Youn Sun Nah - Immersion
The new album from Korean singer Youn Sun Nah. I almost hesitated to post this in the 'jazz - currently spinning' thread as the recording and production style on this album is rather different to her earlier recordings. In her previous albums she has recorded with a group of mainly Swedish jazz musicians, but here electronic keyboards and drum machines are evident, and there appears to be some multi-tracking of her vocals on some songs. It hasn't pleased all of her fans, and I have read some critical reviews from people who prefer her more familiar style. I do share some of the criticisms, but only up to a point. What carries this album is the strength of her voice, and fortunately the production recognises that. In my opinion, her voice has never sounded better, regardless of what one's personal tastes might be regarding the production. As usual, the album is a mixture of original compositions and cover versions.
One thing she tends to do on most of her albums is to take some familiar songs and record them in a slowed down fashion. In some cases it works very well indeed, but at other times I don't think she makes the right choice of song for this sort of treatment. In this case the approach works quite well for George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" and Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)". Less successful though is her slowed down approach to "You Can't Hurry Love". I almost didn't recognise the song first time I played it. I'm afraid that the up tempo rhythm (as in The Supremes version, or Phil Collins cover) is such an integral part of the song, that it becomes something totally different without it.
Having said that, I think there is a lot to enjoy on this album, and I do like it quite a lot. I suspect she is trying to broaden her appeal to a wider audience here, but I think it shows that she is willing to experiment and try something a bit different, which can't be a bad thing. It will be interesting to see where she goes from here.
Here is her cover of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"
And an original composition, "Invincible". The album version of this really highlights the strength of her voice, but I couldn't find a clip of that, so instead here is a live version. Note that the performance here is with a group of jazz musicians and is rather different in style to the album version.