2017 In Review: Day 10 – Best Collaborative Work

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2017 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 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. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

What makes something a good collaboration? Oh, I think a number of things: it could be that the collaborators really complement each other well, or that the meeting brings out something’s far beyond what would have been possible individually. Good chemistry and such intangibles between the collaborators could help. Sometimes, an unexpected combination of names could in itself be interesting, in the sense that it represents a bigger confluence of ideas or open the floodgates for similar work. All of that shows up below, and indeed most of these songs and albums display more than one of these characteristics.

Unlike the genre categories, works picked here can appear in the general categories – for example, one of the albums featured below could also be the Album of the Year. And of course, you will see lots of repeats below from the genre categories.


Best Best Collaborative Album 2017

Various Artists* – 튠업 헌정 앨범 신중현 The Origin (Shin Jung-hyeon: The Origin)

*Participants [producing and contributing individual tracks; see next section for additional participants performing in “Beautiful Woman”]: eAeon, ABTB, Asian Chairshot, Bluepaprika, Nam Meari, Lee Jung-ah, 4Hz, Park Soyu, Hoochus, Band Number 9, National Pigeon Unity, Blue Turtle Land

The Origin is a project put together by the CJ Culture Foundation as a tribute to Shin Jung-heyon’s (titanic) legacy, in which musicians who were supported by CJ’s Tune Up program in the past reinterpret and cover songs from his discography. So it’s a bit more “manufactured”, if you will, than other albums here, but the experiences we get out of it are persuasive regardless. The roster of Tune Up musicians (many of whom return from 2015’s Deulgukhwa tribute album) is impressively diverse, and all bring interesting experiments to the table. From Asian Chairshot’s chilly take on “It Might Be Anyone” to Park Soyu’s expansive electronic space around “Throb”, the covers are diametrically different in moods, tools, and even the nature of the source material. Nevertheless, all feel like an authentic slice of how today’s young talent interpret the sounds, words, and meaning of Shin’s seminal work.

Runner-up Collaborative Album 2017

GroovyRoom – Everywhere

It really feels like GroovyRoom could have put out about five studio albums under their name in 2017 if they wanted to. As it is, the producer duo packs this EP chock-full of featured performances, with definitely enough star power for a couple of albums. The rapper picks are solid: Justhis in “Unsigned Hype” is particularly sublime as he perfectly sums up the swagger and clout that he and GroovyRoom share, while Nafla and Giriboy shine bright on hooks. Perhaps even better, though, is the EP’s synergy with its vocalists. We find Ailee in the the turbulent-hazy soundscape of “Loyalty”, where she’s in her element as a soulful diva. A dub rhythm turns out to be the perfect backdrop for Suran’s lithe groove in “Somewhere”, and “Sunday” gets a playful casualness from longtime collaborators Heize and Jay Park. GroovyRoom has uncanny talent for bringing out the most out of their collaborators, sometimes by putting them in settings that we’re not used to hearing them in; Everywhere does that, and I’m inclined to hold it up as an ideal picture.

The First Ten Out

Fisherman & Ku One-chan – Format

Glowingdog – Texture

Kang Seung-won – 강승원 일집 (Kang Seung-won The First Album)

Kirara – KM

Millic – Vida

Primeboi – 예고편 (Trailer)

Song Hong-sub – 송홍섭 앙상블 (Song Hong-sub Ensemble)

TakeOne – 녹색이념 (Green Ideology)

Temperature of Saying “Hi” – 사랑에 관한 각자의 기억 (The Individual Memory of Love)

VMC – Visty Boyz


Best Best Collaborative Song 2017

Various Artists** – 미인 (Beautiful Woman)

**Participants: Shin Dae-chul, Echae Kang, Kim Joo-eun, Bily Acoustie, Nam Meari, Kim Nae-hyun and Kim Jin-gyu (Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio), Nahzam Sue and Kim Ganji (Sultan of the Disco), Park Yoon-sik (Crying Nut), Lee Sungsoo (HarryBigButton), Lim Heon-il and Yang Sion (iamnot), Jang Kiha (Kiha and the Faces), J.Shin (Mahogany King), Hwang Young-won and Son Hee-nam and Lee Yong-jin (Asian Chairshot), Kim Gaon (Raw By Peppers), Jang Hyuk-jo and Kang Dae-hee (ABTB), Ahn Jae-hong (Blue Turtle Land)

