a little raucous in nature to say but I’d say that it is worse that Starship distributes Hyorin with 75% of the lines and the remaining 25% to Dasom, Soyu and Bora. Starship has marketed SISTAR towards commercial success in spite of the power balances between vocal allocations. Hyorin is more of a backbone to SISTAR than any other member is to their respective group. If you thought SISTAR19 undermined Soyu and Dasom, this solo further drills a black hole to the relevancy of the three counterparts of SISTAR. Hyorin individually out-shined her recipient group. It’s hard to say that Hyorin doesn’t deserve all this recognition after you hear how powerful her pipes are. I was originally expecting a semi-generic album where Hyorin belts several high notes through an array of sleep-inducing ballads but thankfully it didn’t happen. Love & Hate is a genuinely well thought out pop album. Every album usually has a dud track but this one is quite faultless. Don’t Love Me and Stalker in particular had me gripping the edge of my seat. To an extent, I feel like this album does play it a little safe but hey, ranking sixth is a lot further down than I thought it would be.


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05. Block B

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Album(s) – Very Good
Title Track(s) – Be The Light & Very Good
Favourite Track(s) – Be The Light & Very Good

Following a year of absence, Block B made their return to the industry with Be The Light. I’ve read various interpretations of what the MV conveyed but I think everyone is unanimous that it represents this turbulent path they’ve had to endure in this past year. I know little of the details but as far as I have understood, Block B conducted themselves poorly in an interview in Thailand including the few thousand won gesture which was the tipping point for neitzens and newly self-appointed anti-fans who hastefully dug through past Block B appearances to further reinforce the idea that they are idols that aren’t worthy of the title. Disbandment petitions were signed, death threats were thrown, they were prohibited from promoting at music shows and one of the members was diagnosed with a mild form of schizophrenia, which fuelled even worse comments. You can only imagine what kind of mental weight they’ve had to carry, feeling as though everyone has turned against them. Having had a year to slouch in their self-doubt, they gradually found the impulse to pace forward. That, to me, was the inference of their MV and it appears well represented in the shot of them picking U-Kwon (?) up and walking off together into the blurry, ambivalent distance. Closing that chapter for the next is the second half of their promotions and immediate successor, Very Good. It grew on me tremendously. I will agree with anyone who ostracises the track for being a musical nightmare. It technically isn’t a good song, but during a rather dry period of promotions, Block B nailed the hard-hitting stuff I’ve been aching to hear all year. It is messy, disgusting, hard-hitting, doof-doof music that hits the ear like eargasm. For a group that has been road-blocked with controversies and label swaps, Block B has come out of all of this on top with their artistry uncompromised. Zico is a crazy rapper, by the way. I get the hype behind him.


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04. 2PM

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Album(s) – Grown & Repackage (Grand Edition)
Title Track(s) - Come Back When You Hear This Song & All Day I Think Of You
Favourite Track(s) – Love Song, Go Back, Please Call My Name, Come Back When You Hear This Song, All Day I Think Of You, Back To Square One, Today Marks The First Day, Dangerous, I’m In Love (Junho), This Is Love (Wooyoung)

We are all unanimous upon insinuating that 2PM lacks talent. JYP beat around the bush upon admitting that this group was founded on the greater preference for physical appearance. I don’t particularly think that there is anything wrong with that but I believe 2PM falls victim to the ‘no talent’ accusations more than they should. I’ve had a few disputes with people who have down-scaled groups like 2PM for their abilities when admittedly; we follow the shallow antics that the KPOP industry adorns us with. Jumping down everyone’s throats with an essay about talent is absolutely redundant in a plagued industry of standard-lowering pretty faces. It appears that nobody wants to confess that their biases are at large, driven by physical appearance. I feel the need to mention this because this ‘catch-phrase’ undermines what the Grown album was; 2PM’s best work to date. Though 2PM has some vocal limitations, the music tailors around that weakness with a generous array of impressive pop/ballad songs. The Grand Edition repackage adds a second disc which includes a solo from each member and it surprises me that a vocal group like SPICA hasn’t done this yet. It added a lot of depth to the album, giving each member an opportunity to bring their own elements as a member. Of JYP’s bad decisions, this album and his own were the contrary. 2PM was the unexpected breath of fresh air this year and they’re ranked fourth to balance off the kind of antagonism people keep undermining them for. I want to make it clear that this album is beyond what people give them credit for.


