#tbt: 2015 highlight

jaziimun’s picks

LaLa 徐佳瑩 – 尋人啟事

The song in particular was nominated in 2015 for 6 awards including: Best Lyric, Best Musical Composition, Best Music Production and Song of the Year, while the album was nominated Album of the Year, and 徐佳瑩 nominated Female Artist of the Year.

徐佳瑩 is mega talented, independent singer-songwriter who sort of stumbled into superstardom, through singing contests: first as a rookie, and then as a professional against other professionals. She has a remarkable interpretative ability, which in turn, creates a distinct Lala sound. This track is understated, subtle, but full of emotive and expansive power: in Chinese, the word “張力”.  徐佳瑩 is the kind of singer who is a storyteller 100% of the time.

the world, rough and crude, makes it hard for me to come to you
yet in fate, intricate and careful, your face appears so clearly


JJ Lin 林俊傑 – 可惜沒有如果

Skip to 3:36 to hear just the song. 

I’ve always known JJ Lin was talented, but I only really got interested in his music perspective the last couple years as he moved away from pop ballad hits to more narrative and conceptual creations. This album was full of solid mainstream tunes, but carefully and powerfully constructed with intentional thought. JJ Lin is a consistent chart-topper, so it was no surprise that this hit KKBOX’s number 2.

Composed by JJ himself, the lyrics were penned by the ever consistent 林夕. Fun fact, there’s actual footage of JJ hearing the lyrics to this song for the first time, and his face contorts because it legitimately hurts to hear this song. I understand this feeling. The lyrics are spectacular in their cadences and distinct line breaks, while also being interesting in terms of content. Can we have it all? Yes sometimes.

If only on that day

把該說的話好好說 該體諒的不執著
We said the things that needed saying, weren’t stubborn about the things that needed forgiving
如果那天我 不受情緒挑撥 你會怎麼做
If that day, I didn’t react impulsively, what would you have done
那麼多如果 可能如果我
So many ifs, maybe if I had
可惜沒如果 只剩下結果
Too bad there are no ifs, only what’s left now. 

Also, special shoutout to Hebe 田馥甄’s 小幸運which took over the entire Chinese-speaking world as we know it, and continues to be performed, covered and played back to this day. It literally topped all the charts, and is ubiquitous with that year, and the movie it scored that also took over everyone’s life.


miraelxx’s picks

Hyukoh is the prime example of how an indie band caught the public’s attention in such an unexpected rapid speed. The four-member folk rock band blew up two years ago. I can confidently say that majority of the people who listened to their songs in 2015 and claimed the band as their favourite artist heard of Hyukoh through a very popular entertainment show called Infinite Challenge during its annual music festival.

But it’s definitely not fair to give an appearance on nation’s most-watched show all the credit for their popularity. Releasing their first EP in 2014, they had already created a huge wave in the Hongdae* indie scene.

혁오 Hyukoh – 와리가리 Comes and Goes

Hyukoh has a very distinct sound and character. There’s nothing complicated about their music. Oh-hyuk‘s voice rings through In-woo‘s drum beats, Dong-gun‘s rhythmic bass, and Hyun-jae‘s eccentric guitar strumming – each instrument taking presence in a simple repetitive pattern. Their stories aren’t filled with exaggerative emotions which makes them easier to approach. They reminisce the youth which is frustrating, despairing, and hopeful, all at the same time.

익숙하니 또 무뎌지네요
흘러간 장면이 펼쳐지네요
다시 그 순간을 마주한대도
그땐 또 지금 같진 않겠지

I feel numb again now that everything’s familiar
The passing scenes lay over me
Even if I can confront that moment again
It won’t be the same as now

The band was awarded the “Best New Artist of 2015” at KMA, along with “Best Modern Rock Song of the Year” with this song from their [22] album. If you have time, listen to “Gondry” (and watch the beautiful music video) – my favourite Hyukoh’s song, which is the ending song of the album.

*Hongdae is a district in Seoul known as the arts and culture hub, especially for indie music. Days and nights are filled bands and rappers busking on the streets, at cafes, and at clubs.


Zion.T – 꺼내 먹어요 Eat

No need to ramble about what an incredible and talented artist Zion.T is. With his very recognizable voice, his genre-bending music is almost a sneer at melody lines we’re so familiar with. Breaking assumptions and toying with beats, his music still plays pleasantly in our ears.

While BIGBANG’s comeback shook the music charts with a loud bang, Zion.T quietly climbed through and took over the public’s heart, with three of his songs on Melon and Naver Music’s Top 10 – even beating BIGBANG for number one and two on Mnet.

쉽지 않죠 바쁘죠
왜 이렇게 까지
해야 하나 싶죠
바라는 게
더럽게 많죠
It’s not easy. I know you’re busy.
You wonder why
you have to do all of this
There’s so many damn things
they want from you

“Eat” is a lazy translation for “take it out (꺼내) and eat it (먹어)”. When you’re tired. When you have no energy or motivation. When you just want to cry. Take this song out – put on your earphones and listen to it – like a chocolate bar stuffed in your bag or a morning apple on your kitchen counter. Seek happiness in the mundane little things around you, and find strength to go one.

This song’s a nice warm hug. This song’s like that someone who will be there for you and just be there with you, sitting beside you, doing nothing but sharing a comforting silence.

피곤해도 아침 점심 밥 좀 챙겨 먹어요
그러면 이따 밤에 잠도 잘 올 거에요

Even if you’re tired, make sure you eat your breakfast and lunch
Then you’ll sleep better later at night