Friday, January 25, 2013


So I was honestly avoiding this list as you can see we're already into the new year but i figured eh why not. The reason i avoided it was because 2012 was such a good year for Kpop that i ended up with way more songs than i intended and my ranking for the songs kept changing with each song i remembered to add. But one thing that never changed was my number one song, my top 5 albums and my favorite artist.

 My favorite song of 2012 was easily Warrior by B.A.P. That song blew my mind when i first heard it with the ferocity and energy, the blondness, the amazing video and its plot about being puppets controlled by Zelo but at the end they get their revenge and the stomping was just an extra surprise. It adds even more power to the song. I also love the fact that its a very catchy song but doesn't lack in lyrics or talent. You can't tell me you still don't attempt to match Daehyun's powerful "no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no NOOOOOOO!! And the fighting for injustice lyrics were fresh air in the mainstream music world(not just kpop) thats full of love songs or annoyingly meaningless songs . What was even better was their live performance. It was just as good as watching their video; their energy, live singing(yes with backtrack), their dancing  its all just great.
B.A.P. made my transition into kpop( which began with 2ne1 and grew with BB)  even more easier because they were masculine and powerful guys rather than the feminine looking guys that regrettably took me a long time to accept with kpop boy groups.

Honorable song mentions in no order are:

MBLAQ- This is War. Love every single thing about this song and video.The dramatic choreography especially in the bridge is so elegant and beautiful,
the Wanted -style shooting was thrown in but was admittedly cool. I love the vocals from the sorrow you hear in the verses and bridge to the vengeance you feel in the chorus and Mir's rap. But Joon hope your done shooting folks and getting shot. Get some love.
PSY Gangnam Style- While the world blew up about this over a horse dance i immediately loved it for its blasting superficiality.I love the dance, do the dance when i can but Psy made a statement with the video and his song turning a crucial eye to peoples materialism and fakeness yet it ended up being trivialized into a freaking dance. It became all about the dance or where and how rich the Gangnam district is but very few gave him a chance to talk about the MEANING behind the song and video. I'm sure some international fans soon got what he was trying to do but the american media clearly wasn't and it irritated me. An artist was basically watered down to a gag performer. The problem with pop is that its so normal for meaningless music to be heard that when someone takes the time to add a message, its overlooked by catchy beats and a dance. I'm hoping Psy can make a wonderful and also meaningful American hit like he did with Gangnam Style. If its not well received his true fans still appreciate his artistry and will keep supporting his work.
EXO- MAMA. B.A.P's fan made rivals are also "alien-born", talented and refreshing with this dramatic "led zeppelin like" instrumental powerfest of latin chanting and engrish. Not to mention the visually enticing video which should have been The Last Airbender. Kai's promotional tattoo and screamo will always be my favorite thing. This song is so unique that i like to call it experimental pop. Its power pop, kpop, rock and metal all in one and i love it. Rookies almost owned 2012 had it not been for PSY and Bigbang.
Miss A- I Dont Need a Man. A very catchy and poppy empowering song that made me grow to love them mainly because lots of songs are about being cute and waiting for love and doing everything for a man. This song is self explanatory. Its Destiny's Child independent woman with Korean lyrics and a fun vibe which is what was intended by the name of their album Independent Women Part III. The video is bright, stylish and has different themes of girls who are dependent on others shown with each member singing how she's not like that and is confident by herself. I learnt something new with Fei's scene. I never knew about host/hostess bars which men or women pay to meet dates( i saw this again in Jungle Fish 2 ).I also love the dance because its easy to learn and as catchy as the song. Though i will never look as good as Min does doing that bouncy "bap hanki jedaero mot mogo" during Jia's rap.
15& -I Dream. This is one of those groups that make you wonder what the hell your doing with your life. 15 YEARS OLD? Alot of kpop singers start at 15 but the talent from this duo is just amazing right from the get go. While we saw Park Ji Min kill it on Kpop Star and win, her coming together with Baek Yerin was just genius. Ji Min is powerful and bold while Yerin is angelic and pitch perfect. Yerin's high notes shiver my spine every time. Again 15? JYP better steer these two in the right direction and this song was a great start about living their dream of touching fans hearts with song.
JYP- You're the One. Speaking of JYP, his song this year had me humming and doing shoulder rolls all year long. It surprised me that a company exec. is still putting out songs. R&B is my favorite genre and this song was my favorite midtempo r&b song of 2012. It reminds me of a Ne-yo song. This song is cool, fun and perfect for any age. And the dance was very catchy and he danced very well even in the suit and boots. He's a very good artist and performer and i'm not wishing he stay behind the scenes....unless he decides to forget a shirt again then i'm praying for him to get off stage. (I'm not even gonna put a link because i'm eating).
