Welcome to the second annual Sluggie awards, where the best of the best are proclaimed through an intricate voting process designed to reflect the desires and wishes of the world’s most influential writers, bloggers, industry heave weights and musical charts (in my head). Without further ado, here are this year’s winners:
Group of the Year: Girl’s Day
They’ve positioned themselves to be the darlings of 2014 with a release that seems to want to be the mic drop equivalent of a music video on the term “sexy”. Girl’s Day also released two singles this year, one good and one great, both of which provided the internet with infinite gif material. In a year where SISTAR more or less went on autopilot, KARA selpt-walked through K-Pop, Miss a showed up late in the year and SNSD released a multi-colored art installation instead of a music video, the field was open and Girl’s Day pounced to fill the void.
Runner Ups: SHINee (started the year off incredibly strong), Nine Muses (their management is CCM levels of bad but the results were there this year)
Music Video of the Year: Nine Muses – “Wild”
The rare time where a song, music video, concept and idols all align themselves perfectly. Wild is the aural equivalent of a passionate one night stand – it’s exhilarating, a little cheap but in a way that everyone understands and accepts and it just seems to go and go before it ends all too abruptly. “Dolls” may be a better song, but as a music video, nothing dethroned “Wild” this year.
Runner Ups: Lim Kim – “20”, SPICA – “Tonight”
Album of the Year: Brown Eyed Girls – “Black Box”
I do try and listen to all songs that accompany a single release but very rarely do I feel compelled to download a K-Pop album. Outside of the one or two singles, there are rarely many gems to find by trolling through the B-Sides of album releases. “Black Box” is different. Every song shows BEG in a different light as the group methodically tackles all types of pop music in ways that other groups only wish they could. Miryo stands out as a rapper in a genre that that has too few.
Runner Up: Girl’s Day – “Expectation”
Album of the Year, Non K-Pop Edition – Aloe Blacc “Lift Your Spirit”
“Lift Your Spirit” is about as manipulative as it gets. Every single song is engineered to be some sort of R&B/Country church revival crammed into three minutes. “Wake Me Up” (the Avicii version) drove everyone insane with it’s incessant radio play, but it works well as a slower acoustic tune. “The Man” got the Beats Headphone nod as well, thus making Aloe Blacc that one artist that everyone heard this year, yet almost none could name. “Lift Your Spirit” is about as far as one can get from adventurous and their is next to nothing here that anyone hasn’t heard before but in terms of familiarity breeding comfort, this is pretty great. As far as hitting all the right soul and R&B sweet spots, this one quickly made its way to the top of my non-K-pop rotation.
Runners Up: Kanye West – “Yeezus”, Lorde – “Pure Heroine”
K-Pop Idol of the Year: Ailee
“U&I” rocked (again, R&B is the meat and potatoes of the soul) but Ailee’s status as Top Dog this year has more to do with how she, her company and various media outlets were able to navigate the delicate nature of scandals and come out looking like roses. Her company was shrewd but was also able to timely back up everything it stated with documented evidence. Ailee, a solo act who can bellow with the best of them, got greater exposure and sympathy and what could have torpedoed her career now may end up being an unintended boost to it instead. One can only hope that’s the case.