Youjeen kicks ass.
It’s a primitive declaration, but there really isn’t anyway other succinct way to describe this Korean-born fury of a singer who now calls Japan home.
Just one listen to Youjeen’s first album, The Doll, and it’s enough to get everyone at a bad party slamming.
J from the now-defunct Luna Sea has evidently taken Youjeen under his proverbial wing — his name appears all over the credits as songwriter and producer.
And while Youjeen may only be a vocal piece, she’s a pretty damn intriguing one.
She rants against commercialism and capitalist social classes on the album’s opener, “Apple for Your Thoughts.” Then she turns into a latter-day hair-metal vixen for “Hey Jerks”, but afterward transforms into a grunge frontwoman on “Happy Happy Doll.”
Like Meg Lee Chin from England, Youjeen knows how use the full range of her vocal abilities to get her point across. She can sing sweetly for a few verses, but then turn into a growling, screaming banshee a few seconds later.
It’s a powerful talent that keeps listeners riveted to Youjeen, even when her music veers from creepy to angry.
On “Witch”, she alternates between shy and fragile, fierce and aggressive. She keeps her growl in check for “Another,” but her belting power is no less impressive.
Musically, The Doll indulges in the greatest rock excesses without losing a focus on attention-grabbing riffs.
“Someday” finds Youjeen surrounded by rumbling guitars and dramatic strings. “Witch” sports a dischordant hook over which eerie synthesizer effects lend a touch of Marilyn Manson.
“Good-bye”, on the other hand, shows Youjeen can be an introspective rocker, but not before “Fly away” and “Imitation,…you” lay heavy on the metallic-punk riffs.
The Doll is cock rock at its best. Youjeen cuts through the crap that rock ‘n’ roll has become and gets to its hearts and guts. Or to take the penile analogy further, she’s got rock by the balls.