Top 100 (Korean) Songs of the Decade: #50~41

Previous Entry (#60~51):

50. 싸이 (Psy) – 챔피언 (Champion)
Album: 3싸이 (3Psy)
Release: 9-19-2002

This tune here probably sounds familiar to you. It’s the famous “Axel F” track from Beverly Hills Cop; Psy was by no means the first artist to sample it, but he probably did put the weirdest spin on it. This reimagining is based on techno, with old-school synthesizer and analog drum machine filling the beat. The familiar melody is used as an intro and background, throughout and up to the chorus; the actual chorus and tune are original.

A majority of Psy’s songs have this in common: they are extremely danceable. That means they’re upbeat, energetic, vibrant, and entertaining, with a bit of the magic ingredient (whatever it may be) that completes the concoction. His greatest hits were all that way–“Bird”, “Celeb”, “We Are The One”, and the most recent “Right Now” all followed that formula. “Champion” is one of those songs as well: the supercharged beat is there, as described, and Psy’s signature entertaining, not-quite-virtuoso-but-good-to-the-ear rapping makes the rest of it. As a club anthem, it fits the bill; as a pick-me-up, it works equally well. But this one’s different from Psy’s other similar successes by way of a message. The lyrics are pretty funny, but this time they have an important empowerment theme. The titular “champion”, as Psy makes very clear about 400 times, is you. It’s you because you shout. It’s you because you rock to music. Because you enjoy life. Because it’s you. Because you’re you. And you’re a champ.

[As an aside,  this is a track perfectly suited to a concert, which Psy knows. Hence the remix of this song, which is breathtaking–full orchestra and band accompaniment, with scale befitting one of his year-end concerts. I almost consider it better than this version, but as far as I know there is only one location on the Internet where it is still publicly available, and it cannot be linked to.]

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Top 100 (Korean) Songs of the Decade: #100~91

Previous entry (Intro):

(Before you get started: just for clarification, the first thing, coming before the dash in each entry title, is the artist name. The second thing, after the dash, is the title. If either the artist or the title is in Korean, I provided the translation and/or transliteration in parentheses.)

100. BoA – My Name
Album: My Name
Release: 6-11-2004

Pop icon BoA was already Korea’s national sweetheart at the time of My Name‘s release in 2004. What changed after that release? She became Korea’s national all-grown-up sweetheart. The eighteen-year-old’s transition into a mature artist did happen overnight with the unapologetically seductive lead title “My Name”. All the elements are there–the sleek, urban background track letting on more than a little hint of techno, the kinetic euphony of string and electronica, the boldly provocative lyrics. It’s left up to BoA to make a song out of it, and she delivers with the effortlessness of a star worth every bit of her hype.

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