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Baek Ji Young: back with a new ‘Voice’

Now most of us who were only recently dragged into the Hallyu (korean) wave will most probably only have heard of Baek Ji Young through her contributing to the mega-hit drama Secret Garden’s official soundtrack with the song ‘That Woman’.

Even for someone who has been exposed to kpop for about 6 years (me), that’s probably the only time i found out about her. Sadly for me, at that time, even though i loved the song a lot, i thought she was just another ballad singer. With her new release ‘Voice’ feat. Gary of Leesang, she has finally spike my curiousity. Before going into her new song, i would like to do a introduction of Baek Ji Young, because, behind her huge success today, is an even bigger history.

Baek Ji Young debuted in 1999 (that’s like 13 years in the music industry people, though she took a break in between) with the image of a sexy, dance singer (even though her vocal talent was better than that). Her very first single ‘Choice’ was one of the very first kpop music to incorporate Latin music. Her debut ended in huge success as she managed to snag the SBS new artist award. Her 2nd album also did very well, however, it was during the peak of her success that she was to fall from her mighty throne (and hard did she fall). It was in 2000 that the scandal of her being in a sex tape with her then manager reared it’s ugly head. It was said that this tape was shot in 1998 before her debut without her knowing. This scandal brought up a lot of controversies regarding the music industry.

In 2001, following the scandal, she tried to reclaim her success by releasing a new album. Without a doubt, this album did not do as well as the first two albums. Even after taking a two year break, the effects of the scandal had not wore off, not to mention that there were other new artists to compete with.

It was only in 2006 that Baek Ji Young was to became known as a great ballad singer. In exchange with her revealing clothes, stood before us a beautiful woman with a yet more beautiful voice singing her new single ‘I won’t love’.

This song was then followed by yet another successful ballad song ‘I only need one love’. However, it was also at this time that another misfortune was to appear in the form of a cyst forming in her throat. In fear of losing her voice, she did the only thing possible to savage the situation – vocal chord surgery. Thankfully, her voice neither changed or worsen.

And it was after the surgery that she released Like being shot with a Bullet which became her real signature song.

Since then, she has achieve significant commercial success with her post-surgery singles, which brings us to ‘Voice’.

First, let me say that i think she chose well to choose Gary to rap in this song. Given that he may not be the most good looking rapper out there, his rapping skills (and unique style) and voice, well makes up for that.

The first distinct sound we pick out is the sound of waves (which is used very well because it links to her lyrics). We start to realise that this no too-slow ballad but a mid-tempo one when the beats become stronger and clearer. Can i just say that this one of the best mid-tempo songs i have heard in a while. The music, melody, Baek Ji Young’s voice and Gary’s rap just comes altogether so nicely (with a ribbon on the top) there’s nothing much to say but for me to just sit bacn and enjoy the song. This is one song that’s going to be on repeat for awhile.

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