2018 has been a wonderful year for K-pop fans all around the world, and the music awards season is finally here to celebrate all the great work that our boys and girls put together.
Check out the list of the artists we loved this year, what they were up to in the U.S., and the categories that they are nominated for at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards(MAMA), which is only a few days away! We also picked our favorite song/music video of each artist from this year. Let us know what your picks are on Facebook and Twitter!
Starting with the performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, 2018 has been a truly blessed year for the ARMYs in the States. We got to see them perform and banter on TV and – if you were one of the lucky fans to get the tickets to their Love Yourself US tour – in person as well!
It was very difficult to pick just one out of all the bops that came out with the conclusion of the Love Yourself series, but if we HAVE to pick one, it would have to be…
FAKE LOVE! Reminiscent of their previous hits such as I Need U and Blood Sweat & Tears, FAKE LOVE almost screams BTS with its artistic music video, powerful yet graceful choreography, and heart-wrenching lyrics. (And the usual intense heart throbs with the members’ close-up shots, we might add.)
First introduced to us in Love Yourself: Tear, FAKE LOVE is also listed in the inclusive Love Yourself: Answer album. BTS is also nominated for Best Dance Performance Male Group category with this song/stage – check out the full list of categories below.
- Best Male Group
- Best Dance Performance Male Group – FAKE LOVE
- Best Music Video – IDOL
It feels like it’s only yesterday that these 11 “nation’s sons” debuted and National Producers got a new job as Wannables – but time flies by so fast! As the first and last full year of their activity, 2018 was a truly bittersweet year for Wannables, especially the overseas fans who had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see them as Wanna One (😢). Here in the U.S., Wanna One visited a number of cities across the continent during their ONE: THE WORLD US Tour and appeared in both New York and Los Angeles KCON 2018.
While Wanna One showcased a variety of styles (a.k.a. concepts) from energetic (literally!) to sentimental to powerful, our pick for Wanna One is most definitely…
Light! It’s almost a perfect mix of all of their previous concepts – smooth melodies of Beautiful and powerful dance breaks of BOOMERANG – with a good dose of sexiness.
You can find the song in their album, 1÷X=1 (UNDIVIDED), which also features their first unit songs. Even though Light isn’t specifically nominated in a category, Wanna One and their other title songs are listed in 4 different categories for MAMA. Check the list below, and also support their latest comeback with Spring Breeze!
- Best Male Group
- Best Dance Performance Male Group – BOOMERANG
- Best Unit – Triple Position / Kangaroo
- Best Music Video – Beautiful
Kings of the stage are still going strong this year! With the release of two singles (three, if you count the OST) in Korea and one in Japan this year, Carats received a number of new tracks and many thanks from our 13 most talented singers, rappers, songwriters, dancers, choreographers… the list goes on!
Even though the U.S. Carats didn’t get to see the amazing performances from the 2018 Ideal Cut tour, SEVENTEEN has shown off their energy on stage at KCON LA 2018, especially with their signature closing stage of VERY NICE. Note: If you haven’t seen any of it so far, do yourself a favor and check the video out!
Our favorite concepts from Sebongs typically accompany exciting melodies and powerful choreos, but this year’s Korean releases are mellower & trendier. Our pick for this year’s release is… (cue drum roll, please!)
Definitely Oh My! Not only just the song itself but also the scenes in the music video are just absolutely adorable. We also love all the cute moments on the stage like Wonwoo remote-controlling the members at the beginning of the song.
This title track is listed on their latest release of You Make My Day. It is also nominated in Best Dance Performance Male Group category, while SEVENTEEN is also nominated for other MAMA categories as well – check out the list below!
- Best Male Group
- Best Dance Performance Male Group – Oh My!
- Best OST – A-TEEN
The hardest-working girls on the block had another extremely busy year with the whopping total of six releases in both Korea and Japan – that’s more often than once every two months! U.S. ONCEs got to see their sweet smiles up close during their stages in KCON LA this summer, but we sure want more of their bubbly presence here in the States.
With so many to choose from & every track so characteristically TWICE, it’s a yet another difficult choice to make, but it just had to be…
YES or YES, because, you know, the only choice is YES! Again with a cute and easy-to-follow (more or less!) “point choreography” and cheerful melody, the song and the music video have been on our playlist since their release on early November.
You can find this endearing song from the first track of the album of the same name, YES or YES. Of course, the question marks that TWICE members drew from What is Love? is still dear to our hearts, and MAMA agrees – the song is nominated for two different categories! Check out the full list below, and also stay tuned for their new special album coming soon, titled The Year of YES.
