I’ve always had this debate whether to write about Hee Young on the site. She’s an amazing singer-songwriter and Sleepless Night proves that recording her music paired down to it’s more natural and organic state can produce one of the best albums of the year. But she’s also based in New York, rather than South Korea. Given her origins, it’s always come down to showcasing great music and this album is a treasure coming at the end of the year.
Sleepless Night is a step in a different direction from 4 Luv. I enjoyed 4 Luv a lot, it was one of my favorite albums of 2012. Hee Young’s second album presents a familiar, but different sound. Highlighted by the use of a variety of instruments like cello, banjo, and mandolin, Sleepless Night comes across as alt-country and slightly bluegrass. Her voice is soothing and melodic. The sparse style of recording captures her voice in a way that’s not really heard on 4 Luv.
It’s also definitely apparent that Hee Young has grown as a musician and with the help of her collaborators, it’s finally realized. There isn’t a song on Sleepless Night that’s not worth listening to. Each and every song is addictive and entrancing. Even more so because I’m not a consistent listener of this style of music. It comes and goes, but Hee Young somehow recorded bare emotions in each verse.
Sleepless Night is the perfect album to end 2013. It’s an album that’s unlike most music you’ll hear in South Korea. While Hee Young’s album is more common with music in the United States, it’s an amazing album that should be heard. If anything, she could be an influence for new musicians in South Korea to create a different kind of music.