Review

2021 In Review: Day 15 – Other Recognition

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2021 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, though some like “best title” tend to recur.

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 Adaptation of the Thousand Character Classic: Lil Cherry & Goldbuuda – 하늘천따지 (1000 Words)

Best AI-composed Track: E.so – Orgel. Co-composed by Nuvo (a person) and Aimy Moon (the AI).

Best Lean Into a Once-Embarrassing Meme: Chae Yeon – 난 가끔 눈물을 흘린다 (Sometimes I Shed Tears)

Best Liner Notes:

  • Gerda – Didi, and every liner note released with its pre-release single.
  • Ohyoung – 나의 분해 (Irreversible)

Best Medical-Themed Album Performed by Actual Doctors: Frontal Lobe Injury – 전두엽손상 (Frontal Lobe Injury)

Best Music Video: Alphabetical order.

  • BewhY – Celebration
  • Bibi – 인생은 나쁜X (Life Is a Bi…)
  • Changmo – 모래시계 (Moraesigye)
  • Chungha – Bicycle
  • DPR Ian – No Blueberries (Feat. DPR Live, CL)
  • eAeon – 어쩌면 (Maybe)
  • (G)I-dle – 화 (Hwaa)
  • Giriboy – 사랑이었나봐 (It Was Love)
  • Hwasa – I’m a 빛 (I’m a B)
  • Jung Jae-hyung – The Wave
  • Kid Milli & Dress – Bankroll (Feat. Okasian)
  • Liliboi & Wonstein – Friends (Prod. Slom)
  • Loona – PTT (Paint the Town)
  • Mirae – Killa
  • Nell – 유희 (U-Hee)
  • ONF – 여름 쏙 (Popping)
  • Penomeco – Jaja
  • Seori – Trigger
  • Thama – Blessed (Feat. G.Soul)

Best Track Titles: Youra – Gaussian

Best Translation of a Song Title:

  • Shuya – 스무우울넷 (Twentyfourlorn). The wit in making “우울” (depression) into “forlorn”, then tying it into the age of 24 in the same way as the original.
  • LeeZe – 나는 꽃, 너는 봄 (My Spring, Your Flower). The original reads “I Am Flower, You Are Spring”. Nice interpretation.

Best Tribute to Girls’ Generation: Lil Cherry – G! Not to mention the remix starring Hyo herself.

Funkiest Kitsch Hip-hop of the Year: Moai – 미러볼 (Mirror Ball) (Feat. Don Mills) (Prod. Alive Funk)

Hardest Drop by Relative Abruptness: Nuol – 나랑 (With Me) (Feat. Sound Kim, Boi B)

Healthiest Music of the Year:

  • J-Tong – 떠나자 푸른 바다로 (Go to Sea) (Feat. No Brain)
  • J-Tong – 하하하하하하하하하 (Hahahahahahahahaha) (Feat. Northfacegawd)

Longest Awaited Comebacks:

  • Im Baek-chun – 새로운 길 (New Way) (30 years)
  • Monsoon Nui – Monsoonnui 4 (10 years)

Longest Band Name to Debut in 2021: The Giant Cloud Band – 과일 사탕 (Fruit Candy). The Korean name is 엄청커다란구름에게잡아먹히는꿈을꾸었다, or IDreamedIWasGettingEatenByAVeryLargeCloud.

Longest Titles:

  • Lolly – 난 외로운사람이고 너도 외로운사람이야 근데 이 길을 우리둘이걸어도 수백명이걸어도 외롭다는걸 알고있어 근데 그 수백명사이에서 사랑받고싶어하는건 더 괴로운일이야 (I’m a lonely person, and you’re a lonely person. But even if the two of us walk along the road, even if hundreds of people walk, I know it’s lonely, but wanting to be loved among hundreds of people is even more painful). Somehow the presence of punctuation in the official translation detracts from the presentation.
  • Jang Myung-sun – 함께 커피 한잔할 수 있는 저 먼 미래를 가리키며 (That Distant Future When We Can Share a Coffee)

Longest Tracks:

  • Dakini Space – White Tara Healing Mantra (29 minutes and 4 seconds)
  • Silica Gel – S G T A P E – 01 (24 minutes and 33 seconds)

Most Amusing Self-Production Project: OnlyOneOf – Produced by [Myself]

Most Chaotic Collection of Track Names in an Album: Kimmineralwater – Water in the Shell

Most Curiosity Generated from Title: Younha – 6년 230일 (Tik-Tok), or “Six Years and 230 Days”.

Most Difficult Album: Bek Hyunjin – Csimplex 04

Most Havoc Wreaked on Music Databases: ??? – 영향력 (Influence). I think this artist name actually isn’t accepted as a valid input on certain sites, because Melon has them as “Question Mark” and YouTube has them as “Various Artists”. Spotify correctly lists them as ???.

Most Homages Paid to Old Hip-hop: Bronze – 선수 입장 (Straight Up) (Feat. Bassagong, Don Mills, Puff Daehee)

Most International Song: Lang Lee – 임진강 (Imjingang). Written by a Korean poet about a river in North Korea, originally sung by a Japanese band, covered by a South Korean musician with the first two verses in Japanese and the last in Korean.

Most Over-the-Top Commitment to Grandeur in Idol Concept: Kingdom – History of Kingdom

Most Over-the-Top Commitment to Horror in Idol Concept: Pink Fantasy – 기기괴괴 (Tales of the Unusual)

Most Quietly Decent Idol Solo Debut: Cats Drink Coke – Hold on Tight

Most Unexpected Dance Performance: Sung Si-kyung – I Love U

Most Welcome Reunions:

  • Hyolyn & Dasom – 둘 중에 골라 (Summer or Summer)
  • Jenyer – 숲 (Soop) (Feat. Heo Gayoon)

Most Welcome Self-Remakes:

  • Justhis & Paloalto – 4 the Youth Freestyle
  • KCM – 흑백사진 (An Old Love Story) (2021)
  • Shin Ji – Always (2021)

Unintentional Meme Song of the Year: Justhis – You. Seems well-poised to join the ranks of “Funny Song”, “Baby”, “Gang”, and so on.


Lyric translations by author. Artist profile and album cover images from Bugs Music. Header image from Seori on YouTube.

Read our past series:

2020 In Review

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review

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