The KMA focus I was hoping to keep during February quickly faded as I failed to cut down on work, and with a sudden business trip thrust upon me I had to give it up completely. Similar circumstances has kept me from listening to as much music as I would typically prefer, so I’ll have to base my predictions on how I’ve perceived these songs and albums to be received by others.
Album of the Year
Youn Sun Nah‘s Lento is the only of the albums nominated I’ve listened to in full, but though her albums typically get nominated in this category she has yet to win it. From the sheer amount of nominations for Jang Pil Soon this year as well as the excitement in Korean media when the nominations were announced my guess is on her.
Song of the Year
2013 was the year when everybody and their mother (and grandmother) gushed over the return of Cho Yong Pil. There are other songs of his I would pick over “Bounce (바운스)”, but I still think it has a really good chance to take home this category.
Artist of the Year
There are few artists in Korea that are so diverse yet universally loved as Cho Yong Pil. He couldn’t have hoped for a better comeback
Rookie of the Year
Lot’s of strong contenders in this category! Hadn’t expected to see Zion.T nominated as he’s been gaining fame for a couple of years already, but then only official EPs and albums count as far as this award is concerned. It was also a bit of a surprise to see Oki Kim on the list as this category is usually a bit more oriented towards ‘easier’ music. But I wouldn’t put my vote on either of the two. Then we have EXO–they may be produced by SM Entertainment, but while the supposedly rabid fans scare off other kpop listeners EXO have been surprisingly well received among the indie crowd because of their musicality, hard work and dedication. Even so I can’t see them take home this category as the judges usually don’t seem to favor idols. That leaves us with Lim Kim and Rock’N’Roll Radio. I must say I think Yoon Jong Shin did really well to take on Lim Kim and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from her a lot. However, this award is usually won by a rock band so my guess is for Rock’N’Roll Radio that had a really strong year in 2013.
Best Rock Album
There is only one acceptable winner for this category: Vassline‘s Black Silence. I may not have listened to that much music in 2013, but even so I can say with good confidence that Black Silence was one of the very best albums. In my opinion the very best albums of the year. And Vassline already won the same category with their previous album.
Best Rock Song
This is a difficult category. Every time I listen to my 2014KMA Best Rock Song playlist and hear Kopchangjeongol‘s “그 날은 올거야” I think ‘this is it!’. Then the playlist continues and a few songs later comes Asian Chairshot‘s “소녀” and I again think ‘this is it!’. Another round of the playlist and I’m back with Kopchangjeongol. But there can be only one winner, so with “소녀” fresh in my mind I’ll go with Asian Chairshot.
Best Modern Rock Album
I’m tempted to say Jaurim without further reasoning, but then I put Jang Pil Soon down for Album of the Year so I think I might have to stick with that choice also for Best Modern Rock.
Best Modern Rock Song
In spite of several nominations Yoon Young Bae didn’t do so well at the Korean Music Awards last year. I’d like to think this year will be different, with “위험한 세계” being the one of his 2 nominated songs to win him the award.
Best Pop Album
As far as I’m concerned anybody who wins this category will have done so deservedly, but I can’t see much competition for Cho Yong Pil. His comeback extended far beyond just one song and Hello is the album to prove it.
Best Pop Song
My favorite in this category is Kang Asol‘s sweet “엄마”, but again I’ll have to go with Cho Yong Pil as the likely winner.
Best Dance & Electronic Album
f(x) and Glen Check met in the same category last year. Both seem equally strong this year, but since Glen Check won last year I’ll leave my guess with f(x).
Best Dance & Electronic Song
Crayon Pop! Bar Bar Bar! Occasional koreanindie contributor Ranya turned me on to Crayon Pop last spring and went on to show me that they also have the most adorable fans. It’s been neat to follow their sudden success and it’ll be a shame if they don’t win at least this category.
Best Rap & Hip-Hop Album
If I’ve been clueless about Korean hip-hop previous years, last year I was even worse. I’ll go with Paloalto simply because I’m more familiar with that name…
Best Rap & Hip-Hop Song
Clueless as I was, I couldn’t miss either Bullhandang Crew or Swings. Out of the two songs “불한당가” seemed like the stronger to me so that’s what I’m guessing for tonight.
Best R&B and Soul Album
Another category where I’m embarrassingly clueless, but unlike hip-hop these were never genres that had any appeal to me. Lee Hi however I find very interesting, so I’ll be hoping for her to win.
Best R&B and Soul Song
For the reason above I’ll pick Lee Hi as the most probably winner also when it comes to the song. Plus the music video for “It’s Over” was one of my favorites last spring.
Best Jazz Album
This is Youn Sun Nah’s category. Has been until now and will likely continue that way.
Best Crossover Album
Coreyah has grown immensely as a band since we first saw them audition for Top Band 2. Whale Of A Time truly does crossover more than any of the other nominated albums with its contemporary use of traditional Korean instruments and song.
Best Jazz & Crossover Performance
Oki Kim got nominated for Rookie of the Year and that has to count for something. Let him win this!