I wrote a while back in August that I was working on a rather large project, to be finished in December. I also told you that most people probably wouldn’t be interested in what it was about. Well, it’s done, and what it’s about is…
A countdown of the 100 hand-picked, totally subjectively best and greatest Korean songs from the 2001~2010 decade, with my running commentary on each.
Still with me? Awesome. I’ve been planning to do something like this for a while now. If you didn’t know, one of the things I do for fun is music criticism, a perk of which is that over the years, you tend to collect a large amount of music that you love. With the end of the decade approaching (I’m one of those people that believe that a decade begins in the year ending with 1 (2001) and ends in the year ending with 0 (2010). I will argue with you on this), I thought it would be nice to put together a collection of what I consider the absolute best from Korea in the past 10 years. While I do listen to and do criticism on American music as well, I don’t think I’m anywhere near qualified to do a comprehensive review on an entire decade.
(The reason I left the subject unsaid back then was because I was concerned about my ability to finish the project: I’ve attempted similar things before in MySpace blogs, on a much smaller scale, and every attempt ended up either dead before first writing or, what is worse, posted as a series and then never completed. So I was more than a little wary about something this big. It is finished this time around, though, and I promise it won’t be left incomplete–the writing is already all done, and I only need to hit the “post” button.)
Throughout writing, I’ve tried to ensure that you do not need to have any background knowledge about the Korean music industry to understand and appreciate the cultural contexts of each song. In fact, I’m assuming that you don’t know anything at all about it. I attempted to provide as much background and context as I could without making the entries overly long, but if you’re not into that, you could read just what I wrote on the song itself, or even don’t read anything at all and just listen to the Youtube videos provided with each entry. Take what you will out of the posts.
The overall process of compiling this list of 100 took about a year and a half, but actual writing only started in July. On and off for about a year, I simply sifted through tens of thousands of songs and sources (including my own writing and records) to collect the complete list of songs that I believed were worthy to make the top 100. In the end, this process yielded a total of 388 songs. Consequently, two rounds of weighing and measuring each song took place for a month or so, the first round bringing the number down to 178 and the second round to the requisite 100. As the year progressed, I would change my mind on some entries or new music would be released that I liked enough to include, so the list has been continually evolving. In the end, I think that the finished list is the closest I can get to representing what I believe is the absolute best music Korea has produced in 10 years.
So, starting tomorrow, these 100 songs will be going up, 10 songs per day and per post. Each entry will include release information, the album cover, a Youtube video of the song, and of course the commentary; you’ll notice that on the first half of this 100, commentary tends to be shorter, while on the second half, they get two or sometimes three times longer. This was done in the interest of time, but it’s not necessarily to say that the first 50 writeups don’t provide any less information.
If you go on reading, one thing to keep in mind: this stuff is all selected in my opinion, and mine only. I selected these on several criteria (which you will realize when you see some of the commentary), but in the end, they were subjective decisions. Other people might have be appalled that I didn’t include their favorite song of all time, or outraged that I did include some song that they think terrible. By no means is this supposed to be totally comprehensive or objective: my only goals are to tell you what I consider to be the cream of the crop, and perhaps to introduce you to a new artist or two that you might like. That said, this list does cover a huge range of genres and styles in quality music, so it’s more than likely that you’ll find at least a few entries that you take a liking to.
It was a lot of fun to write, although exhausting at times. Not only did I rediscover a lot of my old favorites in the process, the entire 27,738-word endeavor was a lot of help for my writing in general as well. I hope you find reading the countdown as enjoyable as writing it was for me.
Next page (#100~#91):