Friday, October 23, 2009

SS501 - Rebirth

I'm drowned in schoolwork at the moment (A 30-page paper on the history of my university, a reading primer for elementary school kids AND my final exams next week. I hate school.) but writing keeps me sane so I will write. If I don't, I might self-destruct before I even see the light of my final exams. If you're with promo and you plan to send me stuff, go ahead but I won't be able to answer until sometime next week after my finals - keep the stuff coming in though! Hahah. ANYWAY.SS501, the band famous for having Kin Hyun Joong play Yoon Ji Hoo (did I get his family name right?) on Boys Over Flowers AND be best friends with Jaejoong GOD DBSK. They're back as a 5-piece after a long time away from the Korean industry and a few quite unsuccessful attempts to break Japan (is it just me or are they trying too hard to be the next Tohoshinki?) - I'm not that impressed.

Yeah, sure this album 'boasts' of American producers and the guys are all in eyeliner for the album cover + over 60-page photo book but really, the entire mini-album sounds generic and overused. The slower songs suck, they bored me to death the first time I heard them and they're not songs I'll consciously listen to again. I'll still take you through all 5 songs though because it's what I do.

Wasteland is generic, nothing special and at the beginning very boring. One of those trying hard 'piano-influenced R&B' numbers that turns into an auto-tuned song somewhere along the way. I do commend the songwriter and producer for making the chorus more explosive and not anti-climactic like I thought it would be. The verses put me off a bit but the bridge kind of redeemed the entire first part of the song - the chorus is nothing special either but it's not bad and it has its appeal. The second verse is much, much more interesting, I now blame everything on the guy who sang the first verse. All in all Wasteland is probably the best song on the album, nothing to gush about but the middle 8 is GORGEOUS.

Love Like This, the lead single, is even more boring than Wasteland. It sounds a little like Wasteland but more commercial and you know commercial for me means bland and uninteresting. I like the production and I like the instrumental but the melody is just, just - NO. By the verses you'd think the song's a bit serious but then the chorus turns into this cheesy-ish thing that really puts me off. However if this is what they mean by maturing musically, I highly doubt that. They've changed, yes, but this is not 'more mature'.

The next track, Haru G/Ka (I THINK it translates to days pass or something to that effect? Correct me if I'm wrong.) is the boring ballad I was talking about. Pretty melody, not bad vocals (I don't particularly think SS501 have outstanding vocals as a whole but they're not bad. I'll get to that later) but the entire package has been so overused and it's starting to get a bit boring.

Obsess is boring as well. No really, it's bland, generic and sounds like a reject track for some new R&B singer who wants to be the next Usher or something. They didn't sing or sell the song very well either. Nice try guys but the next time you attempt to be all 'global' or 'international' by working with American producers, at least get the good ones, OK? Good ones anywhere in the world won't give you reject songs or will at least try to make the rejects sound good.

I can't talk about the last track, I really can't. It's so bad and corny and UGH that I CANNOT stand the damn thing. The counting before the first chorus was the last straw for me - really, prepare your ears for the worst before you listen to it.

Although I don't like the songs as songs or packages, I've got to say that I was surprised at the quality of their vocals on this album. For the longest time I thought SS501 were a lot weaker than their other boyband equivalents *ahem* DBSK *ahem* but their vocals on Wasteland and Love Like This and even Haru G/Ka were not bad at all. In fact, they were quite good! I honestly didn't know these guys could sing like that. If there's one reason why you have to listen to the album at least once, it's to hear the vocals. The songs suck, yes but I do applaud the guys for delivering their vocals better than I expected.

3.3/5 Sadly the songs still suck.

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