Features 2014

A look at song EXO members featured on in 2014.

S.M. THE BALLAD Vol.2 Joint Recital_하루 (A Day Without You) by JONGHYUN and CHEN

“The touch that I’ve gotten used to for such a long time
Your scent that is deeply settled in my fingers
I wash my hands and put on cologne
I try so hard to escape
But now, you’re someone else”

On this features list, we have three of six songs on the SM the Ballad Vol. 2 second mini album entitled “Breath.” Three songs of which Chen performs a duet with SM soloists and members of SM Entertainment groups. The first of these three duets we will discuss is the song referenced above. Both Chen and Jonghyun of Shinee soar and shine in this upbeat duet, “A Day Without You” wherein these two men share the same heartache. Despite the sanguine electronic instrumentation they are both wishing for someone they once had. Perhaps a relationship they didn’t appreciate and now have a newfound understanding for. Or perhaps even a relationship they thought they were miserable in only to realize that that person was the right one for them. The one that got away and will never return.

S.M. THE BALLAD Vol.2 Joint Recital_呼吸 (Breath)_by CHEN & Zhang Li Yin (CHN ver.)

“Thinking too much about what I want to tell
Why am I remaining silent now?
No matter how much words, can we go back to how we were?
The heart is aching”

Singing together for the title track in Chinese is bilingual singers Chen and Zhang Li Yin. Not only are they well-matched in lingual ability but in vocal intensity and delivery. This is a soulful, consuming, wholehearted performance by these two singers. They sincerely communicate to one another the sentiments of the lyrics of this piece. It appears that whatever brought these two innocent lovers together has also brought them apart as can be heard by the full orchestra coming in when the two sing together in contrast to the piano when Chen sings and the strings for Zhang Li Yin. And although they cannot be together, when it becomes unbearable to be apart they would be willing to cross whatever boundary just to hear that special person breath. That way they can be alright for just a little while longer.  All we could ask is that this piece doesn’t end. For when it does it feels like you haven’t quite reached for your fill. Give us more! Just phenomenal!

S.M. THE BALLAD Vol.2 Joint Recital_좋았던 건, 아팠던 건 (When I Was… When U Were…) by Krystal & CHEN

“For me, it was good
How we used to care for each other
For me, it’ll be painful
Even when the seasons endlessly change
But it’s alright, but it’s alright”

Yet another song about love that has been lost, we have Chen and Krystal of f(x). It’s a song you can easily listen to wherever you are. Their voices here about both light and lilting to the ear. Even if what they’re singing about is quite sad. The simple instrumentation of kit, organ, strings and guitar highlight their voices and portray the purity of the song snd their voices. It’s a common relationship ailment; miscommunication. Though it was not as clearly communicated in the performance as it could have been, this song is really conversation between the two characters who must have been reunited by chance. They discuss their awkward relationship and realize that though they misinterpreted one another to the point of the relationship ending on an unfortunate note, their concern and genuine care for one another was pure.

[Fancam] Henry feat Chanyeol – Bad Girl – SM TOWN LIVE WORLD TOUR IV IN SEOUL 2014-08-15

“Yeah, love is like a lollipop
Is your heart worn out? Stop stop it now
Stop saying sweet lies now
No No No
Don’t do this anymore, right now“

The quintessential it’s “so bad but that’s what makes it so good” song. Chanyeol features in Henry of Super Junior-M’s Bad Girl, another upbeat horn driven bubblegum pop song about a girl who has intrigued a guy, the main character of this piece. From the wordless skit at the beginning of this piece between the group of women dancers and Henry and his group of male dancers (who hold him back for just a moment before he tries to approach the group of women, {Is there some type of dancer dress code at SM? The men always seem to be in white dress shirts, black pants and suspenders…}) you get the picture that this is a girl the main character has happened across that captured his attention from the start by witnessing her unassuming, gentle and sweet charm. But somehow there’s a slight teasing hint here and there that also says she knows exactly how to make him weak in the knees. Chanyeol’s lines “love is like a lollipop” also further drive home the message that this infatuation is sickeningly sweet but something you really can’t stop wanