2013 in Review: Day 15 – Concluding Remarks
[The 2013 in Review Series]
0. Prelude – Best Album Art
2. R&B and Soul
3. Rock and Alternative
4. Rap and Hip-hop
5. Dance and Electronic
6. Pop, Ballad and Folk
7. Jazz, Crossover and Other
8. Best Collaborative Work
9. Rookie of the Year
10. Song of the Year
11. Artist of the Year
12. Album of the Year
13. Staff Picks
14. Miscellanea and Loose Ends
15. Concluding Remarks
2013 is in the books and so is our 2013 in Review series. I hope the past two weeks have been a useful recap of the year and perhaps an opportunity to pick up a new favorite artist or two. Today we’ll wrap up the series with a glimpse at the upcoming year and a comparative look into the year-end lists being published elsewhere. The Year in Review series will return in mid-December 2014. Thanks for reading!
–What might be coming in 2014?
(I tried this last year and actually fared pretty well, so I figure I’ll give it another shot.)
As predicted, the idol onslaught slowed down further in 2013. We no longer saw crazy numbers of new groups debuting each month, as the supersaturated market adjusted (with a lag) to reduced demand. I’m not sure that demand will shrink dramatically compared to now in 2014, but I do see those idol debuts continuing to decline. It’ll be the groups with at least moderately established fanbases or discographies that survive, and I think for rookies groups to thrive, they’ll need to have talent, production value, and very competent marketing – missing even one of these might make it difficult.
That’s not deterring the likes of YG, JYP, and Woollim from poising to debut their next-generation idols, of course. But even they might be different from the idol groups we have today. Woollim, for example, have been debuting members of its girl group individually, and I think this ties into one potential future trend – increased individualism. In other words, I think Hellokpop Editor and Senior Writer Lycaenion is getting one of her New Year’s wishes.
Already we are seeing all kinds of well-established and popular idol group members turning to solo work at an unprecedented rate. In an industry that is again beginning to use uniqueness and artistry to distinguish the cream of the crop in a full market, a solo release is an attractive option to showcase an idol artist’s skill and musical scope. (I am not as sure whether the sub-group and unit trend will continue – I would lean towards “no”.)
As for what is replacing the demand for idol music, I expected that it would be a combination of non-idol mainstream ballad vocalists, indie musicians and audition stars, among other things. That the whole audition show craze would die down so quickly was unexpected; now, while we do have numerous solid artists already who came from that background, it’d be unrealistic to expect to see many more.
Meanwhile, 2013 commercial successes of Cho Yong-pil, Lee Hyori and others suggests that a return to the days of solo and band mega-sellers cannot be ruled out. (Looking at early 2014 results from Rain, M.C. the Max and others reveals a supportive, if way too early, sign.) It may end up being a gradual shift, as public tastes continue to evolve, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these types of artists start to again throw their weight around.
The indie scene is out of Hongdae and heading into cafe hubs and studios elsewhere; at the same time, the festival scene is on the upswing. In addition to the movements in Busan, in 2013 another regional hip-hop scene came to the forefront in Gunsan. Spatially, indie is diversifying, and with that indie is also diversifying musically. Surely one thing to keep an eye on.
No doubt, there will be many, many exciting developments in K-pop this coming year!
–What are others saying?
Albums of the Month, December 2012 – November 2013
December 2012: Yukari – Echo; Ha Dong-qn – From Mark
January 2013: Jo Jung-chi – 유작 (Last Work); IAMMOHO – 따뜻한 눈썹은 되고 싶지 않아요 (I Don’t Want To Become a Warm Eyebrow)
February: Heo Seo-young – That’s All; Moollonkyen – Psychedelik; small o – That Will Fall; SHINee – Dream Girl (The Misconceptions of You); Yoon Suk-chul Trio – Love Is a Song
March: Rainbow99 – Dream Pop; Nah Youn-sun – Lento; Kim Tae-chun – 가축병원블루스 (Veterinary Hospital Blues); Jinbo – Fantasy
April: Dear Cloud – Let It Shine; Cho Yong-pil – Hello; Zion.T – Red Light; Dringe Augh – Drooled and Slobbered; Sunwoo Jungah – It’s Okay, Dear; Kim Il-du – 곱고 맑은 영혼 (Pretty and Pure Soul)
