As one of the more underrated vocalists in the industry, Younha acted as a puppet for seven long years releasing incomplete albums under her former agency, Lion Media, due to financial issues. Younha finally signed with We Alive after settling a lawsuit against Lion Media, and slowly planned her return back to the industry. With her newfound freedom, Younha seems to have discovered her true love for pop rock in her 4th album, ‘SUPERSONIC’. For the young soloist, this album has been an opportunity to experiment and finally run with her enormous talent with no boundaries.
In this album, Younha sheds her former tomboy-ish, faux-punk rocker girl image and makes her comeback with natural, luscious locks and sophisticated looks as well as even more matured vocals. Whether she is singing the soft ballad song “Peace Love and Ice Cream” or the pop rock song “Password 486“, Younha’s innocent yet powerful vocals have always showcased a unique flair even when singing the most ordinary melodies.
Amidst the avalanche of summer releases, the music video for “Run” stands out of the crowd, and the single may finally be the one to dethrone her current number one song, “We Broke Up Today” (daum). What drew the public to the lead single was its rather simple music video. Using simplicity as a stepping stone, Younha severs herself from the flashy, grandiose music video productions that many idols use to draw attention and paints a beautiful story of a girl running after her passion. As she runs, she encounters a number of obstacles that crash around her, and at one point, Younha drops to her knees defeated, only to get back up stronger and faster, beaming. She shouts:
Spreading the shrunken shoulders, grabbing hold of the disorderly heart
If we erase the uneasy looks, there is no time to stop, a confession for you
Time run away faster, fly away with me far away
Take me to the glaring sky so I can fly higher than anyone else
With her big comeback, Younha brought along Jay Park, John Park, and Tiger JK to feature in her songs, bringing another layer of talent to the album. “Rock Like Stars” featuring Tiger JK seemed unsettling and frantic as strong rock band instrumentals overshadowed vocals, and contrary to the hype and anticipation, this track failed to impress with the lack of a particularly catchy beat or chorus. On the other hand, the single “Would We Have Changed” with John Park presented a beautiful harmony between the two strong vocalists. If Younha’s voice was like a perfect sundae with her chillingly perfect tone, John Park has to be the warm chocolate on top with his sweet, mid-range vocals.
“Drive” featuring Jay Park is like the ugly duckling of the album as it stands out like a sore thumb. I was clearly not “ready for this one“. Jay Park does indeed fulfill his part by bringing his own Seattle swag into the song. But the clashing transition from rap to rock to rap and back to rock again is definitely too “fresh style” for me, but what did stand out was the beginning of the change you will soon see in Younha as she claims:
The weak image that you’ve seen
You won’t be able to see it again
I am born again even stronger
I didn’t know it before
I was dragged around back then
But now I am sitting in the driver’s seat
I’m going to forget the pain that I’ve felt, I’m gonna take control of my life
Everything that happens, even the little things, I’m gonna take control of my life
Producer Score (Primary Score, Lee Seung Chul, Primary Skool) makes frequent appearances throughout the album and even dips his hands in the title track, “People“, which anyone and everyone can relate to. Singing about the ordinary days, happenings that ordinary people experience, the song emphasizes the mundane nature of our daily lives with its steady piano beats. Younha mentioned when she guested on ‘Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook‘ that she wrote this song thinking about the blank facial expressions on the faces of the people coming back from work. I personally enjoy the song for its commonness as the melody fits perfectly with the lyrics.
A notable charm of “No Limit” is its Seo Taiji-esque style of the song. It almost seems as though Younha is trying to mimic the unique vocals of Seo Taiji. As a fan of punk rock bands, this particular track was one that stood out to me as the most “punk” I’ve heard from Younha. The heavy guitar riffs and wild drum beats blend well with Younha’s refreshing vocals.
Younha is an artist who can be easily missed with a blink-of-an-eye in the midst of all the other releases that are erupting as we enter the peak season for comebacks and releases. But with a lead single like “Run” and high quality underdog tracks fortifying the album, one thing is for sure: Younha’s CD sales are expected to do well. I applaud the young soloist for her brave dive into the hip hop world as well as her newly found stance as a singer-songwriter in this album. Although the album may not be the most influential in the K-pop movement, it’s an unmistakably significant album for her career.
What are your thoughts on Younha’s ‘SUPERSONIC’? Leave an honest rating and your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: this article does not reflect the opinions of allkpop, only the author.