[Review] Follow – Yunho (TVXQ)

While I have only completed one review for a release last week, let’s take a break for one of today’s releases. Today marks the official solo debut for Yunho, one of the two members of the TVXQ duo and has been active in the industry since 2003. The title track. Follow, is featured on the artist’s first ever Korean solo album as well. Previous solo singles from Yunho that I have reviewed are Champagne and Drop, which were all special singles a part of SM Station.

Right off the bat, I find Follow to be extremely fitting into a style of music that I listen to. I find the instrumentation that kicks off the track to be mysterious and dramatic, which are all things that I am drawn to. I really like the bass element in this track, which really makes the song sound so punchy and deep. I think the vocals are a tad weaker. I thought Yunho showed great vocals, with that odd growl in this voice and that really nice display of a high note at the end of the track. Rather, I think it was the integration of the vocals into the electronic side of the song that failed him. But that was only for the verses. I found they did a good job of incorporating this voice during other parts of the song. That raspier and electronically filtered background vocals that appeared during the hooks of the track were quite fitting and gave an added texture to the track. I think overall, I find the song to be interesting and engaging. Whether if I find myself to be a fan, I guess we have to see with a few more listens, even though it ticks off a few of my interests.

I think when it comes to Yunho and TVXQ in general, a dark concept is definitely a must. What makes this music video stand out is the fact there is a futuristic vibe to it, which I found to be very cool.  Per usual, I don’t have any clue on what is happening in the music video. I did see that Yunho may have awakened some motorcyclist spirit in this futuristic world but I hardly doubt that would be the plotline of the video (i.e. a little paranormal thrown in the mix). But this dark concept has me interested and I guess I need to rewatch a few more times to really grasp a plotline to it.

Per usual, Yunho doesn’t disappoint with his choreography. My thoughts are all based on what I saw in the music video. I find his moves to be extremely stylish in this comeback. ‘There is also some attitude in this performance, which makes it very worthwhile to check out whenever it is performed on stage.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

Advertisements

[Review] Truth – TVXQ

TVXQ’s The Chance of Love is nominated for Best Music Video in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Voting closes in a few days, so click on this link and vote, if you haven’t done so yet!

TVXQ made their comeback today with Truth. The release and the mini-album, Chapter #2: The Truth of Love, is extra special as it celebrates the duo’s 15th year anniversary. It was actually 15 years ago this day that the group (a quintet) debuted with their single, Hugs. And while the group has a had many highs (including very well-known tracks and choreographies), they also had some lows. But the duo remained strong throughout its 15 years and hence why they are able to still release songs today. Here is to more releases in the future!

Truth is a jazzy R&B mix, which I think was quite pleasant overall. There weren’t any hard-hitting moments which I tend to think is great every now and then when it comes to an industry heavily reliant on dance and electronic music. It provides relief if you know what I am trying to get at. The vocals in this song are quite good. Both opted for some falsetto for some parts of the song, which I really thought was nice given the jazzy influence the song had. But it also matched the R&B side as well. I really like the kick the ad-libs towards the end of the song gave the final moments of the song, which prevented the song from becoming too repetitive. It does lack a promising hook and doesn’t hold my attention for long. But apart from that, it is a good song.

The music video I thought was okay. Not really the most captivating video I have ever watched. The quality was definitely there but the content wasn’t that compelling compared to their previous comeback earlier this year (The Chance of Love). The start of the video gave action-movie vibes that I thought was promising. But they went in a completely different route, which matched the song but left me disappointed. I did like their outfits and I thought that the dance element was well incorporated into the video – due to the jazzy nature of the song.

The choreography was nice. I thought it was well put together and really showed TVXQ’s dance skills at a mature level, which is appropriate for the song. It isn’t the most mind-blowing performance but it had a pleasant and smooth feeling to it.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.3/10

[Review] Jealous – TVXQ

TVXQ has a very extensive career in Japan. While their Korean releases have been dropped down to once a year (or in some cases once every few years), the duo continually releases new Japanese songs. Their last release was in the form of their ninth studio album, Tomorrow, which features the singles Reboot (which I previously reviewed) and Road. Today, we will be looking at a much newer release, Jealous, which has yet to feature on any album.