EXO- What is Love. My favorite Exo song with its Arabian nights/western flick intro and D.O and Baekhyun's killer vocals. I will forever think of aladdin hearing this. I swear B.A.P and EXO should just do a stage together and just blow everyone with their killer dancing, powerful vocals and make people never forget how great of rookies they are. But anyways this r&b ballad is so interesting and unique. I can't stop singing the chorus though i am forever ruined with "I lost my pants...rippity fippito sippy slow motion". Thank you very much Simon.
Gain- Bloom. This song really shocked me. When i first saw the video,i'm pretty sure i looked like O_O a couple simulated sex scenes and stripper poles in kpop, wah! (though it wasn't even close to as dirty as say Lee Joon's pole dance).Of course it would be banned knowing how the Ministry Of Getting Everything Flagged is. And of course some netizens would slut shame her. But i loved it. It was adult content but it wasn't raunchy. It was more about a beautiful experience. She's 25 not 16 like some kpop girls gyrating on the floor.The song however is what makes this one of my favorite. Its a mature song about a girl coming into womanhood as she loses her virginity to her love and Gain did the song beautifully. Its funky beat makes it even more enjoyable.
SHINee-Sherlock. Honestly when i first heard this song i hadn't thought anything of it but the video threw me off since i was still in my phase of not being used to the concept of flower boys so seeing Taemin's hair my first thought was "hell no". Yes i judged as i had first judged almost every other group. Then i saw it again on the hilarious Eat Your Kimchi's Kpop Music Mondays and i realized its a good song. But it took me seeing them live on the Mnet MAMA's for me to appreciate the songs power, energy and uniqueness. They all gave an awesome performance especially Jonghyun. That man can sing and perform like no ones business. This song has so many awesome points that i'm always repeating at random moments "bitnada sarajyeo" "give it up give it up for Shinee" "soy un dorito" :-) and of course the infectious chorus and dance. This song is definitely made for the stage because of its different elements to each part of it and its loud and energetic so its better as a whole performance to hear their full voices, the instrumental and see all the choreography.
Lee Hi -1234. The cute pint sized girl from Kpop Star received "perfect all-kill" for her debut song  helping to seal the fact that rookies packed power in 2012. I love the sassy but quiet, take no cheaters attitude wrapped in a smooth, sultry voice. She's not Adele as comparisons have been made and she will never have CL's attitude that people wanted for her video but i love her more for being herself. She showed a wonderful contrast with her awkward and shy but confident performance. She did that before on KPop Star and she did the same with her debut. She's young, talented and has a great career ahead that i can't wait to see mature as an artist.
Spica-Painkiller. Their debut song had me hooked to them but this song thoroughly made me a new fan. The catchy r&b beat, the piano instrumental and the heart wrenching vocals came together perfectly. The video threw me off a bit with the hip hop fashion and their unnecessary dance but it didn't take away from this song.
B.A.P- Its All Lies. Honestly this song was out of place in the rock influenced "fight for the weak" theme of the single album Power. But its still my favorite song on the album. Its purely r&b and their vocals amaze me. This is my favorite of Daehyuns vocals because his powerful voice added drama and passion to the song and gave me chills and Youngjae's slightly raspy voice is so beautiful. And  Zelo's rap and spoken line was a perfect touch too. Himchan surprised me because he goes from his rough, slightly deep voice in Warrior and Power and all of a sudden his only line has a high voice.
Sunny Hill- Goodbye to romance. I've loved several of their songs because they tend to have meaning in their songs and videos. This one also did by being a completely nostalgic song. It reminds you of high school crushes and/or dates and looking back on them as an adult. Its sweet and happy but could easily turn teary eyed by remembering the last day of school and saying goodbye to people not just boyfriends.
K. Will- Please don't. K.Will is a beautiful ballad singer as seen by how many OST's the man has done.  This midtempo ballad is a sad one that tells of a man who longs for the girl he lost. The video on the other hand sort of extends the story by now showing how he's longing for the girl who is about to get married. If you haven't watched the video please do because i loved it and i don't wanna spoil any surprises ;-)
TaeTiSeo-Twinkle. I avoided this song because of the SNSD songs i've listened to i only liked Genie and the Super Junior duet Seoul. Again, i judged. So after months of ignorance i took a peek at the song, and loved what i heard. Their voices suit the funky song perfectly and i was pleasantly suprised. I also loved the last half of the video with the live jazz band and the last scene with the female dancers.
Miss A- Madness. I had to include this though it wasn't a promoted song(which i wish it was). This song at first made me question why its on an album called independent women since its about missing your ex so much and thinking about him non stop that your going "insane". But thinking of the song itself i LOVED the melody, their vocals, the lyrics and also the addition of Taecyeon in the second verse rapping very quietly "can't get you out of my head....". This song made me question again why Fei isn't spotlighted more often since she's clearly a gorgeous woman but she can also sing and dance very well. Or maybe the "woman" part is what is hindering her in kpops aegyo, baby face obsessed world.


