A is for Album Collection
Of course, the pride and joy of many K-pop fans is the album collection. No matter how big or small. For some, that may be just one or two albums. For others, it is an entire bookshelf full of CDs.
I have been a fan of K-pop for about six years now. It started when I was in high school, and surprisingly, continues as strong, if not stronger, today as I grow into an adult. With K-pop, along with some of my other interests, my parents made one thing clear: if I was going to start buying things, it was going to be paid for with my own money. That went for CDs, merch, and concert tickets. That being said, the collection was definitely small and slow to start, but over the past six years, it has grown to something I am definitely very happy to call my own.
Now, I’m not the type to just buy every album that comes out. With the exception of one or two groups, I will only buy an album if I really love at least half of the songs on the track list. With that in mind, pretty much all of the albums I share with you today are ones I would definitely recommend.
#1: First Sensibility by B.A.P
*clutches heart* Okay, this is a special one. This one was a more recent addition to the collection, but I had been wanting it for about a year before I finally had the money to buy it. This is the album that B.A.P was promoting when I went to their concert, so most of the songs on this album I was actually fortunate enough to have seen them perform in person.
Favorite Track: Save Me
#2: Copy & Paste by BoA
My long-forgotten love. This was purchased on the earlier side of my fandomhood. My favorite album of hers would actually be her English album, called “BoA,” but this is definitely my favorite of her Korean albums. BoA was such a queen in her day. I miss her so much.
Favorite Track: Adrenaline
#3: Red Light by f(X)
Okay. You know how I said I’ll buy an album if I love at least half of the songs? On this album, I love almost every single one. f(X)’s songs are just so unique compared to the rest of K-pop, and they showcase that uniqueness perfectly with this album.
#4: Coup D’etat by G-Dragon
This album was a milestone for me. It was the first album I ever purchased from an artist outside of SM Entertainment. This album completely changed G-Dragon for me. He went from the rapper in Big Bang who I left alone as my sister’s bias to one of my favorite artists in K-pop. So much art. So much passion. I wrote an entire post about this album two years ago.
Favorite Track: Shake the World
#5: Got it? by GOT7
This is one special album. It is the only signed album I have, and it’s the only time I have ever won anything from a giveaway. This was my miracle album. I had been obsessed with it since it came out, but money was tight at the time so I was waiting for something, anything, that would allow me to get this album. A surprise gift from my parents. Money to fall from the sky. Anything. Then I entered a giveaway. And against all odds, I won. 🙂
Favorite Track: Like Oh (This is one of my favorite songs of all time.)
#6: Welcome Back by iKON
Ah, the most recent addition to the collection! I was actually worried it wouldn’t arrive in time for this post, but low and behold I found the package waiting for me in the mail just two days ago. This was an interesting buy, because I haven’t known iKON for very long. I still don’t even know the names of all of the members. But the songs on this album are so good. Of the eleven songs, there is literally only one that I think is just okay. The rest are great.
#7: Re:Birth by NU’EST
This along with B.A.P is another album I waited ages to buy. NU’EST was always an underrated favorite of mine, literally since their debut. I don’t usually buy mini albums, so I was very excited to learn that NU’EST was coming out with this full studio album. They are such a great group and I just wish mainstream K-pop would give them a chance. I also wrote a blog post about this album.
Favorite Track: Storybook
#8: Lucifer by SHINee
The third K-pop album I ever bought! That was six years ago, which is crazy for me to think about. Back when I bought this, my dad, sister and I were going through a time when we would play board games every single night, and I remember for two nights in a row right after I bought this, I forced them to listen to it with me while we all played Monopoly. Good times.
Favorite Track: Lucifer
#9: The Misconceptions of Me by SHINee
My second SHINee album! I have said a few times here that I am starting to move away from SHINee and their sound, and this album actually came out right around the time I was starting to not love them anymore. This particular album however had a new sound that admittedly intrigued me. I don’t actually like every song on this album, but the ones that I like, I love.
Favorite Track: Nightmare (Which is quite possibly my favorite SHINee song ever)
#10: MAMA by EXO-K
This is the first, and sort of only, album I have ever bought from a random person I found online. Whenever I see tweets of people selling their albums, I always check out the prices to see if I can find anything cheap, but it usually doesn’t end up working out. With this one, someone was selling all of their EXO albums, and their MAMA album was actually pretty decently priced, so on a whim I went and bought it. All of the songs on this are great, and just make me wonder why I didn’t try to get this album sooner.
