Best K-Pop of 2017
Written by Chyenne Tatum on January 1, 2018
By: Chyenne Tatum & Alissa Reyes
After countless comebacks and a plethora of solid album releases, the era of 2017 K-Pop is slowly winding down. We’ve witnessed record-breaking returns to the music scene, wildly successful debuts, and unfortunately, more disbandments from some of our favorites. As K-Pop DJs, Chyenne and Alissa share their top 10 albums of the year.
Chyenne’s Top 5 Albums
5. OO – Zion.T
As a person with R&B running through her veins, it’s no surprise that my favorite Korean R&B artist would end up somewhere in this list. Zion.T has a unique sound that is unmistakably him and easy to detect instantly. OO offers the perfect chill vibes I’ve been craving, especially since this was his first album release since 2013, aka way too long. Through all seven tracks and one an instrumental, Zion.T finds the perfect blend of R&B, soul, and funk in a cinematic theme that leaves me dazed and satisfied with each listen.
4. Al1 – Seventeen
To make it into my top five albums of the year, there has to be zero fillers, meaning every single song has to be on top of its game. With Seventeen, I’m always pleasantly surprised and pleased with how well all 13 members continue to grow as a group, as units within the group, and also as individual artists and performers. Al1 is heavily inspired by EDM with an incredible Seventeen twist that’s a sound all their own. Each of the three units are given their time to shine respectively in this album, as well as the two Chinese members, The8 and Jun, who nailed their duet song, “My I”. I also had the pleasure of seeing them perform this album LIVE during their US tour, which pretty much solidified its position even more on my 2017 “bests” list.
3. Perfect Velvet – Red Velvet
Although all of Red Velvet’s releases have been outstanding, the group mostly releases mini-albums and none of them have come close to match the level of cohesiveness that their first full-length album, “The Red” executed back in 2015. However, SM has finally given my girls the second full-length album that they deserve and it only took five out of the nine tracks for me to decide that “Perfect Velvet” is indeed the long lost sister of “The Red”. In contrast to “Rookie”, which lightly touched on the girls’ R&B influences, this album completely absorbs it, while still seeming upbeat in the most satisfying way possible. I’m starting to think that this might actually be the best Red Velvet album thus far.
2. Limitless – NCT 127
Boy, oh boy. If I wasn’t already NCT trash before this album, I definitely would’ve been after listening to the six tracks on their second mini-album release. After adding two more members, Johnny and Doyoung to the group, NCT 127 perfectly weaves in and out of their new signature sound of hip-hop, R&B, and even hints of electropop. As SM Entertainment’s newest boy group, I had high expectations of what NCT would bring to the table, and I must say that they’ve exceeded all of them with flying colors. Each song does an amazing job at highlighting the rappers’ strengths, as well as letting the vocalists have their time in the spotlight. I highly recommend “Back To U” (1:27 am) for those hardcore 90’s influences and powerful adlibs. I see you Taeil.
1. The War/Power of Music – EXO
Every comeback EXO makes, they have something to prove, and “The War” was no exception as the group shattered their own record sales once again and held onto their title of global superstars. This album deviates from EXO’s signature pop style and incorporates more elements of hip-hop and EDM into the mix. Although they always top their previous releases, the eight members really outdid themselves and
managed to create my new favorite K-Pop album of all time and the perfect package to sum up this year. The only thing that would’ve made it even better, is if their ninth member Lay, were able to participate in the production of this album. Fingers crossed for OT9 comeback in 2018!
Alissa’s Top 5 Albums
5. Sunrise – Day 6
Day6 is the very first Korean rock band that I listened to and I’ve been there since their debut, in which I am very proud of because I feel like a lot of people don’t appreciate this group as much as they should. Though this group’s popularity is growing slowly, I feel that they have improved a lot since their debut and them finally getting a full studio album is just the start. One of the things I like about this album is that they give us a reboot of the song, “Letting Go” which features more chorus and got rid of the rap that the first version of the song. Then they also give us a different version of the song “Congratulations”, which is suppose to be the final version of the song. Along with those, they gave us two new tracks called “I Smile” and “Lean On Me”. The song, “Lean On Me” gives us more a rock feel while also being somewhat soft. Then the song, “I Smile” gives us more of a soft, but kind of upbeat.
4. Twicetagram – Twice
Twice is the first girl group that I’ve been keeping up on, mostly because they’re from the same company as GOT7, JYP Entertainment. This is the first full album for Twice and even though I’m not into girl groups that are really bubbly, Twice is somewhat different and I feel that they aren’t SUPER bubbly like most girl groups. They have a sort of twist, where they act bubbly in the music videos, but the songs are not as bubbly even though they still have a hint of it.
3. 7 for 7- GOT7
The fact that the boys or should I say men, wrote and composed each song without having J.Y. Park contributing is the group’s biggest step towards a different direction for them. I LOVE the fact that they got to contribute to the album all together and it shows the true meaning of the album title, “7 for 7”. This shows that the group is one big team and that they are sticking together no matter what. I appreciate this group and this album so much. I feel that this album is just the start of GOT7 and soon they will be a more well-known and appreciated group in the near future!
2. My Voice – Taeyeon
Back with her amazing vocals, Taeyeon came out with her first studio album which was released at the beginning of this year. The album was a huge success and she had impressed a lot of people with her “westernized” influence and vocal performance. Taeyeon’s album includes experimental musical styles of tropical house, R&B, and swing. I think this album definitely shows her powerful vocals and I like that she experimented with different genres of music and felt they suit her very well. Overall this album was great and I look forward to more of her work.
1. Love Yourself: Her- BTS
BTS has definitely changed their sound with this album and like Chyenne and I said in our review for this album, they do have a lot of influence from western artists that they follow. Though they are influenced from those artists, their own sound is still noticeable throughout the album. I believe that even without the influence of those western artists, this album would still be at the top, especially since BTS has gotten really popular in the US. This group is getting higher and higher to being one of the top K-Pop artists and I am looking forward to when that time comes!