The most brilliant thing to come out of SM this year
And it’s here. IT’S HERE~~~~!!!!!
S.M. THE BALLAD: “Hot Times”
K-pop can generally be separated into three categories: 1) Uptempo, catchy, lead-single stuff; 2) Overdramatic K-drama ballad, and 3) Medium-tempo R&B. It’s easy for songs in the first two categories to fall into the sucky box for good. It’s also kinda annoying that most of the good songs are only found in category 3, are usually hidden on full albums, and are thus difficult to find.
So thank goodness that SM decided to release the teaser for “Hot Times” first because, despite its fail title, I’m pretty sure that it’s the best track on the album and SM THE BALLAD probably wouldn’t have attracted the amount of pre-debut attention it did otherwise. The showboaty adlibs do get annoying, yes, but that’s the reason why they picked those four singers to be in this project group. Because, to be honest, everything else I’m hearing on this album is Kyuhyun and his K-drama ballady voice.
(The notable exception is “Don’t Lie,” which I like enough – if only because of Henry’s weird-but-endearing rap break – but the chords in the chorus just don’t sit well with me. It’s as if they tried to be “creative” and turned out with something that sounds unsettlingly modal. Dislike.)
And I mean, is Kyuhyun’s voice really worth complaining about? Probably not, but for heaven’s sake you put Jonghyun and Jay in the group. PLEASE USE THEM.
(And as for this Jino guy? I like him, but so far I can only identify him as that guy who doesn’t sound like the other three. :/)
I’m 95% sure that, although the group was probably conceptualized a while ago, SM THE BALLAD is supposed to directly compete with 2AM. Which is great – K-pop needs more ballady stuff apart from the oftentimes ignored solo artists – and I’m sure that the SHINee/Suju/OneDay fangirls would benefit from listening to something a little more aurally nutritious now and then. But if SM THE BALLAD doesn’t bomb out in the next few weeks, then I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing a long-term SM vs. JYP ballad face-off. O ne must admit that SM does have the edge in terms of originality and, thus, memorability – hidden medium-tempo ballad gems are all over SM-produced albums, and it’s about time that SM’s R&B songwriting ability is spotlighted. JYP, on the other hand, has never really been a titan in originality, and 2AM just skates by with their talent despite their utterly boring songs. Yeah, I said it. I also don’t like Changmin’s voice, either. OH SNAP.
Which is why I was so disappointed to see the group sing “Miss You” on Inkigayo, what with them in their schoolboy blazers and sweater vests and standing on those cylinder-things all dramatic-like and such and omg why did they put that leopard print tie on jonghyun that’s not even funny and it was just so…ordinary.
This fancam from some unnamed MuCore recording, however, does give me a little hope.
Although those outfits certainly do not.