written by: McRoth
This is not exactly a single, but it’s definitely worth giving a listen. If not for its line-up – which consists of Eunhyuk (Super Junior), Hyoyeon (Girls’ Generation), Taemin (SHINee), Henry (Super Junior-M), Kai and Lu Han (EXO) – then at least for the sensory overload it’ll give you. And as you’ll soon find out, that might actually be the understatement of the year.
“Maxstep” is a collaborative CF song by SM Entertainment and Hyundai Motor Company, so naturally it’s the most explosive thing ever. Quite literally, as the compression levels are through the roof. What a treat this must have been for the mixing engineer, as it not only delivers an incredibly loaded instrumental, but vocals that range in everything from shrieks to throaty screamo bits. It’s next-level frightening and almost intimidating to listen to. Yet SM has never been one for subtlety and that much is clear today as ever.
“Maxstep” pushes the limits even further in the SM experimentation. Crossing dubstep with what I’m going to call pop-metal, the outcome is definitely overwhelming, especially if you consider that this style isn’t exactly common in K-Pop. Younique, the sub-unit, however did a pretty decent job of executing it. It was general screaming and sing-talk, something any SM idol could have done, but as has been emphasized by all – this was a sub-unit of dancers. You hear everyone throw around notes, Henry hitting the highest in Changmin realness, but the focus was more on the sheer energy and adrenaline rush of the song than a particularly amazing vocal performance. It is a CF song, after all.
There’s something to be said about SM’s effort to experiment and toy with sound and style, because there isn’t another K-Pop company that pushes the listening experience to the extreme quite like they do. “Maxstep” is the latest example, and while it’s more miss than hit on all fronts this time, the avant-garde elements are still appreciated.
>> Bonus lulzy reactions to “Maxstep” from Twitter for your enjoyment:
sm outta stop they stuf with those sound effects, i thought a plane was gonna hit my house—
ciera 씨에라 (@CiNi501) October 31, 2012
"Maxstep" is classic SM – overwhelming emphasis on the visual, relegating melody/vocals to an afterthought. It was nice to see Henry, though—
Marissa Pak (@MarissaPak) October 31, 2012
Singles of any kind are not rated with the same rating system used for mini and full albums.