30 December, 2012

K-pop Awards: Best of 2012



As avid lovers of K-pop, we thought it only fitting to have a favourites/awards post for what we think are the best K-pop idols and artists of 2012. This year has been a spectacular year for K-pop, and we're glad we got to listen to and see some fantastic new tracks and albums from both new and more seasoned K-pop stars. [If you click on the song names, it'll take you to the MV]


Favourite Female Group Comeback



SISTAR made a particularly strong comeback this year and definitely showed their progress, and the songs reallys suited them and gave them a classier image to work with, all the while keeping their signature sexiness. Alone was a fantastic track, and Loving U was so bright and fun and the perfect summer song. We are glad that they came back stronger and better, and we look forward to more excellent things to come.

Runners-Up: Miss A [Touch] and Orange Caramel [Lipstick]

Favourite Female Artist Debut



Honestly, EXID worried us.  We liked Whoz That Girl well enough (it was catchy and the MV had Lee Soo-hyuk in it), but then there were member changes... and we hate those, especially so close to the inception of a group.  Their follow-up single I Feel Good was decent, but not enough to grab our dwindling interest.  That is, until Every Night happened and we was stunned by the mature song, sensual choreography, beautifully shot MV, the nicely done live performances.  Each member is at least reasonably talented, and rapper LE is a particular gem.  May the odds continue in their favor and may they continue to improve.

Runners-Up: SPICA [Russian Roulette; Painkiller] and Andamiro [Don't Ask; Hypnotize]

Favourite Female Solo Artist



Son Dam Bi is not a singer that either of us have been huge fans of "Can't U See" was quite nice though), but we were both impressed by this pop piece that manages to be sexy, artsy, mainstream, mature, and melancholy all at the same time.  And the backup dancers are freaking awesome.  Though Son Dam Bi has a pretty thin voice, the song works for her and she's a wonderfully sexy performer on stage.  (Mark from Seoulbeats gave a rather nice take on the song and video.)

Runners-Up: BoA [Only One], Younha [Run], and Seo In Young [Anymore]

Favourite Female Artist Dance



BoA [Only One] (dance version)
We just LOVE the dance version! BoA is just an amazing dancer and wow, that voice of hers is great! There is a reason that she's a legend in K-pop. The dance was dynamic, powerful, and fluid, and she was just as amazing to watch live as in the music video. The song is also pretty catchy.

Runners-Up: SISTAR [Alone] and D-Unit [I'm Missin' You]

Favourite Female Artist Live Performance
D-Unit did this fantastic live performance for their debut single "I'm Missin' You" with traditional instruments and it was awesome and they pulled it off wonderfully... which was a wonder since a) they're rookies and b) it's a risky stunt to pull in the first place.  The choreography is strong and there are no heels and mini skirts here.

Runners-Up: BoA [Only One] and 2NE1 [I Love You]

Favourite Female Artist B-Tracks

bustered's picks: Let's Try [f(x) - Electric Shock], Beautiful Stranger [f(x) - Electric Shock], and Tiredness [Ga In - Talk About S]

dewaanifordrama's picks: Beautiful Stranger [f(x) - Electric Shock], Hurt [ALi - Rooftop Prince OST], Stand Up [J.Min - To the Beautiful You OST]

Favourite Male Group Comeback



We happened to be hanging out right when the Nillili Mambo music video came out, and we watched it over and over and over - squeeing in fangirling delight. It was a superbly strong comeback, and we're so glad that Block B chose to not hold any punches. The whole album is also rock solid, and we greatly enjoy listening to it.

Runners-Up: BIGBANG [Blue], B1A4 [Tried to Walk], MIB [Only Hard For Me], and U-Kiss [Stop Girl]

Favourite Male Group Debut



NU'EST probably managed to have the most controlled, successful, well-rounded debut of the year.  Seriously.  Face was excellent, and actually had something interesting to say, with good choreography, an excellent English rap, and pretty good use of dubstep.  Action was pretty good as well, but too similar to Face and just when we though NU'EST was going all B.A.P on us, they pulled out another single Not Over You from their Action mini album that stole our hearts.  It was sweet but not saccharine, and it was a nice way to end their 2012 promotions after two tough singles.  Cheers for NU'EST.

Runners-Up: BtoB [Irresistible Lips], C-Clown [Far Away...Young Love], and BAP [Power]

Favourite Male Solo Artist



G-Dragon [That XX]
GD did such a great job promoting his new solo album. He really seems serious about what he does, and how much he wants to improve. He definitely showcased his expansive talent in his album, but we both feel like That XX was just excellent. It was moody, nuanced, and artfully executed.

Runners-Up: K.Will [Please Don't...] and Kim Joon Kook [Men Are All Like That]

Favourite Male Artist Dance



bustered's pick: TEENTOP [To You] (performance version)
I've always been a casual fan of Teen Top, and when To You came out, I gave it a watch, didn't like it, moved on.  But something must have caught my eye, because I went back, and next thing I knew I was a outright Teen Top fangirl (it only lasted a few weeks but I still *heart* Ricky) and after a few live performances this dance was among my favorites.  Even as a fan, certain sexy moves (you know who you are) are a bit too much, but the energy!  Changjo's flawless solo!  It's beautiful!  I love it.


dewaanifordrama's pick: XIA [Tarantallegra] 
So just to get the record straight, I do really like To You, I just really, really love the dance in Tarantallegra more. Junsu kind of blew me away with how amazing his dancing is (really I shouldn't surprised because Mirotic is one of my favourite DBSK songs). The style and powerful image of the dance was impressive - (and I completely acknowledge that I love Junsu, and that might also cloud my judgment a little here).

