In this list, I am only counting songs released in 2011. Also, even if they were released in Chinese, I still count them within the genre of kpop.
(10) B.U.T (BE-AU-TY), Tohoshinki
I got introduced to this song via tumblr. As in, I saw some pretty gifs of Yunho and Changmin and I was like, got to watch! I actually never ended up watching the video, but I listened to the song, and then I think my mind sort of melted and proceeded to download all of Tone and then I proceeded to have music eargasms for the next month.
(09) Somebody to Love, Big Bang
I remember thinking when I first heard this track, it was weak and forgettable, their voices autotuned so slickly they sounded like part of the background. Also, you have Justin Bieber’s much catchier Somebody to Love yelling for room in my small brain space. Yet, for some reason, Big Bang’s Somebody to Love is number 09, beating out SNSD’s The Boys and Super Junior’s Mr. Simple by miles. Seriously, there was a time after SMTown NYC that I listened to both The Boys and Mr. Simple non-stop.
(08) Maximum, Tohoshinki
It must be the effect of the Japanese. Totally blew by my head when I listened to their Korean “Why? Keep Your Head Down” album when it came out in January 2011. Then it totally hit me as a huge dance track in November 2011 and now after a month of listening, it has infiltrated a list that has been brewing for an entire year (!).
(07) One’s Way Back, Jonghyun
So I panned him majorly when I reviewed him in Immortal Song. But part of the duty of a Jonghyun bias is to obsessively listen to all of his solos. Right.
(06) Superstar, Tohoshinki
My, my, the third entry for Tohoshinki. Maybe I should really self-identify as a Shawol/Cassie, a Casswol, a Shasie? Changmin and Yunho have definitely grown on me this year. I will not lie, it is partially because they still hurt so obviously over the TVXQ split, especially when they are on variety shows and are ‘avoiding’ names. It is heartbreaking. Plus, they are such seasoned and accurate performers. Every ‘live’ I see them in is impeccable.
(05) A Million Roses, Jonghyun
How can you say I am not a good Jonghyun bias fangirl? How?
(04) High High, GD&TOP
Just an infectious track, coupled with an infectious music video. I think if any track out of this entire list could have gone to Western market, it would have been this one. Technically released on December 24th, 2010, but really, 2011 was like six days away!
(03) Why? Keep Your Head Down, TVXQ
The Korean, not Japanese version. The epic brass and heavy bass stomping are all up my alley. I just love the bass. One time my piano instructor asked me if I was left-handed because I always listen and play so well to the bass line (I am right-handed).
(02) Perfection, Super Junior M
darn you, Soundcloud! Here is the link to the music video instead.
So, my taste in music ain’t so great. Through this video I started to like Ryeowook because he looks pretty snazzy in eyeliner (while Kyuhyun still manages to look priestly).
(01) Tonight, Big Bang
I really, really liked G-Dragon’s weird fur hoodie in the music video. I did not like his smashing of guitars in live performances. Poor guitars that GD actually did not even play before he smashed them. I actually thought this was a weak track as well, everything sounded so autotuned that one part melted into the other (e.g., I always have trouble telling Seungri and Taeyang apart). But, I guess, setting this as your alarm and being too lazy to change it guarantees this as the most played track of the year.
In the end,
(a) I have terrible music taste
(b) I universally dislike kpop girl groups
(c) I am only into kpop for the electronic dance songs and pretty boy Jonghyun.
A lot of high-profile comebacks this year: Beast with Fiction, Super Junior with Mr. Simple, SNSD with The Boys, 2NE1 with I Am The Best and Ugly, 2AM with Hands Up, Wonder Girls with Be My Baby, Brown Eyed Girls with Sixth Sense— yet with the exception of 2NE1 and B2ST, they were all pretty half-baked. They were big simply because their names were already big. 2011 was a year for building up to great things, it was a year for many debuts, but it was simply not a good year for great music.
Who do you think had the best release in 2011?