Listening to Lee Jung Hyun’s nameless second album (“II”? “Peace”? “Nuh?”)

February 12, 2021Posted in2000s, albums, K-pop, Korea, Lee Jung Hyun

This album from 2000 by the K-pop legend Lee Jung Hyun is so conceptional and still it doesn’t have a clear concept. Because there’s too many of them. And what is the album called? “Peace”? “Lee Jung Hyun II?” “Nuh”? I don’t know.

Listen to the whole album on Youtube!

Lee Jung Hyun in landscapes of gold

The song “너” (“Nuh”) has an “Egypt” theme, and its video kind of reminds me of the desert levels in Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, with that it’s got all the funny stuff from (what we thought were) Egypt: pharaos, pyramids, jewelry, cool clothes, and a flying ship. The song and video are solid, and mixes modern with ancient in a silly way (don’t mind the dancing robots at 3:53, they’re just handling their business…). I love the cute hand gesture she does at the end of the song right after the high-pitched vocals part, it’s actually impossible to not mimick it yourself if you know about it.

Lee Jung Hyun living in a doll house

In “줄래” (“Joolae”), Lee Jung Hyun becomes a Barbie doll and is annoying and seductive. She got that tone in her voice like if she’s not getting what she want she’s going to scream. Unreasonable. Later she goes full Limp Bizkit in “잘먹고 잘살아라…” (translated: “Eat well and live well…”) with the repeated phrase “Hey little tough so what U want?”. This attempt at nu metal is really the only time she borrows directly from another genre as a gimmick, as the rest of the album is more free-floating and puts guitars, synths and drums wherever it fits best regardless of the musical conventions.

Lee Jung Hyun II (or what it’s called…) is unfocused and diverse, both very light and dark, and feels more like a compilation album than a normal one. Or like it was made by several bands. And the songs I’ve already mentioned isn’t all – there’s 80s pop in “평화” (“Peace”), chill smooth pop in “Feel Me”, hiphop:y synth music with beautiful vocals in “따” (“Tta”), really great ballad music in “꿈” (“Dream”), some disco, and some more pop. And while the experimentation is exciting, her signature-style techno (for example in “도전” (“Challenge”)) is also catchy as always.