Lee Soo-young Again Seeking Success With 'Never Again'

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Lee Soo-young Again Seeking Success With 'Never Again'

Eight months can be long enough for some pop stars to evolve multiple transformations in style, but the change evident in Lee Soo-young since our interview last summer is more than a matter of style. Before me now is a young woman filled with new-found confidence.

Ms. Lee, 22, who made her successful debut last year with the song "I Believe," is back again with a second album, "Never Again," scheduled for release Friday. It's a follow-up that has been awaited by fans impressed with her controlled, delicate voice that belies the power behind it.

Since the release of her first song, accompanied by an elaborately made music video, Ms. Lee has seen her popularity grow.

Her expressive, almost plaintive, delivery, and the emotional sentiments that form her lyrics have become her trademark.

"The success of my first album became a burden when it came to producing the second album, due to the pressure to make it a success as well," she said.

"However, considering that I could barely keep up with the production schedule of the first album, and it was still a success, I am confident this new release will meet the high expectations of my fans. I took time over my second album, and I was able to voice my own ideas in the production process."

The songwriter and producer simply known as MGR - the man behind such hits as Ms. Lee's "I Believe" and Lee So-eun's "Farewell" - penned and produced most of the tunes on this album, including the title song "Never Again." He was also the main general director of the album.

MGR, recognized for his traditional "oriental" sound and emotive ballads, changes tack on this album, giving listeners more standard, pop-friendly songs.

The new release comprises two CDs - one of 18 songs including performance pieces and another of a music video and video files of Ms. Lee in the recording studio.

A shortcoming of the album is MGR's overbearing presence on it. The role of producer, rather than artist, is emphasized, with the consequence that Ms. Lee is left in the shade on her own record.

But this deficiency won't eclipse listeners' enjoyment of her unusual sound and excellent voice.

by Choe Jae-hee

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