But I guess that's where the problem lies -- my expectations were vague and flawed, so the song is too. Yeah sure, the song's meant to have attitude, it's supposed to be gritty and soulful, but honestly, that kind of direction just doesn't work for SM. SM productions are cleaner than clean, and while the girls' vocals give the song attitude, in a song like this, ideally the vocals and the song itself carry each other -- both have to be on the same level. Balance is key.
Another big problem I have with Twinkle is that the entire song is so anticlimactic, mainly because the lines are too spread apart. There are too many awkward pauses in the melody, so much so that I have problems even calling it a melody because it seems to me like these are just individual lines put together. I understand the value of letting things sink in properly, but this is overdoing it, so much so that the dead air makes the song sound awkward, even if everything else is so polished. In being anticlimactic, the entire song loses the attitude that they were trying to go for, even if the vocals have them.
I see what they're trying to do, because it's the kind of music I grew up listening to, but aside from boredom, the impression I get from this entire song -- the vocals, the instrumentation, the arrangement and especially the production -- is that it's trying way too hard. The song isn't pathetic or anything, it has its merits, but at the end of the day, it lacks that impression of effortlessness. It sounds stiff, on top of being boring. This is supposed to be Stevie Wonder-esque -- soul music, soul music. Just because you sing the same way, use the same chords, and mimic the instruments, doesn't make it soul music. It has to have emotion, raw emotion that actually moves people.
The main culprit is actually the production. Once you get over the non-existent melody, the song actually has so much more attitude when they sing it live, especially from Taeyeon (side-eyeing Tiffany for sounding like a three year-old for half the song/when she's not belting out high notes). Twinkle is an interesting idea, executed in the wrong way,
If you read my emo post on tumblr last week (was it last week?), I'm still not totally okay, and I still have a gazillion things to resolve, but I'm getting there. Thank you for all your wonderful comments and tweets, and even if I didn't respond to them (T_T), I read them all.
Music show recaps are still on hold, but we'll see what I can whip up this weekend.