Thursday, January 17, 2013

[korean music in 2012] part 2: top 20 albums

Finally! And out of sheer laziness, once again I'm posting the yearly review post in mid January. Wow. Maybe one of these days I'll actually post them before the year's over. (Probably not.)

This is the best albums post. It took me a lot longer than expected because I kept finding music from 2012 that I haven't listened to yet, and I wanted to check them out before making the list. And then I ran into the problem of narrowing the list down, which was extremely difficult. I knew my top 5 albums, but there were so many other albums I thought were worth talking about. In the end, since I couldn't narrow it down to 10 (+3) like last year, I decided to go with 20 albums. This is what I consider 20 of the most notable albums from 2012. I listened to roughly 110-120 Korean albums this year, including EPs and compilations. The album cover quilt above includes most of the 2012 releases that I checked out. (I'm sure I'm missing a few. I didn't keep a good track of everything for the earlier half of the year...) I honestly considered not making the album list because the 30 top songs post took me ages and I was stuck, but I knew I had to make the post, since I spent so much time thinking about it. Again, a couple of things:

  • This list only includes albums released between January 2012 and November 31, 2012
  • This list is subjective to my tastes, as you can see from what I generally listened to over the year. For example, it's severely lacking hip-hop since I didn't listen to any of that this year except for a couple of albums. 
  • Although the ratings are subjective, I did try to look at them from a more critical point-of-view, taking into consideration things such as: lyrics, continuity, originality, musicality, execution, etc. 
Check under the cut for the full list! This list took way too long, and it's very poorly written & probably won't make much sense. I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

[korean music in 2012] part 1: top 30 songs

This is the long overdue post of the best Korean songs of 2012! If you've seen my annual posts from 2011 at all, I made a couple of huge changes this time around. Most obvious change would be that in 2011, I only focused on Korean indie music. I made a top 10 list of Korean indie songs and top 10 of Korean indie albums. However, 2012 was the year the word 'indie' started losing meaning to me, as the line between indie and whatever's-not-indie started to blur, and I frankly did not care much if an artist was indie or not. So here it is: top 30 Korean songs of the year.
Another big change would be that in this list there are 30 songs, as opposed to last year's 10. Again, I paid more attention to music in 2012, and the pool of candidates was a whole lot bigger than 2011. In 2011, there were around 150 songs I considered for this list. In 2012, I had 350. I'm not saying 2012 was a better year for Korean music, because I personally don't think it was; I just listened to more stuff on time in 2012. Keep in mind that the length of the lists have nothing to do with the quality of music that year, since it's always subjective to the releases of that particular year.
And the last change  I made is that this list only encompasses songs released from January 1, 2012 to November 30, 2012. None of the December releases are included in this list, because December was an incredibly busy month for me, and I just didn't have the time to check out any new music from December. (Heck, I didn't have time to check out some notable albums from November as well.) I'll include December's music in the 2013 lists, so no worries. I might do that for the future annual lists as well, maybe get them out of the way sooner...
And as far as these lists go, no same artist is listed more than once, except one exception this time because of a certain producer who featured different artists on the two songs I included. I knew both songs had to be on the list, so I made an exception this time. (Both are in the top 10. You might even know who it might be already...)

Anyway, as always, these 'best of 2012' lists are subjective to my tastes, although I do try to look at things from a more critical viewpoint as well. But knowing myself, these lists will be heavily lacking some hip-hop since I don't tend to listen to much of that. (Or any of the non-'pop'/contemporary popular music genres, like jazz, classical, etc.) I excluded the most obvious pick, Psy's "Gangnam Style" because yeah yeah, I know it's a great song, but it has lost its touch since the exposure and it's really not that incredible without the music video. Also excluded for a music video-related reason is G-Dragon's "One of a Kind" - a great song in every aspect, but the music video turned me off so much I started disliking the song, too.

Check under the cut for what I deemed were the best 30 songs of 2012 for one reason or another. Warning you ahead, it's very wordy. Included in the end is a link to the 8track playlist of all 30 songs, so feel free to check that out, if you want to listen to the songs!