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03. F(X)

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Album(s) – Pink Tape
Title Track - Rum Pum Pum Pum
Favourite Track(s) – Airplane, Goodbye Summer, Toy, Ending Page, Step, Shadow, Signal, Pretty Girl

There is a flask of irony when the supposed ‘experimental’ group of SM ranks third. They are walking towards their fifth year and I’d say SM is within inches away from solidifying the epitome of our beloved F(X). It has become quite clear that those who have never understood this group’s musical resonance won’t begin to have their thoughts levitating closer any time soon. I myself have had mixed feelings about this group from the Lachata debut since F(X) has always been one of those groups with an acquired musical identity. This group’s musical direction appears at large, influenced by European pop which often has this intricate, semi-House feel that is slowly becoming popularised and integrated into mainstream Western pop. You can really hear these incorporations in Pink Tape. F(X) has been on my radar within the past two years with their mini-albums. With title tracks tearing into our subwoofers with hard-hitting pop, there were non-title gems like Beautiful Goodbye which poured in some promise. Since 2009, SM has ‘experimented’ with the sound of this group and Pink Tape audibly represents this growth in musical maturity both in relation to F(X) and SM. This is easily F(X)’s best year out of the four. I’m concerned at the bar they’ve raised for themselves because this album contains more electrifying content than any of the other mainstream albums this year, especially when you factor the collaboration with my bias in one of the greatest tracks of the year in Goodbye Summer. Rum Pum Pum Pum might not have mounted to the kind of commercial success that Electric Shock received but I certainly prefer it. Other than Kick, I enjoyed every track Pink Tape had to offer.


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02. EXO

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Album(s) – XOXO & Repackage
Title Track(s) – Wolf & Growl
Favourite Track(s) – Heart Attack, My Turn To Cry, Miracle In December, Baby Don’t Cry, Growl, Black Pearl, XOXO, Christmas Day, My Lady, Don’t Go, Peter Pan, Let Out The Beast

Not even two years and EXO has smashed through every record in the book. SM might have cut corners with the million sales but numbers are numbers. Everything about EXO appears to have been planned from the beginning; omitting Super Junior from promotions, the K&M sub-units and the resulting division in album sales, the plaguing hate publicity that sprouted from the ‘leaked’ Wolf and the redemption of Growl that followed. On top of all this, the XOXO album was also ‘leaked’ and SM decided to put a cherry on top of the year by syndicating EXO’s own reality show. If you thought SHINee had a golden year, somehow EXO managed to outshine them in almost every way. In 2013, EXO was inches away from having the perfect year. It’s been almost seventy paragraphs of reviewing and it doesn’t get any easier as you go further down the list. What more needs to be said that hasn’t been bragged by EXOtics already? Since EXO ranks at two, anything I say under my mental exhaustion undersells them greatly.


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01. Nell

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Album(s) – Escaping Gravity
Title Track(s) – Ocean Of Light
Favourite Track(s) – Haven, Ocean Of Light, Walk Out, Perfect, Boy & Burn

Once in a blue moon, an artist arrives and redefines the way you not only perceive music but life beyond the ground. Nell has taken a slight detour in their usual musical composure. In Escaping Gravity, Nell explores the roots of the electronic genre as well as the inspiration from New Age yet not branching out too far from their familiar rock heritage. In the album’s entirety, it has this gradual progressive feel, reminiscent to instrumental bands like Explosions In The Sky and Hammock who are known to showcase the versatility and delicate face of the rock genre. It has been twelve years since Nell’s first indie rock album and they’ve reached an established level of musical maturity that is uncompromising to their beginnings as a band. Escaping Gravity is an impeccable album that contains artistry conveyed like no other Korean album before it; from the Ocean Of Light’s transcendingly hopeful message of rebirth to Haven’s haunting outcry from oppression. I will never love a Korean artist/group as much as Nell. I struggle to wrap my head around how they continue to write some of the most beautiful music in the world; it is magical.
Post subject: Re: RANKING THE TOP 70 ACTS OF 2013. Posted: Jan 22, 2014 @ 6:30 am
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Atothec193 -decides to give bap's album a try-
-intro plays-
-"THE KING IS BACK"-
-immediately closes window-

NO NO
THE INTRO SONG SUCKS
OKAY I ADMIT IT SUCKS ALOT.
BUT NO THESE FOUR ARE REALLY GOOD I PROMISE

The ballady pop song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fKdiFIQEFo

The chill song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTVcuzqa4Jw

The underrated gem of the album ❤ ❤ ❤
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brEFFKAXzTI

And the fast song or whatever
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwEf3LwkvkE

oh and I loved 1004 angel. :nervous:

I avoided the songs with too much Zelo rapping for you lol.
Oh I thought that BAP's Check on sounded kinda similar to YG Family's Hip Hop
Gentleman >.>
Their rock song Bangx2 would be really good without that BANG BANG chorus.
Post subject: Re: Posted: Feb 09, 2014 @ 8:14 am
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kdragonkwon Coup D'etat's charting was pretty weird
Everyone expected him to get an all-kill but he didn't because every track kept cockblocking each other for the #1 spot upon the first day of release, some charts had ROD at 1, some with Black, some with Who You, but the fact that this happened was pretty impressive, shows that the public really enjoys not just the title tracks but the rest of the songs as well

Eventually it panned out and Who You and Black were the strongest charters, however he never held a #1 spot for very long, Stupid in Love and some OST were 1 and 2 for the most time, while Who You was a very consistent #3 , and Black was anywhere between #4-10, note neither of these two title tracks even had music videos and were hardly performed
Those two were the most well received

Then he dropped part 2, and Crooked debuted at 7 if i remember correctly, because the hype had already died down because he'd released part 1 (bad move on YG's part splitting it), it was a really punky rock-pop song and Korea didn't gravitate to that much until he appeared on Infinite Challenge like a month later when Crooked had fallen to the 20's, it shot back up into the top 5 and stayed there for a good while

