It’s no secret that I’ve pretty much become Younha‘s biggest fan-girl over the last half-year (dare anyone contest me for it?) and I will listen to anything—anything—that has her name on it somewhere, be it only a two second feature. The amazing thing about following Younha to the ends of the earth is finding artists just as incredible as she is on their own right. So here are some features that have introduced me to some interesting music:
Philtre (feat. Younha) “잊혀지겠지(Fade)”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMqvpSjhmqI]
This song is one of the most gorgeous ballads I’ve heard this year. By the end, I legitimately sat with my mouth agape and thinking only about how much my heart was sinking due to the amazing visuals (courtesy of the awesome MV), Younha’s feather-light voice, and the ethereal nature of the song from Philtre‘s production. Forget best ballad, this is one of the best songs of the year, period. I’m certainly going to find Philtre’s other works after this.
So Ji-sub (feat. Younha) “소풍 (The Excursion/Field Trip/Picnic)”
So Ji-sub is probably better known for his acting, though his rapping projects are not something that is entirely unknown either. I admit that I’m not really much of a fan of his musical and rapping style, though I do love Younha’s feature in here. “소풍 (The Excursion)” makes for easy listening, so I think the song is deserved of a position in this list. It really is a simple song for a simple day, just as the song title implies.
Epik High (feat. Younha) “Umbrella”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSC47Yp-Hpg]
An awesome song that gives the right jolt of indie vibes. Unfortunately, ever since Tablo and Epik High joined YG, it’s kind of been downhill for the group. I don’t hate YG or anything, but you can see the studio’s hand all over their release under them. As they said on Seoulbeats, what came out of Epik High for their last release, 99, is “watered down Epik High.” “Umbrella,” on the other hand, is a beautiful song that now serves as a reminder of what Epik High used to convey with ease: sincerity.
WheeSung (feat. Younha) “Soothing Touch”
I really like the 90s vibe from “Soothing Touch” in its all around funkiness. Younha’s vocal acrobatics give the song complexity, the snappy rapping from WheeSung provides all the rough edges needed to make this a really enjoyable listen. Sometimes, you just need music to be fun, and this is one of those times.
Soul Dive (feat. Younha) “Tears Have Dried”
I feel like all of the songs I’ve mentioned since “Fade” are features in rapper artists, and this is no exception. I actually like the upbeat flavor of this song, and despite my general aversion to rapping with vocals in this kind of song (thank you crappy idol rappers for ruining hip-hop for me), I really think that the charm to “Tears Have Dried” is the contrast between the lighter rapping and the depth of the voice part from Younha. It really compliments the story told by the lyrics.
AJoo (feat. Younha and C-Luv) “PAPARAZZI”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxKFLpocEuw]
Not to be confused with the Shoujo Jidai song with the exact same name in all caps, this song by AJoo is so 90s that I’m questioning whether it was actually released in 2008. It’s kind of weird to hear Younha in straight pop music, because I was drawn to her pop-rock interpretation of pop music, and have always associated her voice with that. Regardless, this song is really catchy. Even though all signs point to this song being crappy, I have no qualms in admitting that I like it. 90s retro holds that power over me. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s danceability, or maybe it’s just because 90s music is a whole lot of fun. (Darn you 90s music, messing with my objectivity.)
Younha (feat. John Park) “Would We Have Changed?”
Things can go the other way around as well, as Younha has featured plenty of artists on her own songs. “Would We Have Changed” is a fantastic duet that introduced me to John Park‘s great voice, and I don’t think I would have discovered him otherwise. John Park is actually releasing his next album soon, named Inner Child on July 3, and I’m certainly listening to it.
Younha (feat. Kim Bum-soo) “Realize After Break Up”
This isn’t my favorite style from Younha, but “Realize After Break Up” is undeniably good. I didn’t know much about Kim Bum-soo before this song, though I had heard of him. It’s sad, because Kim Bum-soo is a pretty famous singer, and has a rich voice that is closer to Jaejoong‘s or Taemin‘s (i.e. clean) in color than John Park or Ha Dong-kyun (soulful). A good representation of Kim Bum-soo’s immense talent would be the song “A Sad Story Than Sadness“—but don’t ask what the title is supposed to mean. I have no clue.
Younha (feat. Tablo) “Memory”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezWe_GbE5Pc]
This one I put just because I really liked the song. (So yeah, I kind of cheated on this one.) It would be interesting to hear a Tablo-Younha collab outside of Epik High, but considering that Tablo is now in YG, that doesn’t look all that likely. Oh well.
Out of everyone on this list, I would say that Philtre is hands down best artist I have found through Younha. I had no idea that her song would be that good, and it’s really sad to see the song so underrated. I don’t think that every collaboration leads me to finding new favorite artists or anything, but I do like that I can get a taste of what other people’s styles are like via artists I do follow. For example, I got my first real taste of Tiger JK through “Rock Like Stars,” and the amazing Koda Kumi through her song “Last Angel” with Tohoshinki. Despite those annoying comments on YouTube that say “I came here because of X-singer,” the fact is, that’s actually something to appreciate. Sure you initially came to listen to a song because of someone else, but the reason you stay is for the merits of the musician you found. I wholeheartedly admit that I expand my musical background through associations faster than I do when I randomly search for new music, and it doesn’t make any artist less for being discovered that way.
Who are some of your favorite artists that you have found via other artists?