May: Yi Sung-yol – V; Lee Hyori – Monochrome; Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – 씨 없는 수박 (Seedless Watermelon); Mild Beats – Beautiful Struggle; Kim Chang-gi – 내 머리 속의 가사 (Lyrics Inside My Head)
June: Sogyumo Acacia Band – Slow Diving Table; Kim Oki – Cherubim’s Wrath; The Youths – 청춘 (Youth); Han Hee-jeong – 날마다 타인 (Stranger Every Day)
July: F(x) – Pink Tape; 404 – 4; Telefly – Avalokiteśvara
August: Yaya – 잔혹영화 (Cruel Picture); Jang Pil-soon – Soony Seven; Yoon Young-bae – 위험한 세계 (Dangerous World); Kim Sung-bae – Pepper Man; Kwang Program – 나 아니면 너 (Me Or You)
September: Vassline – Black Silence; Kim Ganji x Ha Heon-jin – Kim Ganji x Ha Heon-jin; Yellow Monsters – Red Flag; Lee Arib – 이 밤, 우리들의 긴 여행이 시작되었네 (Tonight, Our Long Journey’s Begun)
October: Rock’n’Roll Radio – Shut Up And Dance; Kafka – The Human Psyche; Fromm – Arrival; Kim Mok-in – 한 다발의 시선 (A Bouquet of Glimpses)
November: Hee Young – Sleepless Night; Glen Check – Youth!; Kang A Sol – 정직한 마음 (Honest Soul); JuckJuck Grunzie – Psycho; Cranfield – 밤의 악대 (Nocturnal Band); Vidulgi Ooyoo – Officially Pronounced Alive
10 Albums of the Year: Kim Tae-chun – Veterinary Hospital Blues; Broken Valentine – Aluminum; SHINee – Dream Girl (The Misconceptions of You); Sunwoo Jungah – It’s Okay, Dear; Yoon Young-bae – Dangerous World; Yi Sung-yol – V; Jaurim – Goodbye, grief; Jang Pil-soon – Soony Seven; Cho Yong-pil – Hello; Jinbo – Fantasy
10 Songs of the Year: Kim Sa-rang – ICU; Dynamic Duo – Baaam (Feat. Muzie of UV); Seo In-young – 나를 사랑해줘 (Love Me) (Feat. Gaeko); Sunwoo Jungah – 뱁새 (Parrotbill); Sultan of the Disco – 오리엔탈 디스코 특급 (Oriental Disco Special); IU – Modern Times; EXO – 으르렁 (Growl); Eastern Sidekick – 이빨과 땀 (Teeth and Sweat); Lee Seung-chul – My Love; Cho Yong-pil – Bounce
10 Indie Albums of the Year: Glen Check – Youth!; Kim Bada – N. Surf Part 1; Son Ji-yeon – 꽃샘바람 (Chill Breeze); small o – That Will Fall; Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – Seedless Watermelon; Asian Chairshot – 탈 (Mask); Jungran – Nomadism; The Choppers – Common Sense; Fromm – Arrival; Tell Us The Story – 두 번째 노래들 (Second Songs)
Top 10 Albums:
10. AFA – Rise Above
9. Yi Sung-yol – V
8. Hoegidong Danpyunsun – 처녀 (Maiden)
7. Han Hee-jeong – Stranger Every Day
6. Kim Oki – Cherubim’s Wrath
5. P-Type – Rap
4. Jinbo – Fantasy
3. Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – Seedless Watermelon
2. Jang Pil-soon – Soony Seven
1. Sunwoo Jungah – It’s Okay, Dear
Top 5 Rookie Albums:
5. Kim Tae-chun – Veterinary Hospital Blues
4. Lim Kim – Goodbye 20
3. Zion.T – Red Light
2. Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – Seedless Watermelon
1. Kim Oki – Cherubim’s Wrath
2013’s Best Single (community vote):
T-29. F(x) – Rum Pum Pum Pum; Busker Busker – 처음엔 사랑이란게 (Love At First); Sunwoo Jungah – 비온다 (It’s Raining); Jang Pil-soon – 난 항상 혼자 있어요 (I’m Always Alone); Yoon Suk-chul Trio – Three Points of View; Nah Youn-sun – Lament; Yi Sung-yol – Cynic; Sunmi – 24시간이 모자라 (24 Hours)
T-18. SHINee – 히치하이킹 (Hitchhiking); Kang Baek-su – 타임머신 (Time Machine); Lim Kim – 잘 알지도 못하면서 (Without Knowing It All); Lim Kim – All Right; Yoon Young-bae – Dangerous World; Lee Juck – 비포 선라이즈 (Before Sunrise) (Feat. Jung-In); Yi Sung-yol – 개가 되고 (Dog Etc.); Yi Sung-yol – Minotaur; Lim Kim – Rain; Dynamic Duo – BAAAM
T-11. Sunwoo Jungah – 울지마 (Don’t Cry); Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – 요양원 블루스 (Nursing Home Blues); Oh Ji-eun – 고작 (Merely); Lee Juck – 거짓말 거짓말 거짓말 (Lie Lie Lie); Girls’ Generation – I Got a Boy; SHINee – Dream Girl; Zion.T – Babay (Feat. Gaeko)
T-9. Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – 불효자는 놉니다 (The Disobedient Son Plays); Kwon Soon-kwan – 그렇게 웃어줘 (Smile Like That)
8. Jaurim – 스물다섯, 스물하나 (Twenty-Five, Twenty-One)
T-6. EXO – 으르렁 (Growl); Sunwoo Jungah – Purple Daddy
5. Sunwoo Jungah – 뱁새 (Parrotbill)
4. F(x) – Airplane
3. Crayon Pop – 빠빠빠 (Bar Bar Bar)
2. Jang Pil-soon – 맴맴 (Maem Maem)
1. Cho Yong-pil – Bounce
Albums of the Year:
T-5. Yi Sung-yol – V; Oksangdalbit (Dalmoon) – Where
T-3. Sogyumo Acacia Band – Slow Diving Table; Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae-jung – Seedless Watermelon
T-1. Kang A Sol – Honest Soul; Zion.T – Red Light
Other works mentioned in individual editors’ lists:
EXO – XOXO (Kiss & Hug) Repackage; GRAYE – MON EP; Odaeri – 국풍’13 (National Wind); Jowall – 깨끗하게, 맑게 (Clean & Clear); Deulgukhwa – Deulgukhwa; Maybe Lee Ja-ram Band – 데뷰 (Debut); Vismajor – Run VMC; Wedance – Produce Unfixed Vol. 1; Yoo Geun-ho – Walk Alone
How does this story make you feel?