Here’s a little something for those of you interested in more personal posts! You already know which albums were my favorites in 2009, but what about what I actually listened to? Thanks to last.fm I’ve been able to compile an approximate list, posted below with comments. (Numbers here – you’re more than welcome to post your charts as well!)
Most Listened to Korean Artists 2009
1. Tearliner (1)
Not much of a surprise there – after all I did go on Korean radio and named him my very favorite Korean artist. Hopefully 2010 will be the year when he receives a wider recognition as a musician beyond the music director work done for Coffee Prince & Triple.
2. Dringe Augh
As commented by So Cow, he’s truly “an incredible songwriter and an extremely nice guy too”. Listening to his music, the imagery accompanying it is a lovely summer day on a dust road through a beautiful Swedish forest – the way I first experienced Individually Wrapped while we were getting acquainted.
3. Apollo 18
I have nothing but good things to say about Apollo 18. I might not be as impressed with their Blue album as many others, but I’m loving their Red album to pieces and there’s nothing I look forward to hear more than their upcoming Violet album right now. I don’t know how they do it, but in spite of all the awesomeness displayed on record they are even more incredible live. If there’s one Korean indie act that could tour the world today, Apollo 18 is it.
3. The Invisible Fish (3)
The release of Loss/Breathless of course contributed to this position, but I suspect a lot of it is still first EP Through The Glass Wall. While reminiscing the music he wrote while in Bluedawn (The Invisible Fish is where you should direct your attention if Han Hee Jung‘s solo works isn’t enough Bluedawn for you), this is more personal and more experimental. At times hauntingly beautiful.
SHA label offers nothing but very high quality music, and Lune’s solo debut was no exception. With a mature sound familiar from fellow label mates Huckleberry Finn and Swallow – the latter much involved in the making of Absinthe – gorgeous melodies, and a strong female voice I didn’t need to hear much before being convinced of her grandeur.
6. Broccoli, you too?
Something I just have to listen to every now and then. Mellow indie pop songs not that unlike other that offered by other performers in Korea, yet with an addictive element not previously observed elsewhere. Although since hearing the 3rd demo (and Autumn Vacation) I’ve concluded that the addiction is more about Gyepy than Broccoli, you too? Not that I can give up on 브로콜리O마저 completely, but in a strange way listening to it makes me feel both empty and sad (quite unlike me, most of the time) so, I’m afraid to say, it’s now something more like the fascination over an accident than anything else.
8. BoA (new)
I have a soft spot for BoA, accrediting her with getting me back into Korean music after a few years hiatus following the disbandment of H.O.T. and Turbo. Not that I’ve really liked anything she’s recorded since No.1/Valenti – or so I thought… I should probably be too embarrassed to speak of it but I actually liked her US album. A lot. Not the autotune abuse, not the raunchy lyrics (whatever happened to My Sweetie?), but the extremely catchy earworms that dominated the album.
I’m usually all too eager to stick to the album that made me fall in love with an artist and dismiss everything that follows. Donawhale, having made such an impression with their 2007 debut – 아카시아 in particular, were definitely at risk to be yet another disappointing act but instead returned with another strong album – and a song even better. When listening to Donawhale there’s always room for two albums on the playlist.
Expect a list on the 10 Korean songs I listened to more than any other during 2009 to show up here some time tomorrow.