Review

Song Review: Younha – Dark Cloud

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.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

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9 thoughts on “Song Review: Younha – Dark Cloud

  1. Its all very nice and perfect pleasant. (Pleasant in a good way). The performance, song writing, production, its all aiight. Just not my style. I overdid it on female singer-songwriters back when, so this light lyric soprano doesn’t do anything new for me.

    I think it would be perfectly suited to an OST for a contemporary show, just not a sageuk which are always slower sappier ballads. The softer beginning part plays in the first half of the show. The higher big notes play at the crushing climax 50min in when the lead gets hit by a bus and the love interest is crying in an empty street in the pouring rain or something.

    For the other song on the album, with RM, “Winter Flower”. On the verses she dials it back, and RM didn’t, so they don’t match. Then the chorus hits and all is right with the world again. The vocal during the chorus is maybe a touch screaming instead of singing, but hey most American Idols do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “But, her name has now been rocketed back to attention thanks to a feature from BTS’s RM.”

    This bit here makes me irrationally angry.

    On a more reasonable note, I do agree that this song could have used a more generous hand with the rock influence, though the structure of the arrangement does suit the lyrics really well.

    More than ‘Winter Flower’, the b-side ’26’ seems to retread a lot of the rock power of her 2012 album Supersonic, which is still one of my all-time favorite albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry, it’s not irrational. While it’s definitely not malicious, you know the focus is gonna be on RM rather than the main artist, who is also an older and well established artist. I think it’s normal to be at least a little upset.

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  3. no?? my point was that Younha was and is relevant without being linked to BTS. maybe not with Western fans but she’s always had a strong fanbase in Korea, which is why it makes me upset to see her branded just as that singer who had a duet with RM.

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    • We all know that pairing a new fashion with a slightly-to-much older fashion is a common thing in the entertainment biz. Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters. Bing Corsby with David Bowie. Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield. All worked out well for all involved.

      But motives are always questioned because it is such a known gimmick. Nat King Cole remixed as a duo with Natalie Cole years after his death. Natalie Cole is a fantastic singer in her own right, but yeah that was a obvious gimmick,

      Hey, maybe Younha herself wanted to duo with RM, who knows. Actually, we will know soon enough as who suggested it to whom does eventually come out for kpop, usually in variety shows – the article next day title reads “it was revealed that …”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • (I had to look it up. Nat King + Natalie Cole “Unforgettable” album sold 6 million albums and won 6 Grammys, so who am I to judge its cheesiness?)

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      • You referenced Bing and David’s “The Drummer Boy” so you win the internet for today. Please return it when you’re done with it because I need to finish watching “The Witcher” on Netflix.

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  4. Definitely prefered Winter Flower (RM’s feature worked well musically… I like Younha by herself too of course, but I don’t think people should necessarily get annoyed when artists collab with BTS rappers…. because, well, they’re good rappers, and if the song is good who cares!), but this one was pretty good as well! I downloaded both and have been listening to them quite a lot since they came out! I agree that this could have done with a bit more intensity throughout.

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