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Super Junior [Mr. Simple] Album Review

5 Aug

Super Junior is back! After the release of their fifth album on August 1, 2011, Super Junior has been dominating the charts with their explosive title song, “Mr. Simple”.

The album contains 13 tracks, 12 new songs and bonus track (Super Junior M’s “Perfection”). As an avid fan of Super Junior for the past few years, I looked forward to hearing what new things the boys had to show.

01 Mr. Simple

02 오페라 (Opera)

03 라라라라 (Be My Girl)

04 Walkin’

05 폭풍 (Storm)

06 어느새 우린 (Good Friends)

07 결투 (Feels Good)

08 기억을 따라 (Memories)

09 해바라기 (Sunflower)

10 엉뚱한 상상 (White Christmas)

11 Y

12 My Love, My Kiss, My Heart

13 태완미 (太完美: Perfection) (Bonus Track)

Right from the get go, “Mr. Simple” lays on a thick electronic sound, complete with a staccato baseline, robotic vocal repetitions, and pulsing synths. My first instinct was to cringe from the sudden onslaught of manufactured sounds, but as the melody slowly came out, I found myself enjoying the syncopated lines, Eunhyuk’s explosive rap, and the brief taste of Yesung and Kyuhyun’s un-autotuned voices, before sliding back into the addictive chorus. What I didn’t like was that the melody line was identical to the synthesizers for 85% of the song.

With decidedly less autotune than the previous track, “Opera” exposes listeners to a while still leaving room for vocal exploration. Again, we are led into the song by strong synthesizers which proceed to dominate the majority of the song. “Opera” is a good example of synths being used to highlight the vocals rather than overwhelm them like in “Mr. Simple” However, as the shortest track on the album (3:02), “Opera” seems to be more of an album intro than a full-length song.

Relatively low key compared to the previous tracks, “Be My Girl” (or “Lalala”) contains an instrumentals track consisting mainly of lower toned synths that allow the focus to rest on the vocals. It was apparent that the producer was having a heyday when arranging this track because there is am entertainingly large amount of cinematic effects supplementing the boys’ vocals. I don’t really know why, but throughout the song, I kept on getting the feeling that I was listening to f(x)’s “Chocolate Love” or 4Minute’s “Funny”.

“Walkin’” came as a much needed breath of fresh air in the form of an acoustic track. The light reggae song has a sort of bittersweet sound coupled with a feel-good tone that instantly brought a smile to my face. What really made this song for me was the fact that it just sounded like a jam session with near perfect ad-libs and harmonies that are usually so rare in Super Junior songs.

The album’s ballad 1st ballad track, “Storm”, is full of smooth vocals and pretty melodies. However, I thought the song seemed rather unoriginal and forgetful; not a bad song, but nothing too special either.

When “Good Friends” came on, I had to backtrack to see if I was still listening to Super Junior. With a sound foreign to both Super Junior and Kpop, “Good Friends” hangs in some ambiguous area somewhere between Gospel and Country. Super Junior’s versatility has amazed me in the past, but with “Good Friends”, I was completely floored. I don’t necessarily like the song, but I am impressed with the boys’ attempts to capture the vocal techniques of both Country and Soul music.

“Feels Good”, a slower-paced techno track, brings us back into familiar territory. With nothing remarkable or outstanding, “Feels Good” takes a backburner on this album.

Though too up-tempo to be considered a ballad, “Memories” manages to convey a greater sense of sorrow than “Storm”. With flawless vocals and a gorgeous instrumental track, the simple song is one of the jewels hidden in this album.

“Sunflower” is a track reminiscent of old school boy groups such as Shinhwa and H.O.T. It gives off a summery vibe that could potential become annoying after too many listens, but for now, I like it =)

“White Christmas”? Dude, it’s August. Given the title, I was expecting a seasonal track similar to SHINee’s “Haru” or JYP Nation’s “This Christmas”, but was met with an upbeat pop-rock song. It’s fun and exciting-a definite plus for the album.

As another mediocre song, “Y”, doesn’t really do much for me. Not much to say besides that the vocals are smooth and the acoustic guitar is a nice touch.

Though dreadfully unoriginal (I have definitely heard similar songs from other boy groups), “My Love, My Kiss, My Heart” is saved by the boys’ vocal performance. I could feel a sense of sincerity throughout all of the verses and the intensity of the adlibs gave me shivers.

All in all, I say this is a mediocre album for Super Junior. The majority of the tracks seemed to be striving to achieve the same tone and fame as “Sorry Sorry” while others fell short in areas of originality. The vocals, when they can be heard in their natural state, are superb. I found myself wondering why I had never noticed the mastery and technique Super Junior held. Though most of the credit can be attributed to Kyuhyun’s husky voice and Yesung’s goosebump-raising vibrato, the other members stepped up to the plate to deliver a stellar performance. I was also impressed by the variety of genres represented in this one album (Dance, Electric, Ballad, Gospel/Country fusion, Rock, Pop). While my favorite tracks of the album were “Walkin”, “Be My Girl” and“My Love, My Kiss, My Heart”, many of the other tracks I neither loved nor hated. They were simply…meh. In conclusion, the album gets a 3.8/5 rating.

What do you think?

Temi

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