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Review: Dana Hong Recreates The Classic 1990s Neo Soul Sound On 'Asura' [AUDIO]

By Jesse Lent | February 02, 2015 07:35 PM EST

With some truly top-notch electric piano playing and a hefty backbeat, "Asura," the title track off of R&B vocalist Dana Hong's new EP released on Monday, is one of the smoothest sounds currently coming out of South Korea.

Hong offers up a fiery barn burner of a performance on "Asura" while never getting showy or allow the need to prove herself rise above the needs of the song and the band supporting it.

With a sound that is as much influences by Amy Winehouse as it is the neo soul artists of the 1990s like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hil that birthed her, "Asura" hooks you in keeps you there. The vibe is infectious and by the end, you'll be singing along, whether you understand or can even pronounce the Korean words or not.

The best way to describe Hong's performance on "Asura" has to be a slow burn or a simmer, as she lets the emotion of the song and the swell of the tasteful musicians that comprise her band build things up in a natural, seemingly inevitable way.

Even though Hong's label chose the more bombastic "Because Tattat" featuring the rapper Swings, for the music video, even there, her ability to hold something back makes this singer's sound something original.

And while many K-poppers would probably compare Hong to other R&B divas with serious pipes like Ailee or Hi Suhyun, it is this simmering quality that Hong has that sets her apart. Though there is no denying the power of those two aforementioned Korean vocal powerhouses, Hong is more in the school of more understated singers like Lee Hyori or BoA or, in American terms, more Gwen Stefani than Beyoncé, or more Lily Allen than Christina Aguilera.

It's always refreshing to see diverging schools of thought regarding vocal styling among pop singers. What's worse than the insipid feeling that all of the singles on the top 40 sound alike?

And variety, as the cliché goes, is the spice of life, right?

Listen to the title track "Asura" from the new EP by South Korean R&B vocalist Dana Hong RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  Dana Hong, Asura

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