Picture the scene: It’s 2007. Internet speeds are slower. Blackberrys are still in their prime. A teenage Mars sits in her “No Fear” sweatshirt, flare jeans and Ugg boots while “surfing the web” for new music. Lost on a tangent, searching random video to random video, sinking deeper and deeper into the unexplored depths of youtube space until suddenly – a masterpiece! The song was infectious and unlike anything I had ever heard before. I didn’t know it at the time, but that video would change my life forever.
That video – was Epik High’s “Love Love Love”.
I had discovered KPOP.
Since that fateful day, I have dabbled in every genre of Korean music, from Hip Hop to Screamo to Traditional Korean Folk music. But there are a few Albums that hold a very dear place in my soul and I thought I’d take a moment to share them!
Glen Check – 글렌 체크 – “Youth”
This album is the PERFECT summer album! It’s dancy beats and electronic pulse gives you an energy high and makes you want to hit the road, top down, hair whipping in the breeze. It is a two disc collection (I preferred the songs on the first disc personally) and my most listened to song was hands down “Pacific“. It just sounds so joyful and so bloody optimistic that you can’t help shaking it to the rhythm.
Supreme Team – 슈프림팀 – “Spin Off”
Supreme Team is unfortunately no longer with us (they disbanded in 2013) but their music is still here for us to grind to. Most listened to song on this one was (and still is) “Dang Dang Dang“. If you ever need a song to get you hyped for a job interview or to prepare you to go kick someone’s ass, this is the song. On a side note, I actually got to meet Simon D (the gentleman on the right) at a fan meet at an AOMG concert a few years back. He put his hand on my shoulder. It was a day for the books.
Primary – 프라이머리 – “Primary and the Messengers”
Primary is a producer who had become a bit of a household name in South Korea until becoming embroiled in a plagiarism scandal around 5 years ago. However, his work has built him up such a reputation that he has managed to keep a lot of his following and respect. Scandal or not, the man is a genius musically and is capable of diverse ranges of music types, whether it be pop, r&b, jazz – you name it. The song I beat to death on this album was definitely “Question Mark“. Zion.T’s swoon-worthy vocals and Choiza’s rapping blend so well in the funky bassline. And speaking of Zion.T…
Zion.T – 자이언티 – “Red Light”
This album is a masterpiece. There are very few albums that don’t have a single song I’ll skip, but this is one of those albums. The track list was ordered perfectly. The songs were crafted perfectly. It’s the perfect amount of unique and unconventional, without losing you in a fog while you’re trying to “get it”. It serves as a lovely representation of Zion.T’s individuality and swag. My favorite song on the album was “Do Do Hae” but the fan favorite was definitely the single, “Baybay”, partly because of the hilarious music video.
Honorable Mentions – Hyukoh “23” and DPR “Her”
It didn’t feel fair to put these two albums in the ranking because they are very recent and haven’t had to pass the test of time yet. That being said, I am absolutely living and breathing these two artists right now. Hyukoh has a slow, melancholy quality in his voice that I identify so much with and the guys under Dream Perfect Regime are just baller as hell. I’ll just leave these here for you, for your listening pleasure…
Mars, signing off. ◊