Unfortunately, the rest of the album drops the ball when it comes to intensity and matching the success of some of the better songs on “Tarantallegra”.
“Fever” is an average up-tempo song that doesn’t really go anywhere. Where it does go is straight to the back burner. It definitely has a JYJ vibe to it, and I feel like this would have worked much better with all three voices mixing up the vocal lead, because as it stands it really is forgettable and flat.
The album closes with “이슬을 머금은 나무“. For an album that was overwhelmed with sappy ballads, this one doesn’t stand out in the least bit. In fact, I feel like it could have used another run through by the mixing engineer, because something about the vocals doesn’t sit properly with the rest of the song, especially in the chorus. They’re definitely a bit on the hot side for me, like Junsu’s whispering loudly into my ear.
As much as I’d like that to actually happen, trust me I do, it didn’t really sit right to my ears. Perhaps it’s the fact that the entire chorus is a series of accents, but I think at least doubling his voice or chorus-ing it would have broadened the sharpness a bit. Either way, the song drags on forever and doesn’t stand out from the rest of the bunch.
“Tarantallegra” is a set of hits and misses for me, with the slower moments acting as anchors more than smooth, sensible bridges between the louder sections of the album. It struggles to create momentum, and when it does, an anchor is set and ready to stop it in its tracks. I feel like there wasn’t a strong enough relationship between the slow and fast songs on “Tarantallegra”, when there could have been had Junsu taken the time to think as big about his ballads as he did with his up-tempos. It’s clear that Junsu wants his ballads to be pretty and melodic, but when the rest of the songs are modeled after cheap dance tracks, the continuity starts feeling as unbalanced as that of an SM Entertainment album.
The best moments of this album came when Junsu served us a mouthful of all that voice and paired it with styles that work as a complement. He loves his strings and he adores his urban-pop, and for the most part, Junsu made them flow pretty freaking well. I appreciate the bareness of most of the uptempo tracks, albeit most forgettable, because it’s a direct contrast from the pop songs you hear now that are chock full of bullshit noise.
Tarantallegra gave us simple, noiseless music. It fell flat more times than I would have liked, and the overall tone got lost on me, but this is a really interesting start for Junsu to experiment even further with in his future projects.
Author Recommendation: For a perfect example of what a proper ballad should sound like, at least one that resembles the edge of what Junsu attempted to capture in his lead single, I highly suggest listening to Spanish pop diva Monica Naranjo‘s 2008 exceptional album, coincidentally titled “Tarantula“.