[FULL TRANS] 10Asia article on TVXQ’s new album ‘Catch Me’

Some people may have a ‘SM gene’ when they are born.
The gene that makes you like the singers at SM Entertainment (hereafter SM).
Of course, it is a joke.
However, TVXQ attracted fans with huge cheers even from their debut stage.
Super Junior was able to sell 110,000 tickets for their Tokyo Dome concerts without really being active in Japan.
During the SM Town Concert in Seoul, what SM did through the Virtual National Proclamation of fans of the world as a performance is like revealing it’s identity.
SM is not the object of crush for everyone. Instead, someone that comes across some idols of SM becomes an enthusiastic fan.
There are tens of thousands of fans that are willing to pay for the tickets on the performances of the SM concerts anywhere around the world.

TVXQ is the core of this country.
From ‘Rising sun’ to ‘Why’, there has been a distance between TVXQ’s songs & performances and Korean pop music trends.
Their music was complex and intense even when the so-called ‘hook song’ was the trend. Also their performances require concentration while watching rather than dancing along. During the chorus ‘Keep your head down’ of their WHY performance, U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin steer their hands under which their back dancers bow their heads.
You get no idea just listening to their music.
SM Performance (a.k.a. SMP) can only be completed when the music and the performances are put together.
TVXQ presents SMP the closest.
It is impossible to just watch and enjoy.
You need to be able to commit to their onstage performance in order to become a fan.
TVXQ’s fandom is the most enthusiastic and greatest even within the SM.

While having a biggest and most maniac fan base, TVXQ’s new album ‘Catch Me’ is like fighting a war towards people outside their fandom.
‘Catch Me’s intro is almost 50 seconds long, and the song is divided into the spleen front half and the upbeat rhythms of electronica sound in the later half.
Suddenly changed different beat is followed after the first verse’s chorus and instead of a chorus after the second verse, a completely new melody is added.
Easy-to-remember chorus, ‘Catch Me’, is only repeated twice during the entire 4 mins. and 38 sec.
This may be too complex for a piece of pop music.
However, the complexity of ‘Catch Me’ rather maximizes the effect of performance music. This complexity of the song rather helps make the onstage performance more like a Musical choreography that comes with proper steps in a story telling.
For example, the two members of TVXQ start with a mirror-like performance of each other during the Intro, and the each shows a different performance once the first verse of the song starts.
Then, they dance together during the chorus after going through the ‘coalescence process’.
In the end, the part only the TVXQ’s two members performed during the Intro is danced by all the back dancers.
The suddenly changed different beat part in the music, that was mentioned above,which sounds so complex when listening, becomes a part where TVXQ and the dancers get together and create a huge dragon-like form.
This part becomes even bigger after the second verse of the music.
During the ‘WHY’ performance, all back dancers did the group dance while the TVXQ were positioned in the center and at some parts, the dancers acted as if they were marionette controlled by TVXQ.
On the other hand, in ‘Catch Me’, the dancers are either sitting while TVXQ is not or helping TVXQ perform as if they are TVXQ’s shadow.
During ‘WHY’, were dancers not only there to fill in the space left onstage to show the effect of having more members in TVXQ than just the two but also to keep the distinctive group dance based TVXQ-like atmosphere.
And in the newly released ‘Catch Me’ , the dancers onstage are made as the moving background and united with TVXQ to create a big picture.

In ‘Catch Me’ ,the music is more of a scenario for the performance.
You can understand the intention of ‘Catch Me’ better when you see the onstage performance from the beginning to the end while the whole scene is created by TVXQ and the dancers. Dance moves with sophisticated techniques,starting with just the TVXQ’s two members, create a huge stageful picture as a result of the human power itself.
Even better, a spectacular scene with the two TVXQ members floating in the air is created. The impression made in every moment on stage only by the power of the people may be the message TVXQ wants to convey.
Literally, performance music for watching, that is ‘Catch Me’ even if it depends on whether you like it or not.
It seems some elements used for “Catch Me’ followed the current pop music trends is like a compromise designed to complement the reality of likes and dislikes.
‘Catch Me’ presents fun and exciting rhythms to which you can shuffle dance in the later part of Intro based on electronica that is considered the main stream in the world now.
The repeated chorus ‘Catch me, Catch me’ is the easiest and most simple.
Even if you do not have interest in seeing the performance of TVXQ, the melody is one that can easily penetrate the ear.
In addition, the complexity in the music is sutured smoothly with the electronica sound.
Changing to a completely different melody after the second verse where the chorus is typically expected is interesting in the technical side of view.
The content is complex, dense and rather heavy.
But it shows the present trends to a certain extent.
‘Viva’ was created by The Underdogs that produced Chris Brown, Beyonce.
In this song, there are almost sleen electric guitar sounds on top of trendy rhythm of the producing team and parts in which TVXQ can show off their dance.
TVXQ tries to maintain their own style even in the music created by a producing team that is closely connected with the worldwide trend.
So, ‘Catch Me’ is an album that represents the tastes of a company with the most commercial success in the Korean Pop music industry.
SM is now able to show their SMP in any trends.
In the common point of view, it may be the strange music.
The sensitivity SM conveys is distanced from the current trend.
However, SM did not try to compete with songs that can captivate popularity instantly except for a few exceptional cases like SNSD’s ‘Gee’,
Instead, they absorbed some of the public little by little as fans based on the enthusiastic fandom even from the start.
The people mesmerised by the popular points in ‘ Catch Me’ will have a chance to become fans that will watch the ‘Catch Me’ stage over and over.
‘Catch Me’ implemented the kind of music and stage that were pursued by SM since HOT’s ‘Descendants of the Warrior’ with high technical perfection.
Whether you like it or not, it is only TVXQ alone in the world that can accomplish this unique ‘Watching Music’.
That is TVXQ ,the most powerful tool that SM has.

cr: Kang Myung Seok,the chief editor


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