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“R&B, Jazz, Modern Rock… Shall We Journey Together?”

Posted February. 01, 2005 22:14,   


The introductory track of singer Lena Park’s fifth album is entitled “Ode” (a lyric poem celebrating a person or object). Park, who wrote both the music and lyrics, explained that the song “is dedicated to the inspiration that generates the desire to create.”

Her fifth album “On & On,” slated for release on February 3, marks the first time Lena Park has taken charge of her album’s production. It’s the result of two years of preparation since her fourth album in 2002, which went on to sell 400,000 copies.

Park personally wrote a total of five songs for the new album, including the intro and a track entitled “Future.” The album’s title, “On & On,” refers to her aspiration to “strive for ceaseless progress in music.” The cover art also contains an image of the singer on a journey to find something new.

“We emphasized strong beats and a bright overall feel, while maintaining the capacious scale of the fourth album. Since I was producing the album myself, I got quite ambitious about it. I also received a lot of advice from composers Jung Seok-won and Paul J. Hwang, and guitarist Lee Seong-ryeol.”

Park’s rich musical sensibilities permeate the album’s 14 tracks in a variety of ways. In the title track, “Moon,” the accompaniment of Chinese traditional instruments adds a distinctively Asian sense of mystery to the ballad. A renamed version of “Fall in Love,” included on the single released in Japan in November of last year, the song takes its melody from an instrumental piece known as “Feel the Moon,” which was co-written by Japan’s Hiro Suwano and Kazu Izumi. Park remarked, “I sang in a tearful voice to give the song a sad feel.”

“Beautiful You” is a track that represents the bright atmosphere of the album. Its charm lies in its fast tempo and string accompaniment. Park said, “When I first heard this song by Paul J. Hwang, I thought, ‘This is it!’ It conveys exactly the kind of feeling I want to express.”

Other noteworthy tracks include the traditional jazz piece “I’ll Recognize You”; the piano-accompanied, beat-heavy modern rock track “Single Ring”; the grand yet heartrending “Lost,” which continues her unique brand of ballads; and “The Waltz of Havisham,” which she received from Jung Seok-won after requesting a song with a “peculiar” feel.

Park stressed that she didn’t want to be restricted by her nickname, “The Little Fairy of R&B.” “They say my voice relishes of R&B, but I actually like rock. I don’t have a lot of confidence when it comes to R&B,” she laughed. “I like Sarah McLachlan, but I generally listen to a lot of U2, Radiohead, and Oasis.”

Lena Park debuted in 1997 with an album entitled “Piece.” She was born and raised in California, and began singing at church. She’s currently an English major at Columbia University, New York. After making her debut, she was recognized for her singing talent and became the official singer for the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002. She also performed the vocals for “Dance with Me,” the theme song for the “Korea-Japan Friendship Year 2005.”

All throughout the interview, Park spoke about the tracks on her album with hardly a pause.

“It was tough, because I’d been reduced to something of a blank slate after the fourth album. But I became more and more confident that I was capable of making new music. I tried to release the new album last summer, but I wasn’t quite satisfied and had to wait until this winter. Now, I can present it with confidence.”

Sun-Woo Kim sublime@donga.com