2019 In Review: Day 12 – Best Collaborative Work
2019 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
Throughout 2019, artists crossed genres, generations and borders to find like-minded partners with whom to create exciting work together.
The following are songs and albums that particularly benefited from such collaborations, whether by way of an unexpected sound or synergy, reaching an untapped audience, or simply in the realization of an unlikely partnership.
Note that works featured in our Collaborative Work section can be duplicated across the genre sections, though we try to feature a different selection in this category when possible.
- The “next-best ten” and honorable mention lists are sorted by artist name.
- The 2019 Best Collaborative Work Spotify playlist is here and also embedded below:
Best Collaborative Album 2019
Various Artists – 바라던 바다 (Sea That Wished)
I wrote a bit about Sea That Wished on Day 11, but to reiterate, it’s a project album to raise awareness of oceanic pollution issues (particularly around Jeju Island) and initiatives to help combat them. (There are lots of cool little details, like the LPs being produced out of recycled plastic.)
Kim Il-du, Siwa, Jo Dong-hee, and Jaejoo Boys wrote songs based on their experiences in a beachcombing residency, joined by contributions from Kim Mok-in, South Carnival, Park Hey-li, Jang Pil-soon, Kwon Tree, and Say Sue Me.
The compilation, while naturally rooted in folk given these pedigrees, spanned some very different sounds and perspectives that collectively tie back to the sea. There were pensive moments, like Jo Dong-hee’s ode to the ocean’s giving plenitude, as well as inspiring ones like our Crossover and World Song of 2019.
Jaejoo Boys recounts tender moments by the shore, while Say Sue Me’s cheerful lament plays out over the beach. In bringing such stories together, this beautiful collection became something to be preserved and cherished in and of itself.
Kim Hyun-chul – 돛 (Sail)
The featured cast is impressive, yet also quite young: while folks like Baek Ji-young and Lee Han-chul serve as grizzled veterans, the Park Won’s and Hwasa/Wheein’s of the album were unexpected to say the least.
That, along with the fact that so many of the participants are from R&B rather than ballad (see George and Sole) and that these up-and-comers were liberally invited to the production side (Elaine showing up as a lyricist, for example), speaks to Kim’s open-ended approach in finding voices and producers to realize his vision.
From Lena Park’s orchestral anthem to Okdal’s uplifting waltz to So!YoON!’s slow-burning rock ballad, a trove of diverse tracks arose from the legendary singer-songwriter’s collaborative acumen and helped make Sail every bit worth the 13-year wait.
The Next-Best Ten (Alphabetical)
Bronze – East Shore
Dress & Sogumm – Not My Fault
Infinite Flow – Flow Forever
In the Endless Zanhyang We Are & Eyre Llew – Carrier
Kang Asol, Mystery Curtain, Earip – 우리의 만춘 (Our Manchun)
Kim Yunji X Rainbow99 – 소요 (Soyo)
Lil Boi & TakeOne – Good Time for the Team
Maalib & WRKMS – Sustain
Various Artists – 레드불 뮤직 서울 소리 (Red Bull Music Seoul Sori)
Youngjoo Song & Sunny Kim – Tribute
Best Collaborative Song 2019
Mommy Son – 별의노래 (Star Song) (Feat. Eugene Park)
Written by Mommy Son; composed by Ye-Yo!; arranged by Ye-Yo! and Dr.Kwon
Mommy Son started out as “just” kitsch and subversive (which was still enough for our second-best song of 2018), but the flashes of brilliance in the admittedly inconsistent My Sadness gave this project a renewed viability.
“Star Song” was one of those flashes, a track about grief that so effectively blended over-the-top tackiness with authentic empathy that it defied classification.
Eugene Park’s electric violin was crucial in that balance. His wailing solo concentrated the energy of the preceding frenetic choral buildup and personified what it means to “just cry”, a central message of the song. And since we’re talking about a Mommy Son track, yes, the simple absurdity of Park’s grave performance on the brassy dance beat didn’t hurt either.
Gray – 119 Remix (Feat. Various Artists)
Written by Jay Park, Simon Dominic, Loco, Ugly Duck, Woo, Sik-K, Woodie Gochild, Haon, Gaeko, BewhY, Paloalto, G2, Reddy, Sway D, Owen, The Quiett, Changmo, Hash Swan, Keem Hyo-eun, Deepflow, Nucksal, Odee, Rocky L, EK, Los, Chaboom, Swings, Giriboy, No:el, Jvcki Wai, Justhis, Han Yo-han, Yunhway, Jhnovr, Coogie, Punchnello, Penomeco, Dbo, Hangzoo, Geegooin, Boi B, Ja Mezz, Dayday, Junoflo, Flowsik, Killagramz, Yumdda, Uneducated Kid, MyunDo, TakeOne, Gray; arranged by Gray
I have a real soft spot for scene-spanning collaborations like this one. This 21-minute behemoth brought together 51 rappers, representing many of the country’s brightest talents, in one beat and let them go wild.
We could all name our favorite verses – I thought Haon showed us a new edge, Jvcki Wai’s seven-language rap was entertaining, TakeOne’s rhythm was dazzling as expected – but the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, the pleasure of hearing this many excellent and diverse emcees show off their stuff only growing with each passing part.
Much like “One Penny Remix” did in 2007, it took a snapshot of Korean hip-hop in unapologetic attitude and lavish volume. It took over a decade, but we finally got a worthy successor.
