Though lacking the kind of power I was craving from a TVXQ comeback, the duo’s new album is filled with reliably top-shelf material. SM Entertainment seems to think so too, giving the guys a second music video in the form of opening track Love Line (평행선). If the electro-swing of The Chance Of Love wasn’t quite what I hoped for from TVXQ, then the loungy tropical pop of Love Line isn’t even in the ballpark. Yet, I’d argue it more successfully executes its sound than the actual title track.
Love Line is one of those songs that feels slight and forgettable on first listen, but quickly snowballs into the kind of melody you can’t dislodge from your memory. Apart from the ballads, it’s the softest track on the album. And while I think a dynamic production shift during the last chorus could have taken the track to another level, Love Line’s sense of restraint is one of its biggest assets.
Both Yunho and Changmin possess a relatively high singing tone, and they inject just enough airiness to give their performance an ethereal kind of charm. This isn’t the genre they’ve made their name on, yet I’m not sure any other SM act could deliver this particular song as flawlessly. In keeping with Love Line‘s laid-back appeal, we’re not dealing with a showy vocal arrangement here. Instead, their voices are placed on equal footing with every other element — the plucked, percussive guitar, the minimalist bassline. But when they come together, we’re left with a disarmingly sumptuous harmony that accentuates the song’s natural grooviness. It may not be a “bop,” which seems to be the operative word when it comes to k-pop internet critique, but it’s an effervescent little pop song that will only improve with age.