Review

2012 In Review: Part 15 – Concluding Remarks

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[2012 In Review Series]

0. Prelude – Best Album Art
1. Introuction
2. Best R&B/Soul
3. Best Rock/Alternative
4. Best Rap/Hip-hop
5. Best Dance/Electronica
6. Best Pop/Ballad
7. Best Crossover/Miscellaneous
8. Best Original Soundtrack
9. Best Collaborative Work
10. Label of the Year
11. Rookie of the Year
12. Song of the Year
13. Artist of the Year
14. Album of the Year
15. Concluding Remarks

Welcome back to the last installment of our 2012 In Review series! I hope you’ve enjoyed the write-ups and recognitions over the past half-month. Today we’ll look to the upcoming year, quickly recap our picks, and review what some other outlets have had to say.

What’s coming in 2013?

The new year is setting up to be a pivotal time in K-pop. The biggest and most obvious change will occur in the idol scene. As I’ve mentioned pretty much incessantly throughout the series, 2012 saw a shift in the balance of Korean popular music; non-idol musicians such as Busker Busker and Psy took the commercial center stage for much of the year, while many idol groups (most notably the rookie teams) struggled. Established idols such as 2NE1, Big Bang, TVXQ, and F(x), among others, continued their endeavors to achieve more artistry and polish in their music.

Look for this trend to continue in 2013. The idol red-ocean is about as saturated as can be, and while many agencies still have rookies coming up in the pipeline, the number of debuts will gradually start to shrink. In the meantime, the most successful idol groups will be the ones that transform themselves into “artists” in the fuller sense of the word. In other words, people will start wanting for more artistic direction and input from them. As such, we may see many more idol-musicians who write their own music and/or take creative control than we have now. Will there still be room for traditional idol groups? Yes, always. But there won’t be room for agencies to debut ill-prepared and premature rookies just because they’re marketable – because they won’t be anymore.

With this, the five-year reign of idol dominance should come to a close. Situations like those described by Fluxus Music – where its artists were often unable to find venues to perform in 2009 to 2010 because they weren’t idols – will no longer be the case.

At the same time, look for the indie scene to diversify. For the last few years, that term has become synonymous with the mellow, mostly acoustic pop music associated with the Hongdae scene. And for good reason: bands making that style of music were the ones getting all the buzz and attention. 2011 and 2012 showed signs of change, however. An embarrassment of riches in rookie faces have surfaced from all sorts of genres to revitalize “indie”, most prominently in the electro-garage and hybrid bands like Glen Check, Idiotape, and The Koxx. Meanwhile, audition shows and the return of big names in various scenes are already rekindling interest in genres and styles that have recently been buried by the mainstream. It’ll be interesting to see how these discrete flows interact with each other.

Wedged between the idols and indie or underground musicians are the mainstream but non-idol artists; this population has shrunk palpably since the “golden years” of the 1990s. Look for these musicians to bounce back as well. Until the idol advent (indeed, well into the 2000s) this group was always the commercial engine of the industry, if not its creative engine. It won’t happen overnight, but I think there is a good chance that the market will revert to that structure in the long run. 2013 will help determine if that is the case.

Finally, look for social media to play an even bigger role in the music industry. Gangnam Style didn’t happen without Twitter and Facebook. These social networking sites will continue to be a medium for dissemination of trends and hits, and possibly produce more sensations like 2012’s. More artists will also use these to communicate with fans and listeners, bringing the two groups closer together. People will use them to spur more movements like this year’s fight against unfair distribution of music streaming and download profits. Social media is becoming an inextricable component of music scenes everywhere, and K-pop looks like it will be part of that trend.

Recapping our picks

For anyone who missed them. Check out the respective categories, linked above, for a closer breakdown of each pick plus honorable mentions for every category!

