Listening to the album, it also sounds a lot more natural than "Tarantallegra". "Incredible" still has its pretentious moments (which we'll get to in a while), but as a whole I got the impression that the entire production team was a lot more comfortable this time around. So much so that there's still room to have some fun and put some playfulness into the album.
One of the things that bothered me a bit with this album was that there are two ballads, in succession, out of the first three songs. However, hearing "Rainy Eyes" completely changed my mind. Two things make this song another jaw-dropper -- the arrangement and Junsu's vocals. The arrangement is gorgeous. The sax is a bit cheesy around the edges, but I like the over-all atmosphere that you get from the piano line and the sax together. The drum line in all its gorgeous complexity and layering, brings the arrangement together and gives the graceful elements the kick they need. The dynamics on this song are also drop-dead gorgeous -- it's not a noisy song, and because of that you're able to hear everything unfold. However, it's not the arrangement that's responsible for the explosions -- it's Junsu's vocals. Those vocals are stunning to begin with, and the melody goes in a pushes Junsu's range. You have really low dips in the verses, and then Junsu just lets loose and starts belting by the bridges, only to lay low at the chorus. All-out belting starts at the first bridge. The first bridge. The melody is able to carry the song because the dynamics are spot-on, but at the same time it's not doing all the work on its own because the instrumental carries its own weight perfectly fine. Like "11AM", this is another song that you can take for its face value and be entertained, but is also complex enough to analyze and be wowed.
"Chocolate Girl" is one of my favorites from the album, even if the title made me giggle at first. What I like about the song is that the dynamics are strong from the melody to the arrangement -- they both have their own quirks. Unlike the other songs where one or the other carries the explosions, "Chocolate Girl" has explosions at the melody, and explosions at the arrangement. I could, and would, listen to the instrumental alone and still be entertained. I also really like how the song didn't cower away from the "lounge"-y/jazzy pop sound, because that's what makes it such a pleasure to listen to -- it took a sound and ran with it. As a firm believer that jazz is nowhere near boring, the fact that "Chocolate Girl" is confident yet still sounds jazz-y enough for a pop song, automatically puts this in my good books. But the bottom line is that this is a song that's comfortable with itself, and a song that epitomizes my impression of the album -- it doesn't sound forced, and because of that it's able to let loose a bit while still being a strong song.
"나 지금 고백한다" is a really pretty song -- it's nice a light and quaint. It's a well-made filler track, which I'll take over whatever kind of bad any day. I love how it sounds so updated 90's, with the choice of synth and even the melody and the nature of the rap parts. This was also one of the songs that made me realize just how strong the production is on this album. But above all, it shows just how flexible Junsu is as a singer, not in terms of "concept" or style, but in terms of his voice. He can do all the belting, the OST songs and the up tempos, but he's more than just a belting machine, which is what labels turn a lot of "strong singers" into -- the substance is balanced with just the right amount of style.
"Turn It Up" is similar -- Junsu carries the song and is able to adapt to the style, while giving the song the substance it needs. One of the things I don't like about "Turn It Up" is that it's almost too heavy and it tries a little too hard to be "hip-hop", but ultimately what saves it is Junsu's confident delivery. Despite the attempt being almost comedic, Junsu isn't ashamed, and that brevity does wonders to the execution, and the song as a whole. "사랑하나 봐" is yet another filler track, and while it isn't bad, as far as filler tracks go "나 지금 고백한다" is much better. This one though is of the cheesy kind, and I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not, with the piano line and the guitar. What I do know is that Junsu sure makes it sound like it's on purpose, and brings the cheesy melody one step further. I would listen to this again, just for the melody and Junsu's voice.
Usually when I hear these pre-release songs again as album tracks, they lose a dimension of themselves, and I don't like them as much as I did when I first heard them. However, that's not the case with "11AM" because it's still as good now as it was when I first heard it, and I still think it's an amazing song that was done justice by its delivery. However, hearing it now in relation to the other eleven songs, I think this was the right "pre-release" song. It is the epitome of what I think "Incredible" was going for, which is an album that is unassuming on the surface -- simple, but entertaining -- yet complex and well thought-through underneath. Quoting what I said in my review of "11AM":
...it's a song that you can either enjoy for what it is, or take apart into tiny pieces. It's reachable to the untrained ear -- that gorgeous melody, the fantastic singing -- you can listen to it as is, without thinking, and it will be its beautiful self and entertain you. But underneath it is complex in its simplicity -- the thought that went into it, the techniques used to deliver it -- taking it apart is just as entertaining as sitting back and letting it wow you.
Despite the many differences, it's good to know that one thing hasn't changed -- Junsu is still getting material that shows off his voice, and his abilities as a singer. I would listen to majority of this album again, some because the songs are genuinely good packages, but more because of Junsu's vocals. And while I'd like it if his vocals were matched with twelve equally amazing songs, "Incredible" is getting there. Very slowly. (But still getting there!) This album would not be as effortless as it sounds if not for Junsu's delivery.
My favorite(s): "Fantasy", "11AM"
Song(s) I'd listen to again: "No Reason", "Rainy Eyes", "Chocolate Girl", "나 지금 고백한다", "미안"
My least favorite: "이 노래 웃기지"
The final verdict: 4.2/5