It is genuinely nice to see a Japanese release not depending on EDM of any kind. Jealous instead employs a very dramatic flair and some deep brass to really make the song pop. And I like this unique sound, as it quite cool. The verses were a little plain for my liking. Other parts were a lot more likeable. The pre-chorus was a little different, reminding me of chanting (without the chanting – if that makes any sense). And the chorus was spectacular. It was simple yet it was extremely dynamic. Here, you can hear the dramatic nature the most and the use of higher pitched vocals gave it a very edgy vibe. The bridge of the song was probably the weakest part of the song. It felt too similar to the rest of the song and didn’t feel like a pivotal point in the song. But besides that, Jealous is a pretty decent song.

I am unsure if the set is real or if it fake (i.e. CGI). It looks so good and I want Korean music videos to start adopting these sets as they will really kick the ‘box sets to the next level. I like how the sets were very classy looking and TVXQ were extremely good-looking in their close-ups. I also liked how they brought a dark theme to the video. I also thought their ‘casual’ wear scenes were very fitting. Overall, it was a very good music video.

I think the moment that stole the show for me was the second chorus when the two of them were dancing with the female backup dancers. For some reason, that felt rather different and I liked their different feel. It was a nice performance overall.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] The Chance Of Love – TVXQ

It has been a while since we have seen the legendary duo, TVXQ, but as of today, they are officially back!  Their last comeback was in 2015 when they released solo singles as part of their 8th full-length album (Champagne and Rise As One). The Chance of Love, the title track off their 9th full-length album (titled as New Chapter #1: The Chance Of Love), is also their first comeback as a duo since leaving the military last year. They did release solo SM Station tracks (Drop and In A Different Life) last year as well.

The first thing that attracts my attention to the song is the really fun sounding instrumental. It is described as a dance track with swing jazz elements throughout it. It isn’t something you get to hear often, so it is quite unique. On top of that, it reminds me of some Europen songs that used to be extremely popular back in the day. With all TVXQ comebacks, there is solid vocal work in this song. Not once did it feel awkward or out-of-place. I particularly like the ‘Eh, Hey Hey‘ at the start of each verse. Don’t know why but it felt like a perfect opener to each of the verses and it also provides a little something fun to the song. The chorus also features a nice melodic hook which is bound to get me singing along if I continue listening to the song.  Honestly, the song ticks all the boxes to make it a perfect song for me. It’s a perfect comeback track to my ears.

The music video is also nicely done. I like it how SM has actually done away with the boxes and have branched out into new sets and scenery. While this music video is still recorded in a studio, everything feels fitting for the ‘Kings of KPOP’. The sets all look classy and elegant. The same words can also be used to describe the guys as well. My comments for this section might be short but do check out this awesome video.

From what I can see in the music video, the performance is going to be extremely fun. Going back to the roots of the song, it is fitting. What more can you ask for? I’ll return, though, with extra comments once I see a live performance.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

 

 

[Review] Reboot – TVXQ

This year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards’ voting period will end in a day. This is your final chance to support your favourite artists and songs of 2017. To get voting, please click here.

This is the final review of the four that I wanted to do. Originally, I was going to review another track released a few months back but I have decided to go with a more recent comeback. TVXQ recently came back to the music industry with solo songs after their respective military enlistments. Reboot is their first comeback as a duo since 2015 in both Japan and Korea.

