Musical Monday – The Look Back

Posted by SaraG on December 30, 2019


Every year for a few years now, I’ve been prompted by KpopontheDL to craft a top 50 list of favorite songs during that twelve-month timeframe.  For the last couple of years, it involved the somewhat arduous task of digging through everything released since January first and remembering how I connected to it, how it grew on me or away from me, and the emotions each song evoked. I don’t just look at title tracks, as it often happens that I like a B side as well as or even more than what was promoted. I also listen to a hell of a lot more than what I talk about on the blog, so let’s just say that the musical backlog is dense. 

This year I was smart, I started the playlist of favs as early as the first release of 2019 and plopped songs that I adored on it all year long. I got lazy during those hot summer months and had to go back in and scour through a few lists, but it wasn’t nearly as daunting as a full year’s worth. It’s hard to say what the total number of tracks that touched this playlist has been as it was constantly fluctuating with songs I added and removed. 

Here’s the deal though, 50 is a tricky number. For some it’s really high, they listen to favorite artists or albums over and over and don’t really add to their repertoire until the next thing strikes their fancy – sometimes taking years to change it up. I respect that, it shows consistency and dedication that I just don’t have in me. I am constantly on the search for the next thing to love, easily falling head over heels for just the briefest moment in a song. This means that I fit into the group of people that find a list of 50 to be horribly difficult because it’s too few. 100 are too few. Slashing songs from the list is like carving out tiny pieces of my soul. I have a very difficult time choosing a favorite of anything – colors, places I’ve visited, food, anything – let alone songs. 

But Sara, you say, it’s just a playlist. Can’t you just put 50 songs on there and call it good?

And to that I reply, if it’s just a playlist, then why can’t it be longer?

Alas, I have to add all sorts of rules to my top 50 list in order to stay somewhat in the ballpark. For example:

  • Only one song per group or artist (sometimes a brutal conversation with myself), 
  • A solo release does not count against a group, 
  • Never use ‘listen counts’ to choose a song for the playlist as something released early in the year will have more listens than something released mid-December regardless of my feelings for the song,
  • Don’t include songs just because my friends love them – stay true to my own tastes (this is hard for me as I tend to have a super weak spot for the stuff my friend’s love),
  • Don’t include artists just because I love them – if their releases this year didn’t do it for me, it doesn’t mean I love them less (also really difficult as I love hard and thoroughly), and
  • I’m ok with including a song that was released the year before if it was re-released on an album this year.

I add and take away songs relentlessly until I have to call it quits for my own sanity and that of those around me, usually around mid-December. Unfortunately, that means that songs released post-Christmas and before the New Year don’t get a chance to be on any top 50 list…but that’s the artist’s or the company’s fault for not putting stuff out when I need it. I’m sure it’s not hurting anyone in the long run. 

This year I decided to share my Top 50 with you all. There are groups you all know and love, some obvious selections, and I hope some new artists I think maybe some of you haven’t listened to before. It’s a mix of the typical Kpop we worship and of the solo artists on smaller labels that I particularly love. There are OST songs, B sides, songs from survival shows, solo projects that didn’t get an official release, and the ubiquitous big hits. 

51 of them. 

I couldn’t stand to cut even one more. 

Let me know your thoughts or link me to your top 50 in the comments!

2019 SaraG Favs (Some of Them)

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