2017 In Review: Day 5 – Dance And Electronic

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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

Tropical house and future bass continued to dominate charts in 2017, and those styles are certainly well-represented here below. But we saw a generous helping of experimental fare from the indie electronic scene, while many idol groups remained steadfast in cultivating and refining their signature styles. We have a healthy diversity on tap today.

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.


Best Dance and Electronic Album 2017

Yeseo – Million Things

I’d been inclined to think of Yeseo as an R&B artist until last year, and her (excellent) past works tended to be some combination of serene, tense, and dreamy in both lyrics and sounds. She unveils a much broader spectrum in this entirely self-produced debut EP. Million Things is surprisingly wide open in sound, and the album’s heart is its densely packed electronics. Mixing and matching  from a fundamentally sound toolkit – satisfying harmonics, manipulated tension, rich instrumentation – Yeseo also shows off a seemingly natural penchant for interesting melody and creative instrumental motifs. When these pieces come together and rush ahead at full speed, Million Things casts an irresistible hypnosis. The three-track stretch of “Rude”, “My Youth”, and “Deeper Than Love”, in particular, is an absolute tour de force and stand as the best ten minutes of any 2017 album. You don’t want to miss this one.

Runner-up Dance and Electronic Album 2017

Taemin – Move

Through his volumes of solo work, Taemin has built a musical identity separate from SHINee’s: he’s more brooding, more atmospheric, a little more intentionally seductive than the parent group. Move develops this style further, by directing its compositions away from the immediately catchy and towards the subtly attractive. Move isn’t really sustained by sensory overload or killer refrains (though it has a couple decent ones). Instead, it’s Taemin’s earnest, emotional, and sometimes desperate performances. It’s the slow and inexorable buildups (“Move”, “Stone Heart”), choruses that back away in intensity rather than lean in (“Heart Stop”), a little taste of early noughties minor-chord R&B (“Thirsty”). These tracks just made me enjoy simply inhabiting them, soaking in the collection of moods and sounds. Sometimes, sitting tight is the way to enjoy a dance album.

The First Ten Out

BTS – Love Yourself 承 `Her`

Cifika – Intelligentsia

Heureun – 바깥의 땅 (The Outside of Lands)

Idiotape – Dystopian

Imlay – Shurai EP

Millic – Vida

Kisnue – Overpaint

Rainbow99 – Europe

Red Velvet – Perfect Velvet

Sowall – Favorite


Best Dance and Electronic Song 2017

Imlay – Rule the Fire (Feat. Yeseo)

Like a good short story, a good drop has a twist. And it’s pretty hard to predict what the drop is going to be like in “Rule the Fire”. The setup is pretty tame, as they often are, as a gentle keyboard and deep wobble accompany the whispering verse. Soon the drums kick in, the bass quickens, and the bottom falls out even as the vocalist floats out the chorus. What responds is plucked string ringing out on top of stuttered synths, its pentatonic (I think) scale putting an abrupt exotic flair on the joint. (Though Imlay has pulled something similar not-so-abruptly before.) And that’s really all the song needs: that release is so powerful and addictive that hardly anything else would have mattered. But for good measure, Yeseo also puts in a nuanced performance that magnifies the galvanizing intent of the lyrics. “Take the destiny in your heart”, she says, and then you can take it all, make it all yours, “cause I rule the fire, rule the fire”. Does she speak as destiny itself?  Talk about persuasion.

Runner-up Dance and Electronic Song 2017

Loona/JinSoul – Singing in the Rain

While all of Loona’s work has had sublime sound and direction, “Singing in the Rain” has equal attention to lyrical polish and its interplay with the music. JinSoul first sketches the scene for us, deeply nocturnal and all wet in the air surrounding “you and I”. The drum-based buildup has our unnamed characters also start running towards a sound and “deepening our secret”. The break before the drop also has JinSoul taking stock, noting: “for the sin of having swallowed the daytime sun // Burning up, here I am // This night, left all alone with you”. The piece then launches into cathartic, cascading synths alongside the titular chorus, a direct sonification of what singing in the rain might feel like in this context. The lyrics later have more to offer – are song and rain connected? What about the dual sins of consuming the sun and the stars? – but without even going there, MonoTree did mighty fine work adapting a story that accentuates the music and is enriched by it. It’s a simple idea, but rarely this well done. For that reason, this is perhaps 2017’s purest dance track.

