Early last year, I don’t remember what I was searching for, but on the right rail of YouTube’s related videos, I saw a black & white thumbnail titled “SORRY, SORRY” with a few million views. Being the curious net-savvy-always-exploring-new-music guy that I am, I clicked on it not knowing what to expect. It immediately dawned to me I was watching a music video for a Korean boy band with thirteen members in it! I laughed at the absurdity! I even wrote a post on it immediately after I listened to the song.
And then I listened to “Sorry, Sorry” a hundred times after that… because it was so catchy. After that, again, on the related videos columns again, was a colourful thumbnail with a cute girl’s face and the title “Gee“. Needless to say, I clicked on it… and I wrote about that as well — and that’s how I fell in love with K-pop!
Even though I knew of Rain, Se7en and the Wonder Girls, it was Super Junior that got me really hooked on K-pop with “Sorry, Sorry” and “It’s You”. And now, the biggest Korean boy band (screw A-Peace) are back with their fifth album titled Mr. Simple.
The early visuals SM Entertainment used to tease E.L.Fs (Super Juinor’s fans) we described as “uber
gaysexual,” and I found them quite embarassing to look at.
K-pop is good at that, tease fans with photos and visuals for an upcoming release — but then flip it completely upon eventual release with something completely different.
“Mr. Simple” – The title track, if you haven’t guessed from the headline, follows the same formula of music that made “Sorry, Sorry” a massive hit. They tried it again with “Bonamana” last year and it worked (even though I’m not a fan of that song). Yoo Young-jin, the producer behind those two songs surely worked on this album as well. “Mr. Simple” has a very catchy musical hook which got me swaying immediately as it began (“Because I naughty, naughty” ?), but unlike “Sorry, Sorry” and “Bonamana”, the tempo stays the same even as it gets to the chorus. Even the bridge sounded unconventional and a misfit to the persistent instrumental. But as much I hate to admit it, I find the song quite infectious! (Damn you Yoo Young-jin!)
Watch “Mr. Simple” music video here:
(Hmm, even a few of the dance routines look recycled)
The thing about “Mr. Simple” is how well it will appeal to international ears. Especially in South America and Europe, actually even the Middle East. The song would sound good even if the Korean was replaced with Indian languages and or even Arabic, because the music suits it just fine. Any language but English.
“Blow your mind!” Mr. Simple screams, and while it didn’t blow my mind, it did suck me right in and hooked me until the very end of the song. With this track, Super Juinor’s international appeal will only grow. Smart move SM, real smart. – 4/5
Mini-review of the rest of the album:
“Walkin’ ” – A song that supposedly recounts the members’ memories. A pure album filler in my opinion. – 2/5
“Storm” – The first power ballad of the album. Fairly generic. – 2.5/5
“Good Friends” – A very retro funk inspired song reminiscing about friendship. – 3/5
“Feels Good” – A good mid-tempo electronic track. – 3/5
“Memories” -The mood slows down now and here on we get more vocal-driven songs. – 2/5
“Sunflower” – Guitar-tinged, mellow and nice. It would be nice if SuJu performed such songs live. – 3/5
“White Christmas” – With a title like that, I expected a cheesy Christmasy song but instead of jingle bells, you get electric guitars and good vocals. This is a song you would normally hear from labelmates TRAX. Edit: Turns out this is a cover of Jinu’s hit from 1996. I must say, I like SuJu’s cover more. – 3/5
“Y” – Composed by member DongHae. Nothing special, at the same time, not bad either. – 2.5/5
“My Love, My Kiss, My Heart” - A heavy ballad with a thumping drumbeat sung with equal passion. Finally, the vocalists get to shine. – 3/5
“Perfection” – A bonus track, originally used for Super Junior-M. – 3.5/5
If you ask me who the best Korean boy band is, I will never say Super Junior. Despite their popularity, SuJu to me are more of a variety act than a conventional boy band. They themselves have stated in the past that they are a group of entertainers, who are not just a musical group, but one that can do everything from MCing, hosting radios shows and even acting. That said, it’s their songs that Super Junior will be known for the most.
“Mr. Simple” the single will win awards on music shows, no doubt. But despite what I think about the rest of the tracks, the album will sell very well. Only because Super Junior have such a massive fanbase. A rabid one at that. Ones who will buy the album to show their “support”. But just as wrote in my last album review, this is only counterproductive.
‘Mr. Simple‘ the album simply showcases what to expect from Super Junior musically, with the first half being the expected hook-driven dance tracks, while the second half lets listeners know the group does have some great vocalists amongst them.
My final rating: 3 out of 5 (Good)