Friday, 27 April 2012

[ALBUM REVIEW] Tohoshinki's TONE, even though it came out ages ago


All opinions expressed in this post are my own, and are merely my opinion, so don't bother getting pissed off if you disagree. However, if there is some more factual area I have messed up on, feel free to point it out to me. But basically, if you don't like the post, you don't like the post. If you feel the need to tell me why I suck, I'd rather you screwed off. Right. Now.

This album was actually released in September, so, based on release dates alone, especially considering we've got a couple of lovely tracks in there from last January, this album isn't even close to relevant. But, I don't remember there being any rules against reviewing old stuff, and it's a good album, and I feel I have enough to say about it.

1. Introduction ~ magenta ~
This song, at the very very start, sounds like a weird Christmas Carol. And then it just ends up sounding like a nursery rhyme, and then a Christmas Carol again, and then something from weird old cartoon musical from the past. I don't even know what I think of this song. It's an intro, so it's really short, but it's not a particularly catching intro. I like intros to be hard and fast-paced, in order to draw me in. Hm.

2. B.U.T (BE-AU-TY)
I love this song. Really.
I love the title, it's quite clever, in a weird way, I think xD
It's extremely catchy and has that awesome hard electropop that seems to be a signature of SMEnt. No complaints, I love that bloody signature. The 'dondondon' bits are little weird, at first, but, they're add a nice effect to the song.
And the 'B-U-T-T-T-T-Wow' bits are so cool xD And both members rap which is, as much Yunho's a muuuuch better rapper than Changmin anyway, always quite fun to hear. I love Changmin's voice, and I still love it when it raps.
But, I do agree that it sounds very SuJu-esque, as people said. But, I don't dislike SuJu or anything, so I can't say anything.

3. I Think U Know
Well, when I first heard it, I just...I dunno.
I thought it was really weird, somehow. But extremely catchy. Like...realllly catchy.
The instrumental break bits, with that one repetitive piece of music, scare me a little bit, though. I'm not sure why. I think they remind me of this gypsie folk-dance band I saw in a square at France, and they had these weird clips from really old cartoons, like Betty Boop and Pop-Eye and Felix the Cat, and those cartoons are....somewhat traumatising, I find xD Okay, an exaggeration, but I had a Felix the Cat video, and that was some messed-up shit, okay?
I was also quite surprised by how low Changmin's lines were in the verses. I'm used to him belting out those big high lines all the time, so, it was nice to hear another side to his voice. IT'S SO FECKING VERSATILE.

4. Duet
Oh god. I can't even explain how much I love this song.
It's so pretty sounding. These guys convey emotions SO well in their songs, their voices are so powerful. The blending and harmonies are all equisite.
I love how the chorus really picks up and gets pretty fast, but still retains that soft and reserved tone of the rest of the song. I don't even know what to describe this song as, cause it's not really a ballad.
I think my favourite part of the song is the second chorus? I don't why, just their voices fit their given lines so well in those parts. I also love how that chorus fades into the little part before the bridge. It has stunning harmonies and the melody there is so nice. Brilliant song,

5. Thank You My Girl
The opening of this song makes me thing of some kind of creepy-ass horror movie. With the weird tapping noises, which are quite...haunting. And then the weird fuzzy track that breaks of. Chilling. Sorta.
I absolutely adore how the mood just changes straight after, and turns into a proper poppy song. The backtrack is really nice. The chorus is to explain?
It kind of fits this kind of creepy old-fashioned horror theme, with its strange synthesised violins and harmonies which make it sound almost...classical? And then having the one member, mainly Yunho, I believe, cause its Changmin doing the high parts, I guess, singing over the top. Agh, sound so good.
The weird 'Kiss me, you're my only girl' lines freak me out, though. What was that about? And then the instrumental reverts to the mood of the verses, only more dancey. I'll just say...this is one confusing song. But it's really good.

