Title: 죽어도 못 보내 (Can’t Let You Go Even if I Die)
Release Year: 2010
Trust me, the title isn’t as wordy in Korean – some things just can’t be translated properly.
2AM is a four-member pop ballad group that consists of Jo Kwon, Changmin, Seulong, and Jinwoon. (I’ve heard many an American butcher the last two names. Please, stop trying – you’ll only hurt yourself.) They were formed in 2008 along with their brother group, 2PM, which mainly focuses on energetic dance tracks – I’ll cover 2PM later on. For now, let’s focus on 2AM.
I’m usually not a fan of ballads, and especially ballads that are sung by male singers – for some reason, if I do like a ballad, it’s probably going to be sung by a female singer. (Taeyeon’s “I Love You” comes to mind.) However, 2AM’s voices here are simply divine, and definitely worth a listen.
When one first listens to this track, it might not sound like anything special – the individual voices, while perfectly fine by themselves, don’t really have any special qualities that make you stand up and take notice, and indeed, the song starts out pretty slow with each member singing a few lines accompanied by a soft piano.
This song really comes into being, however, when the members start singing against each other. Their voices match each other perfectly; they all complement each other, filling in the weaknesses of their individual components and making sure none of them grossly stand out. The accompaniment towards the end of the song is especially well-crafted; the usage of echos – something that I barely see in modern music anymore – is utilized to its full effect, adding a slight reverberation to the chorus, and the slightly electronic instrumental never gets too overbearing to drown out the voices. On the whole, the orchestral background works well – although sometimes, the string section can drown out some of the voices, but it’s not a big concern.
The song is weak, however, during its individual parts. 2AM might be fine singers – some of the best in the industry – but their voices (Jinwoon’s, in particular) just don’t have the gravity to carry a song on its own, and as a result, the song sometimes lags, as if it’s been running for too long and needs to take a break for a few seconds.
But taking the entire track into consideration, this is a song that I fervently wish that some of the other K-Pop groups in the industry can take a page out of. That would make this particular fan of Korean music very, very happy.
4 stars out of 5.