So those inventive covers I mentioned above are the true meat of this The Origin album, but the hook to get you in is – has to be – “Beautiful Woman”. Yang Sion got the task of rearranging the revered song for about 25 people, and the resulting piece essentially sacrifices coherence in favor of individual character. There’s a valiant effort to at least keep each verse consistent to a theme – Echae Kang’s slick violin work defining a groove for the first and the Nahzam Sue – Lee Sungsoo transition establishing the back-and-forth dynamic of the second – but at its core, this is a mashup. And it’s glorious. The five electric guitarists playing the iconic riff in all manners of style, the three drummers trading thunderous beats, the vocalists asserting their harmony. Of course, the massive final chorus featuring everybody that’s credited (and, I’m pretty sure, some more who are not). Some of today’s most exciting talent, some grizzled veterans, one stage. What a messy, grand, lovely spectacle.

Runner-up Collaborative Song 2017

Hyolyn & Kisum – Fruity (Prod. GroovyRoom)

Yes, it’s GroovyRoom again; no, it’s not from Everywhere. As in “Blue Moon”, the other collaboration involving the duo and Hyolyn from just a couple months prior, the song is driven by tropical bells and a bouncy rhythm. I’d argue the arrangement in “Fruity” is even superior: those bells, alongside layers of bass and piano, form this tactile melody that turns out to be incredibly addictive basically as soon as the bass kicks in. Hyolyn’s performance is magnificent as she rides the funky beat with effortless grace, and controls the tension with veteran comfort; at this point we know to expect a certain mastery from her in this type of summery jam. The pleasant discovery here, instead, is Kisum putting in maybe my favorite performance from her to date, in two punchy sets of bars that charge up the song’s headiness. The rapper’s deeper, drier tone provides a satisfying contrast from Hyolyn, and her slightly quirky lyrics feel perfectly appropriate in this atmosphere. Even her exaggerated delivery lands in this song and arguably create the highlight moments. Can these four get together every summer?

The First Ten Out

Dok2, The Quiett, Keem Hyoeun – Wu & The 1lly (Feat. Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa) (link)

HA:TFELT, Kim Bohyung, Suran – 크로스컨트리 (Cross Country) (link)

iamnot – Fly (Feat. Yi Sung-yol) (link)

IU – 사랑이 잘 (Can’t Love You Anymore) (Feat. Ohhyuk) (link)

Jerry.K – 알약 (Pills) (Feat. Don Malik, Sleeq, Saza) (Prod. Room306, First Aid) (link)

June One Kim & Krystal – I Don’t Wanna Love You (link)

Maniac – Black Tear (Feat. Lee Michelle) (link)

Nell X GroovyRoom – 오늘은 (Today) (link)

Parasol & Silica Gel – Space Angel (link)

Stella Jang & Kisum – 울기 일보 직전 (About To Cry) (link)

Honorable Mentions


Choi Yeong-doo – 중간결산 (Midway Report)
Code Kunst – Muggles’ Mansion
Comma – Live Forever
DPR Live – Coming To You Live
Ignito – Gaia
Imlay – Shurai EP
JA & QM – Nazca
Kang Hyun-min – Reflective
Kim Ximya & D. Sanders – Moonshine
MC Sniper X Scope Band – 스코프뮤직 (Scope Music)
Pe2ny – Alive Soul Cuts Vol. 2 “Stereotype”
Peejay – Walkin’ Vol. 2
Primary – Pop
Primary – 신인류 (Shininryu)
Rainbow99 X Yoon Jae-ho – Berlin Märchen (베를린 동화)
Samuel Seo & Qim Isle – Elbow
Various Artists – Story About: 썸, 한달 (Some, One Month)
Viann X Khundi Panda – 재건축 (Reconstruction)
Vintagechord – The Moon and the Stars
W – I Am


