This post wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the insistence of a very good friend. No, she didn’t tell me to write this or influence me to even begin writing again. However, she did broaden my musical horizons in a way that I will never forget. She allowed me into a world that, while completely crazy, is also so full of love and genuine care I wonder what my world was without it. So, I just want to say this upfront: Thank you, Julz, for giving me this gift of music.
All the sappiness out of the way, I truly want to express my undying adoration for this group. As you’ve no doubt gleaned from my post about this group a little while ago, there’s something so incredibly pure about their talent. It’s a rarity, indeed, to come across a group that cares as much about image as they do about vocal excellence. Though pegged as nothing more than an “idol group” (sort of the Korean equivalent to a simple boy band), the fact of the matter is their ability to blend their voices into something unique and intricate rivals most groups in the US and Europe. A company can bring a group together, find members to fit a particular style or fill a part of the market that’s not heavily saturated; however, for that group to be able to transcend their individual parts and truly bring almost flawless vocal mastery to the forefront – that is an exceptional gift indeed.
From their second album as a Jpop group (indeed, they were both pioneers of the Korean Hallyu wave and a Japanese pop group, having learned the language from scratch and managed to accommodate the sharp tics of the language in the watery softness of their own palettes), track “Begin” is a genius example of a cappella grandeur. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for a cappella. What can I say? The precision and excellent ear to hear the sounds around you and mesh them perfectly with your own is powerful. Though a construct of the powers that be at SM Entertainment, if not for their incredible vocal abilities, Dong Bang Shin Ki (TVXQ! or Tohoshinki in Japan) would’ve been another group in a million. However, their craftsmanship is commendable.
What’s so ingenious about the track is the inflection of each voice. It’s a song that allows the listener to dissect each vocal part, each voice distinguishable. But more than that, the harmony is tight, so crystalline that just a fraction of vocal frailty would send the entire piece of music crumbling. That’s exactly how finite the group’s vocals were, a trait that’s even more noticeable when the song is performed live.