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[Review] JYJ – In Heaven (*****)

14 Sep

Ever since the, by now, legendary group DBSK broke up, there has been questions about whether either new entities could live up to the success and fame of the original 5-member group. The answer is, of course, yes they can. JYJ and TVXQ still attract the same huge following across Asia even when they’re split in two. Now it’s one thing to wonder whether the new groups can be successful and another to think about how good their music is.

Earlier this year, both entities released new material. I detested JYJ’s album, especially its messy lead single Ayyy Girl while I was absolutely floored by TVXQ’s efforts. With that said, both groups are releasing new material this fall and are preparing for round two. And so far, JYJ is impressing THE HECK out of me with this gorgeous release.

Tracklist

01 Get Out

02 In Heaven (Narr. Kim Jeongeun)

03 낙엽 (Fallen Leaves)

04 소년의 편지 (Boy’s Letter)

05 Mission

06 I.D.S (I Deal Scenario)

07 Pierrot

08 You’re

09 Nine

10 이름 없는 노래(Unnamed Song) PART 1

The first track of the album is Get Out. The piano intro is seriously gorgeous and immediately sets the sorrowful vibe of the song. We get a few words by YooChun before Xiah JunSu’s silky voice comes in. I love everything about this song and it is possibly one of my favorite of the album. The vocals are strong and the song is full of beautiful harmonies. A great start to the album.(Temi)


The title track In Heaven is a gorgeous ballad featuring one of the rawest and most powerful vocals I’ve heard all year long. I knew that all the members are infinitely talented but it seems that they’ve reached a new high. The group vocalization is perfect. The intro to the song reminds me of the piano structure of Big Bang’s “Haru Haru” without the drums kicking in. Instead, we get a stripped down song with just vocals and low-key instrumentals. It’s absolutely stunning.

Fallen Leaves slows things down even further as if to test the audience’s patience waiting for JYJ’s firecracker dance tracks to pop up. Again, we get nothing but full-scale vocals and just a light and very mellow piano chord. If I thought the vocals in the title track are gorgeous, this one features higher levels of dramatic vocalization especially from Xiah who is just damn moving in this song. His high notes toward the end took away my breath.

The Boy’s Letter is more symphonic than the preceding songs but it packs the same wallop of emotion as the first two. Again, Xiah’s vocals are so strong that it feels I’m just listening to him the whole time.

The next track is an odd and unexpected one because it breaks us from the more emotional spell of the first three. Mission takes the cue from the first three and is a very low-key uptempo tune compared to the bombastic and often very loud dance music we hear. The beat here is so addictive and it’s so simple that it doesn’t distract from the boys’ voices.

Despite it’s onerous title “I.D.S. (I Deal Scenario) is another home-run dance tempo. It’s strange because while both Mission and IDS are clearly meant for the clubs, they also belong among this album’s more low-key tone. They’re held back than the usual loud and obnoxious tunes that K-pop produces constantly. I.D.S. is charming and even when they’re voice is digitalized, it doesn’t ruin the charms of the song for me.

You’re is much more uplifting than the first five. It’s so charming and appealing but like the first four, the vocals here are stupendous. There’s an ethereal feel to the tune during the verses and then becomes more uptempo as the chorus kicks in. It’s a filler track, sure, but it’s still better than what most K-pop acts release as a lead single.

Pierrot is an exciting tune. Again, we get lots of group vocalizations and harmonization that are enticing and just plain damn gorgeous to the ears. It has flashes of Chris Brown’s “Forever” with its romantic vocalization and the laid back electronic beat. It also reminds me of Big Bang’s “Koe Wo Kikasete” except much more upbeat than them.

