“Mr. Simple” – Interdiscourse
Well, guys, it’s out.
Super Junior – “Mr. Simple”:
I think there are a thousand bad things you could say about this song, and I think there are a thousand people out there who can discuss those bad things a lot better that I can, so I’ll save you the snark-fueled negativity for now. On the whole, this release was pretty disappointing. But considering the grander scale of things, I think I’m more concerned about this release than I am disappointed.
The biggest problem with Suju’s post-2009 singles is that unless you’re a hardcore Suju fan to begin with, the songs need to grow on you for a while before they can actually be deemed listenable. It took me forever for “Bonamana” and “Perfection” to grow on me…but even now, I’m not really sure if I’ve grown to like these two songs as much as I’ve grown to just tolerate them.
Which doesn’t sound like much of an issue because – hey, what does it matter if it takes three days or three months to like a song as long as you like it in the long run? Nowadays, asking for a song that’s likable right off the bat sounds like a tall order, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s as if SM is saying to a listener, “Hey, I know this song sucks, but just listen to it a bunch of times and maybe it’ll get better,” when actually, the song never stops sucking. The listener’s perception simply changes for the worse.
This is the impression I’m getting from “Mr. Simple” – that, as well as the fact that I don’t think SM really knows how bad this song is. Look, I know that the quality of a song is all relative, but show “Mr. Simple” to five hundred people with varying musical tastes and see how many people will say it’s a good song. Simply put, “Mr. Simple” is not a good song in the same way “Bonamana” and “Perfection” are not good songs.
I don’t think SM knows what a good lead single is supposed to sound like anymore – and I say that not out of snarkiness, but out of genuine concern. The main reason for this is because their objectives as a creative base seem to be a bit skewed. After “Sorry Sorry” and “Gee” turned into widespread cultural phenomenons, SM seems to be more concerned about making an ‘impact’ than they are producing quality products. This mindset is heavily reflected in the quality of their releases. “Mr. Simple” wasn’t an attempt at good music – it was an attempt to replicate the success(?) that was “Bonamana,” and “Bonamana” was an attempt to replicate the success that was “Sorry Sorry.” At this rate, Suju’s work will only get exponentially worse for an objective that simply isn’t worth the long-term damage.
What kills me the most, though, is that SM is perfectly capable of quality artistic work. The teasers for “Mr. Simple” exhibit this contradiction to a T, which is why I was so disappointed with how “Mr. Simple” actually turned out. I get the feeling that I’ll have more to say about this once the full MV is released, but just check out the music from these two teasers:
The first is typical Yoo Young Jin R&B fare, which is good as always but nothing we haven’t heard before. The second, however, is musically striking in so many ways – it’s complex, it has structure, and it doesn’t come with an agenda. It’s also only 52 seconds long, and the actual “Mr. Simple” sounds nothing like it.
Oddly enough, some of SM’s best musical works can be found in things like MV teasers and concert filler music. It frustrates me to see quality work invested in what is essentially throwaway material rather than material that can be promoted and sold. Which returns me to my original point: Now more than ever, SM needs to step back from the gimmicks because a) they’ve already had their fill from “Sorry Sorry,” “Gee,” et cetera; and b) they have the ability to do so, so much better.
Believe it or not, SM’s musical prowess has been developing at a rapid pace lately, but you have to squint in order to see it. A few of the B-side tracks (Storm, Sunflower, LaLaLa, My Love, My Kiss, My Heart) on the Mr. Simple album are seriously impressive, and some compositions by SM artists (Y, All My Heart, A Short Journey) are some of the best I’ve heard from SM in years. And the music from the teaser videos. Dang. We need some more of that, for real.
Despite all this, I still can’t help but be a little excited for the full MV release because the visuals from the teasers were seriously impressive. Super Junior’s MVs are always shot really well, but I’m trying not to expect more than that. It’s definitely frustrating to see teaser vids that are better than the actual product, but there’s not much that can be done until SM figures itself out.