2020 In Review: Day 12 – Best Collaborative Work

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2020 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

Collaborations are the lifeblood that keeps music often so inventive and refreshing, so it’s only natural to recognize the year’s best. 2020 saw plenty of what we think of as great collaborations – creating unexpected sound or synergy, reaching untapped audiences, or simply realizing an unlikely partnership.

The Collaborative Work section is the only one where works from the genre sections can reappear, and that applies to the Song of the Year and Album of the Year finishers as well. We do try to vary the picks here a bit to keep things fresh, however.

The “next-best ten” and honorable mention lists are sorted by artist name.

The 2020 Best Collaborative Work Spotify playlist is here and also embedded below:


Best Collaborative Album 2020

The Blank Shop – Tailor

An album like this now seems natural for Yun Seokcheol, the jazz pianist who’s been showing voracious interest in collaborating across styles and generations for a while now. Under the pen name of The Blank Shop, Yun put together an eclectic album that went far afield of jazz and into R&B, blues, electronica, and more. Look at some of the featured names: Sunwoojunga, 10cm, Ha Heonjin, Wonpil, Yerin Baek, Cadejo, Lee Jin-ah, Hello Gayoung. Yun sometimes tailor-made pieces to the guest’s style – “No Place to Retreat”, “LAN Escape”, and “What I Can’t Do” could have easily passed for solo work by 10cm, Lee Jin-ah, and Hello Gayoung – but also wasn’t afraid to mix it up with imaginative vision of what the artist could do, like in the sweeping elegance of “We Are All Muse” and spellbinding jam of “AmoneThat’sCapone”. Corralling all this fierce individuality, with a healthy serving of Yun’s own varied interests, into the coherently pleasant and brightly lit Tailor was an impressive feat for the now-producer.

The Runner-up

Alive Funk – Di-Ana

It always feels like a little bit of cheating to pick a hip-hop producer for this category, but in 2020 Di-Ana stood out even from this typically fertile group. Alive Funk’s great feat wasn’t just the management of a huge cast of guest talent – 24 officially credited featured artists, some from outside of hip-hop and R&B like We Are the Night frontman 9z and the electronic producer Yeseo – but also constructing the analog-noir environment for these artists to write about and inhabit. The production was dark, rich and tactile, with Alive Funk opting to play every single note of every instrument in the album rather than use samples and loops; the featured rappers and singers bought into the vision, bringing their introspective struggles and nocturnal reflections to the studio. Di-Ana‘s stories thus formed a fascinating kaleidoscope around ideas unspoken yet related, and that’s often the best kind of collaborative album there is.

The First Ten Out

Avin – Tranche

BewhY & Simba Zawadi – Neo Christian

Code Kunst – People

DJ Wegun & Jay Park – Everybody Sucks

GiiANA & B Jyun. – Stereo/Mono

Kim Hyun-chul – Brush

Kingchi Mane & Van Gogh – 붉은 포도밭 (The Red Vineyard)

Kirara – KM2

Lee Heemoon & Prelude – 한국남자 2집 (Korean Men 2nd)

Noah1luv – Past Present Future


Best Collaborative Song 2020

eAeon – Mad Tea Party (Feat. Swervy)
Written by eAeon, Swervy
Composed/arranged by eAeon

There are a few collaborations every year that make you go, “Where did that come from?” Gearing up for his second solo album after nine years, eAeon’s opening shot was surprising not only because his depressing glitch-hop electronica took a swerve into hip-hop, but also because the man just hasn’t really brought anyone into his solo work – recall Guilt-Free and Realize both had zero outside vocals. But in “Mad Tea Party”, Swervy’s attitudinal, slightly raspy rapping turned out to be an incredible fit for eAeon’s characteristically grotesque soundscape, seeming to sink into the quicksand of distorted bells and guitars. What’s more, Swervy’s intensely focused lyricism and very presence seemed to give the track an electric jolt, both accelerating its narrative of unmoored sanity and taking it to a more violent place. I’m not sure there’s anything that could have made one more excited for the direction of this coming album.