My favorite album had to go to BIGBANG 'Alive' EP. It was a cohesive and fun album.  It brings Bigbang's style into the current electro/dance trend and made for a unique album. I also love this album because my favorite song keeps changing between all of them. It just goes with my mood. That's why this album is my favorite. I'm not bored of any song yet to this day. It also helped that they promoted all the songs so i was able to see them perform each song live.
1. Alive intro. This was another Bigbang intro that didn't disappoint and i wished was full length and i'm glad they did that on their Alive Special Edition. It was reminding everyone that they are not gonna fade and are "still alive" and the uprising feel of the "oh oh oh " made it even more clear. This is one of the most uplifting songs I've heard from them which is why i love it. Bigbang has many great love song lyrics but not many are life inspiring but this is.
2. Blue. This song took a couple of listens to grow on me but it grew to be one of my favorite post R&B slow songs of Bigbang. Its mellow yet still electro vibe is a cool combination. Seungri barely sings but still has his feathery voice makes the chorus touching . Daesungs smooth vocals and Taeyangs clear voice give a soft strength to the song and GD and TOPs rapping is perfect. It was a fitting comeback song for them with the sad vibe of the song seeming to be reflecting the emotional times they had. But while i adore the song, the video is a 50/50 for me.I like the sort of mirror effect between the guys and the girl and the video goes well with the song. The beautiful somber lyrics match the tone and mood of the video. What irks me though is its another "GD running in a video" (Haru Haru,This love, Lies, My Heaven) only this time he decided to drag his members through his video marathon race.Other problem is kpop group members still all date the same girl.
3. Love Dust. This was the last song to catch my love but i do love it. It is the song that almost became "just another dance track" but the lyrics of wishing a lost love well mixed with the happy vibe of the song and beat made me love it. And their vocals were definitely on point.
4. Bad Boy. When i listen to this as a fan, the bad boy attitude and beat for some reason brings me back to their debut days just in a non B2K version and shows how they matured musically. Its more them than their previous urban songs though i think we all know Daesungs adorable self is not really a bad boy lol. When i first listened to this when it came out i hadn't been a Bigbang fan yet so i didn't know of their previous work and i still loved it. From the piano chord intro and "Uh baby come back" to the beat dropping with the "Warrior/ What happened" whatever it is GD yells in the background and the instrumental is awesome. Add in GD's rap/singing, TOP singing (we've seen the no diggity video you're better but its cool) and Taeyangs chorus part and it became my favorite song in the first half of 2012. The song stuck out to me because its a laid back song but still had "swag" dripping from it. Though the video is just awful imo. They should have left the New York streets thing in Blue or at least have done something different. Glad they at least had different girls but the dancing in the street, walking around with crazy outfits on was just lame(Taeyang you must have been freezing). I was better off just watching their wacky Inkigayo performance which still gave the standard Bigbang energy and style, added with Daesung looking so hot and i almost forgot a video existed.

