Album Review: Super Junior’s Sexy, Free, & Single


Super Junior

Sexy, Free, & Single

July 1, 2012

Packaging/Photobook/Appearance:

 iTunes Photo Album:

In comparison to Mr. Simple’s photo concept, SFS seems quite tame, but the styling is still rather unfortunate for certain members. While Donghae and Leeteuk, despite odd ornamentation, are dazzling and manage to convey the “beautiful males” concept well, Siwon and Sungmin’s Lord of the Rings/Elfin transformation is unsettling. Especially Siwon, who is supposed to be the “man” of the group. Kangin, Kyuhyun and Shindong sustained uneventful alterations to their current looks. Eunhyuk and Yesung were both boring; they had no flashy makeup or fun clothing, and were merely adorned with what looks like shrubbery and flora that someone picked up after a small wind storm. And a note to SM’s stylists: if Super Junior is going to show skin we want to see more than just boobs. Nobody gets all hot and bothered by one awkward boob. And last but not least, we ADORED Ryeowook! His styling from makeup to clothing is so Vogue and we loved his striped overlay. Ryeowook is what the whole photoshoot should have been like.

Physical Album: 

This is no album, this is a book with a sound track.

This album packaging is one of the nicest, if not the nicest and classiest we have ever seen. With an always stylish navy blue cover, adorned with your choice of red, gold, or silver embossed font the exterior is sophisticated and demure. We chose gold to be the most delightful of the selection. Red was too busy and lost its inherent simplicity, while silver did not look good under certain lighting. Upon opening the book we were pleasantly surprised when we found how tasteful it was. The layout of the pictures and wording is exquisite and showed a great deal of restraint on the part of SM, which was something that they have never before displayed. This layout has an old world elegance that is lost among the clutter that is glitter and flash. Though this book was most likely made on Microsoft Word, its simplicity that stood out.

The construction of this book is impeccable; it has sewn and glued binding and what we guess to be around 40 lb. paper, which is quite expensive. The photobook is 84 pages, comprised of a name introduction, 4 pictures of each member, a personal message from each member, and lyrics of every song plus a credit page concluding the card stock pages. We love the photo placement; one a page is large enough to really appreciate each photo.

 The only thing we didn’t like about this album is the photos themselves. The photobook from iTunes shares only one photo with the physical album, and the 3 extra pictures in this version alter our opinions little. We like Donghae, Leeteuk and Ryeowook’s photos- they have little things that are slightly strange but they don’t affect the trio’s shimmering beauty.  Eunhyuk and Yesung’s pictures were alright, but we could not look past the nappy hair and unnecessary nakedness. Shindong and Kyuhyun underwhelmed us and Kyuhyun looks as if he fell asleep on a clear candy wrapper. Siwon, Sungmin and Kangin look completely unappealing. Siwon and Sungmin are actually scary and Kangin is awkward.

Rating: 9

Music:

01. “Sexy, Free, & Single”
02. “너로부터” (From U)
03. “Now”
04. “Rockstar”
05. “걸리버” (Gulliver)
06. “언젠가는” (Someday)
07. “달콤씁쓸” (Bittersweet)
08. “빠삐용 (Butterfly)
09. “머문다” (Daydream)
10. “헤어지는 날” (A ‘Good’bye)

We are appalled at the English in this album.  We know they aren’t the most gifted group in English, but this verged offensive. It has been thoroughly proven that they all lack any ability in English, yet SM hasn’t given up filling Super Junior’s songs with it. The pronunciation is bad and the phrases make no sense.

Seriously SM, we formally offer to teach any K-Pop idol English pronunciation. Idols don’t have to learn the language at all, just be able to say their lines proficiently. Whatever SM is currently doing to teach/tutor English to their idols is hopelessly failing. The saddest part is Super Junior has Henry whom we ask: “Why are you not helping the rest of them???”.  And then we wonder: “Is their pronunciation with help…?”.  We are baffled as to how their English is so horrible at this point in their careers.

We find this to be Super Junior’s weakest album simply because, besides the vocals, this is what we expect from a rookie group. Although we dislike most of the songs on this album, the flow is better than Mr. Simple. However we see the same problem of music volume versus singing volume that we saw with their fifth album.

P:

The reason why I am choosing not use two lists as usual, is for the simple fact I don’t particularly love any song on this album.  SFS is unfathomably disappointing for Super Junior. It lacks beauty and fineness as a whole, while for the first time I actually depose some of their songs.  Do not misunderstand me, I place virtually no blame on the members of Super Junior for it is the songs themselves that I loath.

 The production of practically every song is awful.  I will talk about each song from worst to best.:

Oh the agony! “Gulliver” is one of the songs that I actually regret spending money on.  The song is not all horrible, but a few parts just are absolutely unbearable. The one amazing this is Ryeowook’s heavenly vocals of half of the chorus.  His voice is gorgeous for those few notes that he is singing in the song.  While the individual “raps” are so-so, the part that is just unacceptable is the amount of times the word “Gulliver” is being said.  It is not an attractive word, and the stupid stuttering puts a serious frown on my face.  “Gulliver” is marketed as interesting because of Eyunhyuk’s hand at  composing the music, but it is completely overpowered by the weird ass “singing/rapping.”

