2017 In Review: Day 13 – Song Of The Year

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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

Today’s selections, more so than those in other categories, take popularity into account. I still try to pick things that are musically outstanding, but songs that stay on the TV and radio, in the streets and in conversations, shape our perception of a particular time – which seems like the fitting role for a Song of the Year. My two favorites from 2017 didn’t appear in their respective genre categories so that they can get separate distinction, but here they are below.

Again, no honorable mentions today. Also note that the “First Ten Out” have a rank ordering today (and tomorrow), unlike the other categories.

Song of the Year 2017

Red Velvet – 빨간 맛 (Red Flavor)

Composed and arranged by Daniel Caesar and Ludwig Lindbell (Caesar & Loui); written by Kenzie

“Red Flavor” sort of follows a proud tradition of cheery food songs that F(x) used to specialize in (think “Ice Cream”, “Sweet Witches”, “Milk”), but Red Velvet’s rendition aims for the bold and filling rather than the tried-and-true saccharine version of this. You can hear it in the punchy rhythm, the dense brass-and-synth chords that garnish the incessant drum and bass, the bright harmony that powers the chorus. The melody is simple and accessible, and combined with the hard-hitting arrangement it becomes immediately, perniciously addictive. Kenzie’s writing, meanwhile, shapes a narrator whose directness matches the song while speaking in charmed prose. And as Red Velvet tracks are wont to do, “Red Flavor” gets better towards the end: that moment when the brass blares out and Wendy drives an unbridled “So tell me / so tell me / in your color” as the bridge rushes to its conclusion is pure catharsis. Our summer of 2017 was red and flavorful, brought to us by Red Velvet.

Runner-up Song of the Year 2017

Hyukoh – Tomboy

Composed by Car the Garden and Ohhyuk; written by Ohhyuk; arranged by Hyukoh

An austere voice and hearty chords open it up, and Ohhyuk talks, in compact phrasing, about uncertain futures. In an album about finding one’s way through today’s young adulthood, “Tomboy” doesn’t try to add much lyrically, but this is where Hyukoh embraces the role of being the voice of a generation. Its centerpiece – the whole album’s heart – is the soaring chorus where Ohhyuk sings, “Young are we, / our growth rings hard to see / Eyes blinded by brilliant light, they dim away”, simultaneously building a certain camaraderie and voicing deeper fears of growing older and “burning away” without guidance or assurance. The eight measures of explosive vocalization that follows, which seems sure to be a classic singalong moment, then expels those emotions atop roiling toms in a show of freedom. It’s an exquisite moment, elevating “Tomboy” to an anthem that resonates sonically and lyrically with youth – and the memory of youth. In doing so, it also leaves a rich musical legacy to be remembered.

The First Ten Out

3. Han Seung-seok & Jung Jaeil – 저 물결 끝내 바다에 (And There, the Sea at Last)

Composed by Han Seung-seok and Jung Jaeil; written by Han Seung-seok; arranged by Jung Jaeil

4. Sister’s Barbershop – 너의 몸을 흔들어 너의 마음을 움직여 (Shake Your Body Move Your Mind)

Composed by Lee Seok-won and Lee Neung-ryong; written by Lee Seok-won; arranged by Lee Neung-ryong

5. Parasol & Silica Gel –  Space Angel

Composed and arranged by Parasol and Silica Gel; written by Kim Han-joo and Ji Yoon-hae

6. Dok2 – Ambition and Vision (Feat. Beenzino, Changmo, Keem Hyoeun, Hash Swan, The Quiett)

Composed and arranged by GroovyRoom; written by Dok2, Beenzino, Changmo, Keem Hyoeun, Hash Swan, and The Quiett

7. Kim Mok-in, Siwa, Hwang Puha – 집에 가자 (Let’s Go Home)

Composed and written by Hwang Puha; arranged by Hwang Puha and Kim Mok-in

8. IU – 밤편지 (Through the Night)

Composed and arranged by Kim Je-hui and Kim Hee-won; written by IU

9. Sumin – Sparkling

Composed and arranged by Sumin; written by Sumin and Jinbo

10. Imlay – Rule the Fire (Feat. Yeseo)

Composed by Imlay and Yeseo; written by Yeseo; arranged by Imlay

11. Code Kunst – 향수 (Perfume) (Feat. Nucksal)

Composed and arranged by Code Kunst; written by Nucksal

12. Loona/Jinsoul – Singing in the Rain

Composed and arranged by Ludwig Lindell, Daniel Caesar, Nils Pontus, Petersson, Karl Oskar-Julius & Gummesson; written by MonoTree

Sources: artist profile images from Bugs Music.

Read our past series:

2016 In Review

2015 in Review

2014 in Review

2013 in Review

2012 in Review

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