JYJ – the Kdrama OST chronicles

The boys managed to work their way into kdrama-land, well each one at his own pace, Yoochun being the most prolific with already 2 main lead roles and Junsu happy with just a cameo appearance. Jaejoong gets the silver medal with a second lead role and a special mention for being the most congenial out of the 3.

Not only did they act but are also featured as OST artists. So let’s see who gets the gold medal this time. The contestants are, of course, the 3 lovely members with 3 solo tracks but also we have one song featuring all 3 of them. I gotta give it to you, it was a close race, with Jaejoong throwing in all of his charms, with Junsu trying to melt my heart by asking all his cats to play as cute as they can and with Yoonchun, well, Yoochun just smiled at me and then it all ended. I knew the winner. I’m just kidding, of course the ratings are based on an objective analyse. So here it goes :

#4. Junsu/Jaejoong/Yoochun – Found You (ShunKyunKwan Scandal OST)

The only more upbeat of them all, Found You is your typical kpop track but with a twist : it’s beautifully sung. Their voices blend together perfectly, they have chemistry and they make up for the obvious flaws this song has. 7/10

#3. Junsu – You Are So Beautiful (Scent of a Woman OST)

I have tried hard to love this song. I do like it, but not so much. The verses are ok, the guitar sounds sweet and so does his voice but the

Just #3, ha? We'll see about that.

chorus just kills my groove. The song builds up my expectations and I want more than just a long Youuuu aaare soooo beauuuutiiful. Then wonderful. Then Oooooohhh. There are hundreds of songs that use this combination of words and interjections.  The second part of the song does have some vocal acrobatics that I like and that Junsu masters so well. He has an insane amount of talent and I do want to hear from him that’s preparing for a solo album. 8/10

#2. Jaejoong – I’ll Protect You (Protect the Boss OST)

Jaejoongmight not be my favorite vocalist among the three of them but this time he nailed it with this

&%@4$ #2??

track. It suits him perfectly and it is the quintessential kdrama OST track. It’s uplifting, you can use it both when the there are tears involved and when romance is floating in the air. The one thing that I don’t like at all is that last note. It makes for a too abrupt ending. 8.5/10

 

 

[drums]

#1. Park Yoochun – Vacancies For You (Miss Ripley OST)

You can say I favored him because I fancy him. No, it’s not just that. The boy has talent and this song is not just a OST track. It is a stunning ballad and the highlight of it are those surprising twists inside the chorus that just melt my heart with a little help form all the sweetness in Yoochun’s voice. The composition is kept simple and the song flows so effortlessly for the whole 3 minutes that you can’t help but wonder if it’s actually that long. Vacancies For You will definitely have a permanent place in my playlist. And Yoochun will have his place inside my heart too, of course.  10/10

Number 1, bitches!

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Code V – Honestly (album review)

I am the perennial defendant of the weak and underrated. Code V boys belong to the last category. Not having a potent label behind you has its bitter price exactly when it comes to some of the most interesting faces in kpop. Music gives me a lot of satisfaction when I stumble upon an amazing piece of material. All those heavily promoted releases make me uneasy because I have expectations. The results are always one of the two : disappointment or ecstasy. Each with its own scale ranging from high to low. But I have a curious personality and the habit of always searching for something new. That’s how I met these 4 charming boys. Well, not personally, of course, though it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I managed to know them through Honestly, their last album. And, boy, it was with butterflies and the whole treat.

There isn’t much info to spare about them, they were 5, their leader left, now there’s 4 of them, they sing beautifully and they’re more talented than many of the heavily promoted faces in kpop. Now getting back to the actual reviewing, Honestly has some heavy stuff going on. I should warn you now, before you get to listen to the tracks : these boys kick ass at singing and especially at singing together. I’m talking here about Brown Eyed Soul kind of chemistry. I feel that soul sparkle coming from them. It’s vivid and most noticeable with their ballads.

In We’re Going To See Now I really like how the Haru Haru part sounds. I’m not so moved by I’m Sadder, the adlibs and rap sound extremely out-of-place for this album. Summer Love manages to be cutesy without sounding too cheesy.
And now let’s get to the songs I’m really exited about.

 Miracle is a marvelous old school r&b song, I’m loving the way it takes enough time and effort to build up, I’m living the climax and I even fancy the whole “we can fly” thing even though I’ve always hated that song by R.Kelly. You know which one I’m talking about. The one featuring Bugs Bunny. The best part has to be the one where we have 3 wonderful layers : the guitar solo, the choir and one of the member’s lovely vocals. Oh, it’s epic!

Go is the perfect dance song. The guitar riff I hear on the background is a very nice touch, the chorus blows my mind away with its beauty and the middle 8 adds more piano just enough to send me to fantasy-land. One thing does come as a turn off : the autotune in the end. Big no-no!

I like both versions of Addiction. They surely sound more kpop-like but nonetheless are very powerful songs. The cases when the remix versions of the songs sound as good as the originals are a rara avis in kpop. Usually, remixes are used solely for the purpose of filling a blank spot on the album and there’s usually little effort put in the actual new arrangement. Thankfully, this is not the case with Addiction.

