Let me tell you, this song is straight up pretty.
Here’s Tohoshinki‘s newest song, ‘With All My Heart‘ for reference:
As if TVXQ’s ‘Best Selection 2010’ including ‘Break Out!’ weren’t enough, they go ahead and throw in this lovely ballad, expressed beautifully through the voices of Junsu, Yunho, Yoochun, Changmin, and Jaejoong.
I’ll go straight into this with the instrumental, because that’s what I’m focusing on in this review.
‘With All My Heart‘ is stuffed with strings, left and right. No doubt, an archetype of universal ballads. If I take this song from section to section, I start getting a little picky. As a whole, it’s beautiful, but the minor details that bug me are mainly in the actual strings. Strings, as in plural, is meant to be synonymous with the word ‘orchestra’. Not a full orchestra, just the particular ensemble made up of string instruments – the main parts: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass / with the occasional addition of: guitar, harp, etc. – you know. Well, a lot of mainstream ballads love to zero in on 1/4 of a string ensemble. Take a wild guess at what section I’m talking about. . .
You know it, the violins. It’s not that I hate them or anything, but Violin ≠ Orchestra. If you listen closely, the violins are all you hear in this song, as far as the strings go. It’s overpowering. It definitely sounds beautiful, it does wonders to this song, I love it. But if they had added a little more dimension into the strings, this song could potentially be perfection.
I am 100% in agreement that the higher pitched instruments aught to be used throughout the chorus – in essence, they are the defining melody in a piece of work. However, going back to this song, if I heard a cello and bass, even a viola section or a lower octave section woven into the verses at the beginning, it would 1.) add weight to the song, and 2.) compliment Tohoshinki’s beautiful vocals.
I guess I’m just a bass whore, cuz I want so much of it. I really can’t help myself, being a cellist. That’s my excuse. If only they had decided on a full orchestra arrangement with some winds and stuff – then I’d definitely shut the hell up.
And as a last complaint, there could have been a few more ‘slides’ here and there, like in the beginning. A slide, by the way, or glissando is when the musicians literally slide their fingers (technically or not) up or down the fingerboard on the strings. It’s basically that whine-y sound you hear at the beginning. Yeah, I’d like more of that, please.
I’ve read comments describing this song as ‘sad’ and people saying they basically ‘cried’ listening to this. That’s probably more on a sentimental level in connection to their love for the boy band itself (duh). However, to me, this song sounds a little more romantic in the sense that it has that melancholy overtone in the vocals, meanwhile the instrumental is a little less ominous. It works.
As for the group’s vocals, which they’ve proven to be exceptional, are pretty much 100% amazing in ‘With All My Heart‘. Their distinctive harmonizing always puzzles me. How do they manage to sound like one voice when all of them are singing? Hell if I know, but they do a nice job at singing in the right tone.
I wont lie, Junsu is my favorite and he killed it here. His voice alone is enough to satisfy me, but when he spices it up with his graceful vibrato, dude, I die.
I’ve mentioned before that there IS a right way to make a ballad. Just busting out a slow song doesn’t cut it. Possessing a quality instrumentation and a graceful rhythm is a must. Grace is the key word here. Even heavier rock-ballads are graceful. FT Island knows what’s up. So when I hear a ballad come out of the mainstream department, I cross my fingers it isn’t disgusting and empty, such as that dreadful Kelly Clarkson song…what is it, ‘Already Gone‘ ? Yeah, that song sucks hard.
‘With All My Heart’ is meaningful, smooth, and it’s not over the top. The people behind Tohoshinki know how to produce a good song, decent instrumentation, and wonderful melodies. Although the strings could have been a little more fuller for me, I’m still satisfied. All I want is weight in a ballad. A little extra consideration to the lower strings would’ve gone a long way.
I wonder if they’ll perform it . . .