Though I didn’t necessarily like how low the vocals of the first verse were in NINE, if the point was to highlight how awesome JunSu’s voice is at a higher octave, then they were perfect. NINE is a slower-paced track that is kind of a breath of fresh air. It’s clean and simple with minimal instrumentals that really pronounce the vocals. Though it can get a little bit tiresome halfway through, the bridge changes things up before transitioning back into the chorus.(Temi)

When released on JYJ’s previous album “In Their Rooms” Unnamed Song Part 1 was one of the most controversial topics in the KPop sphere. The lyrics of the song describe in extreme detail what occurred with the whole breaking up of DBSK/TVXQ issue. Written, composed, and produced by JYJ’s YooChoon, the song is all rap except for the chorus sung by JunSu. When I first heard this song, even without understanding the meanings of the lyrics, I could strongly feel the overwhelming emotions poured into the song. It’s highly apparent in both the raps and the vocals that this song is basically an outburst towards SM. The entire song embodies resentment, anger, and determination.  I personally love this song because it is beautifully crafted and both the vocals and raps are amazing. The YouTube clip above has English translations so that you can follow along.(Temi)

Overall, I have not been as satisfied with an album this year as I have been with this one. JYJ seriously stepped up from their last effort and I’m still reeling from how amazing this whole album was. As someone who has never really been a huge fan of JYJ or TVXQ, I was totally converted with this. These are some powerful voices and they’re on full display in this album.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

-Clarence

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21 Responses to “[Review] JYJ – In Heaven (*****)”

  1. chewy September 15, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    I happen to love all the songs from this album & it doesn’t happen a lot w/ all the albums I’ve have this year.

    • dramapop September 15, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      I know!!! It’s only happened with Beast’s album for me. It’s really good though.

  2. chll51 September 15, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    great review 😀 i feel absolutely the same as you with this album. I feel like they’ve really stepped up their game with this album and I’m loving what I’m hearing so far.

  3. reallaerreal September 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I think another thing that worth mentioned about this album is that JYJ members set their hand on every single songs in this. They wrote all lyrics (except Mission), composed most of the songs (except Boy’s Letter and You’re), and arranged more than half of them. That’s probably a big reason why the album sounds so intimate, emotional raw; hence, people can easily connect to the songs.

    (Just want to ask you something out of curiosity. You don’t really like Jaejoong, do you? No offense, just that if I’m not already a fan, I might have thought that JYJ = Junsu, Yuchun, Xiah here. lol)

    • dramapop September 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      I agree. I think that one of the strengths of the album is how personal it feels. I think artists who personally write and produce the material that they put out come out with more emotionally resonant songs. Right now I’m thinking of Big Bang’s two big releases: Haru Haru and Lies which were both penned by GDragon. I think that fact made it more beautiful and more thoughtful.

      Also I LOVE Jaejoong! It’s just Junsu seems to overpower Yoochun and Jaejoong so much I didn’t think much of them. But Jaejoong is awesome! I personally love him as an actor but I appreciate his singing and dancing! And heck we can add writing to that to because In Heaven is gorgeous.

      • reallaerreal September 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

        Thanks for clarification! hahaha.

        I reread the review again. I just notice why I felt that you neglect JJ lol…I think you confused between Jaejoong’s and Junsu’s voice. The one who sang in very high octave in NINE was Jaejoong. Also the chorus of Unnamed Songs part 1 was sung by both Jaejoong and Junsu. (Junsu/Jaejoong, then Jaejoong/Junsu, and the final one is Junsu/Jaejoong)

  4. Pi September 16, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    OH come on its so obvious you’re biased to JYJ especially with the banner above…. Just admit it 😀

    • suri September 16, 2011 at 5:40 am #

      I don’t think so. Otherwise, she’d have known that:

      “We get a few words by YooChun before Xiah JunSu’s silky voice comes in.”

      Jaejoong actually started Get Out, and that Junsu didn’t sing all the choruses in Chun’s Unnamed Song Part 1. Jaejoong sang the second chorus (after second verse) and last (before Junsu’s talk).

      Anyway, to dramapop: I’m glad you liked this album. JYJ have all worked hard ^^

    • Nurdan September 16, 2011 at 6:02 am #

      No but she/he just turned into one ^^ And new fans are welcome to our #JYJFamily XD

    • nicoleyt September 16, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Butthurt much??? Just admit that u r jealous of JYJ’s success and talent.

