Review

2015 in Review: Day 5 – Dance and Electronic

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[The 2015 in Review Series]

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 Blues
9. Crossover and Other
10. Best Collaborative Work
11. Rookie Artist of the Year
12. Artist of the Year
13. Song of the Year
14. Album of the Year
15. Staff Picks
16. Other Recognition
17. Concluding Remarks

Lots and lots of strong showings from idol groups in this category in 2015, and the list below is evidence of that. Particularly interesting is just how many rookie groups had great debuts, and that extends also to non-idol mainstream and indie rookies as well.

Important: as in previous years, the Album of the Year and Song of the Year (and their runner-ups) are not included in the genre categories. That means that, for example, there could be an electronic album that isn’t being recognized on this page because it’s the album of the year. Also, note that all “First Ten Out” and “Honorable Mention” picks are sorted by artist name.

Albums

Best Dance and Electronic Album 2015

Wonder Girls - Reboot

Wonder Girls – Reboot

It’s a shame that the Wonder Girls’ popularity and musical prowess have gone in opposite directions. Undeterred, JYP Entertainment again chose to not skimp on quality for this third album, and Reboot was a marvel as a result. Sleek freestyle lead single “I Feel You” might actually have been the least impressive track; the album is full of numbers that are both technically outstanding and sonically catchy, headlined by “Baby Don’t Play” and “One Black Night”. Unflinching dedication to the retro theme with modern polish begat one of the most unique-sounding albums of the year.

Runner-up Dance and Electronic Album 2015

Trampauline - Marginal

Trampauline – Marginal

There’s an inscrutable veneer on “Marginal”. The detached and impassive singing throughout is one reason for it, the synth pad-based arrangements that feel like a solid wall of sound is another, and the cryptic lyrical narratives that range from true story to surrealist is the last. It’s a fascinating veil to be keeping up for one song, let alone the entire album. Of course, underneath that veneer lies a terrifically produced album with diverse sound design and unpredictable compositions, and that’s what you stay for.

The First Ten Out

Songs

Best Dance and Electronic Song 2015

Red Velvet – Ice Cream Cake

“Ice Cream Cake” is unmistakably an F(x) song at its roots, but Red Velvet proved more than capable of making this their own. The chanting intro, driving synth bells and pads, and finely split hi-hat beat are just a few examples of all the sublime ear candy on display from Trinity Music‘s polished composition, and the members sing with a playful and bold attitude that infects that aggressive arrangement. An already well-calibrated harmony and a show-stealing four bars from Joy provided further reasons to pay attention to this addictive number, potentially the beginning of another illustrious group career.

Runner-up Dance and Electronic Song 2015

Cumeo Project – I Feel You

“I Feel You” is laid back, almost disarmingly so. The title completely and accurately captures the lyrical content, which plays out over a leisurely beat of broken chords and hollow bells. It shouldn’t be so engaging, but the fact of the matter is that Cumeo Project (members of The Pony, actually) finds ways to make the sparse arrangement absolutely captivating: there’s an unexpected warmth and palpable closeness in the song’s textures and rhythm.

The First Ten Out

4Minute - Crazy

4Minute – 미쳐 (Crazy)

F(x) - 4 Walls

F(x) – 4 Walls

Lim Kim - Simple Mind

Lim Kim – Awoo

Lucite Tokki - Love Letters

Lucite Tokki – Wallflower

Neon Bunny - Romance in Seoul

Neon Bunny – 서울하늘 (Romance In Seoul)

The Plan8 - Deeper

The Plan8 – The Fault In Our Stars

SHINee - Odd

SHINee – View

Sunwoo Jung-a - Springirls

Sunwoo Jung-a – 봄쳐녀 (Springirls)

Suran - Calling In Love

Suran – Calling In Love (Featuring Beenzino)

Wonder Girls - Reboot

Wonder Girls – One Black Night

Honorable Mentions

Albums

.59 – 사랑이 머무는 자리 (Where Love Dwells)
BoA – Kiss My Lips
Brown Eyed Girls – Basic
Casker – Ground Part 1
City.M – Deep Blue
Cumeo Project – No Youth Flowers
Ears – Half Grown
Echo And The Machine – New Walking
Ele – Black Moon
Eniac – 밤의 멜로디 (Night Melody)
EXO – Exodus
First Aid – Nostalgic Falling Down
Infinite – Reality
Inmay – 풍덩 (Splash)
Kim Kate – Orientation
Long-D – 야간주행 (Night Drive)
Lovelyz – Lovelyz8
LoveXtereo – We Love We Leave, Part 1
Pippi Band – pppb
Playday – Falling Inside
Polarfront – Polarfront
Remi – Like A Virgin
Rhombvs – Fragility Test
Shin Eun-kyoung – Solar Fields
Shinhwa – WE
Vixx – Chained Up
Xia – Flower

