K-pop veteran Tiffany Young strides forward on ‘Run for Your Life’ | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

K-pop veteran Tiffany Young strides forward on ‘Run for Your Life’ 

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click to enlarge Tiffany Young

Tiffany Young

Courtesy the Artist

Ten years ago, “Gee!” by Girls’ Generation became one of the first K-pop singles to break out of South Korea. The success of that track made the group stars in Japan and the U.S. years before Psy went viral with “Gangnam Style”—and even longer before the arrival of the omnipresent BTS. Thanks in part to Girls’ Generation’s efforts, K-pop is now a global phenomenon, but the group itself has been on hiatus since 2017 while several of its eight members, including California native Tiffany Young, pursue solo careers. The lead single and title track of Young’s debut solo EP, 2016’s I Just Wanna Dance, pulls more from Carly Rae Jepsen-style Western retro-pop than from any of her K-pop contemporaries. This year, she’s flirted with trop-pop on “Born Again” and artfully incorporated Eurodance-style piano stabs on “Magnetic Moon.” Her most recent single, “Run for Your Life,” is the kind of dramatic synth-pop that Lady Gaga defined at the turn of the decade (the song’s producer, Fernando Garibay, has worked extensively with Gaga). Young isn’t merely a pop-star myna bird, flitting from sound to sound and repeating the bits she likes, but it does seem that she’s still settling on a niche as a solo artist. That said, she sounds more self-assured than ever on “Run for Your Life,” cackling rhythmically over its massively ominous synths. That confidence will only help her on this tour, as she’s playing much larger venues than she did this spring on her first North American solo trip, an eight-city jaunt called Lips on Lips. Her Chicago stop in March at Lincoln Hall featured snippets of Girls’ Generation songs sprinkled into a mix of originals and covers, plus a postconcert Q&A. Hearing bits of Girls’ Generation hits such as "Talk Talk” and "Into the New World" clearly excited Young’s longtime fans, but as she establishes herself, even those brief nostalgia trips may soon be a thing of the past.   v

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