But I guess I'll have to make an exception for this song.
Darkness Eyes was released in 2008 on DBSK's third Japanese album T - the same album that had Purple Line, their very first Oricon/Japanese #1 single. It was never a single, but they performed it live for the accompanying arena tour in the same year and when I saw the performance I was speechless.
The song is so. damn. EPIC. in every way possible. DBSK's vocals don't explode, but the instrumental does - the contrast between this intense, epic instrumental and DBSK's almost float-y vocals just makes me go ballistic. In a damn good way. The instrumental screams girl in a black dress running in an old, deserted mansion - the piano loop, the HOMG I THINK I'M GONNA FAINT 'COZ IT'S SO DAMN GORGEOUS string section and all the little bells and whistles throughout the song. I already established that Japanese production pays attention to the little details, so that isn't a big surprise.
It's as if Avex asked for an 'epic' song and DBSK said "You want epic? Here - knock yourselves out." I personally don't think it's single material for the simple reason that the hook doesn't stick as much as those of singles do, but damn is this a good song or what? No matter how much I think it's a brilliant song, it should stay the way it is - an album track performed on tour.
But again, all these observations were done while listening to the recorded version and knowing that DBSK went on tour with a live band for the first time that year, I should've been ready for the live version above. I wasn't. Aish.
I said this before when I gushed over the O performance but I'll say it again - I. LOVE. LIVE. BANDS. Recorded versions are great and all, they're clean and controlled, but you don't feel the music anymore after all that processing. You know why you don't feel it? 'Coz the drums aren't real.
On most pop recordings, with the exception of a few I've heard, the drums are always computerized or rendered. I know this because my dad's a drummer - I grew up hearing him play a REAL set of drums AND hearing him rant about fake drums. Drums/percussion parts are the very foundations of songs - all the instruments take cues, tempo and feel from the drummer. You have a good drummer, everything will fall into place.
Music is half heard and half felt. I'm not talking about lyrical meaning or any of that crap, I'm talking about how your body reacts when you hear a song, even if you don't understand a thing. Your heart starts beating faster and you get excited in the different way - everything just feels different live. For the simple reason that your foundations and even the other instruments are real, FELT and not computer-processed, live performances sound and feel different. I sure as hell wouldn't mind paying a fortune to watch an artist live if they have a live band.
That said, the song reminds me a lot of the Jaejoong-composed 9095 - how you want the chorus to just explode and the song to turn into this anthemic thing but it doesn't, it stays the same. The contrasting instrumental and vocal parts, the haunting piano loop, how it feels so different live, but all in different ways compared to 9095 - I haven't heard it all before.
Does this need a rating? Fine, for formality.