The world’s biggest  boyband is back with their fourth album this time with 10 members instead of the usual 13. If you’ve been living under a rock these past months, here’s a quick recap: Kibum is still MIA (supposedly busy with his acting lessons; who else thinks that this kid is moonlighting as a pornstar? Seriously), Kangin’s decided to hit the military and Hangeng has officially terminated his contract with SM Entertainment. I think.
I almost didn’t review this album because I knew I was going to be a little bit biased with my commentary. I think it’s because even if I’m not really part of the fandom anymore, Super Junior still holds a special spot in my heart (CHEESY), having popped my K-pop cherry and everything. In any case, I’ll try to remain as unbiased as possible 🙂
1. Bonamana/Bananamana – I have decided that this is what I will call this song forever and ever, amen. Anyway, I’m torn: on its own, it’s completely uninspired, your typical autotuned, messy hook song (people have been comparing it to Sorry Sorry and I have to admit that I see what they mean) but when you watch them perform it, the guys are just so high-energy that it’s hard not to like it. In any case, I think that the song’s merit comes from the fact that it’s a song obviously meant to be performed…and that’s about it.
2. Boom Boom – Strange lines aside (“Twinkle twinkle little star?” Seriously?), I feel like this would have made a stronger promotional song than Bananamana. Great beats and I also like that the hook (if there even is one) is not as annoying as most hooks tend to be in K-pop. I also particularly like the rapping that Eunhyuk does in this one, which is odd because as you’ve probably noticed, I have a love-hate relationship with raps (a note to Korean producers: NOT ALL SONGS NEED A RAP.) and SME rappers tend to have similarly awkward flows (see: Amber and Minho). Eunhyuk does a pretty good job with this one though.
3. Coagulation – Is it just me or is this a K.R.Y. song? Because I’m not hearing anyone other than Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung. Not that I’m complaining of course, as the three are obviously the strongest vocalists out of the group. Anyway, I think this is a beautiful song, amazing vocals…the only problem I have is that it’s also very boring – certainly not a song I’m going to be looking for in my mp3 player. It’s pretty flat throughout too and I think its lack of bridge and climax contributes to its lethargic quality.
4. Your Eyes – I will say this now: I am easily sold by the use of windchimes. I think it’s because under all of this rock and K-pop, I’m a cheesy, power-ballad girl at heart. Love this song, love the falsetto that Kyuhyun does, as well as the harmonization near the end because really, who does that anymore? Beautiful.
5. My Only Girl – I personally am not feeling this song, though I get why other people would like it, if that makes sense. The background music is just a bit too messy for my taste, and it tends to get repetitive in the end because there’s not much of a climax in the song.
6. My All is in You – I am so in love with this song, it’s not even funny. I think it’s partly because it reminds me of an Eric Benet song (I LOVE Eric Benet) because of the piano in the beginning, but also because of the beautiful harmonies in the chorus, as well as the adlibs by K.R.Y.
7. Shake it Up – As I listened to this song, there was a nagging feeling in my head that I had heard this song before and then I realized that the sound and general feel of the song is very similar to the Super Junior of the past, where they were all happy and bouncy and rather cutesy (see: Miracle, Dancing Out, Haeng Bok, etc). This song manages to evoke a similar feel but it’s not so cutesy that it gives off the feeling of regression. Again, I’m not feeling it but I can see why others would like it.
8. In My Dream – Beautiful song, amazing vocals but again, it’s kind of boring. I can see this song being used on a drama OST though.
9. One Fine Spring Day – Ryeowook’s solo song. To be honest, I was a little hesitant about this song because I absolutely do not like his voice. Please put down the rocks, I’m not saying that he can’t sing (he can sing his non-existent butt off, in my opinion), I’m saying that I’m not a fan of his thin, reedy voice. It works pretty well with this song though because it lends the song a certain gentleness that probably wouldn’t have been achieved with Kyuhyun’s deeper timbre or Yesung’s huskiness.
10. Good Person – You remember what I said about Shake It Up? This is an example of a song that gives off a feeling of regression. It sounds a little immature and feels a little out of place in an album with mostly ballad-sounding and kind of electronic-sounding numbers.
11. Here We Go – easily the weakest song off the album, I think. I mean, yeah it sounds fun and upbeat but again, immature and to get a little nitpicky, the many key changes make me cringe.
General Comments: You’d think that now that Super Junior is now down three members, the other members would get a chance to shine. Apparently not. I think that SME does a pretty good job of promoting their stronger vocalists by giving them chances to shine on the album, if not the main promotional track, through ballads and solos that require more complicated vocal acrobatics but it works a little weirdly in Super Junior’s case because now that K.R.Y. is practically carrying the group, the other members are beginning to feel a little useless.
As far as the album goes, it wasn’t as strong as I would have liked (like I said, Super Junior is probably the oldest group that I’ve reviewed on this blog and thus I expect more) and again a lack of continuity would be my main critique (should I stop nitpicking?) as well as the last two tracks that feel like they were just added to evoke nostalgia in the fans. I would have liked to see a more or less equal mix of upbeat songs and ballads. I would also like to take this opportunity to flail over Kyuhyun, who will forever remain my vocal bias in the entirety of Kpop. FLAIL FLAIL FLAIL.
All in all, I’d say 3.5/5. Not bad, you guys.