K-Pop Music Reviews: TVXQ – Keep Your Head Down – Part II

We left off last time discussing TVXQ’s early beginnings. Today, we’re going to go into a little more detail about how exactly they went from being a 5-member band to being a 2-member one.

Please note that a measly blog post is nowhere near enough to cover the full scale of the story. I will be providing the summarized chain of events here; if you have any further questions, I suggest you do a quick Google search. Google works wonders, you know!

Anyways, let’s flash back to early 2010.

Let's party like it was 2010!

In January of 2010, TVXQ released their twenty-ninth single, entitled “Break Out!”

Yes, their twenty-ninth. How many other artists do you know of that have released nearly thirty singles in seven years? These guys were churning out music, both Korean and Japanese, left and right.

Of course, if you rise…you must fall.

In April of 2010, 3 of the members of TVXQ (Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong) filed a lawsuit against their entertainment company, SM Entertainment. From here on, I will refer to the trio as “JYJ” to reduce the amount of typing that I have to do. Anyways, JYJ filed suit against their company, alleging that they were treated unfairly, didn’t get to have any say in their music and promotions, and that they were being overworked. One word from the whole charade has entered the Korean lexicon: the term “slave contract” is now used to refer to contracts that may be biased or unfair against the performer.

In any case, JYJ would go on to win their case (it was actually just wrapped up a few weeks ago) and would form their own group, entitled – any guesses? – JYJ. They would run into some trouble, however; none of the major broadcast stations would allow them on TV, for fear of reprisals from the entertainment behemoth that was called SM Entertainment.

It looks like the future is brightening for JYJ; they recently won the verdict that SME was indeed interfering in their activities, and there are talks of a drama starring one of the members.

However, this review is NOT about JYJ. So we leave the trio, and come back to the now-2-membered TVXQ, with only Changmin and Yunho – who didn’t take part in the lawsuit – allowed to remain.

They returned in January 2011 with “Keep Your Head Down”.

And boy, did they return with a bang.

Personally, I’m against the usage of the word “epic” to describe stuff, but in this case, I think I can make an exception.

This song is epic.

I mean, come on! Check out that bass beat! And to my knowledge, this is one of the only instances of pop music – Korean or otherwise – that uses French horns. It really is very refreshing to hear music that isn’t yet another regurgitated instance of synth pop or bubblegum pop. But then again, TVXQ hasn’t been really known for their bubblegum pop in the first place.

How shall I say it…there’s something very refined about “Keep Your Head Down”. If the rest of the music industry can be compared to some sort of a Mexican Riviera party going down at Cabo San Lucas, TVXQ would be the equivalent of a cultured Mardi Gras ball at a mansion somewhere in Louisiana.

Yunho and Changmin’s voices are amazing, as always. I especially enjoy listening to Yunho’s rapping skills; his voice is refined and seductive. My god, did I really say that about a man’s voice?

It’s hard to find anything missing or out of place in this song. I won’t say it’s perfect – it does suffer a bit from the bridge section and its general lack of “energy” compared to the rest of the song, but it really is a damn fine song, and one of my favorites. TVXQ’s “Keep Your Head Down” earns:

4.5 out of 5 stars.

One Comment Add yours

  1. SSsss says:

    Arashi – thirty-five singles, forty-two music videos…
    Just popped into my head ^^

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