Favorite Track: Two Moons (Another all time favorite)
#11: XOXO – Chinese Version by EXO
I remember opening this and thinking that I got scammed. From the outside, it does not look like a CD case at all. The album is basically a book, with a little flap containing the CD in the back. As weird as it is, the photobook is actually really cute. It’s designed like a yearbook, so it has the EXO members characterized as different kinds of students. All of the songs – and I mean all of the songs – are incredible on this album. I also wrote a blog post about this one. I think this is one of my favorite albums of all time.
Favorite Track: Black Pearl
#12: Love Me Right – Chinese Version by EXO
EXO may be dysfunctional, but they produce some damn good music. Again, nearly every track on this one is gold. I absolutely despise the cover and this whole American football concept, but the songs inside are so worth it.
#13: Voodoo by VIXX
This one is special to me for a couple of reasons. This album is when I let VIXX into my life. I thought my interest in them was just going to be a phase, but then I listened to the album and started learning about the members and realized Starlighthood was inevitable. This is also a special album because my mom bought it for me. I was agonizing to her about being obsessed with this album but wanting to be a responsible adult and not waste money on a group I was only just starting to get to know. Then she goes “Well, I could buy the album for you.” It’s hard to explain, but that just meant so much to me. Whenever I receive something as a gift, I can’t help but cherish it.
#14: Error by VIXX
This is another special one because I purchased this album at VIXX’s actual concert. It was from another fan, and she was so incredibly nice. Just like the B.A.P album, all of my memories from that concert are wrapped up in this one. The whole design of it is so cool, the photobook is beautiful and the songs are amazing. Error was such a good era. Everything about the concept was on point.
Favorite Song: What U Waiting For
#15: Chained Up by VIXX
This is a recent addition. 🙂 I bought this with my first paycheck from my first real, adult job. Again, this was quite a concept for a physical album. There are so many goodies that come inside this little box. The CD of course, but also the photobook, photocard, a tattoo of the logo on the front, and a member contract. The seller I bought it from also included additional photocards of all of the members and a poster, which is my first VIXX poster. I was not expecting to love every song on this album, but I really do. Every single one.
So that was only half of the collection. Now for the other half – all by my favorite group.
#16: Twins by Super Junior
This was their first ever album, and ironically it was one of the last albums I bought by them. I had this whole collection, and Twins was the only one missing, so I bought it partially because of the songs, but mostly so that I can complete my Super Junior collection. They were so young and underdeveloped back then, and Kyuhyun, the VOICE of Super Junior wasn’t even in the group yet, so the sound of this album is very different from all of their other albums.
Favorite Track: So I
#17: Don’t Don by Super Junior (Repackaged Version)
This is it. My first ever K-pop album. When I was first getting into Super Junior, I knew I wanted one of their albums. At the time, all that they had was Twins, Don’t Don, and Sorry Sorry, along with other smaller singles and subgroup albums. I listened to every single song that Super Junior had released up to that point, and Don’t Don had the most songs that I really liked. So I decided to make this my first purchase.
Favorite Track: Don’t Don
#18: Sorry Sorry by Super Junior (Repackaged Version)
I don’t remember exactly when I got this one, but it was in the earlier days, back when Super Junior was still one of the only groups I listened to. This album is just iconic. This is the album that made Super Junior big. If I were to recommend any of Super Junior’s older albums to new K-pop fans, it would be this one. Aside from the title track, this album isn’t as lively and exciting as their other albums, but the songs are all pretty solidly good.
Favorite Track: Why I Like You
#19: Bonamana by Super Junior
This was the second K-pop album I ever bought. This was the one that drew me in to K-pop. It was one of the first music videos I ever saw, and some of the first live performances I watched as well.
#20: Mr. Simple by Super Junior (Version B)
I am very tempted to say that this is my favorite Super Junior album of all time, at least of the ones they released as a full group. I am hesitant to say so because the next two albums are pretty good as well, but this is one that I always find myself coming back to. This may have been the time that Super Junior’s music video quality went down, but their music quality skyrocketed. This is probably the Super Junior album that I would most recommend to non-Super Junior fans.
Favorite Track: My Love, My Kiss, My Heart
#21: Sexy, Free & Single by Super Junior (Repackaged Version)
By their 6th album, it wasn’t even a question anymore whether or not I would be buying Super Junior’s newest albums. And it’s not like I buy it simply for the name without caring about the songs. I genuinely love every single Super Junior album. I’m not a fan of the design of this particular album, but this is definitely when Super Junior started joining other groups in picking up their album design game. This is the first Super Junior album that came with a real extensive photobook.
Favorite Track: Daydream
#22: Mamacita by Super Junior
This one is also a contender for Super Junior’s best album. I definitely think this album contains some of their best songs. They really stepped everything up with this one. Their musical style became more mature, their singing and harmonization was more developed, and the line distribution became much more even among the members of the group. This was Super Junior’s big comeback after their two year break, and I think this is when their music and entertainment style really started changing.
