Review

2016 In Review: Day 1 – Prelude (Best Album Art)

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2016 In Review

1. Prelude (Best Album Art)
2. R&B and Soul
3. Rock and Alternative
4. Rap and Hip-hop
5. Dance and Electronic
6. Pop and Ballad
7. Folk and Country
8. Jazz and Crossover
9. Best Collaborative Work
10. Rookie Artist of the Year
11. Artist of the Year
12. Song of the Year
13. Album of the Year
14. Staff Picks
15. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

The end of 2016 is almost upon us; what an eventful and unpredictable year it has been. Still, you can bet on Hellokpop’s (HKP) sixth annual Year in Review coming back – this year we kick off on January 1.

We invite you to join us as we recognize some of the best music that Korea had to offer over the past year, over our two-week series!

Series Structure

As always, we start the first half of the series with genre awards. There is one change this year: we are consolidating “Jazz and Blues” and “Crossover and Other” into one Day 8 category, due to the fact that I was not able to review enough jazz albums in 2016 to be able to do justice to that category on its own. (There will still be two separate subcategories on Day 8 for singles.) We continue with general awards in the second week of the series.

Day 14 will feature discussion from HKP staff members on their own picks, and we also have some unorthodox (to put it mildly) award categories to offer on Day 15.

We are also adding a reader poll to each of the main categories (Days 2 through 13) this year. Each of my top twelve album/song choices in each category – the winner, runner-up, and the “first ten out” – will be available to vote for, as well as an option for “other”. Let us know what your choices are!

Disclaimer: the review pool is not even close to complete. Many of the singles in this series came out of albums that were not reviewed in detail, and many niche genres were only superficially covered. Every year, there are dozens and dozens of excellent deserving releases that I only learn about after publishing the series.

Best Album Art

As is tradition, we kick off the series with a collection of album art. Here are 100 of my favorite cover images from 2016, ranging from beautiful to evocative to weird.

  • The list is organized in alphabetical order of artist name. (Korean names are romanized.) Mouse over each image to view artist and title; click on an image for a scrollable list.
  • The below images have been resized downwards, but the original high-res images can be found at Bugs Music.
  • Many of these albums are going to be represented in some way (whether through the album, a song in the album, or the artist) in the main Year in Review series – making this a very partial sneak peek.
  • We love to hear from our readers! If we have missed or omitted any of your favorites, please share in the comments!

Gallery: Best Album Art 2016 (click for larger image and scroll through)


Read our past series:

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review

5 Comments

  1. Pauler

    December 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    My favorite series from HelloKPOP is here upon us! Crying.

    @Jung Bae: In your 2012 R&B Review, you mentioned you have picked something off Boni’s first EP to be the second best in 2011. But I can’t seem to find the 2011 list anywhere. Where can I find the list of 2011?

    • Jung Bae

      December 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Hi – thanks for checking in again this year! The 2011 series was lost during a database migration in mid-2012, unfortunately. I have a list of what those picks were, but not the text from the articles.

      For the R&B/Soul section in 2011, I picked Bubble Sisters’ “Moonfunk” as the best song, and Boni’s “아파” (“It Hurts”) as the runner-up, hence the references that you mentioned. It wasn’t from Boni’s EP – “1990” did come out in December 2010 so it would have been eligible, but I think I wasn’t aware of the album back then.

      • Pauler

        January 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        May I know who were the winner and runner up for R&B/Soul in 2011 as well?

        • Jung Bae

          January 6, 2017 at 4:21 am

          Those were the R&B/Soul song winners – do you mean for the albums? I had Urban Zakapa’s “01” and Sunghoon’s “Lyrics Within My Story”, respectively!

          • Pauler

            January 10, 2017 at 6:59 pm

            Thank you! I will definitely check them out.

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