Thailand’s currently reigning country princess Yinglee Sijumpol is back with a much anticipated second album, “อยู่เย็นเป็นโสด / Yoo Yen Bpen Soht (Living Singly).”
Yinglee exploded in popularity from the very beginning with the debut single “ขอใจเธอแลกเบอร์โทร / Kor Jai Tur Laek Bur Toh (I Want Your Heart In Exchange For My Number).” If you were in Thailand from 2012 to 2014, you’ve heard the song, it was everywhere; at restaurants, in shops, in bars, on the radio in taxis and on buses, everyone was singing it in karaoke and making covers… And while it was a catchy song, I must admit I didn’t understand what the hype was. It was a nice song, but it was just..nice. Her debut album, too, was a nice solid first release, but again, didn’t blow me away and wasn’t something I could listen to for extended periods of time. I guess I just didn’t understand all the fuss and didn’t jump on the Yinglee bandwagon right away. But then I gave her new album a try…
On her first album, most of the songs were in Isan dialect, but perhaps realizing she acquired a lot of fans from all over the country, as well as international fans who might only know how to speak standard Thai dialect, with the exception of a few words in her song “แจ๋ว / Jaew (Awesome)” this new album is entirely in central dialect.
I honestly can’t even remember the last time I was excited to hear a country album. I don’t think I’ve completely enjoyed one this much since View Chatchawan’s solo album came out like, ten years ago. Every song on this album is so fantastic, I had such a hard time trying to decide which songs to translate for this review, and I might go back and translate the rest later.
The first single from the album was the song “รอสายคนโสด / Ror Sai Kon Soht (Waiting On the Line for a Single Person) which came out last year in 2014. It was another brilliantly catchy song about how she’s tired of dating guys who end up having girlfriends already so she’s going to hold out for a single man. Though it had been two years since her first release, this one renewed and continued keeping up Yinglee’s massive popularity streak.
After that came “แจ๋ว / Jaew (Awesome),” another extremely catchy song listing all the things in life it would be nice to have, but the most feasible is getting a certain someone as a lover. The music video is super cute as well. I love how bright it is, I love the choreography, and most of all, I love how Yinglee smiles and dances like she’s genuinely having fun~
What really caught my ear, though, was the third single and the album’s namesake, “อยู่เย็นเป็นโสด / Yoo Yen Bpen Soht (Living Singly)” Though I’m as good as married, I still am quite an independent girl at heart, and like songs like this that shun the stereotype that women need to be in relationships and need a man. The melody is also super catchy as well, I find myself singing it to myself throughout the day and end up turning it on repeat while doing work around the house. Absolutely fell in love with this song, and after it came out, it really peaked my interest and I couldn’t wait for the whole album.
Singles aside, all the B-sides on this album are equally as fantastic.
There’s only one slower look-thoong ballad, and that’s “แฟนใหม่ก็เอา แฟนเก่าก็รัก / Faen Mai Gor Ao Faen Gao Gor Ruk (You Want Your New Girlfriend, But You Love Your Old Girlfriend),” which is a nice track that shows off the country vibrato of Yinglee’s voice and laments about a girl who’s stuck with a boyfriend who’s torn between her and his former lover and is having a hard time making a decision.
The rest of the songs are all the upbeat modern-style country that Yinglee is so famous for.
“เมื่อไหร่จะทำกับฉันบ้าง / Meua Rai Ja Tum Gup Chun Bahng (When Will You Act Like That With Me?).” while a bit pouty, is still a cute song where she whines to her boyfriend that she wants a flirty and bantering relationship like everyone else seems to have.
“เข้าใจตรงกันนะ / Kao Jai Dtrong Gun Na (Please Understand Me)” is another lamenting song where she complains about being single and just wants someone, be it a guy or a girl, who will just understand her and really love her for what she is.
In an industry where nowadays most artists don’t play any hand in creating the music they sing, I really respect artists that contribute to their music and aren’t just a pretty face showing up to sing others’ handy work, and there are a couple of songs Yinglee composed the music and wrote the lyrics for herself!
The first one is “รักนะ จุ๊บๆ / Ruk Na Joop Joop (Love You, Kiss Kiss),” a super cute song complaining about how she’s tired of fighting constantly with her boyfriend and will reward him with kisses if he just says he still loves her and gets over their anger.
The second one is the song “น้อยใจเพราะไอเลิฟยู / Noi Jai Pror I Love You (I’m Upset Because I Love You),” apologizing for being sensitive and getting jealous and upset easily, but it’s only because she loves her man.
Lastly, my favorite B-side from the album is “แฟนนินจา / Faen Ninja (Ninja Lover),” where she’s been dealing with a boyfriend who keeps going MIA so often, he better watch out and start practicing more because she’s got some ninja tricks up her sleeve too and isn’t afraid to go after him! I like the instrumentals of this song a lot; how it starts off with that traditional Japanese sound to go with the ninja theme, while still managing to keep the Thai style going throughout at the same time.
All in all, this is an absolutely fabulous album, I can’t get over how in love with it I am. A lot of people on Youtube and Panthip are claiming Yinglee is the artist that’s pushing Grammy Gold over R-Siam, the former reigning look-thoong label, and I think I can finally see what the big fuss has been over this singer for the past couple years. Modern country music really hasn’t appealed to me lately in the past five or ten years as it seems to either be filled with artists who try so hard to be so modern and appeal to the younger generations that they don’t even sound country anymore and should just be considered regular pop or rock, or just modern covers of older classics that have been covered one too many times and have lost the emotion and energy along the way. But Yinglee is like a fresh face in the crowd, she has a good style, she keeps it modern but still keeping it clearly Thai country, and has a fabulous voice to boot.
While I think there could have been a little more variety of the songs on the album and that it could have benefited from more than just one ballad, she’s so good at the upbeat songs that I can’t fault her too much for it. Maybe it’s because this album is in my dialect so I can understand everything and fully appreciate the songs so I like it a little bit better, but I think this definitely beats her first album by a good amount. If you’re a fan of Yinglee, if you’re a fan of modern look-thoong music, definitely add this album to your collection. I think I have to give it a 9/10, wishing only that it had more variety in song tempo.
Please support the artists you love and purchase the music legally. No matter where you are in the world, you can buy the album here at eThaiCD.com with free worldwide-shipping, if you like to sing along, you can buy the karaoke DVD, or if you prefer digital copies, it is available on iTunes.
I really hope Grammy will promote her more, I really hope this album brings her as much success as her first one did, and I hope she keeps doing what she loves and loves what she’s doing. Keep it up, Yinglee, you’ve made at least one new fan with this release 😀