Runners-Up: TVXQ [Catch Me] and U-Kiss [Stop Girl]

Favourite Male Artist Live Performance

bustered's pick:  Jo Kwon [Animal]
dewaanifordrama's pick: BIGBANG [BIGBANG [Fantastic Baby]

Runners-Up: Super Junior [SPY] and INFINITE [In the Summer]

Favourite Male Artist B-Tracks

bustered's picks: Daydream [Super Junior - Sexy, Free, and Single], Dutch Pay [M.I.B - Illusion], Something Wrong [LEDApple - Run to You],  Infinite [I Like You - INFINITIZE], and Movie's Over and 11:30 [Block B - Blockbuster]

dewaanifordrama's picks: Daydream [Super Junior - Sexy, Free, and Single], Hopeless Valentine [Nell - Slip Away], Goodbye Day [Ulala Session - Gaksital OST], In the Summer [INFINITE - Infinitize], Fever [XIA - Tarantallegra], Now Stop Here [10cm -2.0]

Favourite Music Video



Naul [Memory of the Wind]
This music video might be one of the most beautiful music videos we have ever seen. Not only are the lighting and colour palette absolutely gorgeous, but it's filmed on this epic scale that just accentuates the beauty and depth of the lyrics so well. And we're definitely not going to complain about the choice of Lee Ki Woo as the soldier - that one scene with him galloping against the storm clouds was just breathtaking!

Runners-Up: Nell [The Day Before]Block B [Nillili Mambo]B1A4 [Tried to Walk], and 
Zia [For A Year]

Favourite Song



BIGBANG [Blue]
This was a great song for BIGBANG to make their comeback with after the previous scandals. It had just the right touch of wistful melancholy and fresh hope that was mirrored nicely in the music video, but it also displayed BIGBANG's signature strong image and adds a nice counterpoint to the raucous fun of Fantastic Baby. Definitely a great track to put on repeat.

Runners-Up: Naul [Memory of the Wind]G-Dragon [That XX]BoA [Only One]
Lee Hi [1,2,3,4], and Nell [The Day Before]

Favourite Album

Nell [Slip Away]
Nell never fail to please with their albums. It seems that most of, if not all the tracks are just fantastic. Their lyrics are profound and moving, and when they choose to sing in English, it's flawless. While they never lose their distint Nell sound, it never sounds old or forced. Go was a mellow track with a lovely piano theme trailing throughout; In Days Gone By had a whimsical charm all its own; Standing in the Rain, and Loosing Control were also fabulous tracks; Beautiful Stranger was another quietly paced, yet strongly felt piece; Hopeless Valentine starts with an almost orchestral sound and shifts into a  an upbeat-melancholy ballad piece. Somehow Nell manage to find this great balance between melancholy-wistful vocalizations and still showing power. Their work is always a treat, and their new mini-album series is sure to please as well.

Runners-Up: Block B [Blockbuster], Verbal Jint [10 Years of Misinterpretation Part. 1], Primary [Primary and the Messengers Part 3], and Urban Zakapa [02]

Favourite Mini-Album

bustered's pick: Infinite [Infinitize]
I know that a lot of people were disappointed with this mini album, but it's still really solid.  I love 4/6 of the songs (not including the intro [which is sweet] and the cute hidden track), and the other two "Feel So Bad" and "With..." are still decent.  The Chaser took me a while to warm up to it, and one day I woke up and realized that it has wormed it's way into my head and heart.  "In the Summer" is such a sweet acoustic piece and was a nice breath of fresh air on the album (and the lives were the more adorkable things EVER...).  "Only Tears" is a beautiful ballad, and although Woohyun and Sunggyu are the only members with voices suited for ballads, each member has an interesting color to their voice and I really prefer this album version to Sunggyu's solo version.  "I Like You" is sweet, upbeat, and undeniably Infinite-sounding-- and it's probably my favorite song on the album.  The only complaint I have for this album is its lack of Woohyun.  He has one of the deeper voices of Infinite and he really balances out the others, and so it's a shame that he doesn't sing more on this album.

dewaanifordrama's pick: G-Dragon [One of a Kind]
G-Dragon's mini-album doesn't have a track you can dislike. (Well at least in my book).  GD showcased a wide variety of styles with bombastic tracks like Crayon counterbalanced with the sort of throwback sweetness of Missing You. That XX showed that GD can also sing ballad style (and boy wasn't that MV fantastic?!) And of course, One of a Kind was well, GD's hip-hop roots showing through. I personally really loved Light it Up. Another thing that made the album great was that he collaborated with several amazing artists (some not even on the YG label) to make this just a fantastic album.

Runners-Up: BIGBANG [Alive/Still Alive], KARA [KARA Solo Collection], and M.I.B. [Illusion]

Favourite Collaboration



G.NA & Sanchez [Beautiful Day]
This was a great collab gem that released right at the end of the year - yay for last minute awesomeness!  G.NA and Sanchez'z voice blend beautifully in this soulful ballad of lost love. This is part 2 of the Dokkun Project (Wheesung's fantastic Masterpiece of You released in September was part 1). We hope that G.NA and Sanchez collaborate together again because this was most definitely a success!

We hope you enjoyed our K-pop Favourites for 2012!

◀ dewaanifordrama's playlist #5: BIGBANG [concert] edition
                                                                       Oh the Drama's I've Seen...2012: A Year in Review ▶

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