Album Review: Younha – “Part A: Peace Love & Ice Cream”

Tracklist:
1. Peace Love & Ice Cream
2. Black Rain
3. Break Out
4. 1,2,3
5. She Is
6. 사랑하다 (Saranghada; Loving)
7. Luv U Luv U Luv U
8. My Song and… (Korean version)
9. 1,2,3 (Instrumental)
10. 사랑하다 (Instrumental)

Younha’s third Korean studio album, Part A: Peace Love & Ice Cream was released on April 16, 2008. No word yet on chart performance or number of copies sold.

The first song, Peace Love & Ice Cream, which is also the title track, is a cover of a song by the same name performed by a Dutch singer named Sandy Dane. The two versions sound basically identical save for Younha’s voice and, of course, the Korean lyrics. It’s a calm, acoustic track but it still retains a very distinct pop feel. Younha’s soft vocals suit the music very well and brings the album to a pleasant start.

After listening to Black Rain, I definitely get the impression that Younha has been taking a cue or two from Ayumi Hamasaki. Black Rain is an interlude, the beginning of which consists of the sounds of a thunderstorm mixed with foreboding piano. The last 18 seconds or so are an interesting mix of electronic and rock elements.

The transition between Black Rain and Break Out is awesome. The same synths and drums we heard in the end of the interlude run straight into this great rock track. I was a bit disappointed by the tameness of Younha’s vocals – we’re all well aware of just how capable she is of really belting out on tracks like this – but the sheer catchiness of the hook is more than enough to compensate.

The next track on the album is the upbeat and happy 1,2,3. Before I address the controversy surrounding this song, I’ll put in my two cents; 1,2,3 is basically like sunshine in a bottle. Younha’s voice is filled with the enthusiasm and innocence of a young girl in love, and the ska elements make the song all but irresistible. Younha has truly concocted the perfect spring anthem. This song has actually put Younha in some hot water due to its striking similarities to the Jackson 5’s “ABC”. Now, I will admit that the two share things in common, but not enough for a serious comparison to be made, in my opinion. Another song on this album has stirred up controversy for supposedly plagiarizing a popular artist.

She Is is a piano interlude. A long one. Nothing really special here, but it’s pretty.

사랑하다 (Saranghada) is a great combination of R&B stylings, piano and Younha’s gorgeous voice. I always find Younha’s ballads to be really great because she’s got a very unique way of conveying emotion through her voice, even despite the language barrier, a sign that she is a truly masterful artist.

Alright. I won’t even try to avoid it – Luv U Luv U Luv U sounds exactly like “Just Dance”. Although the former has its own unique elements, it cannot be denied that the music sounds nearly identical. Luv U is catchy in its own right, but the similarities between it and Lady GaGa’s hit are almost distracting and detract a bit from the song. I would not be at all surprised if Lady GaGa decides to pursue this issue legally as she would certainly have a case for it.

For the last track, Younha decided to take My Song and…, totally in English and one of the best songs off her previous album Someday and rewrite the lyrics in her native language. And thus we have My Song and… (Korean version). I am normally the first to say that Younha sounds better in Korean than she does in any other language, but I will make an exception in this case as the original English version of this song was, simply put, brilliant. Aside from the fact that her English was absolutely awesome, she also sang more passionately in that version. So while pretty in Korean, it’s my opinion that My Song and… was just meant to be sung in English.

Summary: With her third Korean album, Younha has proven that she can deliver great new material over and over again. The cool thing about Part A: Peace Love & Ice Cream is that is contains more variety than either of her previous Korean albums, and even her Japanese albums before that. From acoustic pop, to rock, to electro, Younha covers pretty much all the bases as she can in one album. Other than the supposed plagiarism issues, which I feel I’ve addressed sufficiently already, the only thing I feel could have been improved about this album is that it is way. Too. Short. If you exclude the two interludes, instrumentals, and the reworked version of My Song and…, we really only have five new tracks. I think it’s clear that Younha is beyond capable of giving us more than that.

Album Grade: A

2 thoughts on “Album Review: Younha – “Part A: Peace Love & Ice Cream”

  1. hi there!!! thanks for a balanced and well-thought of review. U didn’t bash Younha for the Luv U Luv U Luv U issue but u didn’t make excuses for it either. Check out the 123 performance in her Travel Lalala appearance. U won’t be disappointed. It’s the first time i enjoyed it since it was released.

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment! And I will be sure to check out that performance. Younha always delivers when she performs live.

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