After completing my Top 18 K-pop songs of 2018 list the other day, I thought that I can’t just leave out the album evaluations, and so, here’s my quick list of 8 most beloved albums of 2018. I must say, there are few EPs that impressed me more in its overall composition and completion than the included tracks on their own, so there will be titles you never saw coming because they weren’t on my mentioned Top 18 list.
Shall we dig in?
8. Seventeen – You Make My Day
Seventeen has blessed Carats thrice in 2018, with a repackage, a new EP and a pre-comeback release. Among all of those I can say that I really enjoyed their 5th mini album for their quick return “back to basics”: the uplifting, lighthearted concept from Mansae/ Pretty U/ Adore U/ Very Nice is here again, but now its combined with a more simplified sound that both fits into still mainstreaming light EDM trope and continues to define Seventeen’s significant sound. Even though I only listed MOONWALKER on my list, all 6 tracks matched together really well and created a very solid full image of summer. And that’s what earned them 8th spot on this list.
Let me also add that I still prefer this over their newly released You Made My Dawn EP.
7. HA:TFELT – Deine
Even with two tracks included only, Deine brought me the new side and the new image of ex-Wonder Girls member. Unlike more dark and edgy Meine that was about self-discovery, this single focuses on the other person (of course, by other we mean “significant” one) and the feelings s/he causes within the main storyteller (portrayed by Yeeun). It falls into a more chill R&B sound that helps you relax (and also maybe flirt if, for instance, you have a crush and you sort of want to confess to him without being overly obvious ^_~)
I lost count on how many times I have listened to Pluhhm.
6. Leo – Canvas
Next surprise to your table! None of the songs from this EP made it to my final Top 18 list, but it didn’t change the fact that I really enjoyed this piece of an album (it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a stupid one and haven’t gotten the physical copy for my treasure). Overall Leo’s solo work reminded me of heavy mix of late Jonghyun’s BASE album and Taemin’s Press It EP. There are some tracks that gave similar vibes from the songs in mentioned albums, which doesn’t specifically make Leo’s EP colorless. All and overall, I really loved this one, and I’m sad that his solo debut was so overlooked in the K-pop market. Can’t wait to hear more of Leo’s solo songs (as well as next VIXX comeback).
5. Eric Nam – Honestly
I don’t know why Eric Nam is still so underrated as a musician on Korean music market. Most of Korean audience still see him more as the interviewer than a singer, and it makes me upset because Eric has a very unique voice color, and his ability to deliver from soft ballads to upbeat bops should not be slept on at all.
Maybe it’s all because of his chicken legs lol
By the way, tickets for Eric’s Australian tour are still on sale, so if you’re from anywhere in Australia and New Zealand, then make sure to grab yours! Also he’s announcing cities for European tour on January 29, all details on his official Twitter account @ericnamofficial!
4. Dreamcatcher – Alone in the City
Hands down Dreamcatcher’s best EP. It’s the most diverse in their discography, as it has explored other different genres. All their previous mini albums had either rock or ballad songs, but Alone In The City offers you future EDM (Wonderland), reggaeton (7th July), and a mixture of heavy metal with dubstep (Trap). Which eventually makes a whole picture very interesting and colorful. This is a strong opening of Lucid Dreams concept for Dreamcatcher, and I can’t wait to hear their new incoming EP.
3. SHINee – The Story of Light trilogy
Of course, what is my best album list without anything SHINee! As you all know, the end of 2017 was tragic to the whole world of K-pop, but I’m pretty sure all SHINee members (as well as all Shawols) want the world to keep remembering them as the group with the most experimental discography ever, and this trilogy, The Story of Light, proves it. All three parts are complete as a full set and as separate EPs. Personally my most favorite was EP.1, since I loop the majority of the songs on a frequent basis, and Good Evening was exactly the song I wanted to hear again and again from SHINee.
2. Sunmi – Warning
Sunmi is quickly climbing up my list of most favorite female soloists. I’ve been following her music ever since she made her solo debut with 24 hours (which is still a god damn bop!), and she has shown so much growth over the years. So far I can say that this album topped her discography, again, with a wide range of different genres explored and perfectly adapted to her vocal tone. All the tracks from this album have been on my playlist on loop, especially Siren and Black Pearl. Truly an amazing EP.
1. NU’EST W – Who You
And here we are! The number 1 album of 2018 for me. Not only because NU’EST/NU’EST W are my ultimate bias group, but because this album truly tops everything for me musically. I always loved how experimental NU’EST have been ever since they started getting involved in music production, and Baekho is truly one of hidden gems in the world of producing. All the songs are worth being the title track, and the fact that Dejavu still slaps so hard… I’m still waiting for the day the boys get to perform Gravity&Moon, it’s a jam that deserves to be sung live.
Pledis, give us that god damn it! Among all NU’EST W releases, Who You was the greatest gem. I’m so looking forward to new NU’EST music, now that they’re back to being OT5. I trust them and their ability to deliver their best music ever.
Which albums got most of your attention in 2018? Any gems I (possibly) missed out? Or any albums I should definitely check out? Since I’m gonna be opening my own Patreon page soon, there are high chances I will do listening parties to albums I’m interested in checking out, so get yourselves ready~