Wednesday, July 9, 2014

[2nd Half] 50 Best K-pop Songs of 2013

The second half of the year, at least for me, was a lot stronger than the first half. The stronger players came out with materials that were a lot more thoughtful. It felt as if they had put in all the effort and were looking to close out the year at the top.

There was a lot of great music out there that I feel I didn’t give each one their proper due. The following are the ones that made me feel alive and it felt amazing getting the chance to listen to these releases that were truly brilliant and in their own right, winners. As always, the minimum number of songs I could include by the same artist was two, not too make it too redundant and spread the love around as much as possible.

The list for me is an opportunity to share the unique sounds coming out of South Korea and hopefully, some of the songs can offer you warmth like they did for me.

50. Ticket - CHEEZE
2013.10.29 / Soul, Rap, Dream Pop / Single

49. 걷고, 걷고 (Walk On) - 들국화 (Deulgukhwa)
2013.12.06 / Rock / Album: 들국화 (Deulgukhwa)

48. 불도저 (Bulldozer) - 스윙스 (Swings)
2013.12.27 / Rap / Double Single

47. 저주인형 (Voodoo Doll) - VIXX
2013.11.25 / Pop, Dance / Album: Voodoo

46. 분홍신 (Red Shoes) - 아이유 (IU)
2013.10.07 / Pop, Dance / Album: Modern Times

45. 맘도둑 (Stealer) - 강승윤 (Kang Seung Yoon)
2013.08.14 / Pop Rock, Dream Pop / Single

44. 병이에요 (Spotless Mind) - 정준영 (Jung Joon Young)
2013.10.10 / Pop Rock, / EP: 1st Mini Album

The earlier release of “Spotless Mind” excited me about the prospects of Jung Joon Young’s first mini-album release. However, the other tracks in comparison were lackluster and it was rather disappointing. This track matches up to him really well and gives him an edge and a vintage appeal absent from young artists these days.

43. 하소연 (Please, Please) - 안녕바다 (Bye Bye Sea)
2013.07.12 / Indie Rock / Album: 난그대와바다를가르네 (I Cross The Sea With You)

42. 내가 노래하는 이유 (The Reason I Sing) - 인순이 (Insooni)
2013.09.24 / Ballad / Album: Umbrella

The tremendous vocalist continues dazzling with this album that’s sure to please her fans all the while continuing dropping some pretty classic melodies and tunes. “The Reason I Sing” comes across as genuine and is simply backed by a great vocal performance.

41. Paint It Gold - Glen Check
2013.11.19 / Electronic Pop / Album: Youth!

40. 후회할거야 (Regret) - 2AM
2013.11.27 / Ballad / EP: Nocturne

39. Love, Life, Rap (Ft. Gray) - P-Type
2013.07.29 / Rap / Album: Rap

38. 철부지 (Childlike) - John Park
2013.07.03 / R&B, Ballad / Album: Inner Child

37. 어떤 하루 (One Day) - Urban Zakapa
2013.11.26 / R&B, Ballad / Album: 03

36. In My Dream - Standing Egg
2013.10.04 / Indie Pop / Album: Shine

35. 꿈 (Dream) - 크랜필드 (Cranfield)
2013.11.08 / Rock / Album: 밤의 악대 (A Night’s Band)

34. Kill Bill - Brown Eyed Girls
2013.07.29 / Pop, Dance / Album: Black Box

Just watched Kill Bill a few days ago so this is kinda strange, haha. I’m sure the brown eyed girls don’t have a mission to kill Bill but referencing pop culture works well to one’s advantage. The song itself is nothing extraordinary by their standards but one of the stronger girl group releases. The hooks and edges are so sharp that it could kill Bill for sure, definitely a work of Hattori Hanzo.

33. 할말 있어요 (Gotta Talk to U) - Seungri (BIGBANG)
2013.08.19 / Pop, Dance / EP: Let’s Talk About Love

32. Hello (Ft. Junho of 2PM) - Illinit
2013.12.03 / Rap, Pop / Double Single

31. 유명세 (Fame) (Ft. Reddy) - 팔로알토 (Paloalto)
2013.11.25 / Rap / Album: Chief Life

The fearless rapper comes out strong without difficulty and confidently kills the verses with bursting energy but it’s effortless. Without a doubt one of the strong rap performances of the year.