5. Ain't No Fun- This song just gets me everytime. "Honestly the chemistry is not working right now, mm mm" then they proceed to basically call their girl boring because she's basically all looks but no substance. That's just genius. To add effect they sing in a nasally, tired sounding voice. I've seen Bigbang do beautiful break up songs like Tell me Goodbye. This was more like Tonight except they didnt care to stay in the relationship. And their "free stage" performance at Mnet M countdown is what made me love this song from their demeanor to the goofiness. You rarely see people do that on stage but its Bigbang, they can literally sit on stage and still be awesome.
6. Fantastic Baby. One of my fave dance tracks and performances of the year. It was the catalyst to my love of Bigbang. Or was it just Daesungs belting and chained nakedness.Plus there was a clip showing him recording the japanese version and the projection in his voice always gives me shivers. Of course YG deleted it but it should be in the DVD.  Say what you want about TOP's cheesy "boomshakalaka" line but i love it. This song makes me appreciate Teddy and GD for proving that electro dance/pop doesn't have to sound generic and actually makes me want to dance.

7. Wings( Daesungs solo). I heart this song. Its inspiring, uplifting and makes me dance around and rock out all in one song. Currently running as my favorite song off the album this alternative rock pop song about having a bad day but still smiling and being positive is so Daesung and yet its new for him. We've heard him previously sing about making the girls smile even if he's sad so this was finally just him smiling and enjoying his life, which was also fitting as a solo for him. Unfortunate mistakes happened and he'll have to live with that and for GD and Daesung to write this was clearly a way to positively move forward in life. Can't wait to hear what's in store for his cover album including this song in Japanese. I just want to hear his gorgeous voice.

 B.A.P Power EP
1. Fight For Freedom
                                                                                 2. Power
                                                                                 3. What The Hell
                                                                                 4. 전부 거짓말 (All Lies)

I loved each song on the album. The three rock songs were inspiring and its lyrics of how the society is run by  powerful and rich and wanting the weak/poor to rise up and change that made me happy that they kept on with the meaningful lyrics. Fight for Freedom was energizing in a RATM "Guerilla Radio" kind of way. Power gave the fierceness "Warrior" did but added a hard rock energy that pleased me as a hard rock fan. What the Hell really picks you up and gives the motivation to fight people that try to break you down, or at least thats what I imagine myself doing while singing this. Its all lies as I said before didn't fit the theme but its beautiful all the same. They always have beautiful ballads in each album
Gain Talk About S
1. Tinkerbell
                                                                                 2. Meet Her (Tiredness)
                                                        3. Bloom
                                                                                4. Gaze (Feat. Yoon Jong Shin)
                                                                                5. Catch Me If You Can

Gain's songs in this album were mature and sexy. Tinkerbell was unique, fun and quirky.Tiredness is a very cool song about letting go of a lover. Bloom as i've said was very shocking yet managed to have some beauty in a sexual song with the piano intro, the fun beat and lyrics that made it more about celebrating a love than just sex.Gaze was very sultry and laid back and shows her beautiful soprano voice perfectly. And i love Yoon Jong Shin featuring which helped tell the story about connecting with someone at first glance . Catch me if you can was my least favorite with its upbeat jazz band and her singing in a pinched voice that didn't really catch me.
TTS (TaeTiSeo) 1st Mini Album Twinkle
1. Twinkle 
2. Baby Steps
3. OMG (Oh My God)
4. Library 5. 안녕 (Good-bye, Hello) 
6. 처음이었죠 (Love Sick) 
7. 체크메이트 (Checkmate)

This was a vocally beautiful album. Twinkle was a fun, sassy song. Baby Steps, probably my favorite was a very sweet yet sorrowful ballad. Oh My God with its blazing horns is a jazzy song  about admiring someone who is carefree and charming. Library is like a summer song to chill to. Goodbye, Hello sounds like a christmas song with its happy melody which is strange since its about missing someone. Love Sick is my other favorite. Its a beautiful r&b song that reminds me of early 2000 american r&b. Checkmate was an interesting song. It had a band and significant drum beat and i would  love to see them perform with their full voices. This album once again showed that Kpop singers do retro really well.
EXO-K MAMA Mini Album

