BUSKER BUSKER – “CHERRY BLOSSOM ENDING”
Busker Busker may not have won Superstar K3, but none of that matters now, as they’ve already surpassed Ulala Session (the winners) with the incredible success of their debut album (‘1st’) and follow-up release.
The winsome simplicity, and spring-like optimism of “Cherry Blossom Ending” has enraptured Korea, and despite their limited television promotions, the same kind of craze that surrounded 10cm‘s “Americano” and Standing Egg last year has resurfaced in full force for the trio.
I included this song, not only for its listenability, but of the promise it represents. Korea has often glorified kpop at the expense of its own indie scene, but it’s songs like these that give me hope that the Korean music market will one day be more than kpop. Which is good for everyone … I’m excited to see the kind of cross-pollination and collaborations that we see in American pop music now – B.o.B. x Taylor Swift, or Lana del Rey x A$AP Rocky, or Maroon 5 x Wiz Khalifa – emerge in k-Pop. – TESTAMENTVM
More from Busker Busker this year:
’1st’ Album Review
“Cherry Blossom Ending” MV | “If You Really Love Me” MV
CLAZZI FEAT. SEULONG OF 2AM – “HOW WE FEEL”
If there’s one electropop song that remained truly unforgettable this year, this one might be it, you guys. Clazzi‘s work on his ‘Infant‘ album was both stimulating and energizing, and he easily attained both in his early release of “How We Feel” featuring the fabulous 2AM‘s Seulong.
With Seulong’s subtle vocals acting as a veil in their processed state, the underlying electronica machine that carries the song is vibrant and extremely beautiful to listen to. There are moments throughout “How We Feel” when every element – from the echoing beeps, to the gritty synths – feels like an aural kaleidoscope; which, in reference to Clazzi, is a basic summation of his musical genius. – McRoth
More from Clazzi this year:
“How We Feel” MV | “Love & Hate” MV
DALMATIAN – “E.R.”
The bass drum in Dalmatian‘s comeback single, “E.R.“, does its best imitation of a heartbeat to enhance the E.R. effect, and sets the crisis-like tone for the rest of the song.
Large chunks of the song do end up sounding rather monotone, but it’s really the audio-fed imagery that sets this song apart.
** Also, this is a great improvement from last year. While Dalmatian did away with their bright 2010-2011 style, this sophisticated facelift offered a far more polished side to the R&B and Pop blend they touched upon early last year. – Compliant
More from Dalmatian this year:
‘State of Emergency’ Mini-Album Review
DONG BANG SHIN KI (DBSK/TVXQ) – “DESTINY”
While I polished the hell out of “Catch Me” to cater to my taste levels, I couldn’t actually choose it as a top K-Pop song (I really wanted to, though), as tampering with original music kind of defeats the purpose of a list meant to highlight music that is by and large great on its own. Thus, I caved in and went with a DBSK song anyway by choosing “Destiny” off their 2012 comeback album – an album that, for the most part, ended up collecting dust quite quickly. It was the strongest song in the collection, and a pallet cleanser of sorts.
While not nearly as explosively orgasmic as “Before U Go” from last year, “Destiny” still manages to hit all the proper R&B marks in the DBSK R&B-production rule book. It’s soft and sensual in the verses, while full of energy and finesse in the chorus. Changmin shines the best here, as he absolutely pwns the glimmering highs throughout, while Yunho isn’t far behind – much improved in his own right – adding an extra bite in the melodies. What’s great about this song is that it reaches for the same classic DBSK baby-making glory, yet remains tame and less abrasive than what they’ve released prior to it. It’s a comforting track, and next to the haphazard clutter of their unbalanced singles this year, it’s a comfort I’m more than grateful to have. – McRoth
More from DBSK this year:
“Catch Me” MV | “Humanoids” MV
E.VIA – “I KNOW HOW TO PLAY A LITTLE”
E.via’s peculiar brand of speed rap layered over addictive synth beats with a dash of devious intentions has proven extremely hit or miss. After taking a sugar rush sabbatical with a dramatic concept album, she released another bubbly song that capitalizes on her playful streak and baby face.
Unlike the disaster that was “Pick Up! Chu,” “I Know How to Play a Little” is a great balance between her talent as a rapper and her generally whimsical attitude. – lolpenny
More from E.Via this year:
‘E.Viagradation Part 1 (Black & Red)’ Album Review
“미친 인연” MV | “0.1″ single