[#24] Jaejoong (JYJ) - "Dear J"

From: "Just Us"
Released: July
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2011: [#12] "I'll Protect You" / 2013: [#5] "Light"
Other notable song(s) from 2014: n/a

I'm of the belief that Jaejoong can basically sing anything -- that he was the lead singer among five of K-Pop's best voices is testament to the strength of his flexibility as a vocalist. And I'm also of the belief that this pop-rock/J-rock-esque direction he's settled down into (more than he already had pre-lawsuit) is the right direction.

"Dear J" is, first and foremost, a showing off of Jaejoong's flexibility as a vocalist. The mid to low range verses juxtaposed against the belting-heavy chorus can only be done by someone who not only has a wide range, but who is comfortable with that wide range. Idol groups with at least two or three good singers can pull of a juxtaposition like that because one person takes care of the lower ranges and another takes care of the higher ranges, but with a solo act that's much harder to achieve. Yet Jaejoong does it effortlessly on "Dear J."

As a song, "Dear J" is what I like to call a "beautiful mess." Arrangement-wise there's so much happening -- the electric guitars and drum line at the chorus alone create a "horror vacui" of sorts, it's such a packed instrumentation, even during the verses something always has to happen. And yet it's like the entire instrumental just melts into each other, into this graceful package -- the drum line forceful but somehow also gentle, the guitars intensely melodic, and the piano/synth line hiding behind everything, giving the instrumental even more grace. Every single element in "Dear J" matters, so much so that nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. It's a song with elements that genuinely work together to produce one, cohesive, package.


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