My Best of 2010

It’s been a strange year.

From going strong to the first half to the year to becoming a little bit more bogged down with personal events along with opening game at wakesidevision, my video game site; I do feel wakesidevision has felt a little bit of a lack of attention than I would like to give it. So I’m taking the rest of December off to recharge and get some stuff together, mainly creating a buffer of posts to get ready so I’m able to focus on newer stuff while having new content on the site.

I also would like to offer a space for people who want to write about music pertaining to the site. It doesn’t have to be reviews at all, it could all be editorial it doesn’t really matter. Having the site grow with new voices is one of the goals, but I need some help. Please let me know if you might be interested.

But I would like to pass on some stats for the year that make me really happy.

January 1 to November 30

9,331 visits
21,642 pageviews
67.96% Bounce
1:54 avg site time
73.44% New Visits

It might seem strange that I’m revealing analytics, but I never planned on monetizing the site or pushing memberships for anything I’ve done. Partially, I think it’s dumb for the format of what I do and also, helping people find music is more important than making some quick money off of a band who have poured their time and talent into something.

Of those 21.6 thousand pageviews about 19 thousand were unique visits. Seeing that 19 thousand hits on the site were from unique, though counting bots and aggregates, I would estimate the real number to be around 10,000 is amazing. I don’t push on social bookmarking and only rely on Twitter and search engines, but if you tell your friends; I graciously thank you. Besides, the people who are searching want to know more which is better than putting every single link on every single link sharing site out there.

I love music from South Korea and Japan. I also love musicians who have found a voice abroad.

So:

Thank you to the readers.
Thank you to the musicians, bands, and vocalists for making music.
Thank you to fellow sites that found it interesting enough to link my content.

But lets get to the list

Top 10 Albums of 2010

1. Beat Crusaders – Rest Crusaders

They called it quits in 2010, but Beat Crusaders were one of the most important Japanese rock bands for me since I started listening to Japanese music. From their Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad OST song “Hit in the USA” to “Situation,” they have never disappointed.

2. 프렌지 (Frenzy) – Nein Songs

I considered 프렌지 to be a math-rock band, but they might be better considered an instrumental rock group. Either description can’t describe how good Nein Songs is. Korean rock has a lot of different members, and the album opened up a new genre for me that I didn’t think existed.

3. 한희정 (Han Heejeong) – 잔혹한 여행

Even when my mood shifts to hardcore, I still have a soft spot for 한희정. It’s amazing indie music that melds a lot of elements together to create something a little different, but contains enough layers to stay interesting.

4. 태양 (Taeyang) – Solar/Solar International

Say what you will about 태양 being part of Big Bang, being a Kpop idol, and whatever else you want to say to discredit his talent; but I can’t deny that his second solo album blew away a lot of expectations of the pop-friendly hits that usually connected to his group performances.

Solar was a great album, but Solar International showed that while his music might not meet the strange standards of the United States; he has the potential to break the boundaries.

5. Yellow Monsters – Self-titled

A lot of Korean rock combines ballad tracks on the , but Yellow Monsters took rock and punk and produced one of the best rock albums that Korea had this year. From track one to track ten, it never faltered and never lost its energy or focus.

6. World’s End Girlfriend – Seven Idiots

When World’s End Girlfriend returned in 2010, I expected more of the brooding instrumentals and almost white noise melodies that occurred on their older albums. Seven Idiots decided to be much more high energy compared to the older releases, but showed an evolution and skill that many other artists can’t pull off.

7. wooderd chiarie – サクラメント・カントス (Sacrament Cantos)

I played this for a friend and they asked if this was new Radiohead. 2010 welcomed Sacrament Cantos from wooderd chiarie and showed that Japan can produce music more amazing than England.

8. Envy – Recitation

I enjoyed their earlier albums and listened to them on and off since then. But when Recitation released and I heard it through combined with seeing them live this year, I respect their music on a hugely different level. Just simply amazing.

9. 리미 (Rimi) – Rap Messiah

One of the most impressive rap releases from Korea. I didn’t think that this quality could be released and it remains one of my favorite rap albums.

10. the Hiatus – Anomaly

Post-Ellegarden band aside, this is one of the releases that I listened to the most through 2010 since its release. It showed that punk rock was still alive and well in Japan.

Kpop 2010

Kpop was interesting this year, there were a lot of comebacks from seasoned singers like BoA and Se7en as well as the debuts and comebacks of some of the newer groups. I won’t say it was a bad year, but it seemed only a few groups really showed true growth while others just stayed in their “disposable” spots.

A lot of groups performed double duty in other countries like Kara and 소녀시대 debuting in Japan while performing in Korea as well. While Kpop groups still work in Asia, they can’t bring the dollars in the United States yet.

One group that kept impressing me was 비스트 (Beast) or B2ST or however they go by. From their late 2009 Beast is the B2ST which had them going head to head against MBLAQ to Shock of the New Era where they pulled ahead; 비스트 have evolved and found members finding their roles in the group. Their vocals get stronger with each release and even live they get more impressive.

숨 was one of the strongest Kpop singles this year especially with the long single note hold on the bridge by Yang Yo Seob. Even with the latest, Lights Go On Again, taking a much more sugar-soaked concept with “Beautiful” they’ve shown they have the staying power.

I think 이효리’s H-Logic was a good album before the controversy and it is sad that her company didn’t react sooner leading to a failed comeback.

소녀시대 released their full-length and quickly followed it with Run Devil Run and ended the year with Hoot, remaining the top girl group in Korea.

2NE1 released their first full-length and showed many different sides in their music though I am getting tired of the stage presence that CL has in each song. I know she’s the leader, but other members have talents as well.

The machine that is Kpop continues and I wait for a group that really shows talent on the stage and off it. The variety shows that idols go on show many different sides, but until they’re able to not put on a character; there will always be problems.

2011 might be the year for growth.

Bands to Know

Green Milk From Planet Orange
아폴로 18 (Apollo 18)
Fine Lines
Scars Borough
Toe
미스티 블루 (Misty Blue)
80kidz
국카스텐 (Guckkasten)
아웃사이더 (Outsider)
Kinzli & the kiloWatts
Ninaian
LAZYgunsBRISKY
ハイスイノナサ (haisuinonasa)
Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas
Island City
downy
Mass of the Fermenting Dregs
Mono
mudy on the 昨晩
Donawhale
박정현 (Lena Park)
3호선 버터플라이 (3rd Line Butterfly)
Drunken Tiger
National Pigeon Unity

I’ll see you in 2011, rested and awake for another year of reviews and experimentation.

R.I.P. Nujabes

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