Since terminating his contract with TVXQ, Xia Junsu has been active as part of trio JYJ and as a solo artist. Though he might be more well known for the dozens of ornate, theatrical ballads that make up the bulk of his discography, his music is also not afraid to go full avant garde. A new comeback from Junsu guarantees a sense of widescreen ambition and genre-mashing invention.
10. Yesterday (2015)
More a portrait of a particular mood than a top-of-the-charts pop song, Yesterday captivates with its sense of fragility.
9. 11AM (2013)
Performed barely above a whisper, 11AM‘s emotional push and pull sneaks up on you until its heartrending final moments.
8. Even Though I Already Know (2012)
One of many delicate piano ballads in his arsenal, Even Though I Already Know offsets its theatrical melody with a heaping dose of pure emotion.
7. Intoxication (2010)
Debuting solo in Japan before Korea, the slinky, mid-tempo Intoxication took full advantage of Junsu’s lithe vocal fluidity.
6. Uncommitted (2012)
Delivered entirely in English, Uncommitted feels like a long lost slice of mid-tempo r&b pop from American radio circa 2003. As usual, Junsu elevates its simplicity with a compelling vocal.
5. OeO (2015)
Sometimes it feels like we don’t get enough of Junsu the straight-up dance artist. OeO offers convincing proof that he is a master of the genre, resounding with its simple singalong hook.
4. Incredible (ft. Quincy) (2013)
As straightforward a pop song as Junsu has ever given us, Incredible‘s full-on EDM assault makes a fitting match for the power of his vocals. His version of “generic” feels like anything but.
3. Rock The World (ft. The Quiett & Automatic) (2016)
A move towards a more hip-hop inspired sound, Rock The World absolutely explodes during its grandiose melodic centerpiece, marking one of the most chill-inducing moments of Junsu’s solo career. (full review)
2. Tarantallegra (ft. Flowsik) (2012)
Tarantallegra is unlike any other k-pop song out there, forging its intense dance beat from little more than thundering drums and symphonic flourishes. Junsu creeps over the top with an arresting performance that merges staccato delivery with a hypnotic incantation of a chorus.
1. Flower (ft. Tablo) (2015)
Merging the more bombastic strengths of his dance tracks with the heartfelt drama at the core of his ballads, Flower bursts to life like a full-length operatic production condensed into one pop song. Its ambition feels palpable, from the choirs encircling Junsu’s soaring voice to the enormous brew of orchestral pomposity that underlines every moment.