For Japanese music 2010 was a year dominated by cover albums, relatively few astounding new artists, and on the whole only a smithering of strong releases by veteran artists. Perhaps because of this I began to scour the Asian market for new sounds. I didn’t have to work too hard though because, pushed and prodded by friends, I fell into K-Pop early on in the year, and despite my general aversion to pop music I found certain artists that made infectiously catchy songs, demonstrated real talent, all without being utterly too bubble-gummy for my taste. Japan likewise supplemented their music scene this year with the Korean Wave, and together I feel we adventured forth for the better.
B2ST (BEAST) is one of many boy bands on the K-Pop scene, although they are by far one of the newest to be birthed by Korea’s pop labels. Debuting with six members in the fall of 2009, B2ST has since released four mini-albums, three of which came out this year. This very week in fact we’ve seen their live solo concert debut, and within the past month B2ST received the Yepp Newcomer Award from the 25th Golden Disk Awards, one of many awards B2ST has earned already. B2ST already has eight singles under their belt, and of those three of them have risen to be in my top ten songs of the year. Coupled with impressive choreography, energized music videos, and quality singing both on their mini-albums and their live performances, B2ST deservedly rose to the forefront of K-Pop artists in 2010. For me choosing B2ST as “Favorite Asian Music Artist of 2010” was an easy decision.