This year's Korean Music Awards featured a lot of extremely talented artists earning their well-deserved awards for their significant contributions, however, out of these awards, how many did we all see coming? Sure, Jang Pil Soon won 'Album of the Year,' and BTS took home 3 awards, but what about all the other underrated albums, songs, artists, and production teams that didn't get quite as much recognition? Here are 2019 Korean Music Award's most underrated winners:
XXX consists of Kim Ximya and FRNK and their song, "Ganju Gok" won the category of 'Best Rap' and 'Hip Hop Song' this year. The raw sound this song evokes is indicative of the personality the entire XXX album takes on. "Ganju Gok" has a fascinating vocal and orchestral beginning that leads into an aggressive tech house drop that brings goosebumps onto the skin. This drop goes into experimental EDM and then into a unique bubble popping beat that gives way into intense rap delivery. The music video is an added visual effect that matches perfectly with the feelings of each part of the song.
Taking home an extremely well-deserved award for 'Best R&B and Soul Song' is Sumin for her track "Your Home" featuring Korean indie artist, Xin Seha. This edgy and transcendent mix of R&B with the retro feel of 80's synth-pop set this track apart from its musical counterparts. "Your Home" employs intricate drum patterns, sensual vocals, and a youthful feel that give the video and song a very refreshing vibe. The futuristic aspects of the visual music video in combination with the retro 80's influences give a unique 2019 modern pop sound.
Jclef's "flaw, flaw" was the rightful winner of the 2019 Korean Music Award's Best R&B and Soul Album category. Jclef's clever incorporation of consciousness in her music gave way to an extremely unique overall sound and message in her music. The choice to use dramatic melodies, imaginative vocal performance, in collaboration with well-crafted production has resulted in an experimental, yet minimal performance piece.
2. Near East Quartet
Near East Quartet is a group of four who specialize in various areas of music. With Sungjae Son on saxophone and bass clarinet, Suwuk Chung on guitar, Sujin Suh on drums, and the talented Yulhee Kim as the pansori singer, this foursome creates an eclectic fusion of music. This year, the Near East Quartet won the Best Crossover Album award for their amazing work mixing contemporary jazz and traditional Korean music. Their album varies in genre ranging from Oriental Folk to Electronic.
AIRY has won this year's Rookie of the Year award and for good reason! If the amazing song "Disappearing Ways" that we've put above is any indication of this girl's amazing talent and skill, it seems that there will be a long career ahead of her! In 2016, HYUKOH won this exact award and they are now on the lineup for Coachella Music Festival. There's no telling where AIRY can go from this point onward.