Saturday, October 22, 2011


Don't mind me while I shriek. It's just that in a little over 24 hours, I will be seeing my Ultimate KPOP Bias in the flesh, strutting his sexy stuff around and screaming to his heart's content...

First, the repetitive 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 TO-EFFING-MORROW at Madison Square Garden at SMTown New York. I've already presented my picks for f(x), Girl's Generation , BoA , SHINee and Super Junior. That leaves one left (or rather, two): the handsome long-legged boys in T(2)VXQ!

Wait, let me take a breath.
As you all probably know, TVXQ! as a five membered group was the reason why I started getting interested in KPOP. Their vocals are literally a cut above in this genre. As exciting as it was to see JYJ live in the flesh last year, it was bittersweet because 2/5 of why I love those boys weren't there with them. To add insult to injury, they were performing songs that weren't exactly the reason why I fell in love with them in the first place...

As tomorrow approachs, I now have the opposite problem. I will be seeing the Missing Two (including The Ultimate Bias Himself -- Mr. Shim Changmin), and they will be performing some of the material I fell for them with...but without the three middle voices that helped flesh it out. It's a Catch 22. These facts won't forseeably change. You could say just get over it, but it really is hard to do.

But just like November 12, 2010 before it, October 23, 2011 is not going to be a sad day, but a Celebratory one, for obvious reasons. I mean, I live in the United States and I officially get to complete my Rising Eastern Gods I've See Perform In Real Life list! It doesn't get more incredible than that -- it just doesn't.

Of the HoMin Material -- it's really difficult for me to choose between "Why (Keep Your Head Down)" or "Before U Go" in terms of what I'm more excited for, simply because they are epic and amazing for two totally different reasons. "Why" is full of intensity -- a literal cacophony of sound. "Go" is melted chocolate for the ears, set to a slow roll rhythm. I can't choose. I can't. I'm already predicting how difficult of a decision it will be in terms of placement for these two songs on my Year End Countdown. Cut me some slack.

Rather than choose between the two Goliaths, let's roll with something else, for a more sentimental reason. "Maximum" was the b-side to "Why (Keep Your Head Down)" and was first premiered at the current SMTown's first incarnation last year. It instantly became one of my favorites off of Keep Your Head Down for its instantly catchy call-and-response chorus, it's biting choreography, and its sonically interesting choice in the use of many different Eastern-influenced string sounds.

(For those of you who aren't familiar, The Ultimate Bias sings second.) 

I already loved this song as it was, but when word broke very recently that "Maximum", written in 2009 by the KPOP Max Martin known as Yoo Young-Jin, was the proposed Comeback Single for OT5 TVXQ's never-materialized fifth album prior to the lawsuit debacle, I felt a fresh roll of pain in my stomach. A rehearsal video of Yunho and Changmin practicing the choreography to "Maximum" while at SM HQ also recently surfaced, featuring a very different version of the song played in the background -- one where you could quite clearly hear three voices that no longer exist in the version we were presented with (and love). The thought of Yunho and Changmin re-recording over their friends vocal parts really feels like a kick in the gut to me -- and makes me wonder what else from the HoMin material was meant to be OT5?

So it is for a multitude of reasons that I say, of the "HoMin" material, "Maximum" is what I'm most looking forward to.

In terms of the older TVXQ! Material, the duo tends to perform a "mashup" of some of their bigger hits, including "The Way U Are" and the infallible "Mirotic". I know it's selfish to want more than that, especially considering TVXQ! as a five-piece group truly stood as equals in terms of the sharing of vocal parts. That has proved to be both a blessing and a curse -- a blessing to their legacy, and a curse to those who long to see these song performed whole live. Whole, of course, means a lot of different things.

One song the boys have done justice to is "Rising Sun", one of their older singles from their second Korean album, released back in 2005. "Rising Sun" kind of stands apart in terms of the current KPOP discography, because sonically, it sounds like something else entirely. The vocal parts are demanding, the lyrical content is very serious, and the choreography is a mad dash. I really don't know how they performed this on a nightly basis in addition to the rest of their catalogue. It's a heavy song. Below is a live performance of the song in Japanese back in 2008 by all five members. (Epic Changmin Scream is Epic.)

Parts of it are so not commercially-friendly by an American viewpoint, and that's why I love it. With the exception of, say "Tri-Angle" from their debut album, it's as close as TVXQ comes to a proper "rock" cut. It's raw power in a pop song.

Fingers are crossed that Yunho and Changmin attempt it tomorrow night. No matter the outcome, it's safe to say that by the time they grace the stage, and you hear that creepy announcer guy say "We are Dong Bang Shin Ki", I will be a certifiable mess.

(Note to Self: Do NOT wear mascara. You WILL cry.)

Check back shortly for a review of HoMin's 'TONE' Japanese album, as well as highlights from SMTOWN NYC -- taking place TOMORROW NIGHT!!!


van said...

OMG YOU ARE SOOOO LUCKY!! Randomly found you're blog when looking for random DBSK stuff, and I just happened to go on the homepage TO SEE THIS!!
It's so unfair how my favorite k-pop artists go to LA or NYC like now, and where do I live? Deep in the heart of Texas -_-...
Don't forget to update us on how the concert goes!!!! >.<

Mel said...

@ Van - :) :) :) So psyched! Will have lots of stuff to look forward to at some point once I get back -- if I make it back in one piece! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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