Saturday, December 15, 2012

[#23] JJ Project - "Hooked"

From: "Bounce"
Format: EP
Released: May
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Appearances: First Appearance

JJ Project's debut earlier this year was proof that not all rookies need to adhere to a so-called "rookie standard", or that they should be excused for not being good enough. Because really, everything from the songs, to the image, to their stage presence in particular, blew all the other rookies out of the water.

Even if I liked all the songs off their debut release, "Hooked" was the one that best-embodied what JJ Project are, and it was the most consistently good song. Yeah, "Bounce" was the lead single and they carried it so well on stage, but as a song it has a hard time standing on it's own, and even if "Until This Song Ends" has a gorgeous melody, it's not JJ Project enough. "Hooked" is, and it's an amazing song to boot.

This is also one of the rare songs where I completely, without question, approve of the standard JYP singing style that makes people sound like they're being strangled 95% of the time, or the standard confused rap-singing. In this case, the vocals on the song give it both grace and edge -- the melody is graceful when set on top of the very rugged choice of instruments, but at the same time it creates some good friction when the melodic parts are double-tracked and when they start sing-screaming at the ends of lines. And it really helps that both Js strengths are taken advantage of, so the delivery is pretty consistent, and extremely confident.

"Hooked" takes the tongue-in-cheek fun that they're known for, and adds a whimsical side to it. Its fun, its edgy, but it's graceful. While "Bounce" is really in your face and noisy almost, "Hooked" is a little less intense, and has this dreamy, welcoming feel to it. If "Bounce" is something to head-bang to, "Hooked" is something to sing along to.

But even if "Hooked" is the tamer song, there's still that urgency, and that strong sense of brevity to the way the song was delivered. Which just goes to show that JJ Project's identity isn't just in the songs, it's also in their delivery.

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