Tell You Honestly really reminded me of something 2AM would sing. It has the same vibe as Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die, still

Yes, boy, number one!

these boys have more soul in them and the beat of the melody is more noticeable. The middle 8 and bridge manage to drain all energy out of me. These boys sing their hearts out in such a charming way and they get so little recognition ? They deserve to be DBSK big. Immediately!

Final rating : 9.8/10 ( And did I tell how handsome some of the guys are ? Ha ? HA? )

DBSK (Tohoshinki) – Superstar

Minho and Leeteuk think otherwise

The newest Japanese release by Korean super band DBSK, Superstar, is simply put, an ugly song. The definition of an ugly song* : an ugly song doesn’t do justice to either the singer or the listener, it is usually harmful to the delicate ears of children and elders and it has a lifespan of up to 3 weeks untill it disintegrates as if it never existed. Or that is what it should happen in order for the singers to be released from the shame of having promoted that horrendous piece of shit. And also to release them from Hell’s 7th circle.

Superstar reminds me of the atrocities that are being composed year after year for the Eurovision contest. Actually I’m not that far from the truth with this comparison because the composer is Swedish, a long time acquaintance of SM.
And, on top of all, the base sampling of the songs is so similar to Lady Gaga’s Pokerface that even I feel ashamed.
It doesn’t help either that the only live performance I saw had the worst vocals I’ve seen in kpop world (I know Japanese music programs  have some problems with the sound system, but this is no excuse for the bad quality of the performance ). I was used to Changmin’s screams crackings from time to time, but this was just too much. It just isn’t a soliciting song, why would you dare turn it into a wreck ?
The B side track, I Don’t Know isn’t as ugly as the first one because it’s too forgettable, too similar to other DBSK songs, too plain…
Final rating : 3.0/10 ?? I think so…
* By Tha( The know-it-all kpop guru )

JYJ – Their Rooms (album review)

When the announcement of DBSK’s disbandment was made I immediately took JYJ’s side. The fact that my favourite member, Yoochun took part in the rebellion made no difference, the true reason behind my choice laid in the fact that no matter what, SM does play an important role in the misfortune of its artists. I’m talking about those damned contracts but also about the suspicious series of events that got JYJ banned from tv appearances, ignored on music charts, to lose some well remunerated endorsement deals and, for a few months, to play the ingrate role of a scape goat.


Despite all these hardships, our fellas are live and well :

Junsu  took on the big task of performing on musicals and does a hell of a good job,

Yoochun chose the slightly easier way of a kdrama actor and is usually a constant appearance and laureate of dramas awards and

Jaejoong, well he started with directing his band’s shows but also other events and the latest we know from him is that he is also a kdrama actor in Protect The Boss. But their biggest achievement has to be their own label and the 3 mini albums they released since the departure. Quite a lot coming from a band that was obligated to promote itself mostly through the internet and private events. The fact that they were able to do all this on their own brings tears to my eyes. You just cannot imagine how hard it is to work your way into the music industry without the financial and professional support of a strong label. Their only advantage was their own popularity, as former members of the most famous korean boyband, DBSK.

Once you’re a free agent, you can take the liberty of making your own choices. JYJ started composing more, taking on more challenges, like Junsu’s main roles in musicals and organising long concert tours. Those many concerts were a risky way of promoting their albums. Without live appearances on music tv programs, concerts bring them both money and a chance for a show of but could also mean a turning point in their careers if they result in a failure. The US tour still remains a questionable choice, I have no idea if it made them more good than bad but the fact that it brought them closer to their fans has to be a plus.

As for their music, well, The Beginning was a big disappointment, The.. Japanese release had some nice songs, but the tiara goes to Their rooms. The most noticeable thing upon a first hearing of this album is that they seriously lack good studio processing of the songs. The instrumentals sound weak, even cheap at some times, and don’t manage to compliment the vocal parts as they should. JYJ do have good instincts when it comes to the melody and vocal performance but they need an expert to arrange the instrumental parts in a more professional way. Thus the songs would have been more than just good songs.


There’s a lot to discuss on this matter but getting back to Their rooms, Fallen Leaves and Nine are the best tracks, Pierrot could have been even better with a more appealing arrangement and I.D.S and Mission stubbornly hang on to mediocrity’s limbo. As for Unnamed Song Part 1, well, it’s the cherry on top of the icing. I gotta give it to them for chosing such an elegant way of telling their stories.