Best R&B/Soul Album: Jinbo – KRNB (Runner-up: Naul – Principle of My Soul)
Best R&B/Soul Song: 40 – Bravo (Runner-up: Lee Hi – 1, 2, 3, 4)
Best Rock/Alternative Album: Lowdown 30 – 1 (Runner-up: No Respect For Beauty – Why Perish)
Best Rock/Alternative Song: Glen Check – French Virgin Party (Runner-up: 3rd Line Butterfly – 헤어지는 날 바로 오늘 (The Day We Part, Today))
Best Rap/Hip-hop Album: Soriheda – Soriheda 2 (Runner-up: J-Tong – 모히칸과 맨발 (Mohawk and Bare Feet))
Best Rap/Hip-hop Song: Primary – 독 (Poison) (Featuring E-Sens) (Runner-up: J-Tong – 사직동 찬가 (Sajik-dong Anthem))
Best Dance/Electronica Album: eAeon – Guilt-Free (Runner-up: F(x) – Electric Shock)
Best Dance/Electronica Song: Heureun – Leisure Love (Runner-up: eAeon – Bulletproof)
Best Pop/Ballad Album: Lucia – Décalcomanie (Runner-up: Yang Yang – 사랑의 노래 (Song of Love))
Best Pop/Ballad Song: Park Soyu – Oheyo (Runner-up: Zitten – 백야 (White Night))
Best Crossover/Miscellaneous Album: Jambinai – 차연 (Différance) (Runner-up: Sentimental Scenery – There Is Nowhere Else in the World)
Best Crossover/Miscellaneous Song: Sohyang – Jesus (Runner-up: Jambinai – 소멸의 시간 (Time of Extinction))
Best OST: Lyn – 시간을 거슬러 (Reverse the Time) (Runner-up: ALi – Carry On)
Best Collaborative Album: Poetree – 사랑해, 희망없이 (Love, Hopelessly) (Runner-up: Clazzi – Infant)
Best Collaborative Song: J-Tong – 개판 (Clusterf*ck) (Runner-up: Kim Jin-pyo (JP) – 아저씨 (Ajusshi))
Label of the Year: YG Entertainment (Runner-up: Fluxus Music)
Rookie of the Year: Busker Busker (Runner-up: Ailee)
Song of the Year: Park Ji-yoon – 나무가 되는 꿈 (Tree of Life) (Runner-up: Psy – 강남스타일 (Gangnam Style))
Artist of the Year: Psy (Runner-up: Younha)
Album of the Year: 3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk (Runner-up: Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times))

Other outlets’ picks

Critical opinion tends to be pretty similar in a lot of cases, but there will always be that album or song or artist that one critic likes a lot more than everyone else. I make a few such picks every year myself. So here’s a very partial list of what other critics have been picking to their lists.

Bo-da

Albums of the Year (no order)

3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk
Yoon Young-bae – 좀 웃긴 (A Little Funny)
404 – 1
9 And The Numbers – 유예 (Reprieve)
F(x) – Electric Shock
No Respect For Beauty – Why Perish
Lowdown 30 – 1
e-lang – 욘욘슨 (Yonyonseun)
No Control – No Control
Hoegidong Danpyunsun (Hoegidong Short Stories) – 백년 (Hundred Years)
Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times)
Galaxy Express – Galaxy Express
Glen Check – Haute Couture
Naul – Principle of My Soul
Epitone Project – 낯선 도시에서의 하루 (A Day in a Strange City)
Kang A-sol – 당신이 놓고 왔던 짧은 기억 (Short Memories That You’d Left)
Primary – Primary and the Messengers LP
Jinbo – KRNB
Hwang Bo-ryung=Smacksoft – Follow Your Heart
Method – The Constant

Daum Music (with Imagine Awards)

Albums of the Month (December 2011 ~ November 2012; ordered by month of release)

Kirin – 그대여 이제 (You, Now)
Heureun – Leisure Love
Kkotdaji – 노래의 꿈 (Dream of Songs)

Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times)
Jung Tae-chun and Park Eun-ok – 바다로 가는 시내버스 (City Bus Headed to Sea)
Cassette Schwarzenegger – Gym With You
Lee Young-hoon – 내가 부른 그림 (Paintings That I Sung)
Dynamic Duo – 6th Digilog Part 2