Right off the bat, Reboot will probably suit any Japanese anime as an opener or ending credits. The takes a turn when it approaches the chorus. It transforms into an upbeat musical sound, which works well with its preceding section. The second verse seems to slow down and lies somewhere between that anime associated first verse and just a standard pop track. The bridge of the song is a little off-putting in my opinion. It isn’t terrible but it is the only part that I feel doesn’t fit. It has the basic instrumental layer that runs through the entire song but the rapping just doesn’t connect well. For the rest of the song, the vocals were quite good and it has the potential to become quite catchy. Not fond of the ending, mainly because it seems to be an extension of the bridge. But overall, for a song about ‘Reboot‘, it definitely works.

The start of the music video is like a mini-movie, just there really is no storyline associated with it.  The only thing that I can gather is like it tries to make an epic story out of the return of TVXQ. It has the cool factor down but maybe not as attention-grabbing as you expected. I feel like that first portion could have been left out altogether and allow the video to get to the song, which I am sure everyone wanted to hear. But that might just be my preference. I like the various sets of the music video, giving off a futuristic but grand feeling to it.

The choreography is usually the other main aspect of the TVXQ music videos. Reboot has a pretty cool choreography but I don’t find it as amazing as some of their performances that have wowed us. I don’t have any specific comments to make with the performance besides that.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 6/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.75/10

As the full music video isn’t officially out on YouTube, I have decided to link the Naver version of the music video, which I am hoping is the official music video. Click here for the video.

 

[Review] In A Different Life – Max Changmin (TVXQ)

The second half of the legendary duo, TVXQ, has finally returned. Max Changmin has returned with his solo single, In A Different Life. The track is also part of the SM Station weekly release and this week’s release also features Yunho’s Drop.

Unlike Yunho’s electronic-heavy single, Changmin went for a more simplified and natural sound. In A Different Life is a pop-ballad that features guitars and a beautiful piano melody. But that doesn’t steal the spotlight. It is his vocals that do and it shines brightly. The way he delivers the lines just make everything sound like you are floating in the clouds. It is not harsh nor rough, but it is soft and mellow. But that being said, the song does feel a tad empty. First of all, it isn’t exactly that memorable. While I did highlight his vocals, the song doesn’t come off as catchy or has any moments that make me go “Wow”. Second of all, I don’t think the song peaked at all. Instead, it just felt very neutral and linear, in terms of its sound. But regardless, I still appreciate the song for its simplicity and softer sound. Comparing the two songs (this one and Drop), both seem to go nicely together. One is pretty much straightforward while the other is unexpecting and complex.

Watching the accompanying music video, it puts the song into a more reflective light. Changmin seems to do just that. And while that is a good thing, I don’t think anyone is really into the whole ‘reflection time’ segments of life. That or it can be just me. It just doesn’t seem captivating and expectedly, the video shares the same fate. Max seems to take in Mother Nature through the many different shots we see him in, which all looked nice. Just the video doesn’t seem to engage me as I would hoping for.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10 

[Review] Drop – Yunho (TXVQ)

After a two-year absent (due to mandatory military service), TVXQ has started to mark their return to the stage with the return of each individual member through SM Station. Yunho is first up with his single, Drop, which was dropped earlier this week.

From the very second Drop starts, the song bombards you with a whole heap of EDM and dubstep sounds. Multiple sections throughout the song are mashed together to form one whole song, which shouldn’t work, especially how volatile EDM can be. But it manages to work wonderfully here. And while I can see why this song could garner some interest for its many sections, I am not that fond of it. Personally, the start was a little disappointing and the song doesn’t really settle down until around halfway. The second half was much better, mainly because its sound was a lot more consistent. The best drop was that super intense dance break, which you get around the 4:20 mark of the music video. That gave the song that punch of intensity and energy that was much needed. Vocal-wise, Yunho does a pretty good job, though it was obvious that some autotune would be required to help him navigate through the song.

The song manages to come off as extremely dramatic, so it was fitting for an equally dramatic video as well. And that is exactly what we got. The concept seems to be military based, which seemed to go well with the intensity of the track as well. The visuals are quite good, with that industrial feel making it seem like an underground thing.

Choreography for this comeback is awesome. While you do see a few great moves throughout the earlier parts of the video, the dacne break around that 4:20 mark is definitely the best bit.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[DOUBLE REVIEW] Champagne + Rise As One – TVXQ

Another double review for you all. This time, TVXQ is back with a brand new special album. This is their final album for the next two years. That is right, they are enlisting into the army, with Yunho going in first and Changmin enlisting at the end of the year. However, of course, they did not want to leave their fans empty-handed and presented with a special album. This is like just a  present and received very little promotions. This time around however, they did not stick to being a duo (but the majority of the songs on the album are duo work), but selected solo songs for their title track. Yunho’s solo was Champagne and Changmin’s solo was Rise As One. Usually, I don’t review TVXQ songs, but I felt like I needed to this time around.

Like I said, I don’t review TVXQ songs that much. But this time around, I was drawn to their solo songs. Yunho’s Champagne is a really nice song that has a subtle party feel, with what I believe is some sort of rnb roots (?). He chose the song wanting to leave on a happy note and that is basically what he has done with this song. For me, this sounds like a pop song that would had come out like early 00’s. Back in the day. Hahaha…. Not exactly fond of his rapping in this song and also the bridge of the song sounded too mismatched with the rest of the song. The song is quite catchy (especially the “I only want…” parts. Honestly I thought this was such a great song. It is completely different from their past songs. They honestly should do more of these.

Changmin also has a great song as well. So it is not all praises for Yunho. I totally dig this song and would choose this song over Yunho’s song any day (Sorry Yunho). But why? The song has the EDM background instrumental to it, which I totally dig (I really enjoy songs with the “drop” nowadays). And boy, the instrumental sounds so great with the vocal’s of someone who is known for ballads and other strong songs. There is nothing wrong with the song. I enjoyed everything with this song from start to finish. The polished guitar instrumental towards the end fitted in well with the song. The song flowed so fluidly, I felt like I was floating away. Really did. This song has that effect of letting you float away into dream land.

Both music video’s were pretty cool. Yunho’s was still in a box, which is quite disappointing, but I really enjoyed it. There was some sort of story line with it, how he looks similar to the dude on TV. But then it abruptly finishes there and proceeds to go partying for the rest of the music video. The start with the many Yunho’s playing multiple roles in the one scene was quite cool. It also was meant to be for a comedic relief. There were also guest stars in the music video with a few people I don’t know. But I did notice Hyoyeon from SNSD. Changmin’s music video was equally as nice. It was shot outside (interesting…). It features no Changmin though, which was a disappointment, but the acting from the kids that did feature in the music video were pretty good. Though I don’t think that is a plot at all in the video, I really enjoyed how the scenes came together to tell (somewhat) a story. The cinematography was amazing.

There really isn’t much to say for a dance. From the looks of it, I don’t see much a dance from Changmin’s song. There is a dance for Yunho’s song but we really don’t see much of it in the music video.

Now, since the guys are gone for the next two years, what is going to happen to the band when they actually do comeback after their hiatus? How big is it going to be? It is going to be massive!!! But yeah, they will be missed.

Champagne – 8/10

Rise As One – 10/10

Humanoids – TVXQ

Let’s throwback to a few years ago. I hate that word so much. But let’s travel back in time. Last year, I did the same thing for one whole week. That was a fun week. So why not repeat it this year? TVXQ is a two member group that is quite famous. If you have not heard of them, wow. Only kidding. But last year TVXQ made their comeback with Something. Removing all Japanese singles, their previous song promoted before Something was actually Humanoids. It has been a song that I wanted to review for some time, however I have been putting it off so much.  Finally, TODAY is the day that I will be reviewing it. And I need to do more TVXQ reviews.

