There was a time when music critics considered idols’ CDs “untouchables.” They did not want to review the disposable and consumer-oriented music, and there was nothing much to talk about. However, there have been signs of change. Now we are in an age in which people should be “sorry not to be cool” if they are still prejudiced about idol music. The improved quality of idols’ music has contributed to the change. Songs made by young composers like Kushi, Kenzie, Brave Brothers, Shinsadong Tiger, Jinu (Hitchhiker) are no doubt well-made, and there is no turning away from such well-made music. What idol CDs do music critics think are the most valuable? We asked each of 10 music critics, who are working actively in the field, to select 5 CDs, and the following is the list of the top 5 CDs.

1. Brown Eyed Girls (2009)

2. 2NE1 1st Mini Album (2009)

3. BoA (2002)

4. Taeyang (2008)

5. SHINee (2009)

At the time of “Noona Is So Pretty” or “Love Like Oxygen,” SHINee just had the image of “idols tailored for noonas.” At least until they sang “Ring Ding Dong.” If their previous songs were in the line of Chris Brown, SHINee’s music since the end of 2009 has turned closer to Li’l John or Ludacris. With their music style change from gentle R&B pop to dirty South hiphop beat, SHINee have transformed from asexual boys to self-confident men. Especially Ring Ding Dong and Jojo are songs impressive enough to be counted as good examples of adapting African rhythm and 1980s house beat into a twenty-first style. It illustrates the range of references Yoo Youngjin and Kenzie used.

By Cha Woojin

Writer – Kim Hakseon