Lee Hyo-ri is back after a four-year silence with a new largely self-penned album entitled “Black”.
It marks 20 years since Lee debuted in a girl band named Fin.K.L.
Lee has chosen a very different trajectory from other celebrities, developing a sense of social responsibility with her work for animal protection and other voluntary campaigns. She also settled in Jeju Island rather than in glitzy Gangnam after marrying Lee Sang-soon, the former guitarist of the rock band Rollercoaster, in 2013.
“Lee deserves credits for building a unique persona over the past 20 years in a very fast-moving entertainment industry”, music critic Lee Dae-hwa said.
One song on the album, “Diamond” is in part a tribute to the women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II.
Critics are divided about the new album. Some say it struggles to find the right tone in its strenuous attempt to embark on a new direction, while others are enthusiastic about the heavy, dark electro-pop that is miles away from the usual K-pop candy floss.