Saturday, March 07, 2015

NOW KPOPPING: Junsu's Lovely (but Intense) "Flower"

Pretty sure I've rocked those mirror surface silver press-ons, too.
Leave it to Kim Junsu to give you quality pop that's more than a little left of center.

Aside from currently being 1/3 of JYJ, he typically releases solo music under his original SM Entertainment moniker XIA (pronounced: She-uh). Unarguably one of the best male voices in KPOP (try to debate me on that, bro), Junsu not only provides quality vocals but some of the biggest visual head-scratchers as the promotional wrapping for some really great songs. 

Gone are his mainstream pretty boy days as a part of TVXQ! -- it's clear that Junsu's years of excelling in musical theater have influenced his solo work tremendously. "Tarantellegra" was almost as intriguing visually as it was to say aloud (seriously - trying saying "Tarantellegra" three times fast) but his latest solo single, "Flower", takes it all one step further into a kind of acid-trip-y, post-Oz type of dramatic alternate reality complete with machine skeleton heads, gelatinous golden coffee, monster fish for dinner, and glowing blue vomit.

The song itself is the epitome of anthematic despite being on the slow side of mid-tempo. You all know I'm more of a fan of uptempos rather than straight ballads but Junsu was always the exception to the rule because his beautiful voice made him stand above the rest. It also includes a rap by another legendary artist in the game -- Tablo of the group Epik High

It lacks the punch of dark "Tarantellegra" or steamy "Intoxication" of yore to present a whole other side of XIA. KPOP artists often brand each new promotional song as a "fresh concept" to promote but no one does this term more justice than Junsu. The only real common thread with his visual components is his voice and that is something to be praised. "Flower" is presented a bit like a rich painting -- its melodic but still intense and is brought to life (blossoms, if you will -- what, too much?) by Junsu's big, capable voice.

The song itself originally reads like a cry for help before overcoming extreme adversity or depression. "Come take my hand / Drench my dried up heart...So I can live for you again". But later, with Tablo's rap, it can also be viewed as the reach of a helping hand to a person in pain from someone who has already overcome this burden. "Your world / They cannot kill it / Look at me, I died but opened my eyes again / I killed it ... Piercing through the storm of snow / A deeply rooted flower blooms / This is the truth."

Heavy. Heavy. Hard not to equate this to the troubles Junsu & Co. have gone through post-TVXQ!pocalypse, no?

The video is a bit like a slow-motion car accident -- you can't look away. I don't mean in a negative sense, it's simply because despite the deep metaphor of the song I really don't know what the hell is happening. It is coming from the Beautiful Mind of Kim Junsu afterall. For all of the naysayers who say too much of KPOP is generic and predictable, I insert Exhibit A that you clearly weren't looking hard enough.

I'm not sure if it's 100% Junsu behind all of these strange concepts but if it is, I sincerely hope he goes into directing. Can you imagine?

1 comment:

John said...

Your last few KPOP posts have been spot. This video didn't make much sense to me either, but it is stunning.

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