Wednesday, July 11, 2012


My original KPOP bias/husband - Shim "Choikang" Changmin

"The emptiness has caused the conquered world to be too thin
There's no such thing as passion anywhere...
Even if you are insecure
No matter why, no matter how
You have a fighting chance
Let's break it through; we can do it
Challenge it all with no fears
Freedom waits with your glowing body
Make it true, make it so; illuminate it
Never give up...
All you've got to do is just believe in yourself
-"Android", Tohoshinki

This has been the Gospel According to Toho with a message we all can get behind, methinks.

This juicy little nugget of poppy goodness first reared it's head around my birthday in mid-June. The name alone got me all giddy with excitement. And now, 2/3 of the World's most celebrated boy band, Yunho & Changmin of TVXQ!, have officially released (after what feels like eons) their latest (uptempo!) Japanese single, "Android".

I'm not quite sure where the single is supposed to live, as it's well after the Tone era -- although it is the third single released after this album (preceded by ballads in "Winter" last November and March's "Still") with no followup album/EP in sight. For more on Tone and it's singles ("Superstar", "I Don't Know", "B.U.T. (BEAUTY)" and the Japanese remake of "Keep Your Head Down"), you can read my super long and gushy review here.

Suffice to say, "Android" serves as a nice little distraction -- throwing the Cassies a bone while we all wait impatiently patiently for HoMin's followup Korean release, set for "the later half of 2012" (which will probably mean December sob sob sob).

As much as I love "O", "Rising Sun", "Keep Your Head Down" and of course "Mirotic", there's just something about the formulaic, reliable power behind TVXQ's uptempo Japanese singles. While their Korean dance songs are much more brash, in-your-face and intimidating (we're looking at you, "Rising Sun"), their custom-fitted brand of JPOP is the epitome of the familiar boy band ideal. It's probably for this reason that I find myself listening more of Japanese back catalog in general, even more so than their big, well-known Korean singles (past and present). "Android" fits into this mold quite nicely, sonically sounding like a 'Part II' of sorts to previous (recent) stunners in 2010's "Break Out!" and (my personal fave Toho UpTempo) 2009's "Survivor". Is it as good? Well, no...but pretty close.

Unfortunately, the video falls victim to the SM "let's put our grand artists in a box and call it an artistic theme" mentality (don't worry, we'll get to Super Junior tomorrow). I thought TVXQ's Japanese videos at least got a reprieve from that usual complaint but their past few (ie. all since DongBangApocalypse) have stuck with the SM formula. That fact aside, the robotic allusions are pretty cool and the breakdown choreography is tight and exciting (as exciting as you can be with two people and a bajillion faceless dancers, I suppose)! While overall, the video lacked a sense of urgent intensity that prevous Toho videos have thrived on ("SUR-BYE-BURR!"), even the predictable "let's throw in a dubstep-esque bit into the dance breakdown" is forgivable because the song is trademark good JPOP fluff.

Oh, Changmin. I'm such a fool for you and your attempts to dance beside SM's alleged King of The Dance Floor.

And, as per tradition, for the Fangirls/Fanboys...aka my "Cassie" Brethren:*
*By "fan", it should go without saying you should also have this little itty bitty thing called a sense of humor. FYI.

Jung "U-Know" Yunho with his pretty pink suit
  •  I'm pretty sure attractive suits exist, SM. And even though Yunho and Changmin are basically sized like the Korean equivalents of Shaquille O'Neal, I'm sure a tailor could make sure everything's kosher. Just throwing it out there.

  • I wonder  if the costumes came with all the spikes and grommets or if someone actually took the time to bedazzle all of that ish.
  • Yunho. BB. I love you. But even you don't look too thrilled to be rockin' that pink suit with the spikes combo. Oh, to be a stylist coordinator for SM boy bands...the fun I'd have.

  • Something tells me if one of the stylists even attempted to give that monstrosity to Changmin, he would have just walked out.

  • Then again, he did try to pull of the skunk shouldered suit. ::shudder:: I was willing to let the "Keep Your Head Down" couch suits that look like they were made of owl wings slide but...seriously, guise?

  • They really are fooling absolutely no one with these recycled sets. Sometimes I sit and wonder how much it costs to rent them out for all that green screen garbage and wonder if its even cost effective.

  • If it is cheaper, I'm guessing Avex blew all of the rest of the budget on the spare seconds of CGI with the "android" x-ray scans and the dubstep dance breakdown.

  • FYI - if we were to find out today that Changmin is actually an android, it would totally be a huge A-HA moment. That would explain how he could be so cold and awkward and still hit all of those screaming notes (during exhaustive dance performances!) perfectly.

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