This song is really amazing. Like, I never liked them before, but this song was freaking amazing. I didn’t enjoy their first song, Catch Me, for this particular promotional run. But Humanoids really changed my perspective on them. And Humanoids was so freaking underrated. It barely got any recognition and just disappeared from the scene. This is basically their first or second try at dubstep and electronic rather than their classical and orchestra heavy songs like Before You Go. And boy, was that promising. I really enjoyed the chorus. The only thing that changed throughout the song was their vocals, which gave them so much space to move in terms of musical ability. The chorus was like them taking it back to their orchestral days, but the instrumental kept is as a more modern song. Their vocals were superb in this song. I also liked those parts after the chorus, kind of them rapping, but it was no rap. Their bridge fitted the song’s overall fell and complimented the chorus. Yeah, there goes me praising the song again.

I don’t like the music video. That “plot” in this video is useless. The video would have been just fine if the music video was just them dancing in their box sets. Cause honestly, I don’t want to talk about the scrap metal yard they are in and the mysterious port-key (Harry Potter Fans, what up?) or projecting machines (for muggles). Their dancing is really solid. It does not blow your mind like previous TVXQ dances, but it still does the job. I like how parts of the dance is like how robots would march and there were quite a lot of robotic formations in the dance. Lastly, I really liked what they wore. I don’t pay attention to fashion as much, but their jackets were really cool. Wonder where I can get one to wear? It is going to get chilly in Melbourne soon.

Overall, the song and dance were amazing. Just the music video needs to be scrapped. 7.5/10

Something – TVXQ

Source: http://dzpy14fd0up32.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/tvxq-something-mv-2-1024×682.jpg

TVXQ is finally back after a years absence from the stage and have “Something” to tell you fans. Hahahahaha… My lame jokes. It has been a while since we last saw this duo on the stage, and they recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary as a group. I never got around to reviewing Catch Me or Humanoids, even though the second song has been a favourite of mine, I was quite excited to finally sit down and review this song. And, like always, TVXQ never do well in my mind. Sorry. On top of that, I am still unsure if they have an effect on Korea anymore, especially since their last comeback scored them 0 awards but I guess we have to wait and see.

Okay, I admit that I was waiting for this band to make their comeback. Their teaser was amazing. I dig the teaser more than the actual song. It seems like the song was a total letdown for me. Not only am I disappointed with the song, I have to say that Catch Me was a totally better song than this. Though it was catchy, TVXQ is known for their dancing and singing ability, however, I think the song steps a little down from the singing ability side. I liked the start where they are like “She Got The Something!”, which really does not make sense, but hey, who cares! As soon as I heard the 1 verse, I was quite disappointed. The song has the epic feel throughout though which make it sound good, and the chorus was really good as well, but it was not as appealing as the teaser portrayed it. I can tell when Changmin is singing, but really cannot tell when Yunho is singing, because his voice sounds different. The climax of the song was not as I expected, it slowed and literally made the song more quiet than what it is. An okay song though.

The music video is like any other SM entertainment music video. You know the horrible sets and whatnot. But I found the set of this music video pretty cool. Las Vegas’s cousin, just inside a building. There are so many light-bulbs in this music video, but it makes the video look good and the set more appealing. The classiness of the video fits the feel of the song. Not sure about the girls though, they make the whole video really awkward. Not sure about the end though. Maybe the boys dreams were to become statues or something? No? Yeah… I don’t know as well. Also, the dance break scene was quite disappointing. But beside the sets that they are in when they dance is pretty amazing. Oh Changmin, lose the shorts and both of you, lose the tattoos. What are they even for? They look hideous!

The dance never fails to impress. TVXQ has always had amazing dances and I think this just adds to the list. Using on object that is very hard to control to their advantage. The rope would have been hard to use but yet they pulled the dance off flawlessly. I have to say as well, the ending was amazing, where they are leaning over the ropes and stuff. Pretty cool, I have to say. But not as epic as Catch Me dance. But oh well, we will live.

6.5/10. Despite being full of praise for the video and dance, the song was a major let down.