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.
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.
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.