    • dramapop September 16, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      Personally I’m more of a yg person so I’m not rlly biased towards them. In fact the only real tvxq song I like was mirotic

  5. Pi September 16, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    While for me, i found TVXQ album way better than this album. I dont understand how it could have “Floored” you.. It wasnt near as bad as “music essay”

    • suri September 16, 2011 at 5:31 am #

      She was “FLOORED” by TVXQ’s efforts = impressed. It wasn’t a diss towards TVXQ so chill lol

    • Muwonslave September 16, 2011 at 5:58 am #

      gosh…Homin butthurt fan LOL

    • youhavewingsmirin September 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      ^^; floored is a word with good connotations not bad. And I think she was talking about The Beginning (which really wasn’t impressive apart from Empty) since most of the songs on In Heaven were from Their Rooms.

      Personally, I’ve always found DBSK’s post-Rising Sun stuff to be very generic pop apart from their lead tracks. It’s like after they got popular in Korea, SME stopped paying much attention to their Korean releases. The split’s actually improved the quality of the music released by all five of them because it made SME pay more attention to TVXQ’s songs and it gave JYJ freedom to create their own music.

      • dramapop September 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

        I forgot what the album’s name is but it’s the one that has Ayy Girl in it… That was just…horrible.

  6. popo September 16, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    i’m keen on observing dbsk/thsk just as much as kpop in general for all kpop-related issues and stuffs. but kpop songs or albums for me to remember or replay frequently are limited.
    for whole career of 5-piece dbsk/thsk and then 2-piece dbsk/thsk + jyj, i seriously can only pick a very few songs of theirs on frequently repeat, whether they are ‘kpop legend’ or not (to be precise, i think they’ve got credits for being hard-workers and (some) can sing instead of being musically credited because to me, their music, until this in heaven album, was uninspired generally speaking). i changed my opinion after this in heaven release.
    it surprised me that jyj could come out with such quality by themselves. i don’t like i.d.s or mission that much, probably their auto-tune / dance beat don’t click with me well on such tracks, but man, the rest is easily on my repeat list, at least for a while (in heaven is an exception as i think it’ll repeat it as much as i repeat kim boom soo’s hello goodbye hello)
    a shame that jyj can’t get their songs broadcasted easily in korea or elsewhere. definitely i would love to spread this kind of ‘kpop music’ to my multicultural friends sphere ^^

  7. dramapop September 17, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Hi everybody! Thanks for reading dramapop and commenting!
    Just a few topics, we change our banner/header every two weeks or so to reflect artists ans dramas that are in the spotlight (the last banners have been Infinite, Leessang, Protect the Boss, Super Junior…), so be sure to look out for the next one!
    Also, Clarence wrote most of the reviews of the songs on this album, and I (Temi) only wrote a few (NINE, Unnamed Song, Get Out) so I am really sorry for mixing up the the voices of JYJ! I am only a recent fan so I don’t really know their voices yet. 🙂
    Another thing, we considered adding the fact that most of the songs were composed, penned, and produced by members of JYJ, but we wanted to take away some bias from knowing who wrote what.
    Once again, thanks for commenting and reading our blog!!
    Temi 🙂 🙂

    • girlie September 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      thanks for the review!

      my favorite tracks from the album are the first three songs..love them so much

      hmmm about the voices it’s okay i cant tell the difference as well at first…you can tell the difference in voices if you listen to fallen leaves..the first one who started the song is jae, next is yoochun then junsu then yoochun again then jae then junsu…….

  8. Lillian (@wowxiah) September 18, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Thanks for the great review and welcome new fans to love JYJ songs!
    Junsu’s voice is the shining point whenever I heard the songs.
    Some of new songs while I heard in the concert, I couldn’t get much except Junsu’s portion becasue that Junsu a CD boy! After listening to the CD ver., I get the whole picture. “You’re” is beyond my imagniation as my favorite one right after CD ver. releasing! This “In heaven” album is fantastic !!

  9. Carol March 6, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Hello, I am from the U.S., JYJ is by far are extraordinary, and the maturity in each song from the Heaven Album and the cut they did with Kayne West, on their other album is 1st class. The diversity from their collaboration and skills to work with other ethnic groups shows their maturity to cross over, Kpop is blowing up here in the U.S. and JYJ is definitely on the top of the list. I pray we can all accept and respect the art that goes into making these tracks and each other opinions. As an american who is bilingual and dine at a lot of the Korean venues, I have managed a lot of artist here and by far hands down. JYJ is on the move….

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