It’s that time of the year again! I love the KMA’s because they are always so interesting in their nominations. This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of my favorite releases from 2014 ended up on the list. Here are my personal picks, and who I think are going to win.
Album of the Year
This is such a solid list of nominees. Surprised to see Hwaji’s absolutely fantastic album Eat make the list; he released the album for free online and although it got hype among hip hop fans, I didn’t know it was talked about at all among critics and industry people. Especially considering the slew of strong hip hop releases this year, it’s a bit of a shocker to find Hwaji’s label-less album make it to the album of the year list, but I’m glad that it did. I’m glad all of these album made the list, actually! They’re all phenomenal.
Personal Pick: I’d have to go with Loro’s W.A.N.D.Y. Hands down my favourite album of the year. But any of these, I would be happy with.
Prediction: Danpyunsun and the Sailors with Animal. Having listened to Danpyunsun’s previous solo effort Virgin in 2013, I wasn’t as struck by this album (as he rehashes a few songs from Virgin on here), but the KMAs being the hipsters they are, I want to say this oddball and his band will take home the grand prize.
Song of the Year
Six nominees, every one of them excellent.
Personal Pick: Zion.T’s “YHDG” is probably my favourite song on this list, with Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon’s “Secret” coming pretty close to second. Zion.T’s “YHDG” had me crying, it is such a beautiful song.
Prediction: Soyou x Junggigo “Some.” The Song of the Year category often tend to favour the mainstream hits(Girls’ Generation’s “Gee,” IU’s “Good Day,” Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” last year’s “Bounce”), and I feel like “Some” is the safest song to predict for this category.
Artist of the Year
Yikes, the trickiest category. Lee Won Sool is the only artist I haven’t heard anything from on this list.
Personal Pick: I’d love to see Gonne Choi or Danpyunsun and the Sailors win. But more Gonne Choi, because this album was a long way coming and she definitely proved herself.
Prediction: This is really tricky. The most glaring choice out of this list is Seo Taiji, but I would have to go with Danpyunsun and the Sailors.
Rookie of the Year
Wow, what a competition.
Personal Pick: Probably either Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon, or Crush.
Prediction: Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon. This category always seem to go for the underdog of the underdogs.
Best Rock Album
I haven’t listened to Unchained’s Thorn out of this list.
Personal Pick: Guckkasten’s second album Frame has to be my pick, it’s such a great sophomore album! Especially after such a long wait and a phenomenal first album to live up to.
Prediction: I want to say Danpyunsun and the Sailors to play it safe. But there are always room for anomalies. My runner-up would be Hollow Jan’s Day Off.
Best Rock Song
Personal Pick: Guckkasten’s “Transform” is a jam! My favourite song on this list.
Prediction: Kiha & the Faces’ “Mind of the People.”
Best Modern Rock Album
I was hoping Life and Time would be nominated (although I’m not sure if they’ll fall under Modern Rock or Rock?) so a tiny bit disappointed that they weren’t nominated for anything. The Great Deep is still an excellent album though.
Personal Pick: I’ve listened to all the albums on this list and thought all of them were great. But especially Loro’s W.A.N.D.Y.
Prediction: Loros’ W.A.N.D.Y.
Best Modern Rock Song
Interesting choices! I’m glad Boys in the Kitchen’s “Bivo” is on the list!
Personal Pick: I want to say Nunco Band’s “Future Luv” because it was such a cherry on top on their discography so far. And a total jam.
Prediction: I want to say 9 and the Numbers’ “Hide and Seek.” I have a gut feeling.
Best Folk Album
Unfortunately I’ve only listened to Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon, Big Baby Driver, and Gonne Choi on this list.
Personal Pick: Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon! Loved their EP.
Prediction: Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon.
Best Folk Song
Personal Pick: Again, Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon’s “Secret” because it was such a lovely song, but Gonne Choi’s “Monster” was also fantastic.
