Sunday, October 16, 2011


So...for the overblown, repetive intro: as you might already know, I'm recapping the songs by the various SMTown artists I'm most excited to see performed live in person -- literally ONE week away -- at Madison Square Garden at SMTown New York. I've already presented my picks for f(x), Girl's Generation , BoA and SHINee. We're getting down to the wire, people -- it's time to talk about my latest KPOP obsession, and that is (bewilderingly), the epic largeness that is Super Junior.

I feel like I've gone through the history of Super Junior (SHUPA JUNI-OYE-OH!) too many times already, but for those of you who aren't aware, here is the Cliff Notes Breakdown:
# of Current Active Members (As In Right Now, October 2011 -- that I will be seeing at SMTown NY): Nine. Leeteuk, Yesung, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae (<3 Happy Birthday!), Siwon, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun {technically, you could count out Siwon, since he's currently busy filming a television show and hasn't been appearing with them much, but I'm hoping he will still attend SMTown NY, hence he's left on the list}
# of Members Currently Serving in the Korean Army (As in Right Now, October 2011): Two. Heechul and Kangin.
# of Members Currently At Odds with SM Entertainment (As in Right Now, October 2011): One. HanKyung (or as he's going now, by his Chinese name Han Geng). He filed a lawsuit against SM in 2009, and in effect has won. He's returned to China and is pursuing a solo career. While many fans continue to consider him a member of Super Junior, he hasn't appeared with them since late 2009, and hasn't appeared during promotions for the group's last two album releases, as well as Super Junior M's most recent second mini-album release.
# of Members Currently Doing God Knows What (But NOT Performing With Super Junior)(As In Right Now, October 2011): One. Kibum. Like Han Geng, he hasn't appeared with SuJu since late 2009, as he's been off A) in America, B) "acting". Many fans continue to consider him a member of Super Junior, despite this, as he has never officially "resigned" from the group.
# of Members Currently Only Performing in Super Junior-M (As In Right Now, October 2011): Two. Chinese member Zhou Mi and Chinese-Canadian Henry. Although neither was a member of Super Junior proper, they both debuted in 2008 with Han Geng, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun as Super Junior M (releasing songs in Mandarin in the Chinese/Asia market). Despite only being a part of SuJu's "side project"/sub-group, many fans include them in the group's formal member count.

Total # of Super Junior Members, Past and Present (As in Right Now, October 2011): Fifteen. 

We will be taking any and all questions after class (in the comments section). With that said, let's move on to the tunes I'm most psyched to see performed by the junior-sized version of Asia's largest boy band. 

While I quite enjoyed SuJu's most recent release, Mr. Simple, in its original incarnate (so much so I even bought a version for myself -- it's effing humungous -- the size of an LP of old. And yes, it has Donghae on one side of its dual cover.), my favorite offering from the album was the monotonic swaggiliciousness that was "Superman". Check out a live performance (with Heechul and Siwon) this past August.

Many critisized their fourth full album release Bonamana (2010), and after hearing the rest of their material, I would say it was probably their weakest. However, "Boom Boom" was seriously sexy ish (I'm looking at you, Hyukjae, yeah I said it), and if that were to be performed live (I doubt it), it would make me very happy indeed. But because I'm pragmatic, I'm not too upset about most definitely getting wowed by the phenomenon that is "Bonamana (Miinah)". So long as they wear outfits like the ones below. Don't dissapoint me, boys. I would make a joke about how terrible those mics were (because they literally cut out on almost every member), but who needs live vocals when you look like that with hip thrusts (yeah yeah yeah, totally unfair toward female performers, blah blah, I don't care, I'm aloud to spazz out about some people, thanks.) To hear the real song (in all it's robotic, Auto-Tuned glory), check out the music video.

Bonamana had it's sparse moments, but so too did the group's two first album releases, Super Junior05 and Don't Don. I don't mean that as a diss, I just feel like with a group so large, with only a handful of sangers to their lineup (helllllo there, Yesung & Kyuhyun), they are a boy band that relies more on charisma and stage presence than to vocals alone, and we all know that with pop music, there is much more than just vocal talent at play.

The obvious choice from these two eras would be "Don't Don", a truly epic single choice as it was one of SuJu's few really serious lyrical subject matter pieces. It introduced Henry Lau into the Super Junior family mix, as he provided violin accompaniment during the truly epic breakdown. Unlike much of SuJu's material, it has more of a rock feel (and is often performed recently with screaming rap breakdowns by Heechul). Rather than desert their sexy boy band mantra completely, it is probably SuJu's worst offender in terms of gratuituous choreography (read: pelvic thrusts galore).

But if I want to be truly honest, the song I most would adore to see live from this era of SuJu history is the sex that is "A Man In Love". From a sonic soundpoint, it's one of SuJu's catchies pop uptempos ever. It sounds just as good in 2011 as it ever would have when it was originally released in Don't Don's repackage in 2007. And when it is performed these days, Siwon typically takes his shirt off. Just saying. Admirers of Sexy Men of the world, you're welcome. You have to wait till the end (unless you wanna fast forward), but...

When you talk about SuJu, you usually give some passing reference to the worldwide phenomenon that was 2009's "Sorry Sorry", the single that literally changed KPOP, made Super Junior ridiculously famous in Asia, and was the namesake for their third album. I love "Sorry Sorry" as much as the next person -- in fact, it was the main selling point for Super Junior prior to late last year when two of it's sub-groups (Super Junior M, SM The Ballad) convinced me to think otherwise. But while it will be amazing to say I saw "Sorry Sorry" live in and in person, I would literally quiver in excitement (and no doubt produce some A-Quality Fangirl Shrieks) over a live performance of "Sorry Sorry - Answer" over "Sorry Sorry" any day of the week.

"Sorry Sorry - Answer" is an R&B, baby-making version of "Sorry Sorry" slowed down to a crawl. It is usally attributed to subgroup Super Junior KRY, as it featuring Yesung (hnnnnnnnggggg voice, goosebumpsdsfkljdsfklj I CANNOT), Kyuhyun and Ryeowook doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting on the vocal front. However, the video featured all of the then active members and also contains a tres cute rap duet via Eunhae (Eunhyuk and Donghae). If ever I would like a Super Junior to come to tackle America, it would be in THAT formation: Yesung, Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Eunhyuk and Donghae. (Although, I'm realizing for marketing reasons it would probably be smarter to swap out Ryeowook for Siwon or perhaps Henry since he already speaks English...oh well.)

"Perfection" and "Hot Times" made me re-think my initial casualness toward Super Junior but "Sorry Sorry - Answer" was all it took to make me want to stan those boys for serious. Can't we get back to that?

(Note to Self: Prepare your knees for serious wobbling during much of Super Junior's set. Also, ready your vocal chords for when/if Donghae comes remotely close to you/shows up on the JumboTron/tries to speak English/etc. etc. or if any Eunhae moments appear (fingers crossed).)

Seeing as next Sunday is the big day (DSKLFJDSKLFJDSLKFJDSL), check back next Saturday for another installment of what I'm most looking forward to at SMTown -- aka, the epic squeefest regarding TVXQ!

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