The first 15 seconds alone was enough to inspire hatred for me.  The quality somehow only deteriorated as the song advanced.  The first time through this song the dumb English phrases were funny, but every time I listen to it they increase in idiocy and decrease in humor.  This kind of song has no value, and should just die!

“Butterfly” is yet another fine example of over produced sparkly music for the weak of mind who need to be overstimulated to be interested in anything.  In all music the this that really determines how good a song is, other than vocal ability, is the chorus.  Some choruses are so profoundly powerful and addictive that they make the song, whereas this sort of chorus is just annoying, and only accumulates toxicity the more it is repeated.

“Now” is not bad, but is far from excellent.  Once again the chorus is bad, with tired melodies this song is really just boring if nothing else.

This needs to stop immediately.  These boring, though well executed, ballads put people to sleep. Super Junior has sung more than enough of them for all the groups in K-Pop so enough is enough, this just needs to end.

I probably could have loved “For U” if there did not exist the indescribably perfect version of it from the Super Show 3.  Yoo Young-Jin destroys the original version, his talent makes it one of the most perfectly executed and flowing songs that we have ever heard from K-Pop. Every note is perfection and he adds a lilt to create the optimal R&B song. While within Super Junior the only person capable of that distinctively black sound is Yesung.  Where Yesung in this case, unlike “Sorry, Sorry-Answer”, can not measure up to Yoo Young-Jin, for the sole reason his English is atrocious. He is an amazing singer, but baby no.  Just no. Never. Ever. The second half of the song, which was not part of the original is beautiful.  But the song just sounds so much more personal with just one person singing, making the chorus a drag.  While we also just don’t think Kyuhyun has the personality in his singing to really be helpful as a vocalist in this sort of song.  He is void of swing, making him sound super flat especially in comparison to Yesung or Yoo Young-Jin. But much to my relief, at least this song was not butchered by anyone else in the group, as soon as I heard the description of the song I just knew it would be muddled up by Donghae’s quacking or the tone deaf Siwon. But at least as a relief the lest vocally talented members had only a hand in the chorus.

“SFS” is a guilty pleasure for me, it will never be something that I am proud to kind of like, but it is too undeniably catchy to resist.  But the word “sexy” needs to be banned from Korean songs, it just makes them so creepy. Kyuhyun and Yesung sound marvelous throughout the song. It is nice to see Kyuhyun putting some effort in for a change, if he just put a fraction of his sassiness into his singing he would be amazing. Since we already reviewed this song on the Music Video post I feel no need to continue.

Now for the three songs that don’t bother me at all to listen to. “Bittersweet” is nice, but has that same rock ballad thing that is so overdone for Super Junior especially.  It is an easy song to like but is not special or all that memorable. The clarity of K.R.Y. is to die for, as usual they perform with perfection.  The lame 90’s drumming in the background is the unattractive, the composition is so tired and overused, this song would have been so much more gorgeous as an A Capella or acoustic piece.

“Day Dream” unlike “Bittersweet” is a bit more modern, but again lacks originality.  It implements one of my biggest musical pet-peeves; being overusing falsetto. A falsetto should be a special and rare thing to add a delicate touch to something otherwise manly and powerful.  Surprisingly I just can’t bring myself to like either of the two instances where Yesung uses it.  Falsetto’s just did not feel appropriate for this song.  The singing lacked volume and power, which I blame on the bass line being much to prevalent. While I LOVE the rap-singing part, and wish it continued for about 20 more seconds.  When this song quickens its tempo and builds up it is fabulous, but it never quite built to a full climax.

What potential “A Good-Bye” had. it is unique and quirkily delightful for a ballad. But an unforgivable problem is it is basically three different songs with alternating choruses and bridges.  Every verse sounds like it should be in a different song. And maybe two of the three at one time would have been been successful, preferably the slow talking/singing and fast paced anxious bits would have made an amazing song. But those little soft and delicate portions just clash so much with the power of the Spanish style guitar and power belting. It would have been delightful to see the little section from 1:27 and its correlating later section in a separate song, the little clock/robot theme is adorable sounding and would make the sweetest little song.

And to my largest grievance that pertains to the entire album: Where is the volume in the singing??????? Especially in Yesung and Ryeowook’s vocalizations in virtually every song the power is tucked away behind the music and or another person singing.  As demonstrated in the past the past, they have more than enough power to make our ears ring for several hours after a soulful ballad. But this weak-ass shit is disappointing.  Like Mr. Simple, the music just eats the singing, the reason that these fine men do not get the recognition they deserve is because a majority of their songs don’t showcase their talent.  Every other Super Junior album has at least one kick-ass ballad, that is so powerful and demanding that your brain melts. But “SFS” lacks this, to me, key song.

Rating: 6.0

B:

Favorites:

I really like the chorus for “Now”. I’m not sure why, but it may have to do with my small love for rock n roll. I love the guitar, and I especially like Yesung and Ryeowook’s voices in this song. I think it’s very different from what we normally see from them, and I found their voices to fit surprisingly well with this genre.

