To say the entire Kpop community went bat-shit crazy when TVXQ released “Why (Keep Your Head Down)” is quite the understatement. I happened to be on Twitter when the song dropped, and All. Hell. Broke. Loose. I mean, Tumblr suffered a few moments of suspicious downtime around its release. Coincidence? Perhaps, but the excitement was at a ridiculous high, with myself included unfortunately, but with good reason. The song is really good.
And by really good, I mean some of the best shit SME has pulled out of their ass in over a year.
The song presents itself in such a way that it consumes all undivided attention like a sponge does with water. It’s dramatic, bass heavy and full. After listening to GD & TOP Vol.1 for my previous review, it’s clear which group houses far denser material than the other, at least as far as singles go.
Basically, there’s a helluva lot going on in “Why?”
It’s sung by two singers who have already established their position in the music industry through their own merits, be it sounding phenomenal on a recording, even more so a capella or just damn right amazing live. On stage. Dancing and shit. So there’s absolutely nothing that can be criticized about their vocal competency, because it’s all there and it’s all near perfection. That’s one aspect of their performance where even I join in the fandom.
Where I usually find myself tapping fingers is at the processing, but alas, that’s pretty much epic here, too. No, seriously. TVXQ’s producers know how to take Changmin and Yunho‘s voices and make them sound as real as digitally possible, yet add just the perfect amount of reverb, compression and EQ to reach as godly of a recording as possible. Like most of you, I love the way they’re saying “keep your head down” and Changmin’s “now I’m just chillin’, feel like I’m healin‘” – it captures the outstanding effect they’re aiming for. But as much as I admire their voices, they start losing me when they transition into the creepy-gremlin-gibber-chipmunk raps, which just had to be all over the place. They may think it sounds cool now, but think about the innocent Korean citizens commuting to their jobs, listening to the radio, oh so innocently, and then their very innocent ears are welcomed to this (LINK) at the press of a button. If caffeine doesn’t do the trick, well now you know what will.
Lizzie from Lizzie Talks Music made a comment that I absolutely agree with:
Musically, the problem I’m hearing is that the song hits too hard, too early. It’s loud and stomping from the very beginning, leaving no room to breathe and no room for growth…The result? The epic chorus we heard in the teasers sounds weaker in context.
Read the rest of her article here.
Ace. Nail on the head. Second. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot going on, almost all at once, and the little details I liked one moment are swallowed whole the next (i.e. the chorus). But as history has revealed here, I am all for epic-sounding and drama. The thing with me and this song though, is that it may be a little too epic. Not that I can’t handle it or anything, but it’s not a song I can have and/or haven’t had on replay. I can listen to it three times in a row, tops.
On the other hand, the beauty in that is the fact that I know just how epic this song is, so coming back to it after a comfortable break is exciting and fulfilling.
In the end, I remain a fan of TVXQ, divided or not, and an even bigger fan of their producers. I mean, they brought back the marching band when we had all forgotten its existence and, my, what a smart move. Every pop star uses a marching band at one point in their career, making it nothing new, but when you haven’t heard its effect in a long time, it really leaves a lasting impression the moment it kicks in.
As far as the MV goes — laughs and giggles at their wardrobe. That is all.