When the seams holding DBSK together finally burst open in the summer of 2009 and the subsequent SM-JYJ lawsuit tore the hearts of the millions of fans across the globe, many of us were at odd with ourselves: where do we go from here, whose side are we on? I doubt no one wanted to witness such a tragic end to such a talented group of young men, but such is the fate of many in the ruthless industry of K-pop. And now we have HoMin and JYJ on our hands.
Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu didn’t even wait for the dust to settle to begin toying with their new freedom, cranked out a ‘music essay’ which was a bundle of songs that were, in my opinion, well versed and harmonious rants about the aftermath of their fall out. Then, this past spring and summer, JYJ departed on a world tour to perform their music after being banned as a group on three of Korea’s major broadcast networks. Upon returning to the homeland, each of the three members have been engaged in various projects to stay in the spotlight: Junsu was part of a musical, and Yoochun and Jaejoong acted in dramas. Yet, despite all they do, these kids just can’t get a break-they’ve yet to reach a mainstream stage or music show. They’ve faced serious setbacks in pursuing their own careers, but not even the wrath of the great SM Entertainment seems to be slowing them down.
On the flipside, Yunho and Changmin of DBSK are seemingly getting on with their lives. But are they really? With the endless buzz about JYJ this and JYJ that sprinkled with Jaejoong’s avid and thoroughly emotional tweeting, it seems like we are all very much aware of what JYJ is doing and where they’re going despite their absence on major stages. But HoMin seems to stuck in the rut of their normal routine - jet-setting between Japan and Korea, and occasionally making appearances on the small screen via CF’s and now drama. They’re doing the same things every idol group does. For some reason, I always dubbed DBSK as the super-group, capable of anything and everything all at the same time. But now here we are with two mega stars being churned into mediocre idols.
It’s no secret that Yunho and Changmin were not the main vocalists, so venturing out on their own warrants some room for the experimentation of their new sound. But disregarding vocals, the new DBSK as a whole has a questionable image-lately I’ve just seen a lot of leather and poorly handled outfits, and their latest Japanese promotions was a total miss. And other than the usual, HoMin hasn’t really been making much a statement. They’ve doing what they’ve always done, and I think that is and will be their greatest mistake. Both Yunho and Changmin are stunningly handsome and talented young men, but they haven’t come forth with much ingenuity, or at least not enough to rival the competition brought by other, newer groups and even by JYJ. Thus, they slowly seem to be fading into the background as their music stays the same and even unimpressive, and as other idols crowd the pop scene, especially the other SM babies.
With both good and bad press being circulated about JYJ, its press all the same, and JYJ is rising to significant prominence either way. Unfortunately, I dont know if the same thing can be said about their DBSK counterparts. It seems almost as if Yunho and Changmin are stuck in the cogs of the music industry just waiting to be churched out as age and military duties come around. Honestly, they lack the musical and contractual freedom to do much else except for singing and acting, which I guess is the consequence staying with SM Entertainment.
All five original DBSK members encountered struggles when the group split apart. It’s hard to say whether it had been clear which half would come out on top of it all, but I’m sure a couple months back, as JYJ was being continuously denied rights to perform and public appearances, we all thought HoMin would triumph and continue to reign supreme. Today though, the HoMin DBSK seems to be losing artistic roots in desperate attempts to stay mainstream.
As JYJ continues to pursue their own musical experiments and defy industry norms, perhaps it is Yunho and Changmin who will be remembered not for their attempts to keep the faith alive, but rather for being the paling and weathered remnants of what was once considered one of the greatest kpop groups of our time.
1st is Jaejoong's 너에겐 이별 나에겐 기다림 from Sungkyunkwan Scandal. I would say that this is a song that Jae only and only Jae can pull off (amongst JYJ). The vocal range is extensive, and his vibrato fits this song perfectly. His gentle vocal expression also bring out the sorrow of this song best. The best way to describe how he delivered this song is powerful gentleness. The last chorus with modulation really wows me. One of the best OST ever.
2nd is Yoochun's 너를 위한 빈자리 from Miss Ripley. Yoochun's trademark singing technique is being very breathy. It's a totally different style from Jaejoong and Junsu and it bothers me sometimes that he's so breathy that I want to shout: "CATCH YOUR BREATH!!" But for this song, it totally works. It's so mellow that his breathy technique makes him sound innocent and vulnerable, as though he's singing as Yoohyun (his character in Miss Ripley) and not Yoochun. But thankfully not too breathy as his previous works. Just nice is the word.
3rd is Junsu's Too Love from Sungkyunkwan Scandal and You Are So Beautiful from Scent of A Woman. In my opinion, these two songs are similar in styles. And they are both sung by Junsu, hence I grouped them together. This type of ballad really suits Junsu, as compared to more heart-tugging ballads like Jaejoong's above. His weakness would be his lower register as his vocal range is not as wide as Jaejoong's. On one hand, I have to put on earphones to be able to listen clearly to his lower notes. But one thing I love is how husky his voice sounds when it's low. Yet, it is a known fact that his forte is his powerful voice. And it is triumphant in this two songs. He has the power to bring forth an immensely overwhelming sense of warmth to his listeners. When he sings, you feel him. You feel what he wants you to feel. As he once said, when he sings ballads, he'll transform into the saddest man on the planet. You can feel his expression even in his voice. And I applaud him for that. On a plus side, to make up for his weak lower register, his falsetto is truly wonderful. And I absolutely adore how he sings the 2nd verse for You Are So Beautiful. Beautiful. It's magnificent how he manages to glide from the softest gentlest voice to the most earth shaking powerful voice. I'm still in awe as to how he can have the most powerful voice (明日は来るから, Love In The Ice, etc) and the gentlest voice (인사, どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう？, etc) at the same time. Well, that's Junsu for you.
What's left now is Jaejoong's OST for Protect the Boss!