Youjeen-01Youjeen (유진) is the lead singer of South Korean alternative rock band Cherry Filter, but, she also pursued a solo career in Japan. Her brief sojourn in that country produced five singles and two full-length albums, but her failure,Youjeen-03 it seems, to achieve mega-success forced her to return to South Korea. However, Youjeen‘s two solo albums are pretty damn awesome. In fact, I prefer Youjeen‘s solo work, with its harder alternative rock edge, over most of Cherry Filter‘s albums. In Japan, she hooked up with Japanese rocker J from Luna Sea, as well as Franz Stahl (ex-Foo Fighters). J played bass in Luna Sea, an influential visual kei band, but, as a solo artist, J kicked out straight up, guitar-driven hard rock, and his influence on Youjeen‘s solo work, especially on her debut, is obvious. She sings, mostly, in Japanese and English, no Korean.

Youjeen-04Youjeen‘s solo debut, The Doll (2001), is my favorite album, by far, of any that she’s been involved with. The sound, unlike with Cherry Filter, is driven by heavier alternative rock throughout. And, in Cherry Filter, Youjeen‘s vocals were often child-like (or J-pop idol-ish), cheery, but,Youjeen-05 on The Doll, Youjeen is seemingly bitter, sounding like Alanis Morissette, circa 1995, but fronting J‘s hard rocking band. J-like alternative rocker “HEY JERKS” and passionate ballad “Someday” preceded the album as singles, while poppier alternative rocker “Beautiful Days” followed the release. All are excellent, but so is every other song on the album. “HAPPY HAPPY DOLL”, “ANOTHER”, “Imitation,….you”, “Fly away” and “HIGHER” are more J-like alternative rockers, while “Apple for your thoughts” and “WITCH” are Rage Against the Machine-esque nu-metal rockers, and “Good-Bye” is another great ballad. Even the B-sides are good, like J-like rocker “Love, falling into pieces” and heart-wrenching piano ballad “SEAGULL”. Awesome album!

Watch the videos for “HEY JERKS”, “Someday” and “Beautiful Days” here:

Youjeen‘s follow-up, BEWITCH (2002), sounded more like a Cherry Filter album with a bit of a J influence. But, while it didn’t rock as hard as The Doll,Youjeen-06B it’s still a pretty solid release. The almost R&B-ish “FAKE” (which Cherry Filter covered on Rewind) and The Go-Go‘s-esque “Daydreamin'” were the singles. However, my favorite tracks are the catchy pop/rockers “Wait For You” and “Dear My Friend”, the Joan Jett-ish girl-punker “Be Bad!!”, and the pleasantly melodic “Where Do I Go?”. But, the easy ballad “My Treasure”, the soft rocker “Forbidden Things”, and the alternative rocker “Sacrification” are all good, too. BEWITCH is another fine solo album from Youjeen and, even though I love her band Cherry Filter, I often wonder why she dropped out of the Japanes rock music scene.

Watch the videos for “FAKE” and “Daydreamin'” here:

Youjeen-02Youjeen (Solo) Discography
2001.03.23 – “HEY JERKS” [Single]
2001.06.27 – “Someday” [Single]
2001.07.05 – The Doll [Album]
2001.10.03 – “Beautiful Days” [Single]
2002.03.27 – “FAKE” [Single]
2002.09.04 – “Daydreamin'” [Single]
2002.09.26 – BEWITCH [Album]
2007.01.24 – BEST OF Youjeen (Best of) [Album]


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