2013: Japan & Korea’s All Kills

WARNING: There’s a lot of girls on this list, so be warned if you’re more into the masculine side to pop music.


After a year of keeping tabs on pop and indie in my new home of South Korea through YAM Magazine and Trickster Trickster, it’s time for a rundown of the best tracks from the peninsula this year, along with a look at Japan and cultural cousin of sorts Taiwan.

South Korea

K-pop has always had awkward rap solos, but this year saw the main girls take a bit more from the hip hop field and add that hallyu sheen of everything but the kimchi sink. Girl’s Generation came out in January with the genre-bending epic I Got A Boy, which was mainly street swagger cut up with showtune, bubblegum and electro that managed to land on TIME‘s top 10 songs of 2013 [1].

Spring then saw 2ne1’s CL go solo with The Baddest Female [MV], which sounded like a Missy Elliot dubstep remix in slo-mo trap. The ‘onniii!’ breakdown is particularly inspired.

giacomo lee

Giacomo Lee is a London writer. His new book Funereal is out now, a unique novel on death, k-pop & cultural technology in Seoul, South Korea. #한류 #doppelgängnamstyle

1 Response

  1. December 27, 2013

    […] Lee writes for YAM Magazine. Featuring k-indie, Momoiro Clover Z & the least Christmassy Christmas song […]

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