Review

Song Review: TVXQ – Epitaph (For The Future)

TVXQ - EpitaphFollowing the release of Japanese solo albums, the members of TVXQ (or Tohoshinki, as they’re known in Japan) have joined forces for new EP Epitaph. The guys haven’t released a full or mini album since 2019, making this feel like a momentous occasion. Here’s hoping their recent Japanese blitz is a harbinger for upcoming work in Korea!

Epitaph sounds as if it was ripped from the same rock opera as Changmin’s rollicking Maniac from earlier this year. That remains one of my favorite 2022 songs, so a renewed focus on rock elements is very welcome. This being TVXQ, the arrangement is big and bombastic. I love when their music delivers the pomp expected of legendary performers. Epitaph feels like the duo throwing caution to the wind and really letting loose. No boring, guitar-strummed dad-pop from these guys!

The track opens with an industrial rock beat, reminiscent of the glam resurgence in the mid-90’s. Both Changmin and Yunho are well-suited to the material, capable of supplying enough vocal firepower to compete with the boisterous instrumental. This ensures a sense of character and focus as Epitaph barrels toward its chorus. The verses feel like call-and-response — that industrial drive answered by a fuller, guitar-heavy breakdown. This moves into a more restrained pre-chorus, clearing space to lend Epitaph’s grandiose centerpiece even more emphasis. The melody here is theatrical and exciting, even if it feels quite familiar. As far as I know, the song isn’t a tie-up with any series or product, but it would a great companion to any anime worth its fury.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

12 thoughts on “Song Review: TVXQ – Epitaph (For The Future)

    • Sure! I find the chorus to be perfectly solid, but the melody itself doesn’t do much for me. Like I mentioned, it almost feels overly-familiar for a song like this. BUT… the energy, performance and production elevates it. I couldn’t quite justify a nine at this point, but that could always change!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for explaining! Personally, I feel that I really enjoyed the dramatic refrain, but I can see how it might not excite so much. Weirdly, my biggest gripe would be the first verse’s melody, and I was expecting that to be the reason for an 8. Anyway, I hope it grows on you!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow. My first impression was Song of the Year. I wasn’t sure I would like it hearing the intro, but then the vocals started and I didn’t stop loving it. When the chorus started my jaw actually dropped. I love that it feels like they totally changed direction with the string instrumentation but the transition is so well done it feels totally RIGHT. The second half of the chorus is different enough that it brings a fresh burst of energy. I don’t know that there’s a moment as impactful as the first chorus in the rest of the song, even though the rest of it is still great. The vocal arrangement on the pre-chorus is very SM, and I love it. The harmony on the very last note is a fantastic final touch. I think the dance break is a little long, but the song is so good it doesn’t really affect my overall opinion of the it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. not a lot of comments here yet, so let me just say. I. love. this.
    Reminds me of why I fell into kpop in 2010, and why I should probably dive into (some) J-pop. This was the rock inspired song I wanted the new trend to bring (and not loser lover or Tomboy).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So grand. It really sets up a show and doesn’t waste time in its unveiling. When the first chorus dropped, I was shocked. The second verse with the conversation style verses were perfect.

    The MV’s lighting was a bit weird though at times and didn’t really look like SM’s videos

    Like

  4. This is so damn good! 😭 I’m so happy they still make songs like this! And I agree! It’s the perfect anime song! ❤️ There are so many vibes about this that remind me of my favorite Japanese anime singer Angela (Atsuko & Katsuo). Everything – the grand MV,the whole Angel-Devil concept and aesthetic, the song – I loved it all!

    I gotta say… SM knows how to release good japanese stuff! I don’t know too much about older groups and so I went way back in this blog and found your top 10 SNSD songs article. And I heard Paparazzi and I loved it! It pretty much stunned me all the way, especially that chorus! 🔥 All I can say is, even in this month filled with comebacks, Paparazzi probably is my second most played song this month! 😂

    Like

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