No Respect For Beauty – Why Perish
Glen Check – Haute Couture
Noisecat – Sunday Sunset Airlines
Park Ji-yoon – 나무가 되는 꿈 (Tree of Life)
eAeon – Guilt-Free
Jambinai – 차연 (Différance)

Busker Busker – Busker Busker
Electric Eel – 최신유행 (Latest Fad)
Haneumpa – Kiss From the Mystic
Starry Eyed – 미안한 사춘기 (Apologetic Puberty)

Peppertones – Beginner’s Luck
Yellow Monsters – We Eat Your Dog
No Control – No Control

Gate Flowers – Times
Core Magazine – Peep
Heo Dae-wook – Interval of Parallel
Lee Han-chul – 작은 방 (Small Room)
Huckleberry P & Suda – Get Backers
Mukimukimanmansu – 2012

Lena Park (Park Jung-hyun) – Parallax
F(x) – Electric Shock

Look & Listen – Ready to Go
Soi Shin – The Song Is You
Method – The Constant

The Solutions – The Solutions
Slow 6 – Somewhere
Guten Birds – 팔랑귀 (Gullible Ears)
Junggigo – Pathfinder

Glen Check – Cliché
Naul – Principle of My Soul
G-Dragon – One of a Kind
Achime – Overcome

Seokyo Group Sound – 우리들은 (We)
HarryBigButton – King’s Life
3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk

Hwang Bo-ryung=Smacksoft – Follow Your Heart
Han Ji-yeon – Ascetic
Galaxy Express – Galaxy Express
Kuma Park – Kumapark
9 And The Numbers – 유예 (Reprieve)

IZM

Albums of the Year (no order)

Galaxy Express – Galaxy Express
Naul – Principle of My Soul
Lowdown 30 – 1
Busker Busker – Busker Busker
3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk
Younha – Supersonic
Lee Ji-hyung – 청춘 마끼아또 (Youth Macchiato)
G-Dragon – One of a Kind
Primary – Primary and the Messengers LP
Handsome People – Are You Handsome?

Singles of the Year (no order)

Ga-in – 피어나 (Bloom)
Guckkasten – 한잔의 추억 (Memory of a Glass)
Busker Busker – 벚꽃 엔딩 (Cherry Blossom Ending)
Beenzino – Aqua Man
SHINee – Sherlock
Ailee – Heaven
Junggigo – 그냥 니 생각이 나 (I Just Think of You)
Choi Baek-ho – 길 위에서 (On the Road)
2NE1 – I Love You
24Hours – Blackhole

Rock Albums of the Year (no order; excluding non-K-pop picks)

SAZA Choi Woo-jun – SAZA’s Blues
Gate Flowers – Times
Various Artists – Blues The, Blues
Electric Eel – 최고의 연애 (The Best Romance)
Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times)

MusicY Community

Albums of the Year (in order of editor picks)

1. Lowdown 30 – 1
2. 3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk
3. Primary – Primary and the Messengers LP
4. Method – The Constant
5. eAeon – Guilt-Free
6. Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times)
7. Busker Busker – Busker Busker
8. The Solutions – The Solutions
T-9. G-Dragon – One of a Kind
T-9. Lee Won-sul – Point of Contact

Other Album of the Year candidates (no order)

Galaxy Express – Galaxy Express
Gutz – Gutz
Junggigo – Pathfinder
Noisecat – Sunday Sunset Airlines
No Control – No Control
NY Fish – Arrogant Graffiti
Disfigure – Ordinary Day
Bae Sun-yong – Bugler’s Holiday
Beenzino – 24:26
Starry Eyed – 미안한 사춘기 (Apologetic Puberty)
Yoon Young-bae – 좀 웃긴 (A Little Funny)
Younha – Supersonic
Jambinai – 차연 (Différance)
Jun Kim Group – Expectation
Jinbo – KRNB
Choi Baek-ho – 다시 길 위에서 (On the Road Again)
To My Last Breath – The Deadly Horde
Pony – Little Apartment
Haneumpa – Kiss From the Mystic
HarryBigButton – King’s Life
Peppertones – Beginner’s Luck

Rookie Albums of the Year (in order of editor picks)

