Soloist Younha has had a long and illustrious career, filled with commercial highs and lows. But, her name has now been rocketed back to attention thanks to a feature from BTS’s RM. That song, produced by the brilliant Eden/Ollounder/Leez team, isn’t even her title track. Given its big-name collaborators and general awesomeness, it probably should have been. Instead, we get the rock ballad Dark Cloud (먹구름).
The “rock” in rock ballad is a bit of a misnomer here, as most of Dark Cloud is pretty straightforward and traditional. From structure to sound, it feels like it would be perfectly suited to the background of a K-drama. What makes Cloud stand out is Younha’s compelling voice. She gives a confident, engrossing performance — as if we could expect anything less.
Dark Cloud becomes its own beast halfway through, as guitars take prominence and the track revs up to a cathartic climax. Younha has always been at her best when supported by rock textures, and Cloud could have pushed that further. Two thirds of the way through, everything comes together with a series of gorgeous power notes. I appreciate the song’s desire to build slowly, but if the entire thing had harnessed this kind of intensity, I think Dark Cloud would have been a real knockout. Instead, it’s a perfectly fine showcase of what Younha does best, bound to be overshadowed the more adventurous track that precedes it on her album.
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