Thursday, May 13, 2010
I'll stop comparing this to Sorry Sorry, because they're 2 different albums - comparison or none, Bonamana JUST PASSES for me. I'm sorry, I tried, I really did, but the entire thing is just not convincing enough to my ears.
One of the good points on this album that I will stress is the impeccable production SME has become notorious for - I find myself not getting sick of 90% of this album even if I've been listening to it off the hook since a few hours ago. All the songs are well-produced, the only problems I have are with the songs themselves. Let's put it this way, if Bonamana wasn't well-produced it would be even more crap than it is for me right now.
As I was listening to the album, a thought popped out of my mind - I had already written down one of my main observations about this album, on the draft of my still unpublished Super Junior vocal commentary. A gazillion people have asked me when it's coming and my honest answer is that I have absolutely no idea - it'll come when it comes - but for those who really want to read even a bit of it, here's 2 halves of 2 paragraphs worth of my commentary. I told you I had an intro a notes.
Now because not everyone can actually pull off what SM wants them to do now, there are only a few guys who actually get singing lines, most often it's Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Yesung and Sungmin.
Believe me, I like these guys and they have good voices but really, this is all whacked. Let's take a random ballad off Sorry Sorry - What If. The guys you hear singing the most are Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung, also known as Super Junior KRY - one of the band's 4 sub-units.
*sigh* What I'm about to say right now could've easily been discussed in my vocal commentary. Oh well.
Majority of the vocal parts are done by KRY with the exception of a few other guys who get a few solos throughout the album - that's insane. Don't give me the they're too big a band excuse because there are approximately 34-45 lines in a generic pop song with a verse-verse-bridge-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-middle8-chorus-chorus structure - minus 16 lines for the chorus you're left with 18 lines at the very least, 10 members can easily share those 18 lines.
Heechul does get a few lines and some of the other guys do as well but majority of the songs on Bonamana require the vocals Kyuhyun, Yesung and OK maybe even Ryeowook have - they're ballads. For crap's sake this isn't a stinkin' Super Junior KRY album, this is a SUPER JUNIOR album - you know, 10 guys?
I'm perfectly content with an album that has maybe 2 or 3 ballad ballads, the type you KNOW will be a theme song for a Korean drama about some sappy love story, but by my count, Bonamana has 5 ballads out of a possible 11 songs - that's more or less half of the album. HALF? BALLADS? Ugh.
I won't go all technical with my definition of a ballad, but generally they're slow with piano and string accompaniments and have long, flowy lines. I don't consider songs like It's You as ballads because the tempo at the chorus speeds up a bit.
I've said this once (on a past review, forgot which one) but ballads are fine in moderation and/or if they're really gorgeous like hell, but once you give me half an album's worth of ballads I'm bound to fall asleep at some point of it. Just because someone has a big voice and a mad range, doesn't mean you should stuff ballads down his/her throat - it shows narrow-mindedness, laziness and lack of creativity altogether. If you apply it to Super Junior, just because KRY and a few others have pretty OK voices, doesn't mean you have to give them half and album's worth of ballads. It annoys me.
Don't go telling me that oh, but weren't your beloved DBSK guys ballad singers too? because even I'm pissed off that majority of their Korean albums are ballad-based. There's a reason why I didn't review them.
So anyway. I won't lie and say that all the ballads suck because some of them are really gorgeous, but the simple fact that they literally made me fall asleep 1 few lines in turns me off a bit. Note that I have never, ever been put to sleep by a song upon my first listen - SuJu was the first. So let's talk about the ballads first.
When I first saw the track listing I thought Coagulation would be some kind of strange song, then when I actually got the album it turns out that it's a ballad of all things. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry at the title mixed with its being a ballad but title aside, it's actually a very pretty song. Once again KRY take majority of the vocals, but the piano part just makes me feel like tearing up and the verses are gorgeous. The problem is that 1 minute into the song, I fell asleep. I'm sorry, I really am, but if you have a ballad like this that just stays at a specific place, the vocals should be flying all over the place and making up for the lack of dynamics in the instrumental. I'm falling asleep again. Ugh.
Your Eyes is a bit more interesting, but for some reason the strings at the start remind me of the chords of one of the ballads on DBSK's Mirotic and then the verse sounds like a less intense version of Wish, also off Mirotic. But Kyuhyun's bridge just made me faint. And so did the second half of the chorus. HOWEVER once again, I was asleep maybe halfway into the song. Oh well.
Actually, My All Is In You is pretty too, laid-back, but the instrumental kept me slightly more awake this time. The production made this song - how the instrumental was put together with the treatment of the vocals and the melody plus the addition of a more snappy percussion part made it the least bit more lively. Yay.
Last 2 ballads! Yay. In My Dream once again has a gorgeous melody and the instrumental is a bit more lively this time, but the vocals and melody made me get woozy again - I'm sorry but I fell asleep after the second verse. I do like the percussion line though, and how it pops at certain places. Otherwise, I was bored.
One Fine Spring Day is Ryeowook's solo song and although I'm against the guy having a solo on this album altogether because I don't think he's worthy (ugh. once again, it's in my vocal commentary), I gotta say that it's pretty. I'm still sleepy as hell though. I like the melody and the sharp-ness it has at some parts plus the fact that Ryeowook sounds less like a girl than he usually does, so I'm OK.
OK. Enough of the ballads, I'm literally falling asleep right now as I write this, so I think it's best to start with the uptempos.
I said my piece on the lead single/title track a few days ago and I still stand by that, but I do have to say that I still can't stop playing it, nor have I gotten sick just hearing the damn thing. That's good - means that the song has good production. *clap clap clap*
Boom Boom is uh, how do I describe it? Reminds me of a few songs off Sorry Sorry reworked for this year with a bit of GD at the bridge for good measure. I like the vocals on this song - they sound good and they actually have conviction, emotion, on this song. The transition to the rap part to me sounds like some kind of East/South East Asian gong, and I find the entire thing a little disjointed - it wasn't well-done. It's catchy though.
My Own Girl seriously reminds me of SS501's Wasteland at the verses and the bridge. A bit. And another song I can't quite put my finger on yet, but when I do find out, you'll be the first to know. Not the biggest fan of this song, but the dynamics are something to look out for.
Shake It Up reminds me of that Jay Sean song that was big last year/early this year, whatever you call it. The start/hook especially. I do like the melody though and the touch of the piano loop under everything that's happening on top and the instrumental is really lively. The trumpets throughout the song are trying a bit too hard for my taste and I find the start really unnecessary, but the tempo of the song and the instrumental is enough to make me wide awake. Good.
When I first heard Good Person I thought the start sounded like a cross between S Club and STEPS, it still does but the rest of the song is a little too 90's pop for my taste. I mean I love my 90's pop and all, but the chorus of this song just makes me cringe - it sounds so cheap. Not a big fan.
Here We Go closes off the album - it's cheery, it's happy and it's got a pretty melody. Very happy indeed, with just the right amount of cheesiness to be a pass for me. It sounds like something that would have no problem fitting into an SM Town summer album, will it be on this year's package? That is if SM even releases one.
Best Track: My All Is In You/Bonamana
Better Tracks: Shake It Up!, Here We Go, Your Eyes
Worst Track: Not really sure. Good Person maybe.
2.5/5 - it just passes.