It’s been a hectic month of recaps, countdowns and year in reviews, but make a little room because there’s just a couple more to go and then we’ll be finished with a year in Kpop!
This weekend, I finally chimed in with my pick for “Best Mini-Album Of 2011“. And now, it’s time for the big one – my choice for best album of the year.
First, I want to thank everyone for reading McRoth’s Residence. You’re an amazing audience and it’s you who really keep me motivated to continue writing. Also a big thanks goes out to allkpop for employing my voice as a writer this year and providing a monumental platform for my reviews, as well as to all the readers who understood my point of view as a Korean pop music enthusiast at large. We might have severed our bonds now, but I can’t not be grateful for having me be a part of your team. Thank you.
Also, a very special thanks to drowningn00b, lolpenny, blueorchids, and JayNoonaYeppo for contributing wonderful writing this year and for strengthening the voice of McRoth’s Residence. I don’t know where this blog would be without y’all, and I’m looking forward to continue this journey with you. You’re the best.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to every single blogger, affiliate, and friend that I’ve met along the way. This was a big year in terms of growth and I’m excited to expand my relationships among the Kpop circles as well as taking this blog to the next level.
Keep your eyes out for updates and I’ll see everyone in 2012!
Below you’ll find my top five favorite albums in Kpop, as well as my choice for Best Album Of 2011. I won’t even tell you how many times I changed my mind. Just know that this decision was incredibly difficult to make and remember to keep in mind that this is my list. Please share yours in the comments section!
5. Wonder Girls – Wonder World
“Wonder World” is a hook-stravaganza. The Wonder Girls have taken a page out of the Western pop music handbook and focused a lot of this album around the addictive hooks that make Euro and Latin music a success. Considering their lackluster back catalogue, this move was almost necessary. But it is more than the engaging melodies in this album that are proving to be outstanding. The overall quality and likability of these songs makes them easy to replay, and that in and of itself highlights the genius of pop music.
4. Tablo – Fever’s End
This year, Tablo came back to the scene with what I will call a vague documentation of his plight with negativity. Through the varying scenes in his 2011 two-part album, “Fever’s End“, Tablo taps into an emotionally darker side that reflects less of a political opinion as he’s done before and more of an introverted story of personal damage and recovery.
The mood of “Fever’s End” is somber, but the quality is as on point as ever. Tablo is a musical genius and his storytelling soars in with every beat, guitar riff, and infections melody. Not to mention the featured artists, who capture the heart of the album and help Tablo in what I felt to be a wonderfully touching experience.
3. 4MEN – The Artist
Listening back to 4MEN’s 2006 album, “Andante“, the feeling and style in their music was noticeably grand, timeless, and melodramatic (ex: “금지된 연인”). With “The Artist”, 4MEN take listeners down those same heart-wrenching tropes, but this time from a completely new perspective. “The Artist” aims to show more than just powerful ballads. It displays a surprising array of higher-energy R&B songs that carry this group’s unearthing vocals to new heights. There are traces of the classics, and then there are treasures of new proportions.
2. B2ST – Fiction & Fact
B2ST found their way onto my radar in the late hours of 2010, when, quite out of the blue, they began releasing decent music. Even from the get-go, I kind of always had a bitter stance when it came to B2ST. There was something about their music that didn’t really resonate with me. At least not until they dropped “Fiction & Fact“. “Fiction & Fact” proved B2ST’s worth, not just as a boy band, but as a driving force of talent and performance within Korean pop music. “Fiction & Fact” is the culmination of musical growth in the pop music industry, as well as what artistic development is all about.
BEST ALBUM OF 2011: One Way – Rainy Days
One Way opened 2011 with their first full-length album, “Rainy Days“, and I thought it was only fitting to close it the exact same way. In some ways, “Rainy Days” can be considered the catalyst to what became a year of melancholy in boy band music. One Way’s 14-track album placed a strong emphasis on the trio’s obvious passion for R&B and hip-hop, blending both with everything from eerie themes (“The Forecast“) to pop-inclined joy rides (“Flight 101“). “Rainy Days” is fresh, yet extremely down to Earth for a pop album. And more appealing than this record is the group itself.
One Way’s Chance, Young Sky and Peter are considered by many as a breath of fresh air, and most of the praise comes from the fact that they’ve made their mark not just as gifted musicians, but as producers, composers, and all around talented artists in Korean pop music. In addition to contributing great songs, they’ve contributed to bodies of work outside of their own and it’s this kind of awesome companionship among artists and creatives alike that the pop music industry needs to continue evolving for the better.