2020 In Review: Day 15 – Other Recognition
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
If this is your first time reading our series, the “Other Recognition” post is where we make up a bunch of “award” categories that you’re not likely to see elsewhere. There are some categories that may be reasonable, but here we run the gamut from the merely atypical to the downright cherry-picked. (Spoiler alert: there’s way more of the latter.) Naturally, the categories change every year.
All these things caught our fancy for one reason or another this year, and it’s a fun way to recognize even more artists and their work for different kinds of excellence, or in some cases, give a gentle ribbing. Most of these did not appear in the main series, so hopefully you will find a new favorite listen or two out of these selections.
Here they are, in alphabetical order.
Best Actual Bandmate Recruitment Through a Song: Long Time No Shit – 드러머를 구합니다. (Drummer Wanted)
Best Adaptation of a Children’s Jingle: Moonbyul – 달이 태양을 가릴 때 (Eclipse)
Best AI-composed Track: A/S – Wheel of Four Tune. No, we are not aware of any others from Korea this year.
Best Anthem for the COVID Era: Lee Juck – 당연한 것들 (Things We Took for Granted)
Best Dr.-Seuss-Style Rhyming Titles: Sunjae Lee – Channel. “Cat Call”, “Adderall”, “Dream All”…. and so on.
Best Fairytale-Style Lyrics: Joohyo – Maze
Best Kitschy Song and Music Video: H3athr Sun – Super Single Magician
Best Korean-French Album: Sichetmalo – Voyage!
Best Music Video: as always, there are numerous picks. Alphabetical order.
- Ahn Da-young – 원래 그런 사람 (Usual Person)
- A.Train – Hurt
- BewhY X Simba Zawadi – 힘 (Hymn)
- Bloo & Nafla – 내 탓 (Nae Tat)
- BTS – On
- Chungha – Stay Tonight
- GFriend – Apple
- Golden Child – One (Lucid Dream)
- Got7 – Not by the Moon
- Jhnovr – U
- Kai – 음 (Mmmh)
- Lenny Makes Some-thing – Turn Me On (Feat. Arcx)
- Loona – Why Not?
- Meaningful Stone – 꿈에서 걸려온 전화 (A Call from My Dream)
- Night Off – 반짝이는 순간들은 너무 예쁘니까 (Because)
- Omega Sapien – Happycore
- Seori – Running Through the Night
- YooA – 숲의 아이 (Bon Voyage)
Best Music Video for an Entire Album: Somdef – MorningMare
Best Orchestral Adaptation of a Pop Song: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra & Park In-young – Red Flavor (Orchestra Ver.)
Best Remix Album: Kirara – KM2
Best Self-Remake: Cheon Miji – Girl (with Piano Shoegazer). Beats out Oh Ji-eun – 물고기 (Fish) (Feat. Ahn Da-young), as well as Lee Soo-young’s series of self-remakes from 2020.
Best Short Story in Album Description: Pictions – 나의 밤에 계단을 놓으면 (Stairway of Night)
Best Song About Another Song(s): ChoiLB – 위로가 될지는 모르겠지만 (Wero)
Best Translation: Kimpomme – 어둠 속의 빛 (The Gleam)
Greatest Number of Standard Math Textbooks Fit into Lyrics: Economy Choi – Math, Fashion and Hiphop, from the aptly-titled album Mathematical Intellection.
Laziest Official Mistranslation: Amado Lee Jaram Band – 오소리 꽃신 (Badger Flower God). The correct translation should be “Badger Flower [Print] Shoes”, which would have been obvious from the lyrics.
Longest Awaited Comebacks:
- Dr. Reggae – Cherry, Beauty, Fairy (15 years)
- Shin Soo-kyung – The Womb (25 years) Incidentally, Shin and Dr. Reggae leader Kim Jang-yoon are married.
- Zaza – 우리, 함께 (Us, Together) (23 years) The iconic 1996 debut single made our list of the greatest idol group songs ever, in the same year they broke an endless hiatus.
- An honorable mention goes to DMTN – Never Forget. Even though it was “only” 7 years, that’s a lifetime in idol group years (literally, considering that the standard contract length is 7 years).
- A perhaps even more honorable mention goes to H – 보고싶어 (Wanna See You). OK, get this: this is the same H who debuted in 1995 and had one hit album in 2003’s slick H Style, before essentially retiring. The guy was away for so long that we already named him to this list back in 2013, when he released “Lose Control” as his first single in 10 years. This one was another 7-year hiatus (though punctuated with a Sugar Man appearance) after that. Respect the hustle.
