Guys, "Rising Sun" has been re-recorded, and a longer version was just broadcast last night.

OK so all these non-reviews I'm doing, and am going to do, are more desperate attempts to get back into writing. I don't know if they're going to work, but it's worth a shot. Yes, even now that I literally have a mountain of schoolwork waiting to be done - I'm choosing to ignore them. LOL. Don't worry, they'll get done - just not now.

To many, "Rising Sun" is THE ultimate DBSK song - it is everything they stand for and has all the qualities that have made them the group they are. Intricate choreography, an epic arrangement, raw vocals, Changmin's scream, so many things going on in just one song and spectacular performances - Rising Sun is truly a feast to your senses. It may not have turned fans into rabid fans like "Mirotic", but it has become a trademark DBSK song. "Rising Sun" is theirs and no one else's.


A big factor of the song's so-called "immortality", is the fact that six years later it still sounds relevant - six years later it is still as glorious as it has always been. SME has made so much money from this song - because it is outstanding. Other artists will perform a song for less than a year, then move on - but even when DBSK moved on, "Rising Sun" remained one of the best songs they've ever done, and they made no secret of it.

So it would only make sense for SME to have HoMin re-record a two-member version of the song, now that they obviously can't use the five-member one, but the song still has to be performed. We heard a portion of the new arrangement when they performed it for the first time as a duo on that "legends of Music Bank" thing, but one, it was shorter, and two it was live - it will obviously sound like the Rising Sun we've all come to know because of the lack of fancy vocal treatments.

However, we saw a mimed performance of a longer version yesterday when MBC aired SM Town Paris - mimed. Which means the vocals, the arrangement and everything about the song went through another around of technology. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.



So many things have changed, for very obvious reasons. What was once done by 5, now has to be done by just two. And they did very, very, very well. Whatever you say about the song lacking three voices and whatnot, you have to remember that Yunho and Changmin were also part of the magic that the five made - they do it just as well as the other three. And on a side note, "Rising Sun" has always been somewhat Changmin's song.

I know I have no authority to say what I'm gonna be saying for the rest of the article because Yoo Young Jin was most probably also responsible for this re-recording, and he wrote the song in the first place so technically he can do what he wants to with it, but I've noticed a lot of changes, and I'm not falling at my feet over them.

One drastic change, that has come with new technologies and trends in recording, is the change in the vocal treatment. I have no problem with smoothening out vocals and making things more current, but in the process of updating the vocals, it seems to me that "Rising Sun" lost that raw sound it had before.

One way to describe "Rising Sun" would be that it's really a savage song. The screaming, the delivery of the rapping, and even the vocals - the song depends on the strength and fervency of the vocals. When HoMin performed it live on Music Bank, the strength was evident, you couldn't miss it. The vocals had passion, conviction - the song just exploded.

Now, imagine the vocals being autotuned.

Changmin's vocals sound good autotuned, admit it, and even his natural voice has that thin, smooth quality - but his raw vocals are a big, BIG factor in the way "Rising Sun" is delivered. That's not to say that the original recording of the song didn't have any vocal processing whatsoever, but it was the very natural kind - strengthen the higher notes, smoothen out the melodies, soften the breaths. It was more of cleaning than processing.

One of the most evident autotuned parts on this new recording is when Changmin first starts singing - the "achime-en" part. Yes, it sounds very smooth and yes, it is esthetically pleasing because it matches Changmin's voice, but the original recording was straightforward. Two notes at the end - delivered without beating around the bush. And now you have this slide or "curl" (in Filipino, notes like that are called "kulot", and it literally means "curls") and it's so clean - too clean, emotionless almost.

And the chorus. The chorus has completely lost that big, epic quality. The most plausible reason I have for this is because of an addition of louder backup vocals - by Yoo Young Jin himself. He's been doing that a lot lately - heavily padding SME songs with his own vocals. He's probably been doing it forever already, but as years went by it got more and more obvious. Yunho's part in "Mirotic" was 25% Yunho, 75% Yoo Young Jin, in case you haven't noticed. Yoo Young Jin can sing, that's not something to contest, it's just that his vocals in higher registers (but not when he's belting), much like the chorus of "Rising Sun", tend to thin down and sound flimsy. And "Rising Sun" is anything but flimsy.

