K.R.Y. was Super Junior’s first official subgroup, formed almost fourteen (!) years ago. Yet, in all this time, they’ve never had a Korean album to call their own. It seems silly to use the word “debut” when talking about veterans of the industry. But in a way, When We Were Us (푸르게 빛나던 우리의 계절) is a quasi-debut for this trio of Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung. At the very least, it’s a well-earned reunion, as the last few years have seen at least one of them enlisted in the military at any given time.
As expected, the guys have returned with the style they deliver best – a good, old fashioned Korean ballad. I imagine this will thrill fans, as the piano-and-strings arrangement is very much in line with solo releases by each member. When We Were Us reminds me of Kyuhyun’s solo work, in particular. Maybe it’s because he opens the track, but I instantly had flashbacks to At Gwanghwamun (still his best solo ballad, in my opinion). This familiarity brings with it a sense of nostalgia, which is a smart move for a group with as much history behind it as K.R.Y.
As far as the actual song, it ticks all the boxes without bringing anything new to the table. Ballad-lovers will be pleased, especially as the track soars to its inevitable climax. There’s some great vocal interplay here, with one harmonized power note that definitely impresses. But overall, there’s nothing here that I couldn’t get through other releases within the Super Junior universe. Rather than a novel breakthrough, When We Were Us is a comfort blanket. And come to think of it, that’s probably what a lot of us could use right about now.
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You did review it! Just for me!!
This has the lush orchestration to sound more like a solo Kyuhyun ballad featuring Ryeowook and Yesung. R’s and Y’s solo releases being more pop, less strings. Also, the opening reminds me more of “A Million Pieces” than “At Gwanghwamun”, but really this is splitting hairs.
So let’s talk about the vocal performance. This is WYSIWYG for vocals. (what you see is what you get) They are so experienced and the delivery is so smooth, and I can’t imagine that it took that long to get this polished performance with no obvious tuning or processing required. I haven’t seen a live version yet on the music shows posted yet, but I would expect to hear almost the same if not better live.
However, It doesn’t exceed the trio’s “Dorothy” from a few years ago from the SuJu Magic/Devil era album. But this song and the whole album meet expectations which is a fantastic thing.
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Hey, Nick. Will you be reviewing Eunkwang’s new title track? Even if you don’t, I hope you give it a listen and enjoy 🙂
I’m normally a lurker, but as an ELF who is totally Kyuhyun biased I couldn’t help but comment today.
First of all, thanks a lot for your review! I was waiting for this album for so long and I’m obviously biased, but I like this song a lot. In my opinion it’s one of the better ballads out there. What can I say, their voices are just superior and the harmonization is my favourite moment in this song.
However, I was hoping for more different songs on the album. My favourite songs from KRY still are “The Night Chicago Died” Hyena OST, “Join Hands” and “Point of no Return” and I was hoping for one or two songs on the album like those. But well, I guess I’m happy we got an album after 14 years. And no doubts, the songs are still great!
Hmm….the obvious highlight is the appeal of their voices and the way they complement each other, but unfortunately I could tell how the entire song would go and exactly what it would sound like from the first 5 seconds. It’s so by-the-numbers that I’m convinced there must be something at least slightly more interesting on the mini album, but I guess I’ll have to listen through to find out.
Ryeowook’s voice is like candy to my ears, so I have that to look forward to if nothing else!
Also, it’s apparently Infinite’s 10th anniversary today?? It really crept up so suddenly. Hope they’re all doing well~
Legends. Best singles run in K-pop.
I just finished their entire discography last month ( My personal favorite album is probably New Challenge) And After watching that it felt like I was with them throughout the entire time. from 2010 to 2019 even , though I discovered them just during January 2020! It was amazing watching Infinite and I am happy that I could witness their single run
Can’t wait for someone to cover this in their King of Mask Singer second round.
I became a SuJu fan fairly recently after I heard Kyuhyun’s Day We Felt the Distance on a Spotify COVID-19 playlist (yes, lame I know). I then happened to watch his IS2 performance of Masquerade and was instantly forced to rearrange my list of favorite vocalists. I really kind of felt bad for writing them off despite their industry veteran status because man, can KRY >sing<. When We Were Us definitely isn't anything novel in the grand scheme of things, but that final climax where their voices blend together is everything.
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My first kpop group, my first fandom, my first concert and my most played group.. I will always remain a little biased and I accept it.
Love the song.
I can only accept ballads if it’s from voices I like, and it so happens that KRY has my favorite singer. So enjoying this track was easy.