1. Busker Busker – Busker Busker
2. 404 – 1
3. No Respect For Beauty – Why Perish
4. Grancale – Disgrace & Victory
5. Guten Birds – 팔랑귀 (Gullible Ears)

Other Rookie Album of the Year candidates (no order; automatically considered Album of the Year candidates as well)

Rabbit of March – 라라를 위하여 (For Lara)
Giriboy – 치명적인 앨범 (The Crucial Album)
Non – Sound of Non
Look & Listen – Ready to Go
Unlimited Refill – 무한리필 (Unlimited Refill)
Park Soyu – Lonely Planet
Virgin Lab – Maybe Our Story
Brick Slipper – Brick Slipper
Swedish Laundromat – From. Paris
The Ninth – The Boy Looked at Johnny
Ailee – Invitation
e-lang – 욘욘슨 (Yonyonseun)
Lee Young-hoon – 내가 부른 그림 (Paintings That I Sung)
JY Lee – Perfect Sky
Cassette Schwarzenegger – Gym With You
TFO – 9; The Fine Number
Puer Kim – 이응 (Yieung)
Hong Hye-rim – As A Flower
Human Race – November
Hoegidong Danpyunsun (Hoegidong Short Stories) – 백년 (Hundred Years)
Heukko – 부탁해 내동생 (Take Care of My Sister)

Singles of the Year (community picks; in order of vote count)

1. Psy – 강남스타일 (Gangnam Style)
2. Busker Busker – 벚꽃엔딩 (Cherry Blossom Ending)
3. 3rd Line Butterfly – 헤어지는 날 바로 오늘 (The Day We Part, Today)
T-4. 3rd Line Butterfly – 스모우크핫커피리필 (Smoke Hot Coffee Refill)
T-4. Busker Busker – 여수 밤바다 (Yeosoo Sea at Night)
T-6. F(x) – Electric Shock
T-6. 9 And The Numbers –  눈물바람 (Tearwind)
T-6. Primary – 독 (Poison) (Featuring E-Sens)
T-9. Zitten – 백야 (White Night)
T-9. Ga-in – 피어나 (Bloom)
T-11.  eAeon – Bulletproof
T-11. The Solutions – Sound of the Universe
T-11. SHINee – Sherlock
T-14. G-Dragon – One of a Kind
T-14. Glen Check – Vogue Boys and Girls
T-14. Primary – 씨스루 (See-Through) (Featuring Zion.T, Gaeko)
T-14. Junggigo – 아무도 모르게 (So That No One Knows)
T-14. Mukimukimanmansu – 안드로메다 (Andromeda)
T-19. Primary – ? (물음표) (Question Mark) (Featuring Choiza, Zion.T)
T-19. Lee Hi – 1, 2, 3, 4
T-19. John Park – Falling
T-19. Younha – Run
T-19. Autumn Break – 근황 (How-to-do)
T-19. Naul – 바람기억 (Memory of the Wind)
T-19. Yoon Jong-shin – 오르막길 (Upward Slope) (Featuring Jung-in)
T-19. Jang Gi-ha and the Faces – 풍문으로 들었소 (Heard in a Rumor) 

Weiv

Albums of the Year (no order)

9 And The Numbers – 유예 (Reprieve)
Glen Check – Haute Couture
No Respect for Beauty – Why Perish
Lowdown 30 – 1
404 – 1
3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk
F(x) – Electric Shock
Yoon Young-bae – 좀 웃긴 (A Little Funny)
Electric Eel – 최고의 연애 (The Best Romance)
Jung Cha-sik – 격동하는 현재사 (Turbulent Modern Times)
Jung Tae-chun and Park Eun-ok – 바다로 가는 시내버스 (City Bus Headed to Sea)
G-Dragon – One of a Kind
Puer Kim – 이응 (Yieung)
Hwang Bo-ryoung=Smacksoft – Follow Your Heart
Various Artists – Blues The, Blues

That concludes our 2012 In Review. Thank you for following the series, and be sure to check out our upcoming reader’s poll where you can choose your own best of 2012! Here’s to another great year in K-pop.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the reviewer and not of hellokpop as a whole.

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