[#29] Junsu (JYJ) - "Brushing Past" (With LYn)

From: "Brushing By"
Released: December (2013)
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2010: [#39] "Intoxication" / 2011: [#10] "You Are So Beautiful" / 2012: [#7] "Lullaby" / 2013: [#10] "11am"
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "7살"

I'm very particular with my ballads -- I don't especially like a lot of them because there are far too many stereotypical canons ("The OST" or "the power ballad," the list goes on). I like my ballads complex -- whether it be in terms of production/execution, or sentiment. Ballads, more than anything, are about emotion and I believe in two things -- that before you can achieve emotion you need to be technically proficient, and that there is more to sadness than a slow tempo and lots of high notes.

"Brushing Past" has got to be one of the most beautifully painful ballads I've ever heard, precisely because it fulfills both of my beliefs in ballads. From the choice of vocalists alone it's clear -- Junsu has one of the best ballad voices in K-Pop because he has that perfect balance between stellar technique and believable emotion, and the timbre of Lyn's voice is both feminine and rich. They also work extremely well together on a duet, with Junsu's raspy, mid-range vocals and Lyn's smooth delivery. If anyone can pull off a ballad it's the two of them, together.

The song itself is equally outstanding. One of the earliest assertions I made as a writer was that music is half heard and half felt -- what you feel is just as important as the technical aspects of a song, and vice versa. "Brushing Past" oozes with emotion, and more so it's not just one emotion. The choice of instruments is a typical ballad line-up, but their treatment actually sounds more optimistic than it does sad -- the piano line is light but purposeful, the strings just one step below "soaring level" strings, and the drum line crisp. So when you actually listen to "Brushing Past," rather than being flat-out sad it's a more complex kind of feeling -- bittersweet is the more accurate term.

"Brushing Past" in theory, is a sad ballad -- it has all the elements of your typical ballad -- but when you actually listen to how those elements were used, you realize how they present a song that's so beautifully depressing. It's sad, it's painful -- but when that pain is presented through a medium like music (or even art in general), "Brushing Past" shows how when the technical, when the actual music, reflects the thematic and lyrical elements, you get a song that is both heard and felt, on all levels.


Post a Comment

Want to share any of your thoughts on the above post? Drop a comment here! I read all comments and reply occasionally, especially if you have specific questions for me. :D

Note that comments are moderated. Spam, self-advertising (K-Pop-related and otherwise) and overly vulgar submissions will NOT be accepted. If you want me to promote/endorse/follow/link to your site, please e-mail me at popreviewsnow@gmail.com instead.


Recent Tweets

Like Pop Reviews Now on Facebook!

Statistics (Since May 2009)

Music - Top Blogs Philippines Follow on Bloglovin

Blog Archive

You're reading an award-winning blog

The K-Pop Writers' Workshop

A workshop for writers of critical pieces on Korean entertainment -- formal reviews, expository essays/Op-eds, and personal essays/Creative Non-Fiction.
Learn from the best in K-Ent writing