Prediction: The thing with KMA predictions is that when you don’t know what to pick, just pick whichever one’s nominated for the other award category. Which means we are down to Kwon Tree or Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon. I’m gonna go for the latter.
Best Pop Album
Personal Pick: Kyo’s Spade One because he’s been working on this album for ages (literally) and I also liked it quite a bit, probably a lot more than the other releases on this list.
Prediction: This is a hard one, but I will go with Lee Seung Hwan and Fall to Fly.
Best Pop Song
Personal Pick: Soyou x Junggigo’s “Some”. The Barberettes come close in second though.
Prediction: Soyou x Junggigo’s “Some.”
Best Dance & Electronic Album
Personal pick: god, saram12saram’s EP killed me, it was so so good. Despite being released in December of 2013, I still listen to it quite a bit, it’s that good. This is such a strong list of nominees, though!
Prediction: I actually have no idea! It’d be nice if saram12saram could actually win. They’ve always been kind of basic (for a lack of a better word) with their picks for this particular category, and if they continue in that pattern it may be that Idiotape will win with Tours, but I have a feeling that they’ll go for something more experimental this year. Or at least it’s about time they award a more experimental group in this category, rather. So I’ll go with WYM’s After Moon.
Best Dance & Electronic Song
Personal Pick: Juuno’s “Poly Evil!” I’m so glad this song is nominated over his title from the EP. I’m also rooting for Yoonsang’s “If You Want to Comfort Me” though, because it was such a great electronic song.
Prediction: Yoonsang’s “If You Want to Comfort Me.”
Best Rap & Hip Hop Album
The most interest category to me personally this year. I half expected to see B-Free, Chaboom, and Jerry.K on this list. Vasco is a surprise. Sad to see that Kirin’s Love and Peace and the Just Music compilation Ripple Effect didn’t make the cut.
Personal Pick: Hwaji’s Eat. My rap album of the year.
Prediction: Hwaji’s Eat, since it’s also nominated for Best Album of the Year. If they decided to shake it up, it may go to B-Free’s Korean Dream, though, but I want to believe in Hwaji.
Best Rap & Hip Hop Song
I feel like there were much stronger rap tracks in 2014 that easily outshine “Dali, Van, Picasso” or “Born Hater”. Bummed that Qim Isle’s “V*$*V” isn’t on here.
Personal Pick: Hwaji all the way!
Prediction: Chaboom’s “Ansan Noir (feat. Ringojay).”
Best R&B & Soul Album
Unfortunately I did not have a chance to listen to R-Shine’s Natural Hi-Fi on this list.
Personal Pick: Crush’s Crush on You. Phenomenal debut work from a rising star.
Prediction: Crush with Crush on You.
Best R&B & Soul Song
Personal Pick: Zion.T’s “YHDG,” because as I’ve said earlier, it’s one of my favourite songs of the year.
Prediction: This is kind of interesting, because I totally expected Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips” to be nominated for Best Song of the Year as well. I’d have to go with that pick here.
Best Jazz Album
Ah, here starts all the categories that I never ever listen to! I haven’t listened to any of these, sorry to say.
Prediction: Lee Won Sool Into the Time since he’s also nominated for another award above.
Best Crossover Album
I’ve only listened to Han Seung Suk and Jung Jae Il’s Bari abandoned in full on this list. Heard a couple of songs by Jung Mina. That’s it!
Personal Pick & Prediction: I’d have to go with Bari abandoned for both because not only is it the only album that I’ve listened to on this list (haha), but it was also a hauntingly beautiful album that really stayed with me for a while.
Best Jazz & Crossover Performance
Again, I haven’t listened to any of these, so I wouldn’t know…
Prediction: I’m just gonna guess and go with Trio Closer for funsies.
I would’ve loved to see Kirin nominated too!
Did you see Zion.T on EBS Space 공감 together with Yun Seokchol Trio? I really enjoyed that version of 도도해 but they did 양화대교 as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_HtcZatym0