The Next-Best Ten (Alphabetical)
Dress & Sogumm – However (Feat. Kim Ximya, Hyun Su)
god – 길 (Road) (Song by IU, Henry, Jo Hyun-ah, Yang Da-il)
Jannabi – Made in Christmas (Feat. Suhyun of AkMu)
Kind, Loopy, Ha Dong-qn – Never Forget
Mad Clown & Stella Jang – No Question
Nafla, Loopy, Lee Young-ji, Pluma – I’m the One
Shin Hae-gyeong – 그대의 꿈결 (Dreaming of You) (Feat. Kim Sawol)
Yesung X Chungha – 지금 어디야? (Whatcha Doin’)
Yoon Ji-young – 언젠가 너와 나 (A Will) (Feat. Car, the Garden)
30 – The Frost on Your Head
Episode – Episode I
Grack Thany – Grack Thany Presents “Wafer”
Issored – Ache
Jolly V & Squareone – Forest
Jungkey – Retro
Kirin & Sumin – Club 33
Loopy & Nafla – LooFla
Punchnello – Ordinary.
QM & Odee – VS
Robbin & 5Joo – 꽃 따러 가자 (Let’s Go to See the Flowers)
Soulsweet & Ryo Moriya – With Ryo Moriya
AshRock – Early Summer (Feat. Amber Navran of MoonChild)
Bek Hyun-jin & Kim Na-un – 그 근처 (Near Hear) (Feat. Kim Oki Saturn Ballad)
Blent. – No Words (Feat. Kim Sawol)
Cas.T – Spacespace (Feat. Won Da-hee)
Cho Kyu-chan – 매일 더 사랑스러운 그대 (I Love You More and More Everyday) (Feat. Fana)
Choyoung & Q the Trumpet – Would You Like to Go With Me? (Prod. by UGP, Eggu)
CHS – 서울몽 (Seoulmong) (Feat. Alan Akaka, Kim Oki, Taeyoon, Kimdoyeon)
Chun Sang-hyeok (David Chun) & Jang Seok-beom – Taisteal (여행)
Code Kunst – Too Late (Feat. JMSN)
Damye – 아사랑에빠지고싶 (Lonely Boy) (Feat. Samuel Seo)
Dress – Ordinary Christmas (Feat. Cheeze, BrotherSu)
Eunha & Ravi – Blossom (Prod. GroovyRoom)
Giriboy – 우린 왜 힘들까 (Why Are We So Tired) (Feat. Jclef) [read our review]
Han Hee-jung – 비유 (Metaphor) (Feat. Kim Sawol)
Han Yo-han – 불꽃 (Fire Flower) (Feat. Jo Hyun-ah)
Horim & Jinbo – Groove
Horim & The Ska Jazz Unit – Smile Again
In the Endless Zanhyang We Are & Eyre Llew – Moeve
Ioah – 빙글빙글 (Bingle Bingle) (Feat. Sumin)
Ja Mezz – 09년 왕십리 (09’s Wangsimni) (Feat. Kim Heung-gook, Bando Kid, Trippy Dog, Common Ground)
Jida – Bloom (Feat. Ga Eun)
Jinbo – 달리기 (Run) (Feat. Zion.T, Joe Won-sun)
Joon Park & Hyukoh – 엉엉 크리스마스 (Christmas Tears)
Jungkey & Musiq Soulchild – My Girl
Junoflo – Autopilot (Feat. BoA)
Key – I Wanna Be (Feat. Soyeon)
Kim Dong-ryul – 동화 (Fairy Tale) (Feat. IU)
Kim Ho-yeon – Silly (Feat. Horim)
Kim Hyun-chul – 한사람을 사랑하고 있어 (Two Girls Love a Man) (Feat. Hwasa, Wheein)
Ku One-chan – 너는 어떻게 (How Did You) (Feat. Baek Yerin)
Land of Peace – Indica (Feat. Motte)
Lee Hi – No Way (Feat. G.Soul)
Lee Sora – 신청곡 (Song Request) (Feat. Suga)
Love X Stereo – Imagining You (Feat. I Made Subandi)
Lyn – 정말 헤어지는 거야 (Farewell) (Feat. George)
Maalib & WRKMS – Blessed (Feat. Simo)
MC Sniper – 야간비행 (Night Flight) (Feat. Rachael Yamagata)
Melten & Wildberry – Starlight
Method – Nothing to Fear (Feat. Raon Lee)
Nell X Third Party – Northern Lights
Park Yong-in – 이제 집에 갈 시간이야 (Time to Go Home) (Feat. Lyn)
Robbin & 5Joo – 꽃 따러 가자 (Let’s Go To See the Flowers) (Feat. 엄프 (Ump))
Ruvin & Moon Jung-hoo – Home
Seogy & Perrie – Vintage
Soyou & Francis – 방콕 (Bangkok)
Stella Jang – 보통날의 기적 (Miracle) (Feat. Paul Kim)
Suran – 그놈의 별 (Hide and Seek) (Feat. Heize) [read our review]
Wisue – 우리에게 쏟아지는 별들을 (Starry Night) (Feat. Ku One-chan)
Xin Seha – 1000 (Feat. Uhm Jung-hwa)
Yesung & Bumkey – Carpet
Lyric translations by author. Artist profile and album cover images from Bugs Music.
Read our past series: