10/10 - Music Critics Association Winners


10/10 - Music Critics Association Winners

A few months ago, I got an email from StillBangtan (Now going as Deforested) from Deforested Music asking me to join in a collaboration of reviewers writing about their nominees and winners in various categories. So, I decided to join in along with Mr. Simple of 555 Reviews and Tony of KPOPREVIEWED.

For these awards, only K-Pop singles are counted, and only those with MVs are included for the song picks. For the albums, only K-Pop albums are counted. For artists, only K-Pop artists are counted. You get it. After all, I can't spoil my end-of-year countdown!

Also, we only have a record of the year award, which is about production, rather than both production and songwriting, Song of the Year is exclusively for songwriting, and does not count production. Thus, neither of these are giveaways for my top songs of the year list!

For each topic, there will be eight nominees, listed randomly.

Quick note: I award a song for how good they did in their own category. For example, a rock song could be the best song of the year, but it could lose the rock song category, but win the song category, if it was not as good a rock song as a pure rock song.

We are now at the winners. For each category, there is one winner. May the best artists win!

Be sure to check out everyone else's lists!

Album of the Year

Epik High - Epik High is Here Pt. 1

Seventeen - Your Choice

Key - Bad Love

N.Flying - Turbulence

Lucy - Gatcha!

Verivery - Series O Round II: Hole

ONF - City of ONF

Winner: SHINee - Atlantis

While it was close, SHINee's repackaged version of Don't Call Me barely outdid the City of ONF for the win. Filled to the brim with sonic ambition, Atlantis instantly starts out with a double punch in Atlantis and CODE, before moving on to several songs in varying genres, from R&B to Hip-Hop to Electro-Funk. However, through all the variation, the album maintains a strong continuous tissue, telling the story of a love uniting and dividing. Its slower moments such as Days and Years and Kind might be some of the best tracks this year.

Image Source: The Bias List

Artist of the Year

Brave Girls

Golden Child





Tomorrow X Together

Winner: SHINee

SHINee went from strength to strength this year. They released a fantastic full-length Korean album, repackaged it, released a Japanese mini-album, while two members also released solo EPs. In their temporary break from military hiatus, they accomplished much, and with a level of skill few can achieve.

Image Source: Hallyu Life

Song of the Year (Best Melody)

Brave Girls - After We Ride

Key - Bad Love

ONEWE - Rain To Be

ONF - Popping

IU - Lilac

ONEWE - Veronica

Shaun - Closed Ending

Winner: ONF - Beautiful Beautiful

Perhaps one of the most acclaimed K-Pop melodies of modern times, Beautiful Beautiful provided a wonderful take on funk trend that was distinctly ONF. The A Capella bridge is a highlight, along with the towering chorus.

Record of the Year (Best Production)

Yoo Young-Jin - Savage (aespa)

Brave Brothers - After We Ride (Brave Girls)

MC Mong - Dream (Song Ga-In)

Rolling Quartz - Blaze (Rolling Quartz)

AKMU - Nakka (AKMU, IU)

Hwang Hyun - Beautiful Beautiful (ONF)

IU - Lilac (IU)

Winner: Kenzie - Bad Love (Key)

Bad Love dominated the late year, with a powerful and futuristic production worth everything else Key has provided in his career and more. The stunning bass alone is worth the price of entry.

Best New Artist (For Debutants)

Just B


Lim Seo Won




Purple Kiss

Winner: Rolling Quartz

Rolling Quartz have slowly built an indie fandom the old way, through their slow promotions. At the same time, female rock bands are a rarity, especially in Korea. As trendsetters, as well as being great musicians, they deserve a spot as the winners.

Best Pop Song

SHINee - Atlantis

Brave Girls - After We Ride

BDC - Moon Rider

IU - Lilac

AKMU - Hey Kid, Close Your Eyes Ft. IU

Yuqi - Bonnie and Clyde

Lee Hi - Red Lipstick Ft. Yoo Mi Rae

Winner: ONF - Beautiful Beautiful

Perhaps one of the most acclaimed K-Pop melodies of modern times, Beautiful Beautiful provided a wonderful take on funk trend that was distinctly ONF. The A Capella bridge is a highlight, along with the towering chorus.

Best Electronic Song

BZ Boys - Close Your Eyes

Just B - Damage

aespa - Savage

Golden Child - Breathe

A.C.E - Higher

Do Hanse - Take Over

Verivery - Trigger

Winner: Key - Bad Love

Bad Love dominated the late year, with a powerful and futuristic production worth everything else Key has provided in his career and more. The stunning bass alone is worth the price of entry.

Best Rock Song

N.Flying - Moonshot

ONEWE - Rain To Be

Tomorrow X Together - 0X1=Lovesong (I Know I Love You)

ONEWE - Veronica

Tomorrow X Together - LO$ER=LOVER

Lucy - I Got U

Rolling Quartz - Blaze

Winner: Pink Fantasy - Poison

A true winner, Pink Fantasy shot to attention with this Dreamcatcher-esque rock track. The chorus crashes with a level of speed and impact rarely even seen in the K-Pop scene.

Best R&B Song

Epik High - Based on a True Story Ft. Heize

Jeong Sewoon - In The Dark

Heize - Happen

Raiden - Love Right Back Ft. Taeil and Liliboi

Se So Neon - Jayu

WayV (Ten & Yangyang) - Low Low

Shaun - Closed Ending

Key - Hate That Ft. Taeyeon

This pre-release single stood as a surprise, with a heartbreaking melody on love now lost, Hate That is an excellent companion to Bad Love, and a fantastic track in its own right.

Best Rap/Hip-Hop Song

SHINee - Don't Call Me

Monsta X - Gambler

ONF - Ugly Dance

Pentagon (Yuto, Kino, Wooseok) - Cerberus

FreezyBone - Freezy Vogue Ft. UU Milan

Epik High - Rosario Ft. CL and Zico

P1Harmony - Scared

Tiger JK - Love Peace

A stirring rise and fight anthem by one of Korea's most iconic rappers ever. Love Peace is a track with some great lines and flow, with a level of strength rarely ever scene in the K-Rap scene.

Best Music Video

P1Harmony - Scared


ONEWE - Rain To Be

Everglow - First

Oneus - Black Mirror

AKMU - Hey Kid, Close Your Eyes

Golden Child - Burn It

Winner: U-Know - Thank U

Not really as bloody as the 13+ rating suggests (maybe 11+?), Thank U is perhaps one of K-Pop's most interesting MV. A full-on gangster war, the MV may not have a deep message like the best MVs but has some gorgeous shots, such as the one starting at 3:35.

Hope everyone enjoyed reading!

Image Source: Deforested Music


  1. Thank you 108Ent! I really love this award show. In fact the winners here were really interesting. You know, I did not expect Atlantis to win Album, for a split Record-Song year, and finally Rolling Quartz winning Best New Artist. The Music Video pick was unexpectedly expected, I thought you would pick Scared. Everyone honored here deserved to win! I mean this was an awesome year. A year full of fun and great music. I am glad that we are all able to express it freely and so bravely.

    The critics association leg has been an instrument for all of us to really say something and award the song we would like to see shine and twinkle the brightest. Now as we end, we start the new era of awards. Everyone, please don't forget to witness the 2021 Critics Circle nominations on Friday and the 2021 Golden Tunes. Also the guilds are here... Stay tuned!

    1. Wow, I was expecting easy guesses for you lol. I guess I pulled a plot twist, didn't I?

      It was close for Atlantis/City of ONF for K-Pop album of the year, but in reality, I love some other albums outside of Korea this year. I already talked about Miyavi, but Arooj Aftab and Altin Gun's albums were also standouts.

      Rolling Quartz had it easy, no one else from Korea had a great debut year, unfortunately.

      Looking forward to the Critics Circle, Golden Tunes, and more!

  2. Woo! And congrats to all your picks!

    I had to post out my choices before I could comment on anyone's post, in fear I would spoil my selection, even though they were blaring obvious to a degree! It was hard to pass up on BAD LOVE and Beautiful Beautiful - definitely some of the best releases of the year!

    1. Haha, I feel you. Waiting to comment must have been hard!

      Bad Love and Beautiful Beautiful are quite amazing, legendary releases!


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