30. 너와 나의 거리 (Selene 6.23) - SHINee
2013.08.08 / Pop Ballad / Album Repackage: The Misconception of Us

29. 나의 쓸모 (My Instrumental) - 요조 (Yozoh)
2013.07.23 / Indie Pop, Indie Rock / Album: My Instrumental

28. Hate You - Ladies’ Code
2013.08.06 / Pop, Dance / Single

27. Pacific - Glen Check
2013.11.19 / Electronic Pop, Alternative / Album: Youth!

26. In My Head (Ft. Swings) - Gray
2013.10.25 / Rap, Pop / EP: Call Me Gray

25. 빛이 되어줘 (Be The Light) - Block B
2013.09.23 / Pop, Dance / Single

24. 이카루스 (Icarus) - Jaurim
2013.10.07 / Modern Rock / Single

23. Balloons - CHEEZE
2013.12.16 / Pop Ballad / Single

22. 링가링가 (Ringa Linga) - Taeyang (BIGBANG)
2013.11.08 / Pop, Dance / Single

21. 널 어쩌면 좋을까 (What Should I Do With You) - Kim Ye Rim
2013.11.18 / Pop, Folk / Album: Goodbye 20

20. BizzyTigerYoonmirae - Drunken Tiger, Yoon Mi Rae & Bizzy
2013.09.13 / Rap / Album: The Cure

19. 모래의 성 (Sand Castle) - 크랜필드 (Cranfield)
2013.11.08 / Rock / Album: 밤의 악대 (A Night’s Band)

18. Growl - EXO
2013.08.05 / Pop, Dance / Album Repackage: XOXO

17. Dali, Van, Picasso - Beenzino
2013.12.18 / Rap / Single

16. Coffee Shop - B.A.P
2013.08.06 / Pop, Pop Jazz / EP: Badman

15. Black (Ft. Jennie Kim) - G-Dragon (BIGBANG)
2013.09.05 / Pop / Album: Coup d’etat

14. Climax - WIN (Team B)
2013.10.28 / Pop, Rap / Double Single: Final Battle

13. Doom Dada - T.O.P (BIGBANG)
2013.11.15 / Hip-hop, Rap, Pop / Single

12. 답답한 새벽 (Stifling Dawn) - 스웨덴세탁소 (Sweden Laundry)
2013.10.18 / Indie / Album: 잠들 때까지 (Until You Sleep)

11. 거품 안 넘치게 따라줘 (Life Is Good) (Ft. Crush, DJ Friz) - Dynamic Duo
2013.07.01 / Rap / Album: Luckynumbers

10. 슬픔이여 이제 안녕 (Bye, Say Goodbye) - Jaurim
2013.10.14 / Rock, Alternative / Album: Goodbye, grief

09. 거짓말 거짓말 거짓말 (Lie Lie Lie) - 이적 (Lee Juck)
2013.11.15 / Ballad / Album: The Meaning of Solitude

08. 엄마 (Mother) - 강아솔 (Kang A Sol)
2013.11.14 / Indie, Folk / Album: 정직한 마음

07. 거울 (Mirror) (Ft. Sunwoo Jungah) - 정키 (Jungkey)
2013.10.18 / R&B, Soul / Double Single: New Balance

06. 화분 (Flower Pot) - 요조 (Yozoh)
2013.07.23 / Indie Pop, Dream Pop / Album: 나의 쓸모 (My Instrumental)

Perfect for the melancholic drive over the bridge.

05. 한숨 거둬 (Retract Your Sigh) - Kebee (Eluphant)
2013.09.04 / Rap / Double Single

Such a cool rap song, the flow is just right and every element of the song matches up to create this wonderful track.

04. Beautiful Life - Drunken Tiger, Yoon Mi Rae & Bizzy
2013.09.13 / Rap, Pop / Album: The Cure

Wait for the following part to hit you hard, “If you should ever feel that you’re falling / I will never let you down / Love is in the air and it’s calling out your name.”

03. 삐딱하게 (Crooked) - G-Dragon (BIGBANG)
2013.09.05 / Pop Rock / Album: Coup d’etat

I really liked the way Corban Goble of Pitchfork described “Crooked” in his review of Coup d’etat. “The joyous soccer chant of a single “Crooked” might just be a song you’ll play 30 times in a row and never play again, but those 30 listens are pure serotonin-fueled bliss.” It’s pretty addicting alright, I can also see it being pretty intimidating for some but for me, it was love at first sight.

02. 진격의 거인 둘 (Return Of The Kings) - Dynamic Duo
2013.07.01 / Rap / Album: Luckynumbers

Dynamic Duo’s reentry through this feels almost comical, because of how effortless they sound. The rich layers make this song a tremendous listen that one is only left in awe after hearing the flow of their words against a strong backdrop.

01. 그리워해요 (Missing You) - 2NE1
2013.11.21 / Pop Ballad / Single

“Missing You” is delicately beautiful and a stellar production that must have taken months to perfect. The girls give an awe-inspiring performance and it feels wonderful hearing Minzy go all out. The bubble synth effects and slight electronic dab makes the song feel fresh and timeless. A classic for the ages.

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