[#1] Younha - "우리가 헤어진 진짜 이유" (The Real Reason We Broke Up)

From: "Just Listen"
Released: May
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2012: [#3] "Run" and [#1] "Supersonic" (album)
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Just Listen" (feat. Skull), "바다아이", "Subsonic", "Home", "아픈 슬픔", "없어" (Feat. 이루펀트)

I started writing about music five years ago because I saw the beauty in it. I learned all I could about music through the years so I could continue write about the songs I love and enjoy listening to. And even if I forgot that somewhere along the way, this year reminded me that there's nothing wrong with having personal preferences, that they are the foundations of what I want to do for the rest of my life. And those foundations are as strong as any other.

So my #1 song this year is that balance I want to strike, and continue to strive for, between what I love and what is considered "good music", by myself and by other people. "The Real Reason We Broke Up" is a song that I not only still listen to constantly, it's a song that, more than half a year later, still gives me goosebumps. It's a song that is technically strong, that is musical and well-thought through, and therefore can pay full attention to being a beautiful song, as opposed to scrambling to become an actual song.

Considering how vocal I've been about my love for Younha, both this year and last, I guess this isn't a surprise. It was hard to choose from her material this year, because even if "Subsonic" missed the cut-off date, "Just Listen" was a treasure trove of fantastic songs, all of which I would put on this list if I could. But I think I chose the right song.

What I like the most about "The Real Reason We Broke Up" (and I like a lot of things about it), is that it's unpredictably predictable. It's a song that doesn't make you expect much at the beginning, but slowly builds on that, and by the middle you're at the edge of your seat waiting for what's next. There is range in the elements and the parts of the song -- it's not quite your standard pop song structure, but it's not completely out there either. You don't know what's going to happen next, but when things do happen, they make sense.

I said this earlier this year as well, but when I heard the intro of "The Reason Reason We Broke Up", I was preparing for the worst -- the worst being a boring acoustic ballad with no life. But we were all in for a surprise when the song did a complete 180 and exploded into this beautiful mishmash of an ethereal melody and a confidently sharp guitar line. And just thinking about how all it took for the song to achieve that effect was two elements, vocals and guitar, is such a reassurance to me of my point that there are musical people in pop.

And that dynamism that the song has is what I was trying to say earlier this year, that thinking "out of the box" is more than just putting a million different things together. I consider "The Real Reason We Broke Up" a "different" song. This is different from your standard female pop/acoustic single because it takes conventions, the guitar, the gentleness, and places them in a familiar environment, but it adds an element of complexity. It's subtle, but it's there -- there is intensity to the song, there are dynamics, there is a forceful grace to the delivery. Those aren't things you'd associate with a run-of-the-mill female acoustic act these days, but Younha does it, and does it well.

It's a song that instead of trying to push listeners away by trying so desperately to be "avant-garde" in "breaking boundaries" (and most of the time failing), actually brings the music closer to the audience by challenging that. It's a song that shows a lay audience what music can be, what pop music can be, when it's in the right hands. That's what "The Real Reason We Broke Up" is -- it's a pop song. It may be better executed and thought about than a lot of others, but that doesn't mean it's not longer a pop song. Because as this song, and many others on this Top 50, has proven, there is art in popular music.
If you follow me on Twitter @noxrivera, please also follow @popreviewsnow -- all blog updates, especially for this month's countdown, will go there from now on! ^_^ (But personal opinions and general fangirling will still be on @noxrivera)


  1. Happy New Year! ^^

    I waited till the countdown is finished before commenting. Great list of songs by the way, and great choice of number 1 song. :D I'm just wondering why there isn't a Beast song in your countdown, because they've always been there in your previous year-end countdowns. :D Also, I only know about 30% of the songs (mostly songs from idol groups) so this list gives me a chance to explore other artists, and I thank you for that :) One more thing, I thought APink's comeback this year (Nonono was great but I think Secret Garden is the best song in their EP :D) was good because I saw big improvement but I guess it's not good enough for you. I'm a sad fan lol. Just joking. Hahaha. What are your thoughts on them?

    Anyways, good work there. Cheers. ^^


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