Awards season is coming, and the MNET Asian Music Awards (hereafter referred to as MAMA) is kicking things off with a bang! It’s only been two days, and my social media feeds are already filled with people discussing the nominations. As I write this, fans all over the world are diligently trying to get on MNET’s bugging website and vote for their favorites. I’m multifandom, so I’m having a really hard time choosing. Also, my computer seems to hate that site. So I thought I’d do something a little different!
This was a crazy month for K-Pop. There was so much going on it took me all the way through September to catch up! It’s probably because I spent most of August focusing on SNSD’s 10th anniversary and Wanna One’s debut, but there were plenty of great new releases. Sometimes these posts are biased because I just keep mentioning the same groups over and over again…but this time I’m going to try and cover as many as I can!
I feel like I’m always mentioning the large amounts of music released every month, but August was something else. There were so many artists that I had to make three different posts!!! Now you can see why I’ve decided to consolidate my reviews in the long run. I already covered a lot of rookies in the Produce 101 alumni post, but there are some others that I think are worth noting. Aside from NCT Dream, these are groups that either just debuted or rookies I haven’t really checked out. I usually don’t pick groups I’m unfamiliar with, so this will be a different perspective.
On September 20, digital music platform Soribada hosted their first ever BEST K-MUSIC AWARDS. Eligible songs were from September 2016 to August 2017, with online voting starting in July.
New Korean Wave Producer Award: Iggy Youngbae (I assume for a GFriend song)
New Korean Wave Music Video Award: Zanybros (I’m not sure if they were nominated for a specific MV, but they worked with many of the artists that were there: B.A.P., Mamamoo, GFriend, KNK, Wanna One)
New Korean Wave Music Star Award: Sonamoo and KNK
New Korean Wave OST Award: Ailee, “I Will Go to You Like the First Snow” (Goblin)
New Korean Wave Rookie Award: Pentagon and Wanna One
New Korean Wave Popularity Award: EXO
New Korean Wave Icon Award: Red Velvet
New Korean Wave Trot Award: Tae Jin Ah and Hong Jin Young
New Korean Wave Global Achievement Award: Eru
New Korean Wave Photogenic Award: DIA
New Korean Wave Rising Hot Star Award: WJSN and Wanna One
New Korean Wave Voice Award: Han Dong Geun
New Korean Wave Performance Award: NCT 127 and gugudan
New Korean Wave Artist Award: BTS (not in attendance)
2017 SOBA 11 (aka the Bonsang Prizes): Hwang Chi Yeul, T-ara, BTOB, EXO, Vixx, B.A.P., Mamamoo, Red Velvet, GFriend, Monsta X, Twice
Digital Daesang: Twice
Daesang (grand prize): EXO
I was originally going to do a recap, but there wasn’t all that much to sum up. Groups won awards, gave speeches, and performed their latest hits; there weren’t any special stages or collaborations. And all the artists stayed backstage, so it’s not like I can comment on their reactions to each other. Also, the streaming on V-Live was terrible. There was this weird echo/loop on the audio for the first thirty minutes, and the image kept cutting out or going out of sync. I know it’s a first time show, but those are some serious growing pains.
I’m not sure how much of a big deal these awards are or will be, especially compared to long-standing shows like MAMA, Melon, or Gaon Chart. It’s kind of strange that certain habitual award recipients like BTS, GOT7, BLACKPINK (and/or any YG artist), and Seventeen are nowhere to be seen. (BTS literally just started their comeback and they did send an acceptance speech, but it’s still a little weird) And to be honest, I don’t know what half of those awards mean or what the criteria was for deciding any of them. But I’m really impressed with the diversity of the artists they awarded. They’re mostly all groups big in the last five years, but there’s still a wide variety. And I’m really happy with the attention they gave to all those rookies. They all deserve more recognition, and I’m glad they got it. I’ll be interested to see if Soribada does this again next year and how it will be – hopefully a better streaming experience!
Sources: V-Live, Soompi, Wikipedia
June is my favorite month! To be fair, that’s really because I was born in June (Gemini all the way, baby). It’s probably because I’m biased, but it always seems like only good things happen this month. And June has given me some of my absolute favorite K-pop songs. While I favored some of the up and coming rookies, a lot of older groups also came out with some catchy music that intrigued me. And there were a lot of upbeat dance tracks, which are my favorite kind.
While there were several newer groups like K.A.R.D. that had strong comebacks, February belonged to the heavy hitters. Red Velvet dominated the first half of the month, while top groups of 2016 BTS and Twice battled it out in the second. Powerhouse Taeyeon ended the month on a high note with a solid album. There was a lot going on, but there was a lot to enjoy.
NCT did well with their various debuts, but it seems like they’ve really stepped up their game this year. “Limitless” was awesome, and I’m really liking “My First and Last.” While I’m fairly concerned about how much rest Mark and Haechan got these past few months, I think that this is a really great comeback for NCT Dream. “My First and Last” is really appealing because it’s fun and it has a very nostalgic quality to it.
I was expecting January to be a slow time for K-pop, but we still got a lot of great of music. Female artists basically dominated this month for me. A lot of my favorite rookie girl groups had comebacks, Dreamcatcher had a strong debut, Seohyun and Suzy released amazing music, and three of my favorite biases had an amazing collaboration. Yet I couldn’t completely forget about boy groups – “Limitless” turned me into a major NCT fan.
I was pretty ambivalent about NCT as a whole throughout 2016. I like “The Seventh Sense,” but “Fire Truck” just isn’t my thing. And I have no connection with NCT Dream, being at least nine years older than any given member. Basically, NCT was a group that I didn’t closely follow. “Limitless” totally changed all of that. People (including me) make fun of the fashion, but they released a really quality song. I hope that it’s grabbing other people’s attention like it did mine.
If you want to know what I look at when I do a review, click here.
*SPOILER ALERT!* These reviews assume that the reader has either listened to the song or watched the music videos.