Best Of 2010: Korean Music

January 1, 2011 at 11:46 am | Posted in ~Special | 8 Comments
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Now that the year is over it’s time to do a “Best Of 2010” post! 2010 was pretty awesome in terms of music and I have added tons of artists to my library. A few of them have even made their way up to my all time favourite artists. I wasn’t sure how I would format this “Best Of” so I just decided to split it up by language: Korean, Japanese and English.

Best Discoveries

Ga-In

I kept an eye out for Ga-In’s solo album because I loved Narsha’s so much and everyone was hyping Ga-In’s album like crazy. It definitely lived up to the hype and like Narsha she brought music that was completely different from what everyone else was doing in Korea. The Latin/tango inspired mini-album is refreshing and suits Ga-In so well. The songs on the album may have come close to sounding very similar but they were all high quality tracks and she’s also made it as one of my favourite Korean artists.

Lee Hyori

The first time I listened to Lee Hyori’s new track, Swing (feat. Gaeri of Leessang), I was surprised by how much I liked it. The only tracks I liked from her previous album were Hey Mr. Big and U-Go-Girl (with Nassun) and I couldn’t even get through her first two albums. When Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the album. Despite the plagiarism problems that she faced, the album has some incredible songs. I don’t want to talk too much about it because I’ll eventually review it but it’s definitely her strongest album and I look forward to her comeback.

Narsha

I didn’t even know Narsha was releasing a solo album until I checked a Brown Eyed Girls thread. I was intrigued by her promo pictures and decided to check out the video for Bbi Ri Bba Bba and I was pleasantly surprised by how different it sounded to all the other releases in Korea in 2010. After she released Mamma Mia, I fell in love and experienced a phase where I was completely addicted to her music and couldn’t stop playing it. She has wedged herself into my list of favorite Korean artists and I hope she continues releasing solo albums.

Best Cover

Narsha – NARSHA

Narsha’s dark concept was refreshing compared to the other unoriginal and boring covers art that I’ve seen last year. She looks gorgeous and I love the whole mysterious vibe the cover gives off. Her pose, the way she’s pulling her glove, is pretty darn sexy. The colours work really well together and they demand attention. One of the reasons why I tried this album out was because of its creative cover.

Runner-up: BoA – HURRICANE VENUS

Best Single

Narsha – Mamma Mia (with Sunny Hill)

I thoroughly enjoyed Narsha’s first solo effort but after I reviewed it back in July I stopped listening to her. However, when I listened to Mamma Mia (with Sunny Hill) I immediately went back to the album and I loved it even more. This is a perfectly crafted pop song with delicious synths and an irresistible hook. The verses consist of Sunny singing with Narsha responding to them in English, “stop the question now.” In the second half of the verses, Narsha begins singing in a fast, rap-like way that will leave your mouth hanging open, it’s that amazing. She even throws some French into the pre-chorus. The chorus is beyond addicting and she sounds very mature and sexy. I love how at the end of the track they switch roles and Sunny Hill is the one who responds back in English. This is easily the best song that came out last year.

Runner-up: Ga-In – Irreversible

Best Video

Narsha – Mamma Mia (with Sunny Hill)

Damn, Narsha’s on a role here. There were actually tons of amazing videos last year in Korea like Ga-In’s Irreversible, Lee Hyori’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 2NE1’s new videos. My favourite would have to be Mamma Mia (with Sunny Hill) though. Narsha’s first look is cool and I love the colour of the hair but the hair style itself is a bit weird. The makeup is fabulous; the eyeliner looks wicked cool. The video gets even better when Narsha enters the elevator and starts changing. Her second look is so amazing and she looks so fierce with her crazy hair. Things steam up during the bridge as Narsha locks lips with her man and they go at it with such intensity. This is one of the sexiest but tasteful videos I’ve seen. It’s not disgustingly cute or overwhelming skanky. It’s a mature, sexy video that’s entertaining and matches the song to a T.

