[Review] [Single] Super Junior-M – “BREAK DOWN”

2013_super junior m_break down

written by: McRoth

The interesting thing about fads in music is before they disappear (that is, before being resurrected in a later era) is how artists, companies, and producers are willing to twist and mold them to their own musical style to achieve a proper sense of belonging. Before you know it, trends and fads become a norm in songs, to the point that they flow so well you hardly notice them.

The obvious one to have found a home in mainstream music today is dubstep, and Super Junior sub-unit Super Junior-M (also SuJu-M) dives deeper into the dubstep fad in their latest single, “BREAK DOWN“.

I had a feeling this would be SuJu-M’s next step in their musical experimentation, especially after listening to the big leap SM Entertainment took with “Perfection” in 2011 – a completely different angle than 2009’s highly melodic and classical “Super Girl.” But little did I know, this next chapter would more than trendy. SuJu-M’s 2013 comeback single is one of the group’s most successfully fluid musical endeavors yet, and there is one big reason why this is.

SM Entertainment made the most obvious but-not-so obvious move in following the dubstep fad with SuJu-M’s “BREAK DOWN” by constructing a dubstep song rather than constructing a pop song with dubstep in it. A lot of great pop music utilizes vocals to embellish great instrumentals, but one of the biggest mistakes producers have been making is focusing on dubstep as a means to a climax in pop rather than dubstep being a functioning element in a song as a whole. Think TVXQ‘s “Catch Me“, which is an utterly disjointed pop-step single that shows how extraneous dubstep can be when incorporated in very awkward ways. SuJu-M’s “BREAK DOWN” performs a lot better because it sings that wub-wub-wub from beginning to end.

The tension in this song is the best clue to how well the dubstep interacts with the vocals, which, for a better term, practically have to tip-toe around the instrumental. That itself is also a weak point in this song, as SuJu-M are taking complete orders from the aggressive rhythm rather than propelling the song themselves. In this case, the instrumental is the omnipresent ninth member. It’s not always ideal to have the vocals be a supporting element in a pop song, but with dubstep, you take what you can get.

That aside, though, “BREAK DOWN” does a really well job of turning a polarizing style into a rather enjoyable experience, as Super Junior-M’s vocals sound beautiful as always, and the dubstep never really becomes bothersome to the ear. When we hit the dubstep break down (ha), it doesn’t feel intrusive at all because it was always there to begin with. And it’s this successful flow in production that makes this song a winner for Super Junior-M, and a winner for dubstep-infused pop music overall.


Score: 3.75/5

Singles of any kind are not rated with the same rating system used for mini and full albums.

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