Final rating : 8/10

A more detailed review will be programmed after the release of “In Heaven

Tracklist:

01 Get Out  [Lyrics by: Kim Jaejoong, Park Yuchun | Composed by: Kim Jaejoong, Park Yuchun | Arranged by: Kim Jaejoong, Brian Kim, Yoo Seongmin]

02 In Heaven (Narr. Kim Jeongeun) [Lyrics by: Kim Jaejoong | Composed by: Kim Jaejoong | Arranged by: Kim Jaejoong, Bjd, Mds]

03 낙엽 (Fallen Leaves) [Lyrics by: Kim Junsu | Composed by: Kim Junsu | Arranged by: Kim Junsu]

04 소년의 편지 (Boy’s Letter) [Lyrics: Kim Jaejoong | Composed by: Kim Hyungseok | Arranged by:  Kim Hyungseok, Yoo Seongmin]

05 Mission [Lyrics by: Zuno | Composed by: Kim Junsu | Arranged by: Kim Junsu]

06 I.D.S (I Deal Scenario) [Lyrics by: Kim Jaejoong | Composed by: Kim Jaejoong | Arranged by: Yang Junyoung]

07 Pierrot [Lyrics by: Kim Jaejoong | Composed by: Kim Jaejoong | Arranged by: Kim Jaejoong]

08 You’Re [Lyrics by: Kim Junsu | Composed by: Kim Hyungseokg | Arranged by: Yoo Seongmin]

09 Nine [Lyrics by: Kim Jaejoong | Composed by: Kim Jaejoong | Arranged by: Kim Jaejoong]

10 이름 없는 노래 PART 1 [Lyrics by: Park Yuchun | Composed by: Park Yuchun | Arranged by: Park Yuchun]

I can’t wait !!![tracklist source]

Homme (Changmin & Lee Hyun) – Man Should Laugh

The Homme duo project brought together two of my favourite men in the whole wide world : 2AM’s Changmin and 8eight’s Lee Hyun. The songs are not that special but the complementarity of their voices makes them spectacular. Also, they seem to have that chemistry only true love can create. Manly love, of course.
Seriously now, as a male duet is very hard not to look silly. To me, the now version of DBSK is redundant. Not to mention the fact that they lack a stable vocalist. Homme has two of them.
I really, really, really enjoy watching the MV for Man Should Laugh. I know, it’s illogical and hilarious because they obviously try hard to look angry at each other, but it’s fun. I honestly believe they would never fight, at least not over something so frivolous as a woman’s love. Maybe over who has the perfect pitch or better looks, yeah, something like that…
Final rating : 8/10

 

DBSK – Before You Go

( I like better the dance version, without those tacky guns )

Oh, another power ballad from SM. Oh, and it’s from 2/5 of DBSK. Let’s listen to it and be mesmerised !

These tacky shots gotta go

Erm, I am not a singer but if I were to guess I think Before You Go is a collection of breathing and vocal exercises that any canto student is very familiar with. All those gimmicks and tricks to make it seem deeper,heavier and more pretentious, well, I’m not buying it. Some of it does get to me, but it isn’t rubbing me the right way. It is obvious to me what they’re trying to do: it’s a show off. But music should be about the fun of singing and the fun of listening to good songs. With Before You Go I find myself trying to hold my breath each time Changmin starts one of his never ending vocal acrobatics and it’s too tiresome.
Good for them that they managed to present such outstanding vocals. But… I want a spectacular pop track

to sweep me off my feet, not this “Oh, look at me, I’m that good of a singer even without those useless main vocals that ran away 2 years ago”.
Oh, and the monologue version, I didn’t bother to listen to it. It seemed even more boring.
Final rating : 7/10

Get back to these

DBSK – Survivor

This is my reaction at the sight of this MV. Sorry, at the sight of Yoochun.

Survivor is the quintessential pop song. It reminds me a lot of the looks and music from the beginning of the 2000. It doesn’t have the aggressive sound of the mid 2000’s and the bubblyness of the majority of songs released towards the end of that last decade. Actually is somehow of a mix of all these along with a powerful feel good message, realising a perfect combo. I love all of the boy’s voices but I’m especially fond of Yoochun’s performance. You may say I have a thing or two for him. I call it ” wobbly thing inside my loins-like feeling”.
Even the english verses are made more coherent in this release. I’ve already learned not to be so picky when it comes to the grammatic of english inserts in kpop. Also, survivor, as a concept, is a well-known one, be it just granted to that song by Destiny’s Child.
In regards to the clip, I get the same impression, it’s the beginning of the year 2000, with the boys dressed in futuristic minimalistic white outfits ( oh, so many -tic ending words that tremble the hearts of the composers from SM). I like the short shots that try to create somewhat of a story, like when they are staring at those computers, like really trying to find a way to save the world ( well, you are Gods, you should be full of superpowers, forget about informatics, just, use your laser thingies ). I dig the earthquake and the imminence of a tragic ending. I love how the choreo comes at the perfect moment to lift up the level of tension and the fact that the overall impression of the clip is that it isn’t a too pretentious one. Sometimes, less is more. The one thing that I don’t get is that in the last image, that postapocalyptic view of the world, they are MIA. They should be out there on the streets, singing about surviving, dancing their hearts out and giving hope to the humanity, I say !
In the end, both subjective and objective, the boys deserve a high rating of appreciation : 9.6/10.

Jaejoon can now breath easily. Tha liked his song. kekeke