- Best Female Group
- Best Dance Performance Female Group – What is Love?
- Best Music Video – What is Love?
If you are not part of the BLACKPINK revolution already, we say it’s not too late to join! BLINKs are generally always thirsty for more, and the same goes with us U.S. fans. We just hope to see more of their gorgeous performances on stage & television next year!
So, obviously, the only choice we have for the year is…
DDU-DU DDU-DU, the only and the best. It hit 500 million views on YouTube as of November 25th and the fastest K-Pop music video to hit the milestone to date! With its addicting hook and powerful choreography, DDU-DU DDU-DU is one of the few songs that were released in summer that we’re still listening to throughout the winter.
You can find the song in BLACKPINK’s latest release, Square Up. Check out the three categories that they are nominated for, and don’t forget to support JENNIE with her first solo single, aptly titled SOLO!
- Best Female Group
- Best Dance Performance Female Group – DDU-DU DDU-DU
- Best Music Video – DDU-DU DDU-DU
Starting the year with the all-red, all-hot tracks in the 2nd repackaged album, The Perfect Red Velvet, the five queens have gifted us a number of amazing bops and the ultimate summer song of the year.
Some of us ReVeluvs on the East Coast got to meet them at KCON NY 2018, but for the rest of us who are scattered across the continent, Red Velvet is going to come to a number of cities this coming February through their first tour in the United States & second concert, titled REDMARE.
And time for the last pick – we waited until the 30th of November to make a decision, and it was a quick one when the time came:
If Bad Boy was an amazing song, RBB (Really Bad Boy) is, logically, really amazing. We almost wish this music video found its way to us a month earlier, but as music nerds here, we would like to believe in the theory that the release was timed for Michael Jackson’s Thriller release, which was also on the November 30th of 1982. The high notes on this new title track give us chills every single time we listen to it, and we can hear more of Yeri’s & Irene’s voice, which we also love!
If you are a die-hard Bad Boy fan, we forgive you – we’re also in love with their album Summer Magic featuring both English and Korean tracks of Bad Boy. We don’t have RBB the album in our stores just yet since it’s just hot off the press, but we’ll definitely keep you posted on here once the link becomes available. UPDATE (December 18th, 2018) RBB is available online now – get your copy here!
Check out the MAMA nomination for Red Velvet below!
- Best Female Group
- Best Dance Performance Female Group – Bad Boy
Of course, just six groups wouldn’t paint the full picture of all the amazing things that happened with K-Pop this year! Here are more artist picks from us & MAMA nominations of this year – let’s continue to support them through next year, and if you haven’t yet for whatever reason, definitely check them out. You’ll thank us next year 😉
For your Boy Group Fixes…
- We love them for: Refreshing music style
- Latest Album Release: <Present: YOU> & ME (will update the link once we have it online – meanwhile, check out Present: YOU if you haven’t already!)
- Latest Music Video: Miracle
- Nominated for: Best Male Group / Best Dance Performance Male Group – Lullaby
- We love them for: Powerful dance performances
- Latest Album Release: Take.1 Are You There?
- Latest Music Video: Shoot Out
- Nominated for: Best Dance Performance Male Group – Shoot Out
- We love them for: Fresh blood / Maknae group from JYP
- Latest Album Release: I am YOU
- Latest Music Video: Get Cool
- Nominated for: Best New Male Artist
In support of Female Solo Artists…
- We love her for: Perfect vocals & looks
- Latest Album Release: Palette
- Latest Music Video: BBIBBI
- Nominated for: Best Female Artist
- We love her for: Graceful dance performances
- Latest Album Release: WARNING
- Latest Music Video: Siren
- Nominated for: Best Female Artist / Best Dance Performance Solo – Siren
- We love her for: Beautiful lyrics and mesmerizing voice
- Latest Album Release: Wind
- Latest Music Video: Jenga (Feat. Gaeko)
- Nominated for: Best Vocal Performance Solo – Didn’t Know Me / Best Hip Hop & Urban Music – Jenga (Feat. Gaeko)
Shop all the latest release from 2018 MAMA nominees & other 2018 award winners here, or simply search your favorite artist on FYE.com. If you don’t like waiting or want to make sure you get a specific version of the album, visit our stores near you – we also carry a selection of K-Pop albums in stores!
+ Don’t forget to @ us on social media with your own picks for the artists & songs of the year and who you are rooting for in this year’s MAMA! #2018MAMA #MAMAVOTE