6. Telephone
This song is the perfect song for driving in a late Summer afternoon. Why am I so obsessed with drives? I can't even drive! I guess it's cause I always listen to a lot of music when I'm in the car.
It's a very mellow and emotional song, with a poppy backtrack accompanied by acoustic guitar. And, though, it appears to be a slow song, it has a very...warm feeling. Like, it makes me think of warmth of the colour orange and sun, while most ballads make me think of dark blue, rain, sun, and cold. It's a really nice feel. I love the cold songs, but warm songs are a nice chaning.
Also, I have no idea why, but this song reminds me of 'Roadtripping' (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

7. Back to Tomorrow
Speaking of slow songs that make me think of rain...
This song is a ballad, definitely, but it's a pop ballad, so it's not just piano. It's got the synthesised stuff going on and even hints of guitars. This is quite possibly my favourite track on the entire album, and out of the of the non-singles, it is DEFINITELY my favourite. I LOVE the bridge lines. The contrast of Changmin's power and Yunho's softness there is stunning.
The chorus is beautiful as well and the backtrack is one of the most beautiful things on the whole album. This group have one the best blends in the entirety of the K-Pop music scene, despite there only being two of them, and the harmonisation is always absolutely gorgeous! The adlibs behind the last chorus sound so sad and touching, and though Yunho sings them quite softly, they deliver such a powerful sense of emotion and feeling.
I honestly cannot fault this song, and it is definitely on of my favourite songs in TVXQ's entire discography. Note that I referred to them as TVXQ and not Tohoshinki (ignoring that I prefer the name DBSK to TVXQ). This means I'm including their entire huge-ass Korean disography, too, not just their Japanese stuff~

8. Why? (Keep Your Head Down)
This is the song that made me fall for this group. Before that, I only really knew Mirotic but, even though I really liked it, I had never thought to check out any of their other stuff. I heard this not very long after it was released, maybe a month or so after, and I was completely taken in by the sheer power of their vocals. Of course, I'd heard the Korean verison, but after hearing the Japanese version...I can honestly say I do not know which version I prefer. Because, sometimes Japanese versions don't sound as good because the lyrics sound trippy and don't fit the song as well as the original (example; SHINee's Lucifer), but they can also sound better to me than the original because the lyrics really fit in well the tune and sound of the song and it sounds so perfect (example; SHINee's Hello -just to clarify, I do not have a love-hate relationship with SHInee. I love them, and that's as far as it goes).
I love the rap to death in both versions, though, the Japanese one sounds weirder, and by weird, I mean in a way that makes it sound more original and, therefore, more interesting.
Changmin's adlibs in this song are absolutely brilliant. I saw the performance of this song on the MUSIC STATION SUPER LIVE and, by god, he rocked them so well, even after dancing. I was completely blown away, especially since his voice cracked a few times during the early performances of the Korean ones. Well, Mr. Changmin, I'm very impressed.
This song is ridiculously powerful. And it's probably my fav DBSK song. Ever.

Now, this song had never really left too huge an impression on me. Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant song, but to's just not anything outstanding. It's a song that's quite good, and I'm not sure what else to say about it. Only, I'll have to say something about it, otherwise that'd make for a really rubbish song review.
I could only imagine this song having some kind of....ridiculous stereotypical martial arts Dojo thingy as a setting if it were to have a PV, which would involve HoMin trying to beat each other and then it would have ridiculously epic dance shots thrown in and lots of drama. It's a really awesome song and all, but I only listen to it occasionally. Though, it's also one of these songs I never listen to much, but when it comes on sometimes, I can't skip. I swear I prefer the Korean version, too. I can't remember.

10. I Don't Know
I remember this coming out and it being really exciting. I hadn't gotten the chance to watch the PV for some reason, but I had managed to snag myself a copy of the PV Rip just before I headed off for France for a family holiday. The PV had been stupidly LQ, so it was a pretty rubbish MP3 >< But, when I got home,   once I'd gotten over the fact that KAT-TUN's new PV, which I had spent the entire holiday being excited over, had come out the day I got back, I found time to listen to and appreciate this song properly.
Honestly, I love this song. Again, as I keep saying, the harmonies were perfect. These guys really blend, it's amazing. And, they both rap again, which is always fun~
I really love the bits between the verse and chorus, with the low whispery voices and the harmonies. And I adore how the second chorus works, with Yunho doing the main lines and Changmin joining in, before it switches to an extended chorus with Changmin doing those powerful high lines. And Yunho's falcetto sounds fantastic, too.
I also really love the video. I know there are some people who aren't so into the dark colour-schemes, but, personally, I love them and think they look really cool. It's just a cool video.

