2020 In Review: Day 2 – Song of the Year

By  | 

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

Welcome back, as we embark on Hellokpop’s 2020 In Review. We begin by recognizing our Song of the Year, alongside the runner-up and ten other standout tracks that contended for this spot.

Considerations for Song of the Year include both subjective assessments of musical quality as well as ones 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.

The “next-best ten” are listed in alphabetical order, to avoid genre category winner spoilers. (Most of these contending tracks will get more detailed treatment in the genre category posts.)

Song of the Year 2020

Lang Lee – 환란의 세대 (The Generation of Tribulation) (Feat. Unnie Choir)
Written/composed by Lang Lee
Arranged by Lang Lee, Lee Dae-bong, Lee Hye-ji, Kim Young-hoon, Mae Ji-wook

The perceptions of some songs, like “The Generation of Tribulation”, end up profoundly colored by the circumstances that bear witness to their release. Even though the track was written long before the coronavirus pandemic and everything that came with it, its consuming yearning for intimacy and companionship offered a timely voice that spoke for many.

And though the lyrics were bleak, unflinchingly speaking of a collective death, the humanity found between the lines – “If we die first, we won’t have to work, won’t need money, won’t have to cry, won’t have to part, won’t have to meet” – belayed the strength helping us all to carry on, together. Set to a folksy, frenetic, even apocalyptic composition, “The Generation of Tribulation” was perhaps unwittingly a striking snapshot of what we went through and what we needed to hear.

The Runner-up

IU – 에잇 (Eight) (Prod./Feat. Suga of BTS)
Written by IU, Suga
Composed/arranged by IU, Suga, El Capitxn

IU has written plenty of catchy tunes, but “Eight” must have been the pop icon’s most anthemic to date. Heart-pounding pace met thrilling progression in a burgeoning composition that stayed faithful to convention (like the singalong back-end of the chorus) while maintaining a distinct tinge of melancholia. IU and Suga sang of a wistful, earnest wish for reunion, defying time and space in search of togetherness. The pair wrote in universal, empathetic language, and so their paradise, this luminous island under the orange sun, offered solace to all carrying loss.

The Next-Best Ten (Alphabetical)

April – Lalalilala
Written/composed/arranged by Moonc, Kang Myeong-shin

Kwon Jin-ah – 뭔가 잘못됐어 (Something’s Wrong)
Written/composed by Kwon Jin-ah
Arranged by Seo Dong-hwan

Lee Juck – Whale Song
Written/composed by Lee Juck
Arranged by Yang Sion

Leenalchi – 범 내려온다 (Tiger Is Coming)
Written/composed/arranged by Leenalchi

Red Velvet – Psycho
Written by Kenzie
Composed by Andrew Scott, Cazzi Opeia, Ejae
Arranged by Druski, Yoo Young-jin

Samuel Seo – 굴레 (Cycle)
Written by Samuel Seo
Composed/arranged by Samuel Seo, Park Beom-seok, Hwang Jae-yeon, Heo Ah-min, Kwon Han-kyeol

Silica Gel – Kyo181
Written/composed/arranged by Kim Han-ju

Sujin – 밤, 울음소리 (Night, Crying Sound)
Written/arranged by Sujin
Composed by Sujin, Lee Ki-jung

Taemin – Criminal
Written by Danke (Lala Studio)
Composed by Lauren Aquilina, Chloe Latimer, Shae Jacobs, Score (13), Megatone (13)
Arranged by Shae Jacobs, Score (13), Megatone (13)

Yeseo – Broken Water
Written/composed/arranged by Yeseo

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

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