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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Top 10 Mini Albums of 2014

Before we move on to the best of the best early next week, I'm going to pause for my top mini albums (or EPs) of the year. Given that this format is used most widely in Asia, there's a lot of K-Pop on the list. Strangely, there's also only one female representing this year! I'll be looking for them to come strong in 2015! To be eligible for this chart, the albums must have at least four full tracks.

10. HyunA - A Talk

I became a HyunA fan this year, despite not being into too much of he stuff in the past. That's all to do with this sleek, dud-free collection of charismatic dance pop.

9. BTS - Skool Luv Affair

Nearly a full album, with eight tracks on the expanded version, I didn't like this quite as much as their other release this year, but you can't deny the pair of singles...totally different from one another but both awesome.

8. VIXX - Error

Glossy, meticulous production highlights this collection of dramatic, sci-fi flavored dance. The title track is epic, and the rest of the album surprisingly lives up to it.

7. Exo - Overdose 

EXO had a quieter year in 2014, with just this mini-album release. It's not their most in-your-face collection, but it's an incredibly interesting listen, sonically, and of course includes the fantastic title track.

6. Halo - Hello Halo 

One of the most promising new debuts of the year, I love that this group is pure POP and doesn't really try to be anything else. It's a short album, at only four tracks, but they're all bright and fun.

5. Austin Mahone - The Secret

It may not include his best song (What About Love), but the throwback sound to the late 90's Swedish pop boom is incredibly welcome and sets this collection of songs apart from everything else out there.

4. Gravitonas - Garden Of Men And Machines

My favorite release from them, simply because each and every song is flawless. It has a nice sonic variety as well, with aggressive dance sitting beside pensive balladry.

3. The Fooo Conspiracy - Conspiration

These guys released two excellent EPs this year, but this is my favorite. It's a masterclass in fun, youthful 2014 urban dance pop. Playful, energetic and ridiculously catchy.

2. Taemin - Ace 

I'm a massive Michael Jackson fan, which is part of the reason I love K-Pop so much, and Taemin delivered what sounds like a modern MJ release. His background as a dancer is evident in the way his vocals massage the beats.

1. B1A4 - Solo Day 

No single release this year sounded more like summer than this. Overall, it's more subdued and downtempo (even acoustic) than most of what I like, but song for song, I don't think this mini album could be beat in 2014. It just makes me happy.

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