Favorite Track: Evanesce (but let it be known that there are like 3 other songs I would all tie as a very close second place. This is just a really good album)
#23: Devil by Super Junior
Super Junior’s most recent album! It came out about eight months ago, but the “new” effect has not worn off yet. I will still get so excited when one of the songs pops up on my iPod. This was Super Junior’s 10th anniversary album, and it was so perfect as such. We got a song from each of Super Junior’s subgroups, a catchy title song, two more anthem songs, and three other tracks that so beautifully take my breath away. This album throws me back to so many memories from Super Junior’s history.
Favorite Track: 별이 뜬다 (Stars Appear)
#24: Super Show 2 by Super Junior
I discovered a trick when ordering Super Junior’s albums: If you love all of their songs, but don’t want to spend money on so many CDs, just buy their concert albums. It has all of their singles for the price of one CD. That is what I learned when I discovered this gem. Not only do I now have a copy of all of the songs from their mini albums, but there are also some remixed songs on here that I think are actually better than the originals. If you don’t mind the crowd background noise, concert albums are always a bargain.
Favorite Track: Insomnia (Ryeowook’s solo)
#25: Super Show 5 and Super Show 6 by Super Junior
This is part two of what I bought with my first paycheck. The SS5 and SS6 albums came together in a pack, and I can’t stress enough how unbelievable of a deal this was. For only $30, I got concert albums from two different concerts, which includes four CDs in total, plus a photobook for each concert. This seller also included a set of photocards. The amount of “new” songs I had to add to my collection were not a lot, since many of the songs were just the live versions of ones I already had, but the ones I didn’t yet have were very special.
Favorite Track of SS5: So Cold (Sung by Siwon, Donghae, Eunhyuk, and Henry) (In addition to the price, this song is pretty much 70% of the reason I wanted this album)
Favorite Track of SS6: Don’t Leave Me
#26: 로꾸거!!! (Rokkugo!!!) by Super Junior-T
I have a policy when it comes to music. Starting around four years ago I decided that I was not going to illegally download music. If it was for sale in my country from a legit seller, I was going to buy it if I wanted it on my iPod. I already had some of SJ-T’s songs ripped from YouTube before I decided this, so in an effort to make my iPod completely clean, I recently went and bought the album. I have a weirdly intense love for trot music, and I blame SJ-T for it. This album made me fall in love.
#27: Perfection by Super Junior-M
This is the first subgroup album I ever bought and it taught me a valuable lesson: if you’re money-conscious, never buy mini albums. I love Super Junior and SJ-M, but this is the one physical album I actually do regret buying. The songs are great, but there are so few of them. Mini albums usually cost around $15-20, and with only 5-9 songs, it isn’t worth the money. At least not for me. While I was annoyed after I bought it, now when I look back at the cover, I still have some affection for it. This is when SM decided to add Eunhyuk and Sungmin to Super Junior-M, which was one of my favorite changes that they ever made.
Favorite Track: Off My Mind (Henry’s solo)
#28: Break Down by Super Junior-M
Hands down, SJ-M’s best album. I bought this one right after I started university, so the songs remind me a lot of my freshman year. With this album also came the release of one of my all time favorite Super Junior music videos: Break Down. I will still go back and watch their performances from this album. It was such a good era.
Favorite Track: Break Down
#29: The Beat Goes On by Super Junior D&E
THIS. This is my most prized possession of the entire collection. This album was my favorite thing to ever happen EVER in K-pop. It was the duet project put together by Donghae and Eunhyuk, my two ultimate biases. When you are a fan of a group with 13 members, you always crave those few precious moments your biases get in the songs, and this was an entire album dedicated to my two biases. I love every single song. It is not uncommon for me to start passionately dancing behind the wheel in the car if I’m alone and one of these songs start playing.
Favorite Track: Growing Pains
Wow, that ended up being a lot longer than I was anticipating. Thank you for making it to the end with me!
If this wasn’t clear from the beginning, let me add the following disclaimer: In no way am I trying to brag with this post. I genuinely enjoy seeing the collections of other fans, so this is for those who also share that interest. With the exception of GOT7 and VIXX’s Voodoo, I bought each of these albums with my own earned money.
I take none of this for granted and I hope each and every one of you understands that no matter how many albums you own, whether it is one or one hundred, that is a collection to be cherished because it is your own and tells the story of you.
Question of the Day:
What are some of your favorite albums?
#NowPlaying: OMG by JJY Band. I don’t have any physical copies of Jung Joon Young’s albums, but I have two of them as digital downloads and I LOVE THEM. If he ever releases a full studio album, you best believe I’ll be getting that. Jung Joon Young is such an underrated gem.
Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!