Junsu - "Tarantallegra" (Single)

I'll be honest and say that I had no idea how to start this review because the only thing running through my head when I listen to this song is "KSAFHSKJGKSDGHSJUNSUUUUUUUUUU" and all coherent, rational thoughts have just been completely thrown out the window. But then I realized, that's the point of this song, and the point of my review.

Because, in essence, that's what music is supposed to do -- it's supposed to not only make you freak out or jump around your room, it's actually supposed to make you near-insane. Not in a bad way or anything, but when you listen to a song, essentially it should move you, and move you more than just a tear or a few tapping fingers here and there. Again, music is half heard and half felt, and essentially what you hear should help you grasp what you feel.

"Tarantallegra" affects you like that because it's effortless, because it's overflowing with conviction. While there were times when I cringed watching the video, Junsu isn't afraid to deliver. Obviously, he has the talent and the technicals to do something like this, something not a lot of people in K-pop have. I always, always say that before you can think of identity and whatnot, you have to be proficient, and Junsu is perfectly capable of standing his own ground on a song, and carrying an entire performance just with his vocals. Now, because he's technically proficient, the song really becomes Junsu inside out. I's not just because he wrote it with his brother though -- if someone else were to sing it, no matter how technically proficient that person may be and no matter how accurate the notes are hit, "Tarantallegra" will lose a part of it's identity.

And that’s really all I ask from K-Pop as a whole, actually. Be proficient in whatever you do, and do what is you. If you’re doing something you love, something that’s a part of you, the effortlessness and the conviction will follow naturally. “Tarantallegra” is proof that those two elements, when put together, work effortlessly. I mean just look at it, it’s so ridiculous and Junsu’s orange hair is just plain weird, but the song, the choreography, and the video work together so well that I have no qualms. At all.

When the teaser first came out, a lot of people were pointing out that the synths on this song were similar to “Xiahtic”, and while they are, honestly, I don’t see a problem with that. The synths here and on “Xiahtic” give both songs different over-all sounds, and Junsu composed both songs -- we’ve heard so many other producers re-hash their own songs even more blatantly than this.

Years in K-Pop have taught me to either absolutely hate, or just not notice rap parts out of personal preference, but honestly, the rap on “Tarantallegra” is one of the few that I cannot imagine taken out of the song. It adds another dimension to the entire package, and Flowsik’s deep timbre both contrasts and compliments Junsu’s vocals.

The reason why I don't have a problem with the auto tune during the chorus is because everyone knows that Junsu is so much more than just a capable singer, that he's obviously one of the best in K-Pop, and even Asia, and so he can easily sing those auto tuned parts live. The thing is, when I go and criticize other acts for using too much auto tune, the reason why I do it is because those acts use it as a mask, to hide their lack of talent. But then, like I just said, Junsu's talent is no secret, and the auto tune on this song is more of an artistic/aesthetic decision than it is a blanket.

The verses are stunning, they really are. I get mini-heart attacks throughout both, and I’m not complaining at all. It shows off what has made Junsu’s voice so infamous, and I get the belting I wanted!

Speaking of vocals, the thing I really, really love about how this song was done is the emphasis on Junsu’s vocals. Autotune aside, “Tarantallegra” is a song that Junsu carries -- the instruments on the backing track do add something to the over-all dynamics, of course, but most of the time they just go in a straight line. Junsu’s delivery controls majority of what happens to the song, and he does it extremely well. I cannot wait to see this live, (even if he’s not going to be on music shows) because knowing Junsu, it’s going to be that much more brilliant live.

And that, my friends, is the challenge I give to newer acts -- make me smile, cry, freak out, and move me, with an uptempo. Hype, looks and aesthetics don’t matter -- use your material and your musical proficiency to move me. It’s easy to do it with a ballad, but uptempos are a completely different story. If a new act can do that, and do it with as much conviction as Junsu has just done, they have my respect. This is the new benchmark for uptempo performances -- because Junsu has managed to deliver effortlessness and confidence over and above a heavily choreographed and produced package.



  1. i keep nodding as I read your review.. I couldn't agree more... He seriously got us under his spell~ If you want to introduce KPOP to other people... I highly recommend this for dance songs... IT'S PERFECT. end of story~ <3

  2. i agree :) spin a win :)

  3. I disagree with the rating of the song. As a package of song, video and style I'd give this a near perfect score too, but the song itself doesn't do it for me. No tension in the build up to the chorus, no dynamic in the verses up until the end and a Junsu who sounds bored more than intense make this a song to be watched, not heard. I'd watch it over and over again, but I wouldn't put it on my iPod.

    1. Agreed. I was underwhelmed... even when i was watching the mv, i wasn't impressed. Take away all the visual stimuli, the song falls flat. I feel junsu's vocals were underutilised here. I expected so much more from him...

      I tried to listen to his album in its entirety but could only manage a few bars of each song. I have to say im only liking lullaby out of the 12 songs so far...

      I just feel that jyj is trying to do something beyond their skill set. They're just not there yet with their producing skills. Thats why eveb though i wanted to support them and buy their albums, i always hold back after sampling their songs.

  4. It's allright. I'm not exactly bouncing off the walls on this one.

  5. I like your review of Tarantallegra. I also like the MV, though I wish some parts were a little less... extreme? I don't know. I usually like songs that build up to a climax, but I still like this song because it is still captivating throughout, like a spell as it was intended to do. I also am not a fan of autotune, but I don't think it was excessive in here and I can still hear Junsu's voice through it. Junsu is amazing!

  6. THE WHOLE OF YESTERDAY ALL I DID WAS WATCH THE MV AND GO CRAZY AND REBLOG GIFS ON TUMBLR. That being said, I recently listened to the album and it is superb, Nicole.

    Btw, out of all the bloggers that I've been in contact with over the past year, you and I seem to be the few that still do.

  7. thanks for the review. can't wait for the whole album review. i personally liked the other tracks more, but i gotta admit that 'tarantallegra' is that distracting. not something i'd put on my playlist, this song is like calling me to rewatch the mv again and again.

  8. lack_of_comprehensionMay 23, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    great review! this MV is a masterpiece. It's understandable if some people don't like it. after all, not everyone is capable of understanding art in music :)

  9. Junsu grows up! Sorry nay-sayers...I love it. Have the video downloaded on my computer at work, and when I get in a slump, slap my earbuds in and crank it up. Works every time. It doesn't hurt that Xia sure is looking fantastic these days either. Had to laugh though...after all the K-Pop videos with little, itty-bitty Korean girls, the back-up dancers in this video look like monsters!


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