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    She's back! My favorite K-Pop star is back! It's only a one song single, but, hey, I'll take whatever I can get from her. Plus, the cover reads "1st special single album," and you can't have an album with just one song, so I'm hopeful that there will be at least a couple more songs coming soon. That said, Yes Asia currently has V listed as a CD that comes with a DVD and it only lists the one song, but that could just be because it hasn't come out yet and more details could be forthcoming. It's priced at $31.99 and Korean singles are usually only half that, and only around 5 bucks more if they come with a DVD, so you'd think there would at least be three more songs. I hope so anyway. But even if V will always be a single without any B-sides, I still have a feeling she'll be releasing more music soon. (During the past few years she's focused on acting.)

    Lee Jung Hyun was born in 1980 in Seoul, South Korea. She released her first album, Let's Go to My Star, in 1999. Shortly after it came out, I caught a video for one of the songs on a show called Music Video Heaven on the International Channel. We didn't have the channel in Dracut, so I used to work overnights on Friday night at the group home where I worked in Lowell so that I could get up early Saturday mornings -- it was on at 6AM -- and watch it there. I loved, loved, loved that show. Back then, Angel CD was the company to buy K-pop from. And artists only released albums, not singles. But the cool thing was that artists often released two albums a year. And they only cost 8 or 9 bucks! Anyway, Angel CD either turned into Yes Asia or was bought by Yes Asia. All I know for sure is that at some point Angel CD was gone and Yes Asia was there. But it was Angel CD that I bought Let's Go to My Star from and it immediately became my favorite K-Pop album. Only it wasn't entirely pop. It was more like techno. Well, a cross between pop and techno. It was very unique in that way. And it made Lee Jung Hyun a rather unique K-Pop star. Even back then, there were boy bands, like H.O.T., and girl groups, like S.E.S. and Fin.K.L., so a lot of the K-Pop was more or less bubblegum pop. Awesome bubblegum pop, don't get me wrong, but you get the point -- much of it was very commercial, but Lee didn't seem to care about selling huge numbers of CDs. Sure, she'd released one, but it seemed to come from a totally artistic place. And she wrote or co-wrote and produced all of her songs, if memory serves me correctly, whereas so many other artists had their songs written by various hit-makers.

    As time went on, Lee's music did gradually get more commercial. I suppose the peak of that was when she released Summer Party in 2003. It was called a "special album" and I still have no idea why. Maybe because some of the tracks were remixes. In any case, at that point I wasn't quite so enthused with her music, but I never stopped considering myself a fan and she's released much better music during recent years. I'll admit that her music today isn't as artsy or techno as her early albums, but it's at least as artsy as Madonna's and she's always kind of shifting in different directions, never making the same album twice (so to speak), so I would still consider her an artist first and a pop star second.
    The cover for "V" shows a woman's legs and crotch -- she's wearing lingerie -- with her legs spread to make a V. Pretty darn risque. (I don't know if it's actually her on the cover or if it's a model.) I fear she just went with that to get herself back in the spotlight. Then again, I believe she's a fairly popular actress, so I don't think she needs to do something like this to get attention. Maybe it's just a bold, artistic statement? Perhaps she's craving controversy? The video was directed by acclaimed director Park Chan Wook and his brother Park Chan Kyung and it co-stars Lee and actor Jin Gu. The trailer looks pretty interesting, but it doesn't actually feature the song. (Look for the trailer below.) It's mostly just piano music. But that will likely lead into the song. However it is, I'm sure it's going to be a great video and probably even epic.

    Written and produced by Lee herself, "V" gets right down to business with a massive, stomping beat that's perfectly ripe for dancing. Sonically, it falls somewhere between slick electro-pop and hard-hitting techno. It's complimented by flourishes of colorful synth and horns, along with a good ol' clapper, and it's immediately addictive. I found a translation of the lyrics (http://popgasa.com/2013/07/21/lee-jung-hyun-v/#more-9334) and it seems they're about her wanting her man to touch her. According to the translation, she's actually singing "touch me" over and over again at the beginning. But this shouldn't shock her fans, as she's always been bold and edgy. I suppose some might think that she's being cocky or arrogant by I think it's just a sexy pop song and not anything anyone should be bothered by. In any case, the synth gets louder and brighter and really leaps out at you during the bridge and then the chorus, which is partially in English, is super infectious. "Baby, baby, baby, baby, what you do," she sings sassily (but not too sassily). "Turn it up / turn it up," the chorus ends, demanding you sing along. Also, during the chorus, an electric guitar comes into play, sounding like surf guitar from the '60's or '70's, and it sticks around for the rest of the song. I thought it felt out of place with these sort of beats and such the first couple of times I listened to it but it eventually grew on me. Now I think it's one of the catchiest things about the song. Regardless, I think this is an awesome comeback song for Lee and one of her best songs to date. - Michael McCarthy
    EDITED TO ADD: After I'd finished writing this, I found a link to the full video on Twitter, so the Youtube link below is for the full video, which is just shy of 7 minutes (if you count the end credits). It's a rather zany video. At times it's funny, at times it's sexy and at other times it's very creepy. It's the sort of video you'd expect from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

    By Paris365 on July 22, 2013