I definitely planned to post this content soon after the world stepped into 2017, but obviously that didn’t happen as it is now mid-February. Nevertheless, I’m still just as eager to document my music obsessions from the past year!
First off, some stats from Spotify, which is what I mostly use to satisfy my musical cravings. Unfortunately, we’re just going to have to deal with the information in a simply typed-out format instead of a pretty infographic because I deleted my Year in Music email from them. Oops.
I spent 18,518 total minutes on Spotify in 2016 – listening to 900 different artists and 1277 unique tracks.
- Top tracks: Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”, Black Pink’s “Whistle”, Black Pink’s “BOOMBAYAH”
- Top artists: G.E.M., Black Pink, Shakira, Red Velvet, Taeyeon
- Top genres: Korean Pop, K-Pop, Pop, Dance Pop, Cantopop
- Favorite day to listen: Tuesday
The overview doesn’t quite capture all of the tunes for the year, so here’s a more detailed history!
In general, I have a hard time enjoying Chinese pop, whether it’s songs from Hong Kong (cantopop), the Mainland, or Taiwan. G.E.M’s 新的心跳 (New Heartbeat) album was a big exception. My attention to the singer started rising when a clip of her singing 笑看風雲, the theme song from 1994 TVB drama Instinct, aired on Sunday靚聲王 (Sunday Songbird), a show that featured hit songs from a variety of genres and eras. I didn’t actively seek out her music, but if I recall correctly, YouTube recommended one of the music videos from the album to me.
I watched the whole playlist of videos – one for each of the ten self-composed songs. I loved all of the songs and listened to them nonstop. However, only 再見 (“Goodbye”) and 新的心跳 (“New Heartbeat”) have remained recurring earworms to this day. These songs in particular remind me of my power walks across campus to get to classes and student org commitments during my sophomore year.
Around this time, VIXX LR’s “Beautiful Liar” sneaked into my music library via the Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify, although I wasn’t listening to very much kpop anymore. I loved the combination of singing and rapping, and I also loved the music video, specifically the portion after 2:49.
EDM for finals
Near the end of the Spring 2016 semester, I put The Chainsmokers’s “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down” as well as Amber & Luna of f(x)’s SM Station song “Wave” on repeat. The specific memory associated with these songs is the time I stayed up late and took a break from schoolwork to have a mini personal dance party while washing the dishes!
Girls’ Generation solo debuts
Because of finals during May, I largely ignored the hype around the solo debuts of Tiffany (of Girls’ Generation) and Jessica (formerly of Girls’ Generation). Curiosity finally led me to listen to the songs early in June. I only really liked “I Just Wanna Dance” and “Once in a Lifetime” by Tiffany, but I liked all of Jessica’s songs, particularly the earworm that is “Fly”.
I also put off listening to Taeyeon’s second mini album Why for a bit, but I got around to listening to it quickly since I was on summer break. I actually first watched the dance version of the music video for “Why”, and I only just recently watched the other music video for the song a few days ago. “Why” is definitely the defining song for my summer in 2016!
Both times my boyfriend came to visit me in Houston, I definitely subjected him to all of the songs from these solo debuts as well as the songs from the Wonder Girls’ summer comeback album Why So Lonely. (Side note: I’m still heartbroken that they disbanded.)
Back to American songs
Early in August, I stumbled across Katy Perry’s music video for “Rise”. I had previously heard the song on the radio and was not impressed, but the montage of Olympic moments significantly elevated the song for me.
When the school year started up again in September, I put together a playlist for studying, which included “Rise” as well as Pink’s “Just Like Fire”, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, and The Chainsmokers’ “Closer”. I also added “No Jam”, a new release at the time by my favorite rapper Kisum.
Kpop girl group debuts & comebacks
At the end of September, I started listening to Korean music again when I watched the music videos for Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette” and Black Pink’s “Whistle” and “BOOMBAYAH”. At one point, I think I had just three songs on repeat for several nights in a row as I toiled over homework and exams. Around this time, I also discovered “Shelter” by Porter Robinson & Madeon, but the song has not yet been put on repeat to the extent of the other songs.
I’ve mostly been unimpressed with Red Velvet’s music; the only other song I kind of liked from them was “Ice Cream” from 2015. But the catchy chorus of “Russian Roulette” had me hooked for a really long time. As in it’s still topping my personal charts.
커지는 Heart b-b-beat
너답잖게 Heart b-b-b-beat
거려 나를 볼 때
As for Black Pink, I ignored much of the hype around their debut in August, but curiosity got the best of me (again). I ended up loving their style in their two debut songs. Their second release Square Two with the songs “Stay” and “Playing with Fire” had me a bit disappointed, but I eventually started listening to “Playing with Fire” on repeat.
Acoustic music typically is pretty boring to me, so it came as a surprise when I found myself exclusively listening to it for much of the latter part of Fall 2016.
I think it all started with the acoustic version of “Whistle” released in Black Pink’s Square Two single album, but I soon rediscovered:
- 很想討厭你 “Really Want to Hate You” by Rosina Lam (林夏薇) – the theme song to my favorite cheesy romance drama Outbound Love (單戀雙城).
- 紅豆 “Red Bean” by Faye Wong (王菲) – a song my friend Austin introduced to me via a cover by a different artist. Interestingly, I didn’t start liking the song until I heard Yoona’s rendition.
- “You Go I Go” by Janice Vidal – a song I actually blogged about back in Fall 2014. (The post has since been deleted.)
After these rediscoveries, I found Spotify’s Evening K-Acoustics playlist and added these songs to my song library:
- “A Little Braver” by New Empire – a song by an Australian band that was featured in the kdrama Uncontrollably Fond
- “Underwater” by Heize – I knew about Heize from following news articles about Unpretty Rapstar 2 and her friendship with Kisum.
- “My Childhood Story” by Sandeul of B1A4
- “11:11” by Taeyeon
Wrapping up the year
After I finished my first and hardest final for the fall semester, I relaxed for a bit by listening to music. On the same day, Far East Movement released the music video for “Don’t Speak” ft. Tiffany (of Girls’ Generation).
I loved the incorporation of the fans, but I wish that there had been more actual dancing on Tiffany’s part since the video did portray an audition. When I first watched the video, I actually missed the part where she first walked into the audition room, so I thought that it was so cool to reveal at the end that she had been dancing to an audience of judges. I quickly realized my mistake when I ended up watching the music video a few times again. Still like the video though!
Another last-minute song of 2016 was 何雁詩 Stephanie Ho’s 愛需要勇氣 (“Love Needs Courage”). The song was the theme song to the TVB drama Dead Wrong, of which I only watched the last episode with my mother. I’m fairly certain that I like this song because of my piano accompaniment weakness.
Finally, an honorable mention goes to the Christmas Peaceful Piano Spotify playlist.
Thanks for making it all the way down here! Otherwise, go me for taking the time to record my 2016 music journey. I’m looking forward to what 2017’s Year in Music post will look like, as I’ve definitely already experienced two obsessions in the past 1.5 months!