Songs

Amber (F(x)) – Heights
Anda – Touch
Apache – Toujours Youth (Featuring Xin Seha)
Azin – 원한다면 (If You Want)
Big Bang – Bae Bae
BoA – Kiss My Lips
Block B Bastarz – 품행제로 (Zero For Conduct)
Brown Eyed Girls – 신세계 (Brave New World)
Casker – 웃는 사람 (The Smiler)
Ears – Equal(=)
Ele – Black Moon
Electricity Flowing – 우리는 밤에 산다 (We Live By Night)
Eniac – 너를 기억해 (Remember You)
EXO – Call Me Baby
EXO – Lightsaber
EXO – Love Me Right
Exodus – Hold On (Featuring Key (SHINee))
First Aid – Monday Will Save Us
Flash Flood Darlings – 별 (Star)
Floating Island – Parade
Fromm – 달밤댄싱 (Moonlight Dancing) LudiSTELO Remix (2 AM Version)
F(x) – Glitter
Ga-In – Paradise Lost
GFriend – 유리구슬 (Glass Bead)
Girl’s Day – Hello Bubble
Girls’ Generation – Party
G.Soul – 미쳐있어 나 (Crazy For You)
Hologram Party – You Are My Rainbow (Featuring Jinsun, Take’M)
House Rulez – Never Die (Featuring Cyber Diva, Kim Hoyeon)
Inmay – 오후 4시의 산책 (Walk at 4 in the Afternoon)
Justin Oh – We Own The World (Featuring Amber and Luna of F(x))
Ju Yoon-ha X Merry Dancers – Mind
Kara – Cupid
Kim Kate – Sworn
The Kokos – Good Time
The Kokos – Mirror
Lucite Tokki – Wallflower
My Q – Baby Rose
Ohheejung & Kubatko – Don’t Die
Oh My Girl – Cupid
Oohyo – K드라마 (K-Drama)
Oohyo – 금요일 (Friday) (Featuring Philtre)
Park Sae-byul & Like Likes – Sky High (Featuring Young K)
Park Sun-joo – Sunrise
Peterpan Complex – 촉촉 (Moist) (Featuring Yozoh)
Pippi Band – Over & Over (Featuring Zion.T)
The Plan8 – Lucid Dreams
Playback – Playback
Playday – Leave Me Alone
Polarfront – Monophobia (Featuring Echae Kang)
Rabbitronik – More and More (Featuring Natalie Oliveri)
Rainbow99 – 담양, 눈보라 (Damyang, Blizzard) [and every other track in this monthly series]
Rayrin – 엉망 (A Mess)
Red Velvet – Campfire
Saram12Saram – Shatter Guy
Seulong – Witcher
Seventeen – 아낀다 (Adore U)
Sima Kim & Ryuei Kotoge – Reveur
SHINee – Married To The Music
Shinhwa – 표적 (Target)
Soul Paper – 할랑할랑 (Breathing) (Featuring Joo Ye-in)
Sonamoo – Deja Vu
Stellar – 떨려요 (Vibrato)
Sultan of the Disco – 웨ㅔㅔㅔㅔ (Weh-eh-eh-eh-eh) (Featuring Black Nut)
Suran – I Feel
Temet Nosce – Rainbow Circle
Vinylhouse – Negative Love
Virgo – 아니지금? (Anijigeum?) (Featuring Han Hee-jung)
VIXX – 사슬 (Chained Up)
Waplayer – 헤벌레 (Hae) (Featuring Johnny Easton)
Wonder Girls – 사랑이 떠나려 할 때 (When Love Is About To Leave)
Xia – OeO (Featuring Giriboy)
Xia – 꽃 (Flower) (Featuring Tablo)
Xin Seha – 내일이 매일 (Tomorrow Everyday) (Featuring KOHO)
Yon – 내 안의 그 곳 (The Weak) (Featuring Youn Sun Nah)

Sources: header image and album art from Bugs Music; Saram12Saram cover from Rhapsody.

Editing by MaliVai Tjong Ayong

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