2016 in Review: Day 15 – Other Recognition

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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

If this is your first time reading the series, the “Other Recognition” post is where we make up a bunch of “special” (to say the least) award categories that you’re not likely to see elsewhere. There are some categories that may be reasonable, but here we run the gamut from the merely atypical to the downright cherry-picked. (Hint: there’s way more of the latter.) All these things caught my fancy for one reason or another this year, and it’s a fun way to recognize even more artists and their work for different kinds of excellence, or in some cases, give a gentle ribbing. Most of these did not appear in the main series, so hopefully you will find a new favorite listen or two out of these selections.

Here they are, in alphabetical order.

Beats That Outperformed the Performers

#GUN – Beep (Featuring Crucial Star), produced by Giriboy
Jang Hye-jin – 말해 (Say It), produced by Psycoban
Joosuc – Property (Featuring Satbyeol), produced by Assbrass
Look King – Tough Lady (Featuring Tapi)
Sleepy – 바디로션 (Body Lotion) (Featuring Bang Yong-guk), produced by Giriboy

Yes, Giriboy is a frequent victim of his own success. Satbyeol did shine in “Property”.

Best Aquatic-Themed Lyrics

Belle – Move Like Coral

Best BoA Christmas Anthem Since “Merri-Chri”

BoA – Christmas Paradise

Best Christmas Song in General

Jun.K – Love Letter

Best Chorus Lyrics Probably Inspired Directly By “Some”

K.Will – 니가 하면 로맨스 (You Call It Romance) (Featuring Davichi)

Best Cover or Remake

C.I.V.A. – 왜 불러 (Why Are You Calling) (Featuring Miryo)
Kei & Myundo – Y (Featuring Bumzu)
Life and Time – 내 마음에 주단을 깔고 (Laid Silk and Satins on My heart)
Tim – 당신만이 (Only You)

Best Duet Adaptation

Ben & Im Se-jun – 오늘은 가지마 (Don’t Go Today) Duet Version

Best Fan Collaboration

Fromm – 달의 뒤편으로 와요 (Come to the Back Side of the Moon)

Fromm put out a social media invite for fans to participate in the chorus of the song. About fifty voices make up the uplifting, massive final act.

Best Friendship Song

Lowdown30 – 인수김블루스 (Insoo Kim Blues)

Best Genre Pairing

W – 카우걸을 위한 자장가는 없다 (No Lullaby For Cowgirl) (Featuring Whale)

Best Genre Switch

Hoochus – 어떤 위로 (Regrets Too Late)
The Stray – Divide

Best Lyrics

There were many, but just to pick a few:

The Black Skirts – 내 고향 서울엔 (In My City of Seoul)
Jung Jun-il – Plastic (Featuring BewhY)
Red Velvet – 7월 7일 (One of These Nights)
Room306 – 총총 (Period)
Sunwoo Jung-A – 그러려니 (Stay Put)

A bonus for interesting use of perspective:

Parc Jae-jung – 두 남자 (Two Men) (Duet with Kyuhyun)

Another for interest subject matter:

Bido Seungwoo – 인덕원 가스펠 (Induk-won Gospel)

Best Music Video

Again, just to list a few:

Bye Bye Badman – Genuine
Chancellor – Rodeo
Cheeze – 어떻게 생각해 (How Do You Think)
Echae En Route – Night Drive
Ga-In – Carnival (The Last Day)
Kwon Jinah – 끝 (The End)
Ladies Code – The Rain
Nell – Dream Catcher
Ryeowook – 어린왕자 (The Little Prince)
Seo Ye-ahn – 스며든다 (Permeate)

Best Outdoor Performance

Swallow – Morning There

For the above OnStage rendition.

Best Project

SM Entertainment – Station

I think we got more great work out of this series than all of 2016’s other project albums combined.

Best Rap Verse

TakeOne, in Double K – R.O.K. (Featuring Loco and TakeOne)

Best Song Longer Than 30 Minutes

Ego Function Error – Error Zam

A whopping 33 minutes!

Best Spontaneous Release

Boni – 너였어 (It Was You), composed/written/arranged by Lee Eun-ji

Rookie composer emails her song to favorite singer, hoping she’d sing it one day; singer obliges right away.

Best Stage Name


Not to mention the tongue-in-cheek ways that the name was promoted. Their debut rivaled those of a lot of real, non-parody groups, too.

Best Subtitles

Jay Park & Ugly Duck – 우리가 빠지면 Party가 아니지 (Ain’t No Party Like an AOMG Party)

It’s been edited out now, but the lyric subtitles over Ugly Duck’s verse used to contain some pretty funny translation miscues and (eventually) Jay Park just giving up and having some fun. This song also wins “Best Reference to a 2005 Rap Song”: Ugly Duck says the little hook from Eun Ji-won’s “All Famy” near the end of his verse.

Best Swagger Rap Comparing Self To An NBA Player

Honey Be – Stephen Curry

No, it doesn’t really work as a Warriors theme. And I don’t know about that “California Jordan” line…

Best Thematic Album

Puer Kim – Gem

Best Title That Taught Me A Spanish Word

Vanilla Acoustic – Rompecabezas

Best Tribute Cover

Winterplay – Purple Rain

Best Under-the-Radar Comeback

Kil Gun – #내아래 (#UnderMe)

It’s not “Queen Ant”, but she’s still got the same edge and power.

Best Under-the-Radar Idol Solo Debut

Subin [Dal Shabet]

Subin’s 이 곳 (This Place) EP was engaging and extremely well-crafted with nary a single filler track, and most of it was written and composed by her. A standout even in a year full of notable solo debuts.

Best Use of Group Theme in Conjunction with Album Theme

Rainbow – Prism

Best Visual Performance

Silica Gel – Sister

For the above OnStage rendition.

