Review

2018 In Review: Day 14 – 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

Artists of the Year are selected holistically, but generally they are going to be artists who showed consistency by releasing multiple good works over the year. (Or alternatively, one really good work can do.) Often their work would also have meant something for other artists or the scene that they are part of, though that is of course difficult to judge less than a year out. That can mean direct or indirect influence, including collaborations and production credits; these ended up an important piece of consideration for 2018. Lastly, there are qualities that can’t be captured purely in a discography: the international recognition of BTS and Say Sue Me, for example, were a big reason for their inclusion.


Artist of the Year 2018

Sumin

For full-length album Your Home; singles “Mirrorball” and “설탕분수 (Sugar Fountain)”; and featured performances and production credits in 21 albums, with Rico, 4th Avenue, Nada, Django, YunB, Woodz, Jay Moon, Dok2, Mrshll, Spray, Park Kyung, Shaun, Paloalto, Odee X Viann, Deep Shower, Sultan of the Disco, BoA, Muzie, Somdef, Jael, and Kirin

In our series [see Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 7, Day 12]: Best R&B and Soul Song, Next-Best Ten Song of the Year, and Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “미끄럼틀 (The Slide)” [Sultan of the Disco]; Runner-up Best R&B and Soul Album and Next-Best Ten Album of the Year for Your Home; Next-Best Ten R&B and Soul Song and Next-Best Ten Collaborative Song for “너네 집 (Your Home)”; Next-Best Ten R&B and Soul Song for “Sugar Fountain”; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Song for “U&I” [BoA]; Honorable Mentions Collaborative Song for “Instant” [Park Kyung] and “Thinking Of” [Shaun]

We were hard-pressed to find a busier or more accomplished artist in 2018 than Sumin. Her songwriting and lyricism was felt in genres ranging from hip-hop to EDM and her voice appeared in numerous memorable tracks, adding up to an unbelievable 21 album credits. While her idol-group production was scaled back from 2017 (when she counted BTS, Red Velvet, and Block B among her clients), her work with BoA still generated one of the year’s best songs in mainstream pop. Sumin brought her inventive hook-writing and narrative voice to everything she did, and an appreciable segment of 2018’s music was colored by this unique style. Oh, and she also found the time to release her first full-length, one of the best R&B albums of the year. So there’s that.

Runner-up Artist of the Year 2018

Echae Kang

For EPs Hitch and Echae en Route [as Echae en Route]; collaborative single “처음 먹는 나이 (Passing)”; and featured performances and production credits in four albums, with Jeong Sewoon, Cho Jung-chi, Mothervibes, and XXX

In our series [see Day 6, Day 8, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12]: Runner-up Best Pop and Ballad Album for Hitch; Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Album for Echae en Route; Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Song for “둘 (Two)”; Honorable Mention Rap and Hip-hop Song for “간주곡 (Ganju Gok)” [XXX]; Honorable Mentions Pop and Ballad Song for “Hitch” and “안녕 (Hi)”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song and Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “Passing”; Honorable Mention Jazz and Blues Song for “Morning Morning Sun”; Honorable Mentions Crossover and World Song for “히피의 아침 (Hippie Morning)” [Mothervibes] and “Every Time You Call My Name” [Mothervibes]

Echae Kang is also no stranger to prolificity, and though 2018 didn’t bring her second album, she did release an EP that arguably outdid her debut as well as another album from the longstanding Echae en Route partnership. Both were excellent, imaginative works that pushed the envelope of string-based crossovers in the pop scene. Meanwhile, her voice, her violin, and her songwriting all featured in collaborations, lending an unmistakable (and arguably irreplaceable, as of now) presence to a diverse array of works.