                                                                           1. Mama
                                                                           2. What Is Love
                                                                           3. History
                                                                           4. 니的世界 (Angel)
                                                                           5. 雙月之夜 (Two Moons) ft. Key
                                                                           6. Machine

This was a very good album whether its Exo M or K. Both are very talented. The stand out songs were obviously MAMA and What is Love but the other songs were also very good. History is a fun club banger type song that has a Shinee vibe and is a great dance song. I love the rapid fire beats in the chorus. It made me wish America still made good club bangers rather than stripper songs. But who cares when Kpop delivers. Angel would have been an excellent midtempo song but the chorus almost loses me with the "ayy".Two Moons is more like hip hop of a few years back with a heavy sound and its another club banger sounding song with the person echoing reminding me of Swizz Beats. Machine is the only song i didn't like but luckily its the last song of the album so i can stop listening after Two Moons.


My favorite artist of the year is also an easy decision, B.A.P. Yea yea PSY dominated the world and i'm extremely glad though i wish his talent was recognized not just his horse dancing.
As for B.A.P, they became one of the best rookies of the year but became one of my favorite groups ever. They stayed on the scene consecutively promoting everytime allkpop blinked its eye, probably because TS is a relatively small company with the only other artists being Secret and hip hop duo Untouchable so they are probably milking B.A.P for all they're worth. They had many great performances and even got 3 different reality shows, though Killing Camp was only 3 episodes. While they overpromoted (for non fans to the point of annoyance), almost every B.A.P song on each album has made me go "aah this is awesome" whether immediately or after a few listens. Their power (and engrish) is captivating in Warrior,Unbreakable,Power and No Mercy. Their lyrics are inspiring and influential with What the hell, Goodbye, Fight for freedom,Warrior and Power. Their differently styled ballads were touching and chill inducing in Happy Birthday,Voicemail, Its all lies, Secret Love, I Remember, What my heart tells me and their aegyo songs Crash and Stop it are unfortunately catchy and full of fun energy. The only song i don't love is the electropop Dancing in the rain. It was generic, weird and rather forgettable. Though i won't forget that they are talking about being tipsy and being ready for who knows what.
 I have really grown to adore B.A.P enough to put aside "faults" like going aegyo, return of blond, horrible outfits(but its kpop), not enough lines for Himchan and Jongup and not enough Zelo dancing. Bang helping with writing and producing on majority of songs (totally love Voicemail which he completely wrote) is an added bonus. Can't wait to hear more Bang created material. I have alot of hope for these guys future with Zelo maybe writing his own raps and Himchan finding a place as a vocalist and Jongup doing more than krump and just the whole group as veteran artists who will keep growing, succeeding and inspire future rookies.

Honorable mention:

Powerhouse rookie Ailee. This Youtube singer soon became one of the best vocalists and performers in kpop. While there's a few things she still needs to learn like stamina, not seeming cocky and not oversinging, she's an insanely talented singer and can work a stage like a pro. She almost rivals Jea or Hyorin who are the best female vocalists in kpop. Which by the way Hyorin doesn't even need to be in a group. I'm hoping for another collaboration between them. Superstar showed their talent with their powerful singing and rapping. It was fun but i'm wishing for a song that shows a different side and taps into more of their vocal range than just belting. Ailee was promoted well by performing with Wheesung on the 2011 Chuseok show Singers and Trainees, then in 2012 her starring in Dream High 2 followed by releasing Heaven, participating in Immortal Song 2 and finally her mini album. It showcased her talent and potential without being overbearing like B.A.P Wheesung seems to be a great mentor previously with Daesung and now Ailee. Though they were both great singers before meeting him they clearly became even better with him as their coach. But i just can't wait to hear more Ailee this year, and possibly an official B.A.P and Ailee collaboration. She was cool in the Secret Love performance but Ji Eun's soft voice fit the song better. Hoping she stays natural looking with her amazing body, keeps gaining more success and keeps killing her songs and others.
                                      The performance that began it all


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