Best YouTube Comments Section

Hitchhiker – $10

Just go look at it. Pure gold.

Biggest Miss in Lead Single Selection

Kim Bo-kyung – I’m Neon

“널 잊으려면” (“To Forget You”) would have been a much better pick, I think.

Comebacks We Had Given Up On

Bido Seungwoo – Mind Rob 1.0 Ver
Hexagonal Water – 아뜨뜨 (Adduddu)
Sechskies – 세 단어 (Three Words)
S.E.S – Love [story]
Turbo – 다시 (Again) (Featuring Yoo Jae-suk)

Favorite Guitar Performance

Choi Hee-sun – Maniac

Found the Right Genre

Hyun Jin-young – 무념무상 (Nirvana)

Great Ideas on Paper That Didn’t Work Out

Jun Hyo-seong – 나를 찾아줘 (Find Me)

Highest Notes Hit By a Male Vocalist

Hwion – The World

Let me know if I missed somebody!

How Many People Are In This Thing

BOYS24 – E
Y Teen (Monsta X & WJSN) – Do Better

“Do Better” was a collaboration, but BOYS24 is actually operating on 28 members.

Just Needed A Better Hook

TYGY – The Mirror (Featuring Balko, Zite)

The performances are good (rookie rapper Zite is particularly promising) and TYGY’s beat is satisfyingly intricate, but he may have needed to write the chorus a little better.

Least Expected Foreign Language Track

Gary – Mei Guan Xi

Least Expected Trot Track

Kim Hee-chul & Kim Jung-mo – 울산바위 (Ulsanbawi)

Longest Hiatus Broken

Jung Mijo (37 years)
Lee Jung-hee (33 years)

The 1970s superstar retired in 1979 and left for France to follow her first passion of painting; she received a doctorate in 1993 and has been a painter and professor since. Retiring from professorship in 2015, she came back to music with a full-length album actually titled 37 Years. I believe that she set the record for 2016, but please let me know if someone else qualifies! Honorable mention goes to Lee Jung-hee, who was maybe an even bigger star than Jung was, and returned after 33 years in hiatus.

Long Time in the Making

Ha Ba Byeol Si – 하바별시 (Ha Ba Byeol Si)
Missing Lucille – Life Under the Surface

Ha Ba Byeol Si formed in 1979 as a campus band and ran the competition circuit, but 2016 was the reunited band’s first ever studio recording. Missing Lucille took 18 years from the group’s formation to the first album.

Most 1990s Music Video

Kim Wan-sun – Mir

Most Blatantly an Ad, But It’s Actually Not an Ad

UV – 오예스 (Oh Yes) (Featuring Lee Sang-min)

To my knowledge, this was not created as an ad for the titular snack brand, despite the video that intentionally tries to look like one. Manufacturer Haitai did gift them 1,000 boxes of the stuff as a thanks for the free publicity, though.

Most Casual-sounding Swearing in Hook

Basick – Nice (Featuring G2 and Hwasa)

Most Drastic Style Change

Jinnh – Stayed (Produced by Lyn)

She is actually Yoari under a new name, and you can hear it when she starts hitting those highs. But what a turnaround from “Do You Like It”.

Most Explosive Vocal Performance

Sohyang – 집으로 가는 길 (Going Home)

Most Faithful Recreation of a Mid-Noughties Ballad

ChoA – 불꽃 (Flame)

Most Obscure Girl-group References in Promo Material

Ladies Code – STRANG3R

The promo blurb talks about 1990s wonders Enue and AL as inspirations for the track “Lorelei”.

Most Random Bass Drop

4Minute – 싫어 (Hate)

Most Ridiculous Title

Braincandy – 영화 그랑블루를 보고 느꼈던 것이 음악으로 스며나온 그 색깔이 블루라서 제목이 블루인 노래 블루 (The Song Blue Which Is Titled Blue Because The Color That Seeped Out As Music From Feelings After Watching The Movie The Big Blue Was Blue)

Actually, the titles of everything made by this artist look like that.

Most Suspicious Release Timing

Han Soa – 내가 이럴려고 (Is This Why)

Seemingly parodying President Park Geun-hye’s politically explosive faux-pas, and released just a couple weeks after that happened. You’ll never get the label to admit it, though.

Most Technically Intricate

Mot – 재의 기술 (Ashcraft)

Most Welcome Return to Original Genre


She went back to her given name for a while as a singer, but in 2016 returned to hip-hop and the stage name.

Most Welcome Return to Original Voice


EP Symbol marked a return to Napper-style low-tone rapping, the kinds of which we had rarely seen even in her E.via years.

Puntastic But Meaningful Too

Shin Soo-jin – 아무것도 (Nothing)

Really Didn’t Need the Second Half

Solbi – 블랙스완 (Black Swan)

The 360-degree music video thing was pretty cool, though.

Talk About Chroma

Choyoung – What Is Your Color?
Stella Jang – Colors

Two rookie musicians, both name-dropping a lot of hues. (In good songs, too!)

Unexpectedly and Really Good Comebacks

Hello Venus X Devine Channel – 빛이 내리면 (Glow)
Maktub – 적 (Enemy) (Featuring Jung Young-eun)
Miss $ – 영혼없이 말하지마 (Don’t Speak Without Soul)

Under new management, Hello Venus broke a string of disappointing releases. And while for years I’ve felt like Maktub was one of those producers with potential that never put it all together, his recent work has been consistently great – a rarely seen kind of steep growth. As for Miss $, I’ve written some scathing reviews in the past but I’m happy to see a jam like “Don’t Speak” from them.

Weirdest Repetition

otot – i-ing

Sources: album art from Bugs Music

Read our past series:

2015 in Review

2014 in Review

2013 in Review

2012 in Review

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