Younha recently came back with her 5th studio album, “RescuE,” and it’s packed with thoughtful lyrics and songs that will pull at your heartstrings. She has an amazing ability to put words to deep emotions that helps listeners experience love and heartbreak with her. In celebration of her latest album, here are some of her most famous and powerful songs; some sad, some fun, and all of them highlighting her stellar vocals.
“Realize After Breakup”
Younha has been moving hearts and impressing fans with her vocals and awe-inspiring high-notes for over 10 years. Featured above is a duet she sang with Kim Bum Soo in 2010 with a run towards the end that may give you chills. It’s also a live performance – as are all of the videos on this list.
Younha began auditioning in Korea during high school but after nearly two dozen times of hearing her vocals praised but being rejected because she wasn’t “pretty enough,” she sent a demo to several agencies in Japan and quickly debuted overseas. Despite relative success with her early releases, her popularity in Japan fizzled, so she returned to Korea to start university and make her Korean debut. This charming song “Password 486” became a hit and she won Best New Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2007.
“Broke Up Today”
Younha’s debut days were marked by her signature sound – a piano rock / J-pop blend which she carried over from her days in Japan. However, many of her more famous songs take a sentimental look at love or life and are mostly sad ballads. “Broke Up Today” is one such song.
She released her 3rd Korean album in 2013, “Subsonic,” which included the song “Home,” a piano-heavy song about finding comfort and belonging in a person, rather than a place. The song has a music video that features footage taken from her concert rehearsals and practices, but listening to her sing while playing piano is one of the best ways to enjoy a sentimental Younha song.
This song, which features Eluphant, is another example of Younha’s superb ability to capture heartbreak in words and write images into her lyrics. Here she describes the days after a break up and the emptiness one feels, puzzling over whether to hold onto the memories or erase them. Younha’s vocal talent comes through in almost all of her live performance. Throughout her career, many fans have made remarks that there is hardly a difference between listening to her live vocals and her recorded vocals – she’s just that good.
Younha’s career in Korea has seen plenty of bumps. She was hit with a plagiarism controversy and went on hiatus after she developed a panic disorder, until she became the host of MBC FM radio’s “Starry Night,” one of Korea’s most famous radio programs. She sued her company in 2011, citing the questionable validity of her contract, but the company soon counter-sued. The court ultimately sided with Younha and she returned under a new label in 2012 with “Supersonic,” which includes this pop rock ballad, making a shining return to her original sound.
“The Real Reason We Broke Up”
“The Real Reason We Broke Up” is another sentimental, acoustic heavy ballad that describes exactly what is said in the title: figuring the real reasons for a relationship ending. The song was featured on “Just Listen,” an album neatly tucked in between the releases of “Supersonic” and “Subsonic.” As for the answer to her question “what is the reason we broke up?” Her answer: there was none; only the absence of love.
This is one of Younha’s most famous songs and is a song that perfectly showcases her vocals with an impressive display of power and high notes. The song is a rock ballad about wanting to return to the romantic days of a relationship, and contains a sad blend of nostalgia and longing.
No list of classic Younha songs could ever be complete without “Waiting.” The song is one of her earliest Korean releases – 2006 – and also one of her most covered songs. It’s been covered by countless female artists, from Taeyeon to IU to members of Red Velvet, DIA, and Lovelyz. The song is a heart-breaking tale of a one-sided love, in which she chooses to wait through the pain in hopes that the object of her affection will one day feel the same.
Younha stepped down from “Starry Night” in 2014 to focus on her next album, ending her three and a half year run on the program. Then, in 2016, she went on indefinite hiatus to focus on protecting her voice after suffering vocal trauma from a deviated nasal septum. In 2017 she returned with her first album in four years, “RescuE,” which included songs she’d been working on for five and a half years. Included on the album is “Hello,” a mellow song about realizing that a relationship has reached the end of its run.
While her thoughtful advice and heartfelt messages to listeners have been thoroughly missed since she left “Starry Night,” her new album highlights a more sultry and dreamy side to Younha’s music and noticeably breaks from the heavy piano rock sound and belting high-notes she’s been associated with since debut. With a more serene sound, changes in her vocal technique to avoid causing permanent vocal damage, and the meaningful lyrics that encompass much of Younha’s music, “RescuE” is a refreshing album with some of the best musical arrangements of 2017. We couldn’t be happier to have her back!
Which song from Younha is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
heytoto currently teaches ELL in Seoul, South Korea, and can usually be found sipping a latte while being enamored by sentimental music by fantastic artists like Younha.