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[Review] ‘Why? (Keep Your Head Down)’ by Changmin and Yunho of TVXQ

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.

Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “[Review] ‘Why? (Keep Your Head Down)’ by Changmin and Yunho of TVXQ

  1. I’m with you, I can’t replay “Keep Your Head Down” more than a few times in a row without giving my ears a break. It’s not as extreme as, say, Sleigh Bells, but like you said, there’s just so much going on in the song at once. Can’t deny the fantastic production though. The marching band is definitely my favorite part! *band geek* Unfortunately, this is one of only three, maybe four songs that I would buy from the album…

    “they start losing me when they transition into the creepy-gremlin-gibber-chipmunk raps” – I laughed at this line xD Also, check out Yunho’s pose at 2:27 in the MV.

    Thanks for quoting me!

  2. yes, i replaying “Keep Your Head Down” 3 times in a row…but i can’t hear it again….then after a while i just want to listen to it, but then can’t replay it again…weird? i’m actually like Yunho raps here,he does sounds like chipmunk keke… but i just can’t handle in wondering how cool when He rap in live performance (sorry, fangirl syndrome) and ii thought someone who says “now I’m just chillin’, feel like I’m healin‘” are somebody else, i even thought it was Jaejoong!! haha…i must be dreaming, but honestly it doesn’t sounds like changmin for me,maybe i’m accustomed with his singing voice, and i praised SM who producering and gave this song for HoMin,they give them great song!

  3. Totally agree with you on the creepy gremlin raps…I thought he sounded a bit like Dr. Frankenstein’s mad assistant..haha. Quite strange.

    Love the song though. It really accomplishes their goal of announcing their comeback and taking back of their K-pop throne.

  4. I must say, your blog posts are quite entertaining.
    I do agree with you on the epicness…was slightly put off with the weird orange costumes…and the high rapping, but since it’s TVXQ….all’s good. Biased much, I know :] LOLS.
    I was definitely very impressed with their comeback despite the fact that it’s pretty hard to get it stuck in one’s head since it’s not intensely…stuck-in-my-head repetitive material. (but the beat..omfg..:} cue fangirl screams)

    Nonetheless, after seeing your VVIP review on Allkpop, I think I’m going to be frequenting your blog quite often. :]

  5. Great review. Thanks for posting such an in depth impression. I’ve handled one in the store, but your review covered alot of ground that I couldn’t with such a limited amount of time. Based on my in-store experience and your review I think I’ll be waiting for a future generation to arrive. The potential is certainly there for this device, but based on my current portfolio of tech devices (laptop, desktop, iPhone, iTouch) I’m not sure this device quite justifies the expense at this time for me.

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