Korean music critics have started announcing their lists of the best music of 2010, and there’s quite a bit of sunshine on them!
On bo-da.net, whose roster of critics include Kwon MinGi, Kim Bong Hyeon, Kim Yun Ha, Chang, Kim HakSeon, Dan Pyeon Seon, Moon Jeong Ho, Seo SeongDeok, Seo Jeongmin Gap, Lee, K., and Cho SH, Solar ranked #9 among the top 20 multi-genre album releases in Korea for December 2009 to November 2010.
“I’ve been listening to ‘Take it Slow’ a lot lately. It may be only natural that anticipation and faith go to an artist that can receive (pick) a song like this and deliver this kind of vocal. If HOT was an album of expectations and possibilities, Solar is evidence that trust and confidence was deserved.” (Kim Hak Seon)
“Hot was an excellent EP, but expectations for a full album were half-and half (mixed). From my 10year or so experience with idol albums, my expectation of saying that ‘since this much was done on this album the next album would be better’ became colorless.
YG Entertainment has put out several good EP’s but no good albums over the past 3 years. YG’s albums lacked effort and a typical example is Big Bang’s “Remember”. But this year it is different. An album with effort and thought into the genre has emerged. Even without saying it is a good accomplishment from an idol, it [Solar] is a good R&B album.” (Moon Jeong Ho)
On 100beat, ‘I Need A Girl’ came in at #2 for the top 5 Songs of the Year:
100 beat’s full article is expected to come out soon – I’m really interested in how they came out with the list.
(Thanks to the uploaders and to piglet and HJ for help translating.)
Other year end lists that featured Taeyang :
#11 of Top 11 Domestic Albums
#15 of Top 20 Domestic Albums
Kim Hak Seon
Included in Top 10 Domestic Albums and “I Need A Girl” among Top 10 Domestic Singles – unranked, focus on Hip-Hop/R&B/Soul
Kim Bong Hyeon
#10 among Top 12 Domestic Albums
Weiv : Kim Min, Kim Young Jin, Shin Hyun, Woo Hae Mi, Lee Soo Yeon, Jae Hoon Lee, Jeong Gu Won, Cha Woo Jin, Choi Min Woo, Choi, Choi Ji Seon
“I Need A Girl” #9 of Top 20 Domestic Singles
Dan Pyeon Seon
#4 among Top 10 Domestic Albums (listed by release date)
OhmyNews ( by Jeong Hee Woong)
I’m so happy that our boy is receiving so much recognition. To put all these lists into context, many of these lists are multi-genre and don’t only include R&B releases. Even more exciting is that these lists also consider the non-mainstream artists that are frequently left out of the usual music show and year-end awards since they do not make enough impact on the sales charts (which have been increasingly dominated by idols.) That Taeyang is even included in these lists next to such superior offerings from Garion, 9와 숫자들, Jinbo and Deez says volumes about his contribution to the music scene this year. He is being included in lists of artists who are known purely for the quality of their music by people who make it their job to listen to a broad spectrum of music in a critical and contextual way. And in a banner year for Korean R&B, that Solar is even included among the R&B lists is a huge compliment.
We’ve said it before – Taeyang is interesting because he occupies a niche in the music scene where he performs in the manner of idols (song and dance, weekly music shows etc) and yet does music that is off mainstream enough so that it doesn’t really chart at huge levels in Korea. (He also doesn’t really act like either the typical idol or artist which makes him a bit harder to classify.) This is an important point to consider since he has one foot in both worlds – idol and artist – and is trying to build his career at a compromise to fans at different ends of the music industry scale with different expectations on each side. It’s a balancing act that could mean huge success in his future or huge disappointment for one or the other set of fans depending on which way he calibrates his future priorities.
Personally, I’ve always maintained that artists have to be primarily true to themselves rather than to fan expectations. This is especially true for Taeyang, whose fans have rather extreme expectations for him because of both his solo work and his work with Big Bang. Fans, Critics and Industry insiders are obviously keeping a close watch on him and his next album–2-3 years away–is going to be hotly anticipated again. Let’s hope Taeyang uses his long break wisely and comes back refreshed, rejuvenated and better than ever.