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…

You can still get a physical copy of Black on YesAsia, or get a digital download of it on iTunes. Stream in your service of choice~

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) [1] his collaboration with IU, and Home Is Far Away (빈차) [MV] with EPIK HIGH~

23 has other great songs, like Leather Jacket (가죽자켓) [MV], Tokyo Inn [1], Jesus Lived in a Motel Room [1], or -my personal favorite- Wanli [MV]. It’s a great full studio album debut from the band.

You can get 23 on iTunes. It’s also available in physical through YesAsia, who also offer a Japanese Edition that’s slightly cheaper (for some reason unknown to me).

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) [1] flashbacks LOL xD and they can make the saddest song (Blue [clip]) into the most melodic thing~

Don’t forget to get a physical copy through YesAsia or download from iTunes.

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.

You can get Image on iTunes, or get a physical copy of the album through YesAsia, Amazon Japan, or HMV Japan (this is my usual preferred source for Japanese goods).

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.

You can get HISTORY on iTunes, try to get it through Amazon, or visit the Pastel Music page for other options.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

8 Responses

  1. Jara says:

    Nice to read something from you again, Amy :)

  2. oh wow, Ding Wei sounds really interesting. need to check her music out…
    darn it I’ve been trying to write at least a review of The Villainess for here, but life/retail work has got in the way…

    will still get the music post in sometime after Christmas.

    my Puerto Rican relatives were all sharing the Latin Grammys performance of Residente’s “Hijos del Cañaveral ” he can be here and there on many issues but his heart is sincerely with Borinquen

    • amy says:

      Your music sharing is always welcome post-Xmas or NYE ^^

      Residente wears his boricua on his sleeve :P I really admire his whole ‘going global’ with the music he’s making, though. His last two albums have been musically all over the place, literally.

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