The First Ten Out

Glen Check – Long Strange Days, Pt. 1 (link)

Heureun – 오늘밤은 (Tonight) (no YouTube link)

Hyolyn & Kisum – Fruity (Prod. GroovyRoom) (link)

The KoKos – Better Together (link)

Loona Odd Eye Circle – Sweet Crazy Love (link)

Lovelyz – 지금, 우리 (Now, We) (link)

Nu’est W – Where You At (link)

Pudditorium – AVEC (Feat. Alexis Juliard, Valeris Saidik) (link)

Red Velvet – I Just (link)

Yeseo – My Youth (link)

Honorable Mentions


Big Bang – MADE
Glen Check – The Glen Check Experience EP
Glowingdog – Texture
Loona Odd Eye Circle – Max & Match
Love X Stereo – 37A
Love X Stereo – 37B
The Nod – Adventure
Ohheejung – Short Film
Rainbow99 & Choen Mijji – Alphaville
Red Velvet – The Red Summer
OTAR – 저녁의 조각들 (Pieces of the Night)
Spacecowboy – The M.A.S.K
Twomyung – Between..2
Vixx – 도원경 (Shangri-La)
Seventeen – Going Seventeen
Yeseo – Unkind


Apnea – Direction
April – 따끔 (Lovesick)
Big Bang – 에라 모르겠다 (Fxxk It)
BoA – Camo
Cifika – Ooh-Ah-Ooh
CLC – Call My Name
Ele – Hey
EXO – 전야 (The Eve)
GFriend – Fingertip
Glowingdog – 은둔자들 (The Hermit) (Feat. Savina and Drones)
GroovyRoom – Loyalty (Feat. Ailee, Dok2)
HA:TFELT – Thru the Sky
Hyolyn & Changmo – Blue Moon (Prod. GroovyRoom)
Idiotape – Dystopian
Jang Pil-soon – 아름다운 이름 (Beautiful Name)
JBJ – Fantasy
Jerastar – 꿈속의 꿈 (The Dream in Dreams)
June One Kim & Krystal – I Don’t Wanna Love You
Kard – Oh NaNa
Kim Wan-sun – It’s You
Kim Wan-sun – Oz on the Moon
Kisnue – Different
Laboum – 휘휘 (Hwi Hwi)
Lee Haeri – Pattern
Loona/Choerry & JinSoul – Puzzle
Loona/Kim Lip – Eclipse
Loona/Yves – New
Love X Stereo – Dark and Light
Momoland – 꼼짝마 (Freeze)
The Nod – Meanwhile
O3ohn – Kalt (Feat. Joonie)
OTAR – 여덟시, 불빛, 사람들 (After 8pm)
Palgou – Pilot Light
Pentagon – Like This
Rainbow99 – Night Bus (Feat. HYEJiPARK)
Red Velvet – You Better Know
Seohyun – Don’t Say No
Seo In-guk – BeBe
Seventeen – Highlight
Shinhwa – Touch
Sohee – Spotlight
Solbi – Princess Maker
Sonacvill – 날개 (Wings)
Song Hong-sub – 사랑해요 (I Love You)
Sowall – Lie (Feat. Sunwoo Jung-A)
Susan – 재워줘 (Put Me Sleep)
Taemin – Move
Ten – 몽중몽 (Dream in a Dream)
Twice – Likey
Vano – Fogfall
VAV – She’s Mine
Vixx – 도원경 (Shangri-La)
Wanna One – 에너제틱 (Energetic)
We Are The Night – 그대야 안녕 (Hello and Goodbye)
Winner – Really Really
Yeseo – Deeper Than Love
Yeseo – Fake Love
Yeseo – Rude
Yeseo – Unkind
Yoon Jong-shin – Wi-Fi (Feat. Zico)

Sources: album art from Bugs Music; Yeseo header image from Naver Music

Read our past series:

2016 In Review

2015 in Review

2014 in Review

2013 in Review

2012 in Review

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