Posts Tagged ‘side’

Best of 2017: Top 10 K-Pop Albums

As we roll into the business end of these countdowns and the final hours of 2017, it bears mentioning how difficult I found it to finalise these last three lists. You’re about to see two Top 15s where previously there was only one, but I very nearly made this one the third. If it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t find another list worth cutting down to compensate, I would have. 2017 was that good of a year for K-Pop albums – especially in their shorter “mini” format. I’ve often joked that all a K-Pop album has to do to get my attention is not put its MV track in the first slot, and maybe divide some group members up for solos/duets (i.e. just not be generic) but I can’t even fall back on that crutch this time, because so many albums did just that in 2017. Some even went a step further in the structural experiment department.

Wow, this is such a nerdy list.

I consider mini-albums to be between four and seven tracks long. Anything shorter than that is a “maxi single” or “single album” (Not even my words), anything longer is a full album.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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MINI ALBUMS
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5. Eclipse – EXID

They say necessity is the mother of invention and in the case of EXID’s Eclipse that certainly rings true. By all means, on an album you can pair off your members or give them solos to spice things up and make the group feel more like everyone is putting in work, but when you’re also down not only your most gifted vocalist, but one of the most gifted vocalists in all of K-Pop, you need to take things a step further. Eclipse somehow works without the incapacitated Solji thanks to a heavy injection of driving electronic bass as well as some truly impressive fill-in work from secondary vocalist Hyerin. Album opener Boy is the tone-setting stylistic codifier, giving each able member her own unique stanza but leaving the hook entirely electronic. Its lyrics are a prologue of sorts to MV track Night Rather Than Day, which works far better as an audio-only throwback to the group’s early sound (The video is pretty awful). But Eclipse‘s greatest achievement is How Why, which has such a booming chorus that I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of electro-EXID.

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VR Zelda Month: Top 10 Sidequests

VR_Zelda_Month

This is the stuff that makes a Zelda game for me. The setting of a Zelda world is little more than a string of dungeons without an overworld to link them all together in a meaningful way, and that overworld is little more than a lifeless husk without people to interact with and things to do within it. If some of those things are optional (and preferably fun), that adds immeasurably to the richness of the world. In my book, one of the worst things a Zelda game can do is make you dread finishing a dungeon because it will just mean heading back to a vacant overworld. Thankfully, not too many of them do.

No self-contained minigames or optional dungeons are eligible for this list, because I’ve given them each their own lists. Because it’s kind of difficult to find icons and official artwork that depict sidequests, I’ve turned to Deviantart for this article’s images. All artists are credited on their respective pictures.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome.
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10. Tingle Island Statues – The Wind Waker

Credit to Aviarei

For all the positive changes that the upcoming Wii U remaster The Wind Waker HD is making to the game, which according to plenty of reviewers makes the experience better than it ever was, there is one small feature that has been cut out entirely: the Tingle Tuner. While this GBA connectivity-focused item was little more than an odd looking souvenir for most of the original Gamecube players of The Wind Waker, for me it was an integral and memorable part of gameplay.

This is because it essentially turned all five of the game’s dungeons (and some of its overworld islands) into co-op levels. If you had a friend (or, in my case, a sister) who was willing to hold a Game Boy Advance and play as Tingle to feed you hints, map information and overpriced items for use in a pinch, the game took on another layer of fun. What’s more, each dungeon hid an otherwise completely unattainable treasure chest containing a golden Tingle Statue, which only appeared when attacked with a GBA-spawned Tingle Bomb. Each statue would appear on Tingle Island with a hint leading to a hidden 100 Rupee treasure chest that could respawn. When I finally get to play The Wind Waker HD next month, I have no doubt that this is what I will miss most.
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