Top Band 2 Judges: You Young Suk

Tomorrow we will share our first Top Band 2 episode commentary, but before then we’ll have a look at the last of the four judges on the show. We’ve already been getting into Kim Kyung HoKim Do Kyun and Shin Dae Chul. Today Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle and I try to talk about You Young Suk.


You Young Suk launched his career in ballad oriented pop band Blue Sky, where he sang and played synthesizer and piano. Blue Sky released their first album in 1988 and proceeded to release five more, ending it with The Blue Sky ‘Final Sound’ in 1993. After Blue Sky You Young Suk moved on to form duo White together with Kim Ki Hyeong, releasing a total of four albums between 1994 and 1998. Following White You Young Suk went on to form the unit Whitebank together with Siro of Bank, but that duo project only lasted for one album released in 1999.

Between Blue Sky albums, You Young Suk took the opportunity to release his first solo album in 1990. He’s returned with more solo releases since, most recently First Emotion in 2006. In 2009 You Young Suk took part in MBC’s Sunday Night segment Oppa Band as leader and keyboardist of the band.



Anna: I’ve never listened much to either Blue Sky or White. Blue Sky because I found them far too soft as I came across them while searching for 80s rock bands, and White because my favorite Korean 90s ballads are those I actually got to hear during the 90s. As such You Young Suk has never been a name I’ve taken much notice of, but I recognize that he’s a skilled songwriter.


Dahee: I’ve never listened much to Blue Sky or White either, probably because I like my vocals to be really strong in ballads, and I don’t consider You Young Suk to have all that strong a voice. I know him primarily from his songwriting ventures for other artists, and from the fact that he created the famous piano arrangement in the remake of Boohwal’s “Memories III,” Lee Seung Chul’s popular “The Last Concert”. In fact, apparently he helped remake several Boohwal songs for that particular Lee Seung Chul solo album. This is not a positive association for me, since I consider “The Last Concert” to be a horrible butchering of the original masterpiece that is “Memories III.” But I’m biased like that.

Anna: It took me a while, but now I recall that one of the songs on SG Wannabe’s remake album (one of the best in the category, I dare say) was originally a Blue Sky song: “눈물나는 날에는”.

Dahee: Haha, I think I actually recall him criticizing SG Wannabe’s remake of that song. Apparently he wasn’t a fan.


Anna: The first ever Korean movie I watched was The Classic and I’ve loved the soundtrack since (one of my very favorite playlists consists simply of the soundtracks to The Classic, My Sassy Girl and Windstruck with the few odd tracks filtered out). The soundtrack for The Classic opens with Han Sung Min singing “사랑하면 할수록”, composed by You Young Suk and originally sung by him during the White days. The arrangement is a bit over the top with all those strings, but I don’t really mind. The White version is very nice too, of course. You Young Suk’s voice fit the song better even.

Dahee: Oh wow, I haven’t watched that movie in years. Nostalgia! As soon as I clicked on the link I recognized the song. I think I recall liking it back then. It’s pretty and atmospheric.


Anna: Wow, going through his song list on Daum and searching for select titles on YouTube I hear You Young Suk is clearly a master of emotional ballads. Many borderline on sappy, but as long as you’re in the mood for them it doesn’t really matter. This Tim song is a prime example. And there are exceptions as well, such as  Girls’ Generation’s “Day By Day”.

Dahee: Y’know, the more I listen to his songs, the more I realize his songwriting style really isn’t for me. Some of the songs are very pretty, but too many of them seem like standard sappy ballads. And I’m finding the Girls’ Generation song kind of insufferable. Still, it’s good that he’s a judge on Top Band, since someone needs to balance out the rockers.

Anna: Definitely! During the first season I was surprised to see bands that aren’t rock bands audition, but I quickly realized I was the one in the wrong. Even though I didn’t particularly like those bands many were still very talented and had a place on the show. Kim Do Kyun surprised me with the bands he took on then, but there needs to be others too to recognize that. I’m not really surprised they put two guitarist among the judges considering who they are, but it’s nice to see somebody known to play another instrument represented too.

Dahee: I remember watching You Young Suk on the talk show Radio Star, and him revealing the juicy little tidbit that he’s actually the friend mentioned in the famous Kim Gun Mo song “Wrongful Meeting”. Y’know, the friend who steals away the girlfriend? But apparently a month later the girl dumped him, too, and ended up marrying some other guy. Lol. It seems he affected musical history in more ways than one…

Anna: That is my favorite Kim Gun Mo song!! Had no idea about the connection.

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