The Next-Best Ten

BTS

For full-length album Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ and repackage Love Yourself 結 ‘Answer’; collaborative single “Waste It On Me”; and various Japanese releases

In our series [see Day 7]: Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Album for Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’; Honorable Mentions Dance and Electronic Song for “Fake Love” and “Euphoria” [Jungkook]

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)”

Lulileela

For EP Rise from the Ashes; singles “언젠가, 우리 (Someday)”, “You’re Always Right About Love” [as Bye Bye Badman], four singles as Seoulmoon, and five singles as Lee X Lee; and production credits with Lower

In our series [see Day 3, Day 5, Day 7, Day 8]: Next-Best Ten Rock and Alternative Album and Next-Best Ten Album of the Year for Rise from the Ashes; Next-Best Ten Rock and Alternative Song for “Light Beside You”; Honorable Mentions Rock and Alternative Song for “선인장 꽃 (Cactus Flower)”, “You’re Always Right About Love” [as Bye Bye Badman], “해 뜰 때까지 (Till Sunrise)”, and “코코넛 러브 (Coconut Love)” [both as Seoulmoon]; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Song for “Oasis”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song for “Someday”

Monsta X

For full-length album Are You There?; EP The Connect: Dejavu; OST work on Two Yoo Project; and single “그놈의 크리스마스 (Lonely Christmas)”

In our series [see Day 7]: Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Album for Are You There?; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Album for The Connect: Dejavu; Honorable Mentions Dance and Electronic Song for “Jealousy” and “Shoot Out”

 

2018 in review

Moon Jung-hoo

For full-length album 대항해시대 (Age of Exploration)

In our series [see Day 2, Day 8]: Best Pop and Ballad Album for Age of Exploration; Best Pop and Ballad Song and Next-Best Ten Song of the Year for “대항해시대 (Age of Exploration)”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song for “유하 (Yuha)”

Say Sue Me

For full-length album Where We Were Together; single “Just Joking Around”; and collaborative single “We Just”

In our series [see Day 5]: Next-Best Ten Rock and Alternative Album for Where We Were Together; Honorable Mentions Rock and Alternative Song for “Just Joking Around” and “Old Town”

Sunmi

For EP Warning and single “주인공 (Heroine)”

In our series [see Day 7]: Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Song for “Heroine”; Honorable Mention Dance and Electronic Album for Warning

2018 in review

Sunwoo Jung-A

For singles “고양이 (Cat)”, “남 (Fine)”, and “백년해로 (Eternity)”; collaborative single “차트밖에서 (Outside the Chart)”; OST album After My Death and further OST work on Mother, Two Yoo Project, and Just One Bite; and featured work and production credits on 10 albums with Nam Tae-hyun, Colde, Jeong Eun-ji, Chaboom, Lee Moon-sae, Mothervibes, Jung Yong-hwa, Lena Park, Cho Jung-chi, and Car, the Garden

In our series [see Day 2, Day 8, Day 12]: Song of the Year for “Eternity”; Next-Best Ten Pop and Ballad Song for “여정 (Journey)”; Honorable Mention Pop and Ballad Song for “Fine”; Honorable Mention Jazz and Blues Song and Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “Cat”; Honorable Mentions Collaborative Song for “Outside the Chart” and “Every Time You Call My Name” [Mothervibes]

2018 in review

XXX

For full-length album Language; singles “뭐 어쩔까 그럼 (What You Want)”, “Just Like”, and “수작 (Sujak)”; compilation album Kitsune Afterwork, Vol. 1; and OST work on Bad Guys 2

In our series [see Day 3, Day 6]: Album of the Year for Language; Runner-up Best Rap and Hip-hop Song for “S_it”; Honorable Mentions Rap and Hip-hop Song for “18거 1517 (18G 1517)”, “Ganju Gok”, and “Sujak”

Yeseo

For full-length album Damn Rules; singles “춤 (Dance)”, “Privacy”, “각자의 밤 (Night Night)”; OST work on Voice 2; featured performances and production credits on seven albums with WhyMe?, Martin Smith, Justhis & Paloalto, Sleeq, Rico, Lofibaby, and Boymod

In our series [see Day 2, Day 4, Day 6, Day 7, Day 12]: Runner-up Best Dance and Electronic Song and Next-Best Ten Song of the Year for “Bitches Rule”; Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Album for Damn Rules; Honorable Mentions Dance and Electronic Song for “Cigarette Light” and “I Hear You”; Next-Best Ten Rap and Hip-hop Song and Honorable Mention Collaborative Song for “4 the Youth” [Justhis & Paloalto]; Next-Best Ten Dance and Electronic Song for “Physically” [Boymod]; Next-Best Ten Collaborative Song and Honorable Mention R&B and Soul Song for “까지까지까지 (Come Around)” [Rico]; Honorable Mentions Collaborative Song for “Need a Love” [Martin Smith] and “Heat” [Sleeq]


Read our past series:

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review

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