2018 In Review: Day 2 – Song 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

Welcome back to 2018 In Review. As mentioned yesterday, this year we’re putting the Song and Album of the Year at the front of the series.

Considerations for Song of the Year include both raw (subjective) musical quality as well as an assessment of impact, influence, and popularity. In this way, this category differs from the genre picks. Sometimes the winner has both types of traits, and sometimes one is just so dominant as to make the other irrelevant.

Note that there’s no rank-ordering of the next-best ten this year, to avoid genre category spoilers. We go in alphabetical order instead.

Song of the Year 2018

Sunwoo Jung-A – 백년해로 (Eternity)
Written, composed, and arranged by Sunwoo Jung-A

The joy of love shares a side of a coin with the fear of loss. “Eternity” put words – passionate, dramatic, even petulant words – to that duality. The narrator asks her listener to “stay until it’s sickening”, “don’t ever leave first”, and “dream of an eternity together”. A rousing, cavernous arrangement of orchestra and choir buoys up Sunwoo Jung-A’s tender confessional, in this deepest expression of affection that didn’t need to use the word “love” once. Nothing here is limited to romantics, and she speaks for anyone who wrestles with losing anyone close to them. It was the realest, broadest, and most moving love song of 2018.

Runner-Up Song of the Year 2018

Mommy Son – 소년점프 (Shonen Jump) (Feat. Bae Gi-sung)
Written by Mad Clown; composed by Mad Clown and Ye-Yo!; arranged by Ye-Yo!

Sure, there were better rap songs in 2018, but none came close to the explosiveness of “Shonen Jump”. After flunking out of Show Me the Money 777 early, the masked rapper who may or may not be Mad Clown returned with a vengeance and proclaimed that “the protagonist never dies”. It helped to have a good track: the powerful brass-rock beat was perfect for the shonen theme, Bae Gi-sung’s rugged hook was my favorite bit of his since 2005, and Mad C… I mean, Mommy Son was sharp in his satirical criticisms. Many emcees have gotten famous off of SMTM; none have subverted the show so thoroughly en route to the year’s most popular hip-hop song. “All according to plan”, indeed.

The Next-Best Ten

Drunken Tiger – Yet
Written by Tiger JK; composed and arranged by Loptimist

Hyolyn – 달리 (Dally) (Feat. Gray)
Written by Hyolyn, Seo Ji-eum, Gray; composed by Hyolyn, Gray, Dax; arranged by Gray and Dax

Katie – Remember
Written, composed and arranged by Kepler

Moon Jung-hoo – 대항해시대 (Age of Exploration)
Written and composed by Moon Jung-hoo; arranged by NotTrue

Rock’N’Roll Radio – The Mist
Written, composed, and arranged by Kim Nae-hyeon, Kim Jin-gyu, Lee Min-woo, Choi Min-kyu

Seventeen – 고맙다 (Thanks)
Written by Woozi, Bumzu, Hoshi; composed by Woozi and Bumzu; arranged by Bumzu and Park Gi-tae @ Prismfilter

Sultan of the Disco – 미끄럼틀 (The Slide) (Feat. Sumin)
Written and composed by Sumin; arranged by Sumin and Nahzam Sue

The Magus – Jailbreak
Written by Choi Jeong-il; composed by Choi Jeong-il, Yoon Seong-in, Kang Young-hoon, Choi Hyung-woo; arranged by Yoon Seong-in

Yeseo – Bitches Rule
Written, composed and arranged by Yeseo

Yoon Jong-shin & Jung In – 추위 (The Coldness)
Written by Yoon Jong-shin; composed by Yoon Jong-shin and Kang Hwa-sung; arranged by Kang Hwa-sung

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

Read our past series:

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review