Amy’s 2017 Music Highlights
12. Lee Hyori (이효리) – Black
One of the underappreciated albums this year. Hyori, ever one of my favorite unnies, has been making a real effort here. Monochrome, released back in 2013, is still a real piece of pop art, but what Hyori has done with Black is seldom done in commercial Kpop (or pop, in general). She pretty much went against all Kpop norms, and left dance and hooks behind. The title track is real retrospection of her life as an idol; in an industry that valued her image, her looks, her sex appeal, dyed hair and color lenses when she just wanted to have them ‘black.’
She gets a little hippie American, at times, but Black reflects what her life is at this point in her life, which was showcased in her accompanying reality, Hyori’s Home Stay (효리네 민박). Now, if all the people that tuned into her show could’ve supported the album that went with it…
11. HYUKOH – 23
HYUKOH has had a pretty good exposure year this 2017, with the decently charting Tomboy [MV] (the lead single of the album), Can’t Love You Anymore (사랑이 잘)  his collaboration with IU, and Home Is Far Away (빈차) [MV] with EPIK HIGH~
10. Bolbbalgan4 (볼빨간사춘기) – Red Diary Page.1
Another one of my favorite early discoveries this year, with Red Planet [iTunes]. The duo of friends had already been establishing themselves as digital monsters for how well their non-single songs charted, and with Red Diary Page.1, they did even better with all five songs (only the physical release includes 6 tracks) charting within the Top15.
If peppy pop songs that make you happy (with a spin) are your thing, you’ll love Bolbbalgan4. The bridge in Some (썸 탈꺼야) that says “Go away, no don’t go away / Show me your heart, no don’t show it to me,” gave me P!nk’s Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)  flashbacks LOL xD and they can make the saddest song (Blue [clip]) into the most melodic thing~
9. Maison Book Girl – Image
My favorite girl group discovery this year! [lol]
I think I stumbled upon the video for faithlessness [MV], which is the lead single for Image, and I fell instantly in love. It’s sort of familiar Jpop, not that out there in the Weird Japan spectrum, but fresh and alternative enough to get your attention. The visual style in their video catches your eye, of course, but what’s genius about Image as an album is that it IS indeed an album with literal “opening” and “ending” songs, set backwards.
8. Sentimental Scenery (센티멘탈 시너리) – HISTORY
Accidental discovery! I sometimes click videos on YouTube by their thumbnail (the importance of thumbnails and album covers!), and I was enchanted by Sentimental Scenery’s music journey in HISTORY.