LEE HI – “18.104.22.168″
Rookies, man. It’s kind of a shame that I don’t have enough room to feature them all, because aside from the fact that there is a shitstorm of them, there were also some pretty cool moments out there that have and will go unmentioned this year. I’ll take the moment right now, I suppose, to say that this list has missed several, but I’d also like to say that the rookies who do appear are a valiant representation of the sheer improvement and promise of 2012′s rookies on the whole and are more than deserving of the recognition. Like YG newcomer, Lee Hi, who dropped the feisty “22.214.171.124” and brought a fresh (and much needed) perspective to the YG narrative.
Diving right in with a style reminiscent of “Mercy” by Duffy, Lee Hi performs in a surprisingly sophisticated manner for her age; husky, sassy, and full of conviction, “126.96.36.199″ is a stand out single, if not for its youthfully classic style, then for the powerful vocal delivery by Lee Hi. Who, may I add, kills it without batting an eyelash (LOL quite literally, now that I think about it …) – McRoth
LENA PARK – “I’M SORRY”
Lena Park hadn’t released an album in three years, which is a lifetime in K-Pop years you know, but for those of us who were waiting, it was more than worth it when it arrived.
As the lead single of her June 2012 comeback album, ‘Parallax‘, “I’m Sorry” encompasses all that is Lena Park in one tight nit ballad. It’s beautifully composed, powerful and inspired. In fact, it’s more than inspired. This song is a cover of one of Mexican band Camila‘s greatest singles ever, “Mientes“. As you can guess by now, I pretty much died when I first listened to it, because I knew it sounded familiar. As soon as I recognized it, it made me love it ten times more. Not because it’s a cover of a song I like, but because Lena Park did such a magnificent job of interpreting it. McRoth
MIRYO FEAT. GARY OF LEESANG AND THE KOXX – “PARTY ROCK”
In what had to be one of the cruelest ironies in K-Pop this year, Miryo (one of the most underappreciated female rappers in all of K-Pop), finally got her debut album, but “Party Rock”, one of the best tracks on her album, literally got no love.
I blame a lot of this on her company (Nega Network) for pushing her to promote some half-ass ballad instead of this rocker. “Party Rock”, produced by The Koxx (Korea’s favorite indie-synthrock outfit), is not only infectious, but sounds super Western – as in, this could have been a demo offered to Maroon 5.
Congratulations to Miryo for being bold and pursuing an edgier sound, and shame on Nega Network for doing such a poor job of promoting her. – TESTAMENTVM
MISS A – “LIPS”
Why the jerky, off-kilter “Touch” was chosen as the promotional single rather than “Lips,” the world may never know. But whatever, it’s fine.
Anyway, “Lips” combines a much smoother melody with heavy percussive beats to create a catchier, sexier product. Plus, the song has moments of true genius. I mean, they construct instrumental fills out of what is essentially white noise. Basically, if you don’t like Miss A you are lying. – lolpenny
NELL – “THE DAY BEFORE”
Drowningn00b described Nell‘s amazing, melancholy ballad “The Day Before” best when he said: “the slow and measured pace enhances the mood, and the slow build paces the song very well. Every instrument has a purpose in “The Day Before”, and none feel wasted or useless; even the electric guitar that makes a short appearance conveys anguish. “The Day Before” is a great entry point to “Slip Away” and the many good things within.”
As I sit here, listening to this magnificent track again, it’s as spine tingling as it was the first time I listened to it. The string section, in particular, is so honestly raw and imperfectly perfect, that it renders me numb to this day. – McRoth