The Runner-up

A.Train & Budung – 우리가 불 속에 놓고 온 것들 (Things We Left in the Fire)
Written/composed by A.Train, Budung
Arranged by A.Train

The alternative R&B scene offers many unexpected and fruitful collaborations, and 2020 didn’t disappoint. A.Train invited Budung, whose best work has been in the folk genre, into his brand of viscous and ambient PBR&B in “Things We Left in the Fire”. She responded with an astonishingly natural, silky performance, and it seems that her penchant for sharp and steely writing (sometimes literally – see “Sword” from Day 9) had a good hand in crafting the striking lyrics as well. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as a lot of A.Train’s usual lyricism, but this story of a relationship that’s traveled past ruin still spoke in vivid abstraction that left a fair bit unsaid. That was just as well with the two vocalists’ amorphous voices bleeding into the ambience and into each other, forming a moment that seemed to disappear into smoke and ether almost as quickly as it came together.

The First Ten Out

Chancellor, Jay Park, Lee Hi, Bibi, Jamie, Moon, Bumkey, Samuel Seo, Suran, Babylon, Hoody, Sumin, Mrshll, Ann One, ELO, Twlv, Oceanfromtheblue, Jiselle, Sole, Thama, K.vsh, Jinbo, Jerd, Soovi, B.E.D., Xydo, Owell Mood, None – Automatic Remix

HA:TFELT – Sweet Sensation (Feat. Sole)

Hyo – Dessert (Feat. Loopy, Jeon Soyeon)

IU – 에잇 (Eight) (Prod./Feat. Suga)

Kim Ximya – Looooose Controlla (Feat. CL)

Lee Jeong-seon & BJ Yoon Evil Force – 항구의 밤 (Harbour Night)

Lim Heon-il – 오늘만큼은 (Today) (Feat. Sunwoojunga)

Samuel Seo – Gae Na Ri (Feat. Yerin Baek)

Sunwashere – 밤과 낮 (Night and Day) (Feat. eAeon) (Jeon Yonghyeon Remix)

Yoon Jong-shin – Spare (Feat. Yumdda)

Honorable Mentions


Architects Records – Hyper Romance Vol. 1
Cott – Rotary
Crush – With Her
Dayday, Shupie, Baesuyong – 데슈용 (DaeShuYong)
DeeDee & Choyoung – 38 Clearway St.
Glowingdog – Mixture
Gwangil Jo & Brown Tigger – 신세계 (New World)
Kang Asol & Im Bora – 유영 (Drifting)
Long Drive – EP. 01
Mild Beats – 화면조정 (Screen Adjustment)
Minit – Universe
Nuck & Beautiful Disco – Shine
Rainbow99 X Nwit – Telekid; On Marble
Sojeso X WDRW – Gorgeous Panic
Sojeso, Mignon – 90 Broke
Somdef – MorningMare
Viann X Shindrum – Via Drum
Yeji Kim & Sunki Kim – Daydream
Yunini & Bak Junghun – Lacuna Inc.


