Review

2018 In Review: Day 13 – Rookie Artist Of The Year

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2018 In Review

1. Introduction + Best Album Art
2. Song of the Year
3. Album of the Year
4. R&B and Soul
5. Rock and Alternative
6. Rap and Hip-hop
7. Dance and Electronic
8. Pop and Ballad
9. Folk and Country
10. Jazz and Blues
11. Crossover and World
12. Best Collaborative Work
13. Rookie Artist of the Year
14. Artist of the Year
15. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

Reviewing the year’s new faces is an exciting task each time. Not only do they represent the future of the scene, but the fact that these rookies have already accomplished so much in their first year is a testament to the talent and potential they possess. The class of 2018 was well-represented in the electronic sphere, with several rookie girl groups showing particular accomplishment; elsewhere, rock and pop also saw strong contributions from young talent.

Some ground rules for today:

  • To be considered as a rookie, an artist or group must have released their first album, first single, or second single between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016. Thus artists who have released two or fewer singles prior to this period are still considered rookies. Note that we are increasing this number from one single in previous years. One notable artist who does not meet this criterion due to having three pre-2018 singles was Lofibaby.
  • Work done in compilation albums, audition shows, soundtracks, and featured performances do not count towards the above. Only full-fledged singles/albums carrying the artist’s billing.
  • Group and band members who debut solo are not considered rookies, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • “Next-Best Ten” is in alphabetical order.

Rookie Artist of the Year 2018

Vinxen

For EP 제련해도 (Smelting); singles “그대들은 어떤 기분이신가요 (How Do You Feel)” and “별 (Star)”; and featured appearances with GroovyRoom, New Champ, Zene the Zilla, Ovan, Eptend, Giriboy, Yenjamin, Young Kay, Babylon, and Key

In our series [see Day 6, Day 7, Day 12]: Best Collaborative Song and Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Song for “My Paradise”; Next-Best Ten Collaborative Song for “How Do You Feel”; Honorable Mention Rap and Hip-hop Album for Smelting; Honorable Mentions Rap and Hip-hop Song for “Sinking Down With U” and “Yoo Jae Suk”; Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “Star”

A number of rappers, of late, have brought psychological struggles and vulnerabilities to the forefront of their writing; while artists like Swings and San E have participated, the work of younger emcees like Kid Milli and Woo Won-jae has arguably established a focused musical style around it (not unlike emocore in concept, if in practice). Vinxen stepped into this scene with eruptive stories to tell, and immediately began to produce attention-worthy work: even apart from the High School Rapper performances, Smelting had interesting interplay between aggressive sounds and introspective stories while “How Do You Feel” held some of the rawest, matter-of-factly pained lines in hip-hop this year. He also became one of the hottest names for collaboration, merging his style even with heady club tunes like “My Paradise”. With yet another album out earlier this month, the 18-year-old shows no signs of stopping.

Runner-up Rookie Artist of the Year 2018

Elaine

For full-length album 1; single “Wake Me Up”; collaborative single “Goodbye”; OST work on Rain or Shine, Mistress and Mister Sunshine; and featured appearances with Master Class, Chung Won-young, and Mothervibes

In our series [see Day 8, Day 9, Day 12]: Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Album for 1; Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Song and Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “Goodbye”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song for “Wake Me Up”; Honorable Mention Folk and Country Song for “Psycho”

Elaine’s debut album was a tour-de-force in all phases of the art form. Her songwriting and arrangements straddled folk, pop, and rock in nostalgic and memorable combinations; her writing, including some early forays into Korean lyricism, was evocative; her rich, dryly expressive voice often stole the show away with veteran depth that went beyond her years. This album and other 2018 work from Elaine were reminiscent of a few other debuts that flashed uncommon vocal tones and melody-making talent – Hee Young, Fromm – and were just as polished as their early work. She has immense potential for growth in multiple musical directions, which is always an exciting prospect.

The Next-Best Ten

Cacophony

For full-length album 和 (화) (Harmony)

In our series [see Day 7, Day 8]: Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Album for Harmony; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Song for “로제타 (Rosetta)”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song for “숨 (Breath)”

Corduroy

For EP Telling the Truth in Love

In our series [see Day 8]: Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Song for “Concentrate”

(G)I-DLE

For EP I Am; single “한 (Hann)”; collaborative single “Pop/Stars”; OST work on Running Man; participation in United Cube compilation; and solo releases by Soyeon

In our series [see Day 7, Day 12]: Runner-up Best Collaborative Song for “Wow Thing” (Soyeon); Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Song for “Latata”; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Album for I Am; Honorable Mentions Dance and Electronic Song for “Maze” and “Pop/Stars” (Soyeon, Miyeon); Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “One”

IZ✱ONE

For EP COLORIZ

In our series [see Day 7]: Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Album for COLORIZ; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Song for “라비앙로즈 (La Vie en Rose)”

Lee Gwon-hyeong

For full-length album 교회가 있는 풍경 (The Local Church); collaborative album 인천의 포크 (Folk of Incheon); singles “수봉공원 (Soobong Amusement Park)” and “숨바꼭질 (Hide and Seek)”; and collaborative single “언젠가 (Someday)”

In our series [see Day 3, Day 9, Day 12]: Best Folk and Country Album and Next-Best Ten Album of the Year for The Local Church; Next-Best Ten Folk and Country Album and Next-Best Ten Collaborative Album for Folk of Incheon; Next-Best Ten Folk and Country Song for “날 보러 와요 (Come to See Me)”; Honorable Mention Folk and Country Song for “교회가 있는 풍경 (The Local Church)”

Loona

For EP [+ +]; single “favOriTe”; sub-unit EP by Loona yyxy; and solo releases by Chuu, Go Won, and Olivia Hye

In our series [see Day 7]: Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Song for “Egoist” (Olivia Hye, JinSoul); Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Album for [+ +]; Honorable Mentions Dance and Electronic Song for “favOriTe”, “열기 (Heat) (9)”, “Stylish”, “Heart Attack” (Chuu), and “Frozen” (Loona yyxy)

Ryu Jisu

For EP Period Folding; singles “호접몽 (Bitter’fly)”, “족쇄 (Shackles)”, “어른이니까 (Yet)”; and featured appearance with Acoustie

In our series [see Day 4, Day 11, Day 12]: Runner-up Best Crossover and World Song for “어먼 소리 (Words From Nothing)”; Next-Best Ten Collaborative Song for “Yet”; Honorable Mention R&B and Soul Song for “Shackles”; Honorable Mentions Crossover and World Song for “발병 (Wish You)” and “Bitter’fly”

Solah

For full-length album Beautiful Imperfection and singles “공허할때 (Emptiness)” and “Love Is Everything”

In our series [see Day 2, Day 10]: Best Jazz and Blues Album and Next-Best Ten Album of the Year for Beautiful Imperfection; Next-Best Ten Jazz and Blues Song for “Pearl in the Ocean Deep”; Honorable Mention Jazz and Blues Song for “Emptiness”

The Magus

For full-length album Treasure and single “Child’s Water”

In our series [see Day 3, Day 5]: Next-Best Ten Song of the Year and Runner-up Best Rock and Alternative Song for “Jailbreak”; Honorable Mentions Rock and Alternative Song for “Child’s Water” and “Seoul Ground”

YeaSeol

For EP 시집 (Anthology) and single “Duvet”

In our series [see Day 5, Day 8]: Next-Best Ten Rock and Alternative Song for “태초의 아침 (The First Morning)”; Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Album for Anthology

Honorable Mentions

404 NotFoundead
Airy
Ateez
Aum
Cables
Divin’
Dutch Trap
e_so
Fallanc
Gong Haim
GWSN
Haon
Han Da-hye
Herd
Jang Sooa
Katie
Kim Young-geun
Letom
Lokid
Minseo
Mona
Monotheism
Nashpeep
Rothy
Ryno
Sobae
Stray Kids
Sunmi Kim
The Barcode
Villain
Woogotsa
Woorim
Yoojimong
Youngveenew
Youra
Yourbeagle
Zakuzi


Lyric translations by author. Artist profile and album cover images from Bugs Music and artist Facebook pages.

Read our past series:

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review