11. Superstar
Somehow, I paid more attention to I Don't Know, but when I finally got round to listening to this amazing track, I found myself preferring it to the latter song. If you're not huge on autotune, it's probably not your thing. I mean, it's not overboard audio, but it's that kind of techno electropop-ish thing? Okay, I don't know genres, shut up. But there are so many layers of vocals for a duet, so it's really interesting to listen to. I mean, if you're willing to sit down and just pay attention to it all. If you like the group enough to do that kind of thing, I really recommend it. There are so many little background adlibs and it really adds something to the song. It makes it sound so powerful and full. I love Changmin's high notes in the back of the last chorus, too. It's a really catchy song. Like, seriously. It's got a damned memorable tune and it was stuck in my head for absoultely ages after I first got into it.
It's a brilliant song~

12. Shiawase Iro no Hana
This is a song I don't listen to as much as any other on the album. It's a ballad, and I think I've listened to it, like, once. I guess, normally, when I'm in the mood to listen to a ballad my first choice is GACKT or KAT-TUN. But it's a really pretty song. The chorus sounds amazing. I'm getting repetitive now, but the harmonies, the blending, the emotion and the power...
I'm sorry, but these guys really just nail all of those areas, and they're both amazing singers. I can't actually fault either of their voices, which is probably what brought me to love this group so much. I mean, I can't fault any member in the history of TVXQ's voices, they've all been exceptional singers. And, in this song, their voices are smooth yet powerful, and the final product is very beautiful and relaxing track~

13. Easy Mind
I had only listened to this song once until recently. When I listened to it again, getting on the bus to Glasgow one day, I found myself asking myself 'Why? Why haven't I listened to this song properly?'
It's just a happy, upbeat song and it's very J-Pop-esque, compared to rest of this very K-Poppy album. I mean, they're a K-Pop group, that's not shocking, but I always love when K-Pop artists have J-Poppy songs in their Japanese releases. It's really peppy and energetic, and sounds very Summery.
If this song had a video, I could only imagine it being like...a Summer party with unnaturally green grass and a weirdly blue sky outside of this big white house with inflatable swimming pools lying around and BBQ standing somewhere. And there'd be those little paper triangle flags, and the members would be spraying each other with water guns. Of course, I couldn't imagine HoMin pulling that off, because that's the kind of thing you see in Japanese all-girl idol groups not Korean boyband duos, hm.


This is because;
  1. I'm lazy and can't be bothered reviewing the other 2 songs
  2. The version of the CD I own is Version A (it had all the PVs, so I had to~)
 But, overall, this is a really good album. It was one of my favourite albums of 2011 (first place went to Yamapi with his SUPERGOOD SUPERBAD album, which I may consider reviewing one day because I have a LOT to say and praise regarding that album).
If you're a K-Pop fan, I RECOMMEND THE FUCK OUT OF THIS. Honestly, I've come across people who are diehard K-Pop fans and they haven't listened to a single song of TVXQ's. I even met someone who didn't know them! I found this a little shocking considering they were a huge group in the past. They were THE Korean boyband, before BIGBANG came along and worked their magic. And, even now, they're the biggest Korean act in Japan. They're bigger in Japan than in Korea, right now, from the looks of things. Which explains why so many new K-Pop fans aren't really aware of them -sighs-
This album is brilliant, though, and it sold extremely well in Japan. It sold so well that Hyphens everywhere were worried that the single they released after it (Winter Rose) would maybe beat KAT-TUN's BIRTH to the coveted #1 Oricon spot (which KAT-TUN have never lost). Of course, KAT-TUN got the #1, but, yeah. It sold really well. And it makes sense. It's obvious why. Yep.