20 Years of Age – 새벽을 달려 (Run Dawn) (Feat. Juniel)
Ahn Jung-ah – 내게 남은 여름 (Summer Night) (Feat. Soohyul April Jang)
Andn – 샬롯 (Charlotte) (Feat. Lee Seol-ah)
Baek Ji-young & Ong Seong-wu – 아무런 말들도 (Didn’t Say Anything)
Basick X Gwangil Jo – 정리해고 (Layoff)
Bassagong – Rainbow (Feat. YDG)
Cadejo – Cyber Holiday (Feat. Nucksal)
Chillin Homie – South Side (Feat. J-Tong)
Chun Yong-sung – 중학생 (A Student) (Feat. Lim Ju-yeon)
Code Kunst, Choi Jung-hoon, Simon Dominic – 사라진 모든 것들에게 (For the Gone) (with Elle Korea)
Coffee Boy, Hyunhee Seen, Lee Han-chul, Joa Band, J Hyesun, Park Yoon-sik, MC Meta, Thomas Cook, Lee Sang-mi, Hey Men, Seo Chang-seok, Lee Eun-sang, Corner Store of the Soul, Shin Dong-hoon, Park Sung-yong- Super Star (Sing Together)
Cosmic Boy – 겨울 (Winter) (Feat. Sunwoojunga, Youra)
Deepflow – 500 (Feat. Hangsuk)
Dynamic Duo & Chen – 혼자 (You)
Fromm – Aliens (Feat. Kim Feel)
Geeks – Heartbreak Hotel (Feat. DeVita)
Gonne Choi – 우정의 정원으로 (To the Garden of Friendship) (Feat. Kim Sawol, Kwak Pureunhaneul, Jungwoo, Mongrim, Haeto)
HA:TFELT – 피어싱 (Piercing) (Feat. Thama)
Hartts – Bloom Again (Feat. Summer Soul)
Hitchhiker X Sokodomo – Sugar
Hyangni – 아로마테라피 (Aromatherapy) (Feat. Telefonist)
JeA – Greedyy (Feat. Moonbyul)
JeA, Cheetah, Oh Hayoung, Seo Eunkwang, Parc Jae-jung – With a Song
Jerry.K – 하품 (Yawn) (Feat. Siwa)
J.Y. Park – When We Disco (Feat. Sunmi)
Khundi Panda – 집 (Home) (with Hippy was Gipsy)
Kim Oki – 내 이야기는 허공으로 날아가 구름에 묻혔다. (Story) (Feat. Samuel Seo)
Kona – 옷장 (Closet) (Feat. Yun Seokcheol)
Loopy – Neo Seoul Love (Feat. Yerin Baek)
Lowdown 30 – 반나절이지나도 (Bannajeol Blues) (Feat. Lionclad)
Lowdown 30 X MC Meta (Feat. DJ Wrecks) – 소릴높여! (Pump Up the Volume)
Malo – 우리는 (We Are) (Feat. Song Chang-sik)
Mandy & Doojinsoo – B
Max – Lie (Feat. Chungha)
MUTI – Color (Feat. Jung In)
Nuol – Toledo (Feat. EK, Sokodomo, Bill Stax, Qim Isle)
Park Soyu – 우리의 밤은 길지 않으니 (Our Nights Are Not Too Long) (Feat. Kim Nae-hyun)
Park Won – Oh Yeah (Feat. Sunmi)
Paul Blanco – 널 위해 (For You) (Feat. Hwanhee)
Paul Kim & Chungha – Loveship
P-Type – Explicit Content (Doppelgangem Remix) (Feat. Justhis, Illinit, Don Malik)
Queen Wa$abii – 누나와따 (Nuna Right Here) (Feat. Lee Young-ji)
Raiden X Chanyeol – Yours (Feat. Lee Hi, Changmo)
Sogumm & Ohhyuk – 야유회 (Yayou Hoi)
Sumin & Zion.T – 더럽게 (Dirty Love)
Summer Soul – Tinder (Feat. Justhis)
Sung Si-kyung & IU – 첫 겨울이니까 (First Winter)
Surl – Don’t Say No (Feat. Jay Park)
Swervy – 파랑 (Blue) (Feat. Captainrock of Crying Nut)
Taru – I Am Sorry (Prod. Sentimental Scenery)
The Cross – 송곳 (Spike) (Feat. Park Ki-young)
Viini – 달을 사랑해 (Love the Moon) (Feat. Lee Suhyun, Bloo)
Woo – Job (Feat. Tiger JK, Qim Isle)
Woo – 칙칙폭폭 Freestyle (Chik Chik Pok Pok Freestyle) (Feat. Jvcki Wai, Simo of Y2K92)

All album art from Bugs Music. eAeon/Swervy cover image from Poclanos on YouTube.

Read our past series:

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review