Not everything about this re-recording is bad though - the screaming still is still as raw as ever, and even without that epic Yoochun-Changmin dance break the song as a whole is still a feast to your senses. The delivery may have changed, but the foundations of the song - the melody, the instrumental - have transcended time. That's what I mean when I say that when all those fads have come and gone, a strong, outstanding, melody will last.

Things have changed over the years, this re-recording is not my personal taste, and there are things that I believe should stay how they were, but in the end, looking at just the re-recording and not comparing it to anything - it's an outstanding song. It's something that's perfectly fine when you hear it, but just explodes when you watch it. "Rising Sun" a performance standard - when you perform it you might die of exhaustion, but my god does it look amazing, whichever of the five perform it.

6 comments:

  1. I will always be of the opinion that the original version will be superior to any kind of reinterpretations or re-recordings. Not for the technical reasons you had laid out, I think HoMin sounded fine even with all the processing, but just because of the magic of the five voices.

    I didn't mind the fact that they lip-synced, TVXQ5 use to lip-sync this song all the time, so it wasn't an issue to me. The bulk of of my disappointment lies with the fact that MBC ruined this great performance by editing out the epic middle 8 - one of the most unique and original middle 8s you'll ever hear, it's one of my favorite parts of the song and the main reason I was drwan to Rising Sun.

    Too bad, but it's not HoMin's fault. They seriously did their rendition of Rising Sun as well as any two men could, not only was this song somewhat of Changmin's specialty, but also of Yunho's because of his epic raps. In my humble opinion no two men alive can deliver this song as well as they could on this day, including any two men out of JYJ.

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  2. GracefulshapelycassieJuly 4, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    This is one of my favourite songs by DBSK. Its epic, full of raw energy and power, edgy, and not to mention, a great song for when you got night-jogging ;).

    The original for sure will always be better. This song is difficult to sing live, with all the dancing, screaming, and rapping, its hard.

    Changmin's screaming and flaring falsettos are one of my favourite parts about about this song, and Yoochun + Yunho's rapping in the middle eight.

    Sometimes it makes me sad watching their old live performances because it reminds you of the "good old days" and how they broke up.

    Although DBSK is not getting back together anytime soon, CSJH is making a comeback which had me screaming for joy.

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  3. There's simply no beating the original. Why fix what isn't broken if it's not going to enhance what is already one of the best songs and CDs of the Post-Seo Taiji era of Kpop? If they're going to make it more current with just HoMin and cash on it, fine, but slapping all the current trends/tricks such as too-clean deliveries and autotune just makes it feel like they want to erase the past even more than they're already doing by re-recording.

    I haven't heard the HoMin rendition, and it'll probably take me a while to get around to listening - if I ever do. The song will be great no matter if it's 5, 3, or 2 performing it, but I'll stick with DBSK5.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a good article, but what I really want to know is if you believe Yunjae is real.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Disagree with LaurenLCD, surprise.

    The comment about them trying to erase the past is the same kind of hypocrisy I'm used to reading from JYJ stans, pretending to compliment but in actuality trying to denunciate. Let's not forget who abandoned ship and left, and who's still trying to keep the TVXQ name alive. Doing this re-recording is not only a tribute to their legacy but helps people remember and reminisce this legendary song - the complete opposite of trying to erase the past.

    True fans of TVXQ would be grateful to even see Rising Sun performed live (by anybody) in 2011. HoMin might have moved on, but they and Yoo Young Jin are not ready to give up all the past great work they've done. Next time how about you listen to the song in question before making a comment rather than just echoing everything Nikki says.

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  6. To be honest. No matter how many time they remake it or who else will sing this song. The original one will be there forever.
    It is quite risk to remake it as people (not only OTVXQ5 or jyj fan) cannot help but compare it to the original one. No matter how good they did in remaking it.
    So lets the result prove itself. At the end of the day it is the audience to choose which version they love most.
    No need to show any bias or any drama here. Just focus on the song.

    ReplyDelete

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