SUPER JUNIOR – “SEXY, FREE, & SINGLE”
The light-disco style of Super Junior’s 2012 comeback single “Sexy, Free, And Single” deviated from the tired ‘SJ Funky’ vibes of their past three singles and welcomed elements that were equally familiar as they were fresh to listen to under these voices. Donghae and Eunhyuk tackled a way more derivative form of disco in their duo track “Oppa, Oppa“, which was comical first, but kind of fun and refreshing to hear from them as well. I got a similar response when I listened to “Sexy, Free, And Single”, except in this case the reward was two fold because the proper time and attention was given to the track, resulting in a dance number that filled more technical voids than a silly duet.
One great thing about “Sexy, Free, And Single” was the vocal performance itself. SM Entertainment is known for high-end productions, but this song in particular did a fantastic job of utilizing Super Junior’s vocal tonalities. Everyone from Ryeowook to Yesung sounded glorious, which helped loads in piercing through the merky synths, which by all accounts was probably the least polished piece of this winning single. Really nice job, boys. – McRoth
TAETISEO (GIRLS’ GENERATION-TTS) – “TWINKLE”
Yes, SM Entertainment totally jumped on the retro/funk bandwagon (those trendhumpers), but as we all know, it’s all in the execution. And by God, did Girls’ Generation sub-unit Taetiseo steal some of Secret’s big brass swag in “Twinkle” (see that’s what happens when you go to Japan, TS Ent! People steal your swag).
Furthermore, thanks to some serious gospel voicing, we now have concrete, beyond-all-doubt proof that Tiffany and Seohyun (otherwise known as Seo-Empress around these neck of the woods) can actually sing. Amen to that. – TESTAMENTVM
TEEN TOP – “TO YOU”
I really liked the musical approach TEEN TOP took for their second single this year, “To You“. The motif of its host album (‘aRtisT‘) was very different from January’s ‘It’s‘, but stylistically the departure wasn’t a dramatic one. The beat was still dance-pop, and very reminiscent of SISTAR‘s “Alone“; given both were composed by Brave Brothers, that much didn’t surprise.
If anything, “To You”, allowed a broader tasting session of TEEN TOP’s vocal range and diversity as a boy band. As someone who’s never quite gotten over how much Niel eats everybody else’s lines, the fact that the spectrum was widened this year was a pleasantry worth savoring.
Now, if only Ricky had a voice worth some lines of his own … – McRoth
VIXX – “ROCK UR BODY”
With so many idol groups roaming the streets of Korea, it’s easy to understand how groups like VIXX go overlooked by many – myself included. But that didn’t stop me from opening an ear of curiosity to what they had to offer this year and dear Lord was I excited by what I heard.
VIXX’s music is best distinguishable by its fruity use of glittery arpeggiated synths, which come in heavy waves throughout their second 2012 single, “Rock Ur Body“. It’s an extremely synth inclined musical style for a rookie group, but they’ve been doing such an exemplary job of it that it could very well become their niche from here on out. “Rock Ur Body”, as true to its name as it could get, provides a progressively explosive structure of rap, hooks, and a fist-pumping break down. Delivered by a surprising set of competent vocalists, VIXX’s “Rock Ur Body” is as snappy as a drag queen’s go-to show stopper. – McRoth
YOUNHA – “RUN”
While this list was organized in alphabetical order, it’s worth noting that – if I had ranked these in a best-of countdown – this song would have reigned as champion and taken the title of Best Song of 2012.
It’s fitting then to see Younha‘s “Run” close this two week special post, because not only am I being honest, but vouching proudly for this song’s standing as one of the greatest moments of the year.
“Run” is magical first, and overwhelmingly powerful second. Its spirited light-rock instrumental lifts Younha’s airy voice off the ground, and takes us with it on this incredibly moving adventure. As the title implies, there is a heart-pounding urgency here – thanks to the drum kit – and its this uplifting momentum that makes me want to scream and shout and jump incessantly for the love of all that is holy in this world. Thanks, Younha. – McRoth