With over 2,300 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2015
Though there was no real promotion, I feel like SM Entertainment handled TVXQ’s pre-enlistment send-off better than their return this year. The duo released a full album in the summer of 2015, led by dual title tracks where each member got to show off their solo skills. Changmin went for the dramatic EDM of Rise As One, while Yunho took a funkier approach with the retro Champagne (샴페인). Beyond that, Rise As God remains one of the duo’s most underrated albums.
Champagne may not have a lot of heft to it (it’s downright lightweight compared to many TVXQ tracks), but its smooth groove is effortless and a whole lot of fun. Driven by a heaping dose of rhythm guitar, the song kicks off with a rap verse that functions more as a spoken-word introduction. From here, Champagne launches into its lithe vocals, which coast with an airiness perfectly suited to the summer months. The chorus is similarly breezy, moving from a falsetto-led hook to a more rhythmic post-chorus refrain that becomes the song’s catchiest moment. I’m not a huge fan of the breakdown that follows, but Champagne quickly recovers its groove. This synth-drenched change of pace occurs again during the hazy bridge, but to better effect. Yunho released stronger solos in 2015 (Rise As God‘s own Komplicated, and the Micheal Jackson-esque Bang from his Japanese mini), but none were quite as amiable as this.