[Album] Dana – First Album

Dana originally debuted as a solo artist in the early 2000s as part of the phase in K-Pop that saw a slew of companies debuting younger female artists in order to replicate the success of what SM did with BoA. Dana was part of the same company as BoA (SM Ent.) and she had strong backing support, which eventually led to a successful debut. Unfortunately, she only released two solo albums before being placed into the girl group, Cheon Sang Ji Hee The Grace. First Album is the debut release by Dana.

Released: September 10, 2001
1. Until the End of the World (세상끝까지)
2. Diamond
3. Pretty
4. Jealousy
5. Tonite
6. Lover
7. Pray:Play
8. Feel For You
9. Behind Love
10. Valentine
11. Love Takes Time
12. For You

Until the End of the World was released as the album’s first single and is a charming, but darker dance/pop song. It really reminds me of something from BoA’s first album and would easily fit there. The main difference is just that Dana’s voice is a bit more nasally and whiny. While she does well in the lower ends, her voice does get a little odd at the higher parts. Still, this is a quality track and the melody is really catchy and the song plays with a lot of ups and downs, which I like.

Diamond was the second single and is easily my favourite song on the album. It is a bit more upbeat than the last song and doesn’t quite have the same darker edge to it. With that said, I love the beat and the song just has so much energy to it. The verses are a bit slower, but it’s that fast-paced melody in the chorus that really gets things going. Once again, Dana is a bit whiny, but she does sound great in the chorus. Yunho from TVXQ also adds a rap later on in the song.

Pretty is the first midtempo tune and really follows its name as it is on the sweeter side of things. The song does have some R&B touches to it, which helps to keep the song’s energy up, however, everything just comes out a little too dull. The verses are pretty forgettable and while the chorus does a good job of showing Dana’s voice, the melody isn’t that catchy.

Jealousy starts off sounding like a Britney Spears song. It definitely has a darker and edgier side to it as the verses are done in a “whispery” voice. The chorus is pretty catchy and I like the power that the music brings to help heighten the intensity of the melody. With that said, it’s a bit messy at times. The best part of the song is the “dadada” hook.

Tonite is a really cool track. It’s a midtempo pop tune and one of the stronger album tracks. The beautiful sitar sounding instrument in the verses helps to bring a different vibe and while the chorus ditches that, the chorus is more mysterious and I love how everything flows together. It sort of reminds me of BoA’s “Kiseki”. Stellar.

Lover is the album’s first full-fledged ballad. It starts off in a pretty boring way, but does gain some steam as it goes along. The chorus is definitely the highlight and the melody is surprisingly strong. I was expecting it to sound pretty messy, but it is drawn out and straightforward. I just don’t think Dana has to the voice to really push this song forward. She struggles around the end.

Pray:Play starts off with a new jack swing opening, but then switches to a weird dance/pop kind of tune. I’m more on the fence with this song as the verses are just odd and how Dana sings them is just as weird. The chorus is pretty cool and I do enjoy the melody, but Dana’s high-pitched vocals just do not work here. It sort of causes her to scream out the notes and it ruins the flow of the song. Overall, not a bad song though.

Feel For You is a funky midtempo R&B song with some a futuristic vibe to it. I like the more laid back delivery on the chorus as it isn’t as intense as a lot of other songs on here and her voice sounds better in the lower regions. I wasn’t a big fan of this song before, but now I think this is a pretty solid tune.

Behind Love continues the R&B style, but the melody has the feeling of being a ballad. Unfortunately, the verses are really boring. The chorus is a little better and reminds me of other R&B songs from this era in K-Pop. Unfortunately, there are times when the melody feels just a little off and it ruins the flow of the song. Not bad, but definitely not as strong as the last song.

Valentine is the first song that is really bright and cute. I was actually expecting to hear a few more songs like this on the album, but it took getting through nine other tracks to get there. This kind of song works really nicely with the nasally quality of Dana’s voice. While it isn’t the strongest tune and it lacks a really strong hook, it’s still a decent listen and I quite like the energy it brings.

Love Takes Time is not the Mariah Carey classic. Although it starts off sounding like a ballad, it soon comes blasting with a funky, powerful beat and rap. Dana’s voice sounds a bit lacking as the beat does overpower her in the verses, there is a slick vibe to the melody that surprisingly works here. The chorus is also pretty catchy, but like the rest of the song, it is covered by the music. I feel like if the volumes were adjusted a bit, this would have been a stronger song. Still one of the better album tracks.

I thought For You would be a ballad, but it is a full-on summery pop tune. I’m not sure if I like it. While I love the music and the energy it brings, the chorus is just not that memorable. It’s a bit forgettable in the long run and once again, the music overpowers the melody. It’s a fun note to end on, but it just isn’t as strong as I was hoping for.

Overall: This is a pretty good debut album. The best part is that there are three really stellar songs. The rest of the album is decent, but doesn’t quite live up to the potential of those three songs. They aren’t horrible, but just lack the hooks to really push to the next level. One of my biggest complaints though is having Dana hitting some really high notes that she just was not capable of pulling off at times. While she improved a lot in later years, her voice was just so whiny and weak at times that it just didn’t mesh well in certain songs. Definitely recommend tracks 1, 2 and 5.