The Best of 2013: Celebrating 5 Years of Pop Reviews Now


I began releasing a list of my favorite songs in 2008, and I consider that first time my very first turning point as a blogger and a music writer. Writing about that many songs in that short a time frame, and enjoying every bit of it, opened so many possibilities for the future and showed me just how much I could come to love what was at the time a hobby for me. So it’s only right that celebrating five years of Pop Reviews Now ends properly -- with my sixth year-end list.

Many things have changed since that first list in 2008 -- I have matured, and my writing has changed, hopefully for the better. The "Best Of" list itself has changed a lot as well. The general format of a ranked list of 50 songs has only been in place since 2010, and every year I add new side-lists like my favorite albums or promising rookies. But what I want to do this year is remember the very reason why I decided to count down my favorite songs of the year that first time back in 2008, and in turn remember the very reason why I have done this for five years running -- because I love writing about the music I enjoy. Because writing is something that has always been there for me, it has given me so many opportunities over the years, and it is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I have mentioned this every year, but I want to really stress it this time around -- this “Best of 2013” list is a list of the 50 songs I enjoyed the most over the course of the year. It is a list of songs I enjoy, songs I have listened to countless times in the last twelve months, songs that will serve as my time stamps for 2013. It's a chance for me to write about most of what I didn't get to cover on the blog during the year. It's impossible to listen to every single song that was released this year, as it has been for the past five years, and I have no intentions of pushing this as a "definitive" list -- the pool of songs this list comes from is essentially the songs I myself have heard this year. Some of my choices may be “artistically” outstanding, others not so much -- those views are subjective and differ from person to person. But what is constant throughout this list is my personal taste in music, which is essentially what this list has always been -- a reflection of music I like.

I'm doing away with the long list of rules that I usually include in my introduction, and I've condensed it into three basic guidelines:
  • All songs must be on an album, single, EP (mini-album) or digital single first released and promoted between December 1, 2012 and November 28, 2013.
  • The song must have been performed and either written, composed, or any combination of, by a Korean artist, songwriter or composer regardless of the territory they were released in.
  • Each artist is entitled to one unique entry wherein he/she/they is/are credited as the main (and not the ‘featuring’) act, per territory, country, and/or language.
There will be one minor addition to the list though. The purpose of limiting each artist's entry to one song (sometimes two) is to show the variety and to be able to cover more of my favorites from the past year. If this rule didn't exist my best of list would be monopolized by a handful of artists, year in and year out. On the other hand, that rule has also been very difficult to follow -- many times the artists on the list will have two or three entries that I have a very hard time choosing between, so much so that some of those choices are even made on the actual day I publish the reviews. Which is why, in addition to basic information about the song that does make it on the list, I am including links to one or two songs from the artist that I think are also worth the time.

I spent more of the year away from Pop Reviews Now than I did writing for it. But that time away, and the events that abruptly ended it, made me realize just how instrumental this blog has been to my writing. This is the reason why I could write for major entertainment sites like Soompi, it is the reason why I could start a project as ambitious as The K-Pop Writers’ Workshop. Pop Reviews Now is where I started, and this is where I always come back to -- I want to make this year’s top 50 countdown proof of that.

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