Saturday, 26 December 2015

Best of K-Pop 2015

2014 has been dubbed by many K-Pop fans as the worst year for the genre due to scandals, tragedies and other unfortunate events. By contrast, 2015 seems like one of the best in recent years.

In many ways, it was the year of the Rookie with outstanding, multi-talented groups like Seventeen, iKon and Monsta X all debuting in strong form this year. It was also a year of long-awaited comebacks with the likes of BAP returning after a nearly two year absence. 

Furthermore, this year marked the solo debuts and emergence of sub-groups from some of the most beloved and best-established acts. Hyunseung of Beast had a much under-hyped solo debut which showcased his outstanding dancing abilities and allowed the cheeky sex-appeal that was apparent through his Troublemaker activities with Hyuna in the past to shine through. VIXXLR brought together the angelic voice of vocal Leo with rapper Ravi of VIXX in a pairing that worked better than anyone could have imagined and gave us an album of great beauty that showed the writing cred of the band. 

VIXX themselves also had an outstanding comeback with "Chained Up" that saw the concept idols outdo themselves with the fan service. Hyuna, Zico and EXID came back harder than before. F(x) reemerged with an album that took risks and paid off with a really cool eighties vibe while Wonder Girls gave us a more unadulterated, nostalgic, very JYP eighties album. 

EXO and BIGBANG both continued to dominate the industry and the world, along with BTS later on in the year, making it on to mainstream music charts globally, proving the power of K-pop and their own international, large-scale appeal. IU also had a comeback which further solidified her megastar status but saw her battle with controversy.

On a personal note, alongside the above that were all what I saw as highlights of the year in K-Pop, I had a particularly fond spot for Roy Kim's latest album, The Great Dipper, which was, perhaps, my favourite of the year in any genre or language. It's certainly clear evidence of his advancement as an artist. Other highlights for me were anything Jooyoung or Zion T were involved in and Jong Hyun's solo activities. 

Looking at it all laid out, it makes me excited for what's next and the further growth of these acts. Hopefully, 2016 will be an even better year for K-Pop and will see the recognition for the genre grow even more.


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