Always Boy & Rhino Acoustic – 가을 (Autumn) (Feat. Im Hyun-jung)
Ann & Yoon Mi-rae – Goodbye
Baek A-yeon – 달콤한 빈말 (Sweet Lies) (Feat. The Barberettes)
BewhY & Big K.R.I.T – 우노 (Uno)
Crying Nut & P-Type – 우린 여기에 (We Here)
Drain & KAN – 두물머리 노래하다 (The Confluence Sings)
Echae Kang & Chung Chae-woong – Are We Still
Epik High – Here Come the Regrets (Feat. Lee Hi)
Frants – Deee (Feat. Minje)
FT Island – 사랑앓이 (Love Sick) (Feat. Kim Na-young)
Henry – 끌리는 대로 (I’m Good) (Feat. Nafla)
Ignito – Moon (Feat. J-Tong)
Jang Jin-young X The Barberettes – Stranger’s Love
JC Jieun, Tae Hae-young, Dasona – 아닌척 (Pretend To Not) (Feat. Oh Yu-mi)
Jenyer X Samuel Seo – 클리셰 (Cliche)
Jeong Jin-woon Band & Jung Han-bin – Set Me Free
Joyful Island – 마크트웨인 (Mark Twain) (Feat. Choi Baek-ho)
Justhis & Paloalto – Brown Eyes View (Feat. Cifika)
Katie Goes to Tokyo & Peterpan Complex – Try
Lee Gyu-hwan & Yiruma – 해로운 너 (Sick of You)
Luna, Hani, Solar – Honey Bee
Mad Clown – 우리집을 못 찾겠군요 (Lost Without You) (Feat. Bolbalggan4)
Mathi – Wake Up (Feat. Hash Swan, Kim Ho-yeon)
MC Sniper X Scope Band – 그녀는 나를 사랑하죠 (She Loves Me)
Nam Young-joo – Diamond (Prod. by Fromm, Frants)
Ovan – 그 영화의 주인공 (Clicher) (Feat. Jannabi)
Oz Mood – Love Me Now (Feat. Mandy)
Park HeyKyung & Long-D – Nerd Girl
Park Won & Suzy – 기다리지 말아요 (Don’t Wait For Your Love)
Shannon – Love Don’t Hurt (Feat. Amber)
Sister’s Barbershop – 누구나 아는 비밀 (Everybody Knows the Secret) (Feat. IU)
Sobo – 춘천의 아들들 (Sons of Chuncheon) (Feat. Jun Bum Sun, Kim Kyung-hwae)
Somdef – Ring Ring Ring (Feat. Verbal Jint, Paloalto, DPR Live, Car the Garden)
Song Hong-sub – 바람처럼, 구름처럼, 강물처럼 (Journey) (Feat. Yi Sung-yol)
Son Jun-ho – Fly High (Feat. Kim Jong-seo, Lee Se-jun, Hong Kyung-min)
Sowall – Bird (Feat. Needle & Gem)
Spacecowboy – 헤어져야 하는 이유 (Reason) (Feat. Richard Parkers)
Suho X Juju Song – 커튼 (Curtain)
Superbee – Pattern (Feat. Tiger JK, Double K, Junoflo, myunDO, Yoon Mi-rae)
Sweetpea – 달빛과 춤을 (Dance With the Moonlight) (Feat. Kim Oki)
Tony An, Evan, Jager & Lucas – 봄이었나봐, 그때 (You Were My Spring)
Unfair & Xxinnara – 속삭여줘 (Whisper To Me) (Feat. Rich)
Wheesung – Aroma (Feat. Hash Swan)
Yano – 오해 (Misunderstanding) (Feat. Kim Gerji)
Yoo Jae-hwan & Song Dong-woon – Universe (Feat. Yang Yoseob)
Yoon Jong-shin, Hareem, Cho Jung-chi, Eddy Kim – 지금 (Now)
Yumdda – 저나받어 (Pick Up the Phone) (Feat. Bassagong, Don Mills)
Xia – Cake Love (Prod. by The Black Skirts)

Sources: album art from Bugs Music; “Beautiful Woman” thumbnail image from Naver OnStage on YouTube

Read our past series:

2016 In Review

2015 in Review

2014 in Review

2013 in Review

2012 in Review

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