Longest (Good) Intro: The Midnight Romance – Midnight Romance
Longest Time to Officially Debut: Kim Seok-june, whose first album 20th-Century Boy came out 27 years (!) after his gold-medal-winning unofficial debut at the prestigious Yoo Jae-ha Competition.
- Brown Eyed Girls – 2019년 겨울 첫눈으로 만든 그댈 2020년 눈으로 다시 만들 순 없겠지만 (Snowman)
- Gamichingoo – 세상에 모든 사랑 노래를 네가 저작권 있는 것처럼 불러대 (You Sing Every Love Song in the World As If You Own Copyright)
- Jang Myung-sun – 나의 유령 자매에게: 이리 와, 내가 모든 슬픔을 삼켰어 (To My Ghost Sibling: Come, I Swallowed All Sorrows)
- Kim Sawol – 사랑하는 사람들에게 가장 상처 주는 키를 우리는 모두 가지고 있어 (Key)
(As you can see, the official translations on some of these are criminally short.)
Most Absorbing Narrative About an Insect: Cho Kyu-chan – 모기의 추억 (Mosquito)
Most Brazen Beat: EZUZ – CEO
Most Convincing Mid-Song Pause: The Next Generation – 춤의왕 (The King of Dance)
Most Dominant Chart Performance as a Project Group: Ssak3
Most in Need of an Extended Edition: Jinbo – Houston. Honorable mention to Weissen – Modern Antique (Feat. Han5world).
Most Meaningful Duet Pairing: Sunye & Jo Kwon – 첫 페이지 (First Page). These two have known each other almost 20 years now and their trainee friendship has been well-documented, so this really feels like it’s from another era. Honorable mention to Taru – 미안해 (I Am Sorry) (Prod. Sentimental Scenery), coming back together after almost a decade.
Most Memorable Vocal Performance: Choi Ye-geun – Gloomy Story is the one that sticks out in mind.
Most Mildly Interesting Coincidence: SoYou, a little-known rapper, released his single “우리가 좋아했던 그 시절 (The Days When We Loved)” on April 29, 2020. On that same day, another obscure artist named Soyou – this one a Korean-traditional-fusion band – also released their album 태평가 (Taepyungga). I didn’t even know that there were two other artists sharing aliases with the former Sistar member Soyou, so this was quite amusing.
Most Ohio-Sounding Songs That Aren’t Actually About the U.S. State of Ohio:
- Crush – Ohio (it’s a play on words)
- Nuol – Toledo (Feat. EK, Sokodomo, Bill Stax, Qim Isle) (it’s about Toledo, Spain)
Most Plausible Successor to P-Type’s Verse in One Penny Remix: 27Ring – 븅 (Byoong) (Feat. Kim Shagoon)
Most Popular Song That Didn’t Otherwise Appear in Our Series: Zico – 아무 노래 (Any Song)
Most Potent Duet Remake: Lee Seung-chul & Taeyeon – My Love (Duet ver.)
Most Questionably Long Album: Nochang – 춤추자 (Ajoohcmoohc), clocking in at 2 hours 21 minutes. Yelloasis – SEA Chord deserves a mention at 1 hour 30 minutes.
Most Ridiculous Hip-hop Track by a Comedian: MC Juji (Lee Soo-geun) – 스웩님 (Swag) (Feat. Chin Chilla, Jiselle)
Most Rousing Barbecue Anthem: LA Galbi – Burn the Ribs
Most Significant Trot Album: Na Hoon-A – 아홉 이야기 (Nine Stories), which produced one of the year’s underrated hits in 테스형 (Tes-Hyung).
Most Unexpected but Great Gospel Track: Donghae – Harmony (Feat. BewhY)
Most Unexpected Self-Referencing Throwback: Tiger JK – 심의에 걸리는 사랑노래 (Censored Love Song) (Feat. Twlv), a follow-up of sorts to 2005’s “Uncensored Love Song”, a masterpiece.
Most Unexpected Twist: Gracy – Misery
Most Un-idol-like Idol Music Video: Bvndit – Children. Bvndit was quietly doing some nice unorthodox work the whole year, including this and “Cool”.
Header image from LoonaTheWorld on YouTube.
Read our past series: