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The K M.E.A.L. Awards 2020

The K M.E.A.L. Awards 2020

It’s almost Christmas which means gingerbread lattes, stressing about Christmas gifts for family and friends and also award season! 

This year, we’ve been working hard to get as many reviews out as we can, to make sure that we share the best of the releases out there. That’s why we decided to start our very own The K M.E.A.L. Awards.

Without further ado, here are the nominees and the winners for The K M.E.A.L. Awards.

Best Debut Song of 2020

-MCND – ICE AGE
-DKB – Sorry Mama
-Ghost9 – Think of Dawn 
-TOO – Magnolia 
-Redsquare – Color Full
-Natty – Nineteen 

Winner: MCND

MCND has had a fabulous year with some amazing comebacks. We decided to give them the win in this category for their track ‘ICE AGE’ because of its timelessness. The song hits hard and we still love it just as much as when it came out. 

Rookie Girl Group of 2020

-Secret Number
-Weeekly 
-Cignature 
-Redsquare 
-Botopass 
-Aespa 

Winner: Weeekly

The girls from Weeekly have honestly had a great year. They have made a lasting impression with their fabulous vocals and fun songs. We’re very excited to see their growth in the next couple of years. 

Rookie Boy Group of 2020

-MCND 
-TOO 
-Treasure 
-DKB
-E’LAST 
-Cravity

Winner: DKB

The significant growth and constant delivery of quality title tracks from their EPs has been incredible to follow. DKB has an interesting balance between their rap line and their vocal line. We’ll be anticipating cool releases for the years to follow. 

Best Pop Song of 2020

-Pentagon – Daisy 
-Stray Kids – God’s Menu 
-NCT 127 – Kick It 
-OH MY GIRL – NONSTOP
-Seventeen – Left & Right 
-Monsta X – Fantasia 
-Sunmi – Pporappippam 
-Zico – Any Song 
-ATEEZ – THANXX 
-TWICE – More & More 
-Everglow – Dun Dun 
-ITZY – Wannabe 
-BTS – Dynamite

Winner: OH MY GIRL – NONSTOP

NONSTOP’ was everywhere because of its catchy hook, playfulness and fabulous vocals. This song just makes us happy, it is the perfect combo between visuals and talent. The girls worked hard and it shows. We also can’t forget about the ‘Dolphin’ cult that was inescapable. 

Summer Song of 2020

-Seventeen – Left & Right
-Hyo – Dessert
-GFRIEND – Apple 
-Stray Kids – God’s Menu 
-Sunmi – Pporappippam 
-TWICE – MORE & MORE

Winner: TWICE – MORE & MORE

‘MORE & MORE’ encapsulates summer for us. TWICE has always been great at delivering summer bops and this year was no different. Though they did have stiff competition with some of the other releases. In the end, we decided to give it to the girls because of the actual summer vibes in the song itself. 

Best Sub-Unit of 2020

-WJSN CHOCOME
-NCT U – Make a Wish
-BTOB 4U 
-EXO SC 
-Irene and Seulgi 

Winner: WJSN CHOCOME – Hmph!

This sub-unit brought us some of the forgotten joys of second gen concepts and we were 100% here for it. It’s a bit reminiscent of the group Orange Caramel but with a 2020 spin on it. The song is catchy and well done and we love it to bits.

Best Collab of 2020

-JYP x Sunmi
-IU x Suga 
-Crush ft Yoon Mirae 
-Hyo x Soyeon x Loopy
-Hwasa x dpr live 
-BlackPink x Selena Gomez 
-Kang Daniel x Simon Dominic x JAMIE

Winner: IU x Suga – Eight

This song had us close to tears the first couple of times we listened to it. The balance between IU’s stunning vocals and Suga’s rap felt really organic and we still relisten to it a lot. ‘Eight’ is a song that will continue to thrive and touch listeners’ hearts. 

Best concept of 2020

-(G)I-DLE – Oh My God 
-WJSN CHOCOME – Hmph!
-BTS – Black Swan 
-YooA – Bon Voyage 
-Agust D – Daechwita 
-Suhyun – ALIEN 

Winner: WJSN CHOCOME – Hmph!

The quirkiness of the music video was something that we haven’t seen for a while in music videos. We loved it since it felt very fresh in 2020. Sometimes all you need is a big bow to add some spice.

Best Pop Band of 2020

-DAY6 
-Hoppipolla 
-Hyukoh
-2Z 
-LUCY
-ONEWE

Winner: DAY6

DAY6 released their EP ‘The Book Of Us: The Demon’ in May and blew us out of the water with tracks like ‘Zombie’, ‘Love me or Leave me’ and ‘STOP’. The quality both lyrically and musically is golden.

Best R&B Release of 2020

-Heize – Lyricist 
-Code Kunst – People 
-Peakboy – Loop
-Oceanfromtheblue – take off 
-DeVita – CREME
-Crush – With HER

Winner: Crush – With HER

This EP was absolutely wonderful. We loved the theme with the collabs and the quality of those singles. Crush has had an amazing year with releases that travel across the R&B genre. 

Best Hip Hop Release of 2020

-H1GHR Music – Blue and Red Tape 
-pH-1 – The Worst Mixtape
-DPR Live – IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?
-Woo – BLACK OUT
-MINO – TAKE
-Jessi – NUNA

Winner: H1GHR Music – Blue and Red Tape

The competition for the category was tough but at the end it went to H1GHR Music artists who delivered an incredible compilation album that was just the perfect mix of all of them. With a variety of genres ‘Blue and Red Tape’ is a masterpiece that truly shows what H1GHR Music is made of.  

Best Indie Album of 2020

-Choi Ye Geun – Even if get lost, it can flow anyway
-The BLANK Shop – TAILOR 
-Hyukoh –  through love
-Samuel Seo – UNITY II
-Ahn Ye Eun – KAKOPHONY
-Stella Jang – STELLA I
-Moonsomoon – Red Eyes
-Fromm – Cellophane

Winner: Samuel Seo – UNITY II

Samuel Seo never ceases to amaze us with his quality albums. This album was absolutely fantastic to listen to. The level of experimentation makes everything feel fresh while at the same time there is some familiarity to it that it makes for a really lovely listening experience. 

Best Choreography – Male Group

-NCT 127 – Kick it 
-ONF – sukhumvit swimming
-Monsta X – Fantasia 
-ATEEZ – Thanxx
-The Boyz – Reveal
-Seventeen – Left & Right

Winner: NCT 127 – Kick it

NCT had a fantastic year, and all of it started with ‘Kick it’. This song had an amazing performance, with a catchy hook that had everyone dancing to ‘New thangs’. The competition was tough but ‘Kick it’ deserved this win.

Best Choreography – Female Group

-ITZY – WANNABE 
-OH MY GIRL – NONSTOP
-IZ*ONE – Swan
-TWICE – MORE & MORE 
-Loona – So What 
-Dreamcatcher – BOCA
-EVERGLOW – DUN DUN

Winner: TWICE –  MORE & MORE

TWICE once again delivered a summer bop that had us all dancing. ‘MORE & MORE’ had us vibing during the summer with an absolutely gorgeous performance, that was difficult and absolutely charming.

Best Male Popular Soloist of 2020

-Ha Sung Woon 
-Baekhyun 
-MAX
-Taemin 
-Wonho 

Winner: Taemin

Taemin had a busy year, and he delivered not just one but two solid albums showing his full potential and why he is a legend in the Korean Music Industry. ‘Never Gonna Dance Again’ part one and two had such a diversity of genres. He managed to hype us up and make us cry all in the same album. A total legend. 

Best Female Popular Soloist of 2020

-Chung Ha
-Hwa Sa 
-Taeyeon 
-Suhyun 
-IU

Winner: Chung Ha 

Chung Ha has had a crazy year. The diversity in her releases is insane, however, we can still expect quality from all of them. She’s had plenty of collaborations as well that show her flexibility in tone. 

Best Vocals of 2020 – Female

-Chung Ha 
-Ha:tfelt 
-Heize 
-Sejeong 
-Hwa Sa 

Winner: Ha:tfelt 

Ha:tfelt released her first full album ‘1719’ and we were blown away by the quality, the sound and the meaningful lyrics. Her track ‘Life Sucks’ still strikes a chord every time we listen to it. In the album she sings about experiences in her life that happened between 2017 to 2019 and gives us a real, raw look. 

Best Vocals of 2020 – Male

-Taemin 
-Crush 
-Woodz 
-Ha Sungwoon
-Wonho 
-Ong Seong Wu 

Winner: Taemin

Taemin without a doubt brought two of the best records of the year, his talent as a vocalist was well known, and with his two album releases this year he just went off and showed us all what an incredible singer he is. 

Best Girl Group of 2020

-TWICE
-BVNDIT 
-Dreamcatcher
-GFRIEND 
-OH MY GIRL 

Winner: GFRIEND

GFRIEND has released so much music this year. They managed to re-write their entire narrative in one year and that’s no small feat. The girls came out with two EPs and one full album. They helped in writing and composing some tracks and have generally shown a lot of growth. 

Best Boy Group of 2020

-Stray Kids 
-PENTAGON 
-SEVENTEEN 
-MONSTA X 
-TXT 
-A.C.E 
-NCT 127 

Winner: Stray Kids

2020 was a whirlwind for Stray Kids. They released two full albums, and I’m not even including their Japanese releases. The boys have shown that 2020 is their year. The fans seem to agree. 

Making this feature and rating these releases was extremely hard. We went through several rounds before we ended up with the winners for The K M.E.A.L. Awards. Not all the releases that we rated even made it to this list of nominees. We do however think that we rated fairly and with ample reason. Though it did sometimes feel like we were betraying some of our personal favorites.

We’ve had a wonderful year listening to all of these comebacks and debuts. We feel like the quality keeps on getting better and better. Also the speed of the releases is quite crazy when you think about it, though we’re not complaining.