2016 in Review: Day 12 – Song of the Year

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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

Song of the Year 2016

Danpyunsun and the Sailors – 연애 (Lover) (Featuring Kim Sawol)

Composed and written by Hoegidong Danpyunsun; arranged by Danpyunsun and the Sailors

If you ever thought the Sailors lacked drama for some reason, look no further than the opening of “Lover”. A massive string movement starts us off, then breaks into a downright danceable groove of bass and violin, before giving way to a steady pulse for Danpyunsun‘s verse. It’s a frankly shocking intro, and the brilliance doesn’t stop there. The track straddles the boundaries of rock and country with Jang Soo-hyun‘s violin serving double duty as freeform, perhaps improvised melody leader and disciplined rhythm backing; the song’s middle 90 seconds or so constitute a roiling jam session with no vocals while the lengthy outro is even more unkempt, and the virtuosity on hand is a delight to listen to. So it’s sonically great, but “Lover” also works on the lyrical level: Danpyunsun sings of a wholehearted yet jaded form of caring for someone, sharing this “tedious society […] and routine” with each other because “you can’t stand it” alone. And in case you thought that’s the kind of cynically earnest tension that would fit in a Kim Sawol song, she shows up near the end here, and it sounds just the way we’d expect. It’s perfect.

Runner-up Song of the Year 2016

Kim Yoon-ah – 키리에 (Kyrie)

Composed/written/arranged by Kim Yoon-ah

A pre-release single, this is the introduction to Kim Yoon-ah’s album that looks to address “the suffering of others” (which just barely missed the cutoff date for this series by a week). Dutifully, “Kyrie” doesn’t betray its subject matter. Though a lot of people immediately thought of the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, the song addresses loss in every form, from a deep scarring in a nation’s social fabric like the Sewol all the way down to personal struggles with death and departure. Kim trembles as she whispers the opening words (“Why can’t it kill me, this pain that pounds the heart without rest”) and soldiers on, her humming falsetto a wordless groan and her inimitably powerful belt a cry of unbelief; it is an unforgettable vocal performance. A bass drum literally pounds the heart as haunting choral backing joins her, and the once-steady organ soon breaks down into shattered synth noise. In a world in need of hope and healing, this topical elegy, this prayer for mercy, takes the first step – voicing and sharing in the brokenness of us all.

The First Ten Out

Tiffany - I Just Wanna Dance

3. Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance

Composed by Timothy “Bos” Bullock, Michael Jiminez, Sara Forsberg, MZMC; written by Hwang Hyeon; arranged by Timothy “Bos” Bullock

2nd Moon - 판소리 춘향가 (Pansori Chunhyang-ga)

4. 2nd Moon – 어사출두 (The Royal Inspector Appears) (Featuring Kim Junsoo)

Composed and arranged by 2nd Moon

Sunwoo Jung-A - 4x4

5. Sunwoo Jung-A – 순이 (Sooni) (I’m Your Fanatic Girl)

Composed/written/arranged by Sunwoo Jung-A

Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans - 혁명가 (Revolution Songs)

6. Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans – 아래로부터의 혁명 (Revolution)

Composed and written by Jun Bum Sun; arranged by Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans

7. Stellarjet – Guiding Light

Composed and written by Jacob Soo and EJAE; arranged by Stellarjet

8. Code Kunst – Beside Me (Featuring BewhY, YDG, Suran)

Composed and arranged by Code Kunst; written by BewhY, YDG, and Suran

Stereotype - Come Back James

9. Stereotype – Falling

Composed by James and Eurock; written by Keemyoung and James; arranged by Eurock

10. Jung Joon-il – Plastic (Featuring BewhY)

Composed and written by Jung Joon-il; additional writing by BewhY; arranged by Lee Jung-hoon

Nahzam Sue - Till the Sun Comes Up

11.  Nahzam Sue – 사이버가수 아담 (Cyberstar Adam)

Composed/written/arranged by Nahzam Sue

12. Lee Sora – 사랑이 아니라 말하지 말아요 (Don’t Say It Isn’t Love)

Composed/written/arranged by Kim Dong-ryul

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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