Runner-up: Ga-In – Irreversible

Best Mini-Album

Narsha – NARSHA

I’m sure you all saw this coming. Narsha’s mini-album wasn’t only the best mini-album but one of the best releases last year period. Every single track on this album is a killer and they all have their own unique style. The light and dark concept was a great choice for the album and really reflects the feel of the album. When I first reviewed the album I said Queen B didn’t stand out for me but it’s grown on me and I love it just as much as the other tracks now. This was the most original album in Korea and Narsha’s style was so breathtaking compared to the boring and predictable ones that every other Korean group was doing.

Runner-up: Ga-In – step 2/4

Best Album

2NE1 – To Anyone

2NE1 is without a doubt the fiercest girl group ever. Their album proves why they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’re one of the few girl groups that don’t try to be sexy or cute to sell their work. They’re fierce, bad-ass and they aren’t afraid to show it. Many people complained that the album was auto-tune/vocoder heavy but for me that didn’t affect the album in any way. It would be nice if they didn’t use it as much because they can sing, It Hurts is proof of that. Regardless, this album is perfect from start to finish and is a great follow-up to their mini-album. If you haven’t checked this out yet what are you waiting for!?

Runner-up: BoA – COPY & PASTE

Best Artist

Narsha

Narsha dominated K-Pop last year. She did by herself what some girl groups need 4-9 members to do and even then some of the girl groups still can’t even touch her. Everything Narsha did last year is gold and she really proved just how talented she is. She chose a unique concept and was a risk taker rather than a follower. I will be so disappointed if she doesn’t make a full solo album because mini-albums are not enough for this extraordinary singer.

Runner-up: Ga-In

Overall, 2010 was one of the best years for K-Pop. I have a lot more Korean singer in my library now than I did before.  I’ve never been huge on K-Pop but it’s just been getting better and better and I can’t ignore it. I’m looking forward to what this year brings and hopefully it’s just as amazing as 2010 was.

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8 Comments »

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  1. HELL YEAH NARSHA!
    awesome review 🙂

  2. Love Narsha! (: To Anyone took some time to grow on me.

    • Me too! I need more music from her. Yeah, To Anyone wasn’t amazing for me at first. After a few listens though I was addicted to album. I can’t wait for their English album.

  3. I really really enjoyed BoA’s album (incl. Copy & Paste). Don’t understand why there is so much hate for it out there, but glad you enjoyed it too!

    Loved Narsha too; BEG are so talented. Didn’t like Ga-In as much simply because the music wasn’t really my style.

    Agree with Hyori, I looooved the album at first listen. It’s a great all-round album. That is, until it was proven that almost all the songs were stolen…

    Shinee also released another one of my fav albums in 2010. Do you rate Shinee?

    • BoA’s album was a huge improvement over her last few releases. I actually didn’t know that it was hated. I thought most people liked the album. I liked Ga-In’s style because it was so different but Narsha’s music overall was more enjoyable. Hopefully, Lee Hyori’s next album is just as good as the previous one minus the plagiarism XD. I listened to Shinee’s song LUCIFER but I never ended up listening to the album. What songs do you recommend from the album?

      • Yeah, netizens don’t deny that BoA is ultra talented, especially compared to some of today’s idols. But they found her album to be lacking. I think it’s because there were not many tracks you could dance to. People these days just demand a catchy hook.

        As for Shinee, did you miss out on their previous material too? From the top of my head, some songs I like are : Hello, In My Room, Hit Me, Please Don’t Go, Y.O.U., A-YO. Most of these are slower paced songs… but they have a good mix with more up-beat tracks. Damnit, just check out their entire collection haha XD

        Oh, I’m not a Shinee fanboy 😛

  4. I need more than just a catchy hook XD. The ballads on her new album were some of her best! I missed out on Shinee’s previous stuff as well. I’m not really into male vocalists but I’ll try out the songs you recommended.


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