Published on January 2nd, 2014 | by ponyforprez1
TVXQ’s got ‘Something’ to share
I have my reservations when it comes to SM releases, but when they release something good (no pun intended), it really is good.
So let’s get right into it. TVXQ. Is. Back. Also, it’s their 10th year so they’re bringing out the big guns. ‘Tense’ is TVXQ’s seventh album, and ‘Something’ is the album’s title track, one starkly different from ‘Catch Me’ and ‘Humanoids’, in which the duo ventured into robotic cadences and a futuristic concept.
The MV tries for a very 1920s feel (think The Great Gatsby) – with a big brass band, vintage microphones, hair coiffed to perfection, and the song is bass-driven, with a swing, jazzy vibe to it. Quite a number of idols have been gunning for such a sound and look recently (IU with ‘The Red Shoes’ or even label-mates TaeTiSeo with their razzle-dazzle in ‘Twinkle’), so it’s natural that TVXQ would hop on the bandwagon too. It’s a nice change from their hard-hitting songs, and it continues to show that the boys are veterans who hold their own, no matter what genre is thrown at them. Given how slick and suave Yunho and Changmin are, I’m not at all surprised that they execute ‘Something’ with utmost precision and class.
‘Something’ is incredibly addictive, one that is great to kickstart 2014 with. It’s unabashedly loud, confident and has a great build-up throughout. Much of the credit lies in how TVXQ is able to bring across so much life and conviction with their singing – a kind of unrestrained confidence and experience that shine through so prominently. They not only know when to add an extra ‘oomph’ to their lines but also when to hold back, and it constantly impresses me how smoothly the voices of these two go together. While Changmin’s gives off a weightier and fuller vibe, Yunho’s is lighter and delightfully playful. I’m also happy to point out that the big band sound of the track encompasses much of the song, which means that there is no overbearing use of synthesizers here, leaving plenty of room for the boys to show off their vocal prowess. The tempo switches up when the dance break hits, and we get sucked into this dupstep shift of drums and guitar, but it stays innovative enough without taking away the original intended genre of the song.
There’s no real storyline for ‘Something’, but it shows TVXQ as narcissistic males who are looking for that ‘something’ in a woman. Which of course leads to the both of them smugly being ogled by women in the MV, while the both of them strut and dance with sass. There’s been talk about how it’s not the greatest thing in the world to have only leggy white women be in the MV and portrayed as objects of beauty and awe (at the beginning of the MV, they are likened to paintings on a wall), and while that’s a whole other topic altogether, I do think the onslaught of mostly Caucasian women (save for the dancers) is unnecessary in demonstrating beauty. This, especially so in a place like South Korea, where the obsession with looking good is still a growing concern. It’s unfortunate enough that women are habitually depicted in the industry as sex symbols or objects of suggestive lyrics, and it would really help if K-pop starts to realise that as well.
That aside, the little motifs in the MV are really cool, like the large ‘X’ in the center of the dance floor, which is the Roman numeral for ’10’ to signify TVXQ’s 10th anniversary. The choreography is excellent as well, and I love how they incorporated the whole strings-playing into it. I mean, come on, were you not grinning to yourselves when the boys and their marionette-like dancing kicked into action? Kudos to the backup dancers for doing a great job as well – they really helped in solidifying the entire party sequence without taking the attention away from the main acts.
‘Something’ might not be raking in the views as quickly as when hoobaes and currently SM darlings EXO release something new, but TVXQ has proven they have staying power after so long. It’s hard to say how long these boys will remain relevant when more and more artistes are popping up, but one thing’s for sure: Yunho and Changmin have beaten the odds after coming back as a duo in 2011 to show us that they’re the least unlikely, yet most surprising pair out of TV5Q to gel together so well. And yes I’m confident that so long as they stick around, we’ll continue to be impressed for quite a few comebacks to come, so long as they continuously experiment and work with new material.