Kpop 2012

I thought I would do my own personal list of kpop favorites from this year. Lets do it countdown stylee, but first we have to remove one contestant, namely....

PSYGangnam Style
By now, with more than one billion (1 000 000 000+!!) plays on youtube, it is impossible to evaluate it fairly and without weighing in all the surrounding historical implications and media coverage and pop culture relevance, so I will just say that PSY is like a giganormous milestone for kpop with his Gangnam style, and move on to my personal subjective best-of list (where PSY ofc belongs too):
[note: click on the artist name to read more, and the song to see the video]

The List

Place 10: BoaThe Shadow
The number one female star of all time of kpop is of course BoA, and her hit song is just another proof of that. The singing, the composition and video is all top quality.

Place 9: Dal Shabet - Have Dont Have
These five girls have been preparing for a breakthrough, and for me this song really moved them in my mind from potential to definite star material. A disco inspired sound combined with a well told mv-story and extremely cutesy looks gives them a place in my top list.

Place 8: Secret - Talk That
A very sensual group with a distinct sexuality in their videos. I thought the super hit Poison was a bit over the top in that department, while the single Talk That is much more held back and almost bittersweet and still retaining the defining character of Secret.

Place 7: Gain - Bloom
When talking about women's sexuality, one cannot miss out on Gain and her Bloom, which was much talked about for its focus on a female perspective on sex, and the discussion surrounding why it got its rating of 19+ when explicit (bordering on vulgar) songs like Hyuena's Icecream passed the cencorship. The conclusion in general was that when a video conforms to the "male view" on sex, it isn't observed as much as when it expresses a female persepctive. Not surprising, really, but more the the reason for supporting this song and video.

Place 6: Yoseob Yang - Caffeine
The lead vocalist from Beast in a male counterpart to BoA's The Shadow, and with a voice, acting and performance that feels even more touching.

Place 5: EXID - Every night
The story of the video (with its quirky and refreshing surprise) goes well with the oh so slick R&B track which really isn't what usually makes me tick in kpop, but these lingering tones and rap just works in EXID's best song up to date.

Place 4: 4minute - Volume up
Having played this song hundreds of times I have to admit it isn't as fresh as it used to, but it is still such a fantastic song to get a kick out out of, from the 80s saxophone to the oh-oh-oh-refrain.

Place 3: T-ara - Sexy love
I know the general critique of this song was bland, but I just love it. Its funny, catchy and, yes, sexy ^_^ in a carefree and uppity way. I always begin to wiggle my fingers or almost begin to move my body when I here it, and if I ever was to learn the dance moves of a video it would be the robot dance of Sexy Love.

Place 2: TVXQ - Catch me
From a purely dramatic point of view this song is my favorite of the year (and they did so well with Humanoids too), but its nature loses slightly in translation to mp3 only. Still, its like watching a great action movie in just under five minutes and the two (remaining) members has found a great concept together with their dancers. TVXQ continues to deliver great, slick songs, and this video is a real must see.

Place 1: Big Bang - Fantastic Baby
The men (well by now thay are all 22 at least...) of Big Bang did a great come back this year, and the crowning achievement (56+ million hits on YouTube) must be their Fantastic Baby. All is great and its such a great ironic hit. Just look at the refrains like "boom-chack-a-lack-a" and "fantastic baby" which would sound so silly here just fits in and sticks in your head, and the character play and choreography and looks of the music video is so well defined you have to come back to it again and again to "what was he doing there" or "oh, that I want to see again".

Honorable mention also goes to...

A) Crayon Pop - Rookie group of the year 2012 for me.
B) Neon Bunny - Indie pop from korea not to miss.

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