The first time I heard “Bittersweet” there’s only one thing I thought of (and I don’t know if I’m the only one), and that is the Korean drama You’re Beautiful. Something about this song is extremely reminiscent of that drama (which just so happens to be one of my favorites), and it instantly appealed to me. The really soft melodic tune mixed with Super Junior’s sweet voices seemed simple, but lovely, just like much of the music for You’re Beautiful‘s OST. Korean dramas aside though, I think the song is very pretty (though admittedly nothing really special), and I thought the members’ voices fit the song well.

 Besides “Bittersweet”, the other slower song I enjoyed is “Daydream”, but for entirely different reasons. While “Bittersweet”, in my opinion, is just pretty, I think “Daydream” is a job well done. “Bittersweet” utilizes only Super Junior’s main vocalists, and “Daydream” actually incorporates all the members and there’s some serious harmonization being done. Their voices blend beautifully together for the chorus, and K.R.Y. still has just enough spotlight to really help the song shine. And then there’s the rap, which I absolutely adored. Not really because it was amazing or anything, but it was so cute and fit the song’s mood perfectly.

My first opinion on “A Good Bye” was that the song was a slight mess. This song goes from a seemingly slow ballad, to a faster tempo, and then slows back down, speeds up, etc. It does this roller coaster thing continuously, and while each part sounds nice, it seemed too messy. That was my first opinion though. After a couple listens, I really started to enjoy the roller coaster thing, and technically it wasn’t too weird- whether it was a slow or fast tempo, the song maintained a very bubbly mood. If “Bittersweet” reminds me of You’re Beautiful, this song definitely reminds me of the anime Fruits Basket. Take a sickeningly sweet song, add a pinch of deep feelings and a handful of fun and upbeat pop and you get this song in a nutshell.

Least Favorites:

What I hate about “Now” is the fact that they had to mix annoying electronica into the song. It’s very subtle, but it’s still there, and I think if they made the bridges just a bit more tasteful and lost the annoying autotune during the chorus, it would’ve been a much better song.

 “Gulliver” just isn’t nice. The chorus is awful, the song doesn’t do their voices justice, and this song isn’t catchy- it’s just annoyingly repetitive. And I don’t even want to discuss why I hate “Butterfly”. I hate “Gulliver” for the repetition- having SJ sing “Papillon” over and over and over again in my ears was unpleasant to say the least.

Rating: 8.3

Overall Rating: 7.7

~P&B

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8 responses to “Album Review: Super Junior’s Sexy, Free, & Single

  1. The “Truth About K-Pop”? Really? How is that truth? Please respect the fact that those are opinions. Learn some English because you seem to lack the knowledge of the definitions of TRUTH AND OPINION. And if you don’t like the music, artist, band, whatever, then here’s a tip. JUST DON’T LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t like someone’s singing voice? DON’T LISTEN TO THEM OR WHATEVER THEY SING IN. It’s common sense. But it is obvious some people just enjoy criticizing others for “imperfections” or things that are not your taste. The world doesn’t revolve around your opinions.

    • … This comment is depressing. If we bought the album and took this amount of time listening to it, do you think we could possibly hate the group. Also get your facts straight if you look at our blog in its entirety or even just a few key posts you would know that everything you said was wrong, and you jumped to assumptions without even having the proper knowledge. PLUS
      You don’t know us. (With the ghettoest pronunciation of that phrase physically possible while conveyed over the internet.)

  2. the truth.. i also hope Siwon-ssi practice sing more. I like ‘Someday’ but it has lack. I love ‘From U’ too, but (espicially for me) i like KRY version (on their concert) more.

    Yup, Kangin is back in this album. perhaps i almost forgot about his voice (sorry, i became their fans after bonamana release), but his voice bit like Yesung, but different upper tone

  3. This is offtopic. But seriously, instead of naming your blog “the truth about Kpop”, you should rename it as “our opinion about kpop”. You think your opinions are facts? Then fuck you!

  4. I actually loved Sungmin in SFS…and Teukie was just plain hot in the MV. Siwon was just plain bad. His hairstyle in the MV (the side-slicked thing) looked pretty weird on him. Omg~~~Kangin’s back!! I agree with your opinion about the songs, although I find Sexy, free, and single addicting and I really liked Butterfly :)
    I just ordered my hardcover copy and I also bought the album on iTunes. Can’t wait for it to arrive from Seoul ^^

  5. … Ryewook usually has really nice styles so I’m not surprised. As for Yesung, I think his new hairstyle is a BIG improvement from last time. I don’t think Super Junior has changed much from Mr. Simple other than the clothes but I also don’t think that they are… really awkward. To be truthful though, Kyuhyun probably had the most boring cloths. Sungmin didn’t look that bad… a bit weird. Ok I’ll admit it, as much as I love Super Junior Siwon looked mighty awkward. Except for this one point when his hair was slicked to the side. That was really kind of different. Donghae was amazing. So was Leeteuk. Kangin, Shindong seemed boring. Other from the bright blonde hair Shindong had. Eunhyuk did seem a bit boring but this whole concept except for a few people was kind of boring. But I can not get enough of the Sexy Free and Single video. XD

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