In the end Crooked was the best selling, and best overall charting song off the album (Still in the top 100 as of now), and the single itself has sold over 1 million digital copies, Who You is close behind with 900k
Infinite Challenge is loved in Korea and the exposure it gets is huge, which may have helped propel Crooked to listeners who don't even pay attention to GD or the pop music scene in general
Thank you, I actually really liked Black and ROD so I'm pleased they showed well on the charts or at least some of them ^_^

What were YOUR favourites though?
Post subject: Re: Re: Posted: Feb 28, 2014 @ 4:29 am
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kdragonkwon
Eriochrome wrote:I really liked Coup D'etat's hook cause it was so badass
And the beat was so good as well

Same, and I liked that he tried to do something different, I just found it so exciting. I fucking loved the video as well, probably my favourite MV from him now.
Post subject: Re: Re: Posted: Feb 28, 2014 @ 4:46 pm
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lilayong kdragonkwon well at least you're giving yourself some good doses of vampires there xD And hope you have fun on your newly found kpop adventure! Ato, too.
Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better. Maybe you should take up knitting or something else calming and maybe do a little bit of it everyday without any distractions so you have a little bit of regular set time for yourself? Idk, it works for me sometimes when I'm needing it. Back when I did I would stretch for fifteen minutes everyday when i came home from school. Back in the glory days when I was flexible xD I don't know though, but i thought i would suggest it ><
Mmm, vampire Ravi is keeping me warm at night >.> lol gurl ato and I would need to get tickets first and I really don't think that will be easy tbh, still we can try.
I used to knit to calm myself down a bit actually. But the thing with that is if I do it, I won't be doing anything else, I can promise you that. I wouldn't be on here, I wouldn't be on tc, I wouldn't be online. I would do nothing but knit. I can't do the splitting my time between things kinda thing in case you hadn't noticed, if I do something I do it obsessively, which is why the Ravi thing is such a problem to start with. I can't do the exercise thing again either, I take it too far >.> mind you, that might not be a bad thing... no wait, that would be a very bad thing -_- judging my brain rn tbh.

I think what I am trying to say is, I'm hopeless.

lilayong OMG GURL YOU'RE HERE, I WONDERED WHERE YOU WERE?! PLEASE COME BACK TO US, I MISS MY MISMATCHED TIMEZONE DONGSAENG, I NEED YOU IN HERE T.T PLS DON'T LEAVE ME AGAIN

im still forever weeping that nilira (solo version) flopped so hard even when it was labelled as a title track
one of the best songs on the album imo
eriochrome since most of the spazz for GD's album passed me by because it was timed when I was still trying to listen to my bias' mini, can you tell me what the songs you liked most off there were? I'm just interested tbh, our taste doesn't generally overlap much and I only liked a few off the album but I liked Niliria and I HATED Crooked so I am curious xD

Coup D'etat's charting was pretty weird
Everyone expected him to get an all-kill but he didn't because every track kept cockblocking each other for the #1 spot upon the first day of release, some charts had ROD at 1, some with Black, some with Who You, but the fact that this happened was pretty impressive, shows that the public really enjoys not just the title tracks but the rest of the songs as well

Eventually it panned out and Who You and Black were the strongest charters, however he never held a #1 spot for very long, Stupid in Love and some OST were 1 and 2 for the most time, while Who You was a very consistent #3 , and Black was anywhere between #4-10, note neither of these two title tracks even had music videos and were hardly performed
Those two were the most well received

Then he dropped part 2, and Crooked debuted at 7 if i remember correctly, because the hype had already died down because he'd released part 1 (bad move on YG's part splitting it), it was a really punky rock-pop song and Korea didn't gravitate to that much until he appeared on Infinite Challenge like a month later when Crooked had fallen to the 20's, it shot back up into the top 5 and stayed there for a good while

In the end Crooked was the best selling, and best overall charting song off the album (Still in the top 100 as of now), and the single itself has sold over 1 million digital copies, Who You is close behind with 900k
Infinite Challenge is loved in Korea and the exposure it gets is huge, which may have helped propel Crooked to listeners who don't even pay attention to GD or the pop music scene in general

Don't you just like this type of factual, statistically post? I love to read this type of post, really.
Post subject: Re: Re: Posted: Mar 02, 2014 @ 5:35 pm
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kdragonkwon i kind of realized how simple happiness could be today

im in the busiest year of my life (so far) this year in terms of schooling and everyone's hardly had time to catch up and stuff apart from our short 2 week break not long ago, for some reason i dunno why but I never really caught up with my best friend who I think Ive told you guys about and how I feel about her and whatnot

we have a tutoring class every tuesday after school and after the tutoring was over we just sat on the driveway for like 15 minutes waiting for her parents to come pick her up and we just talked about useless things but that short 15 minutes felt so long and I wanted to just sit there talking for the rest of the night
I don't know why but this made me smile so much.

I think the simple things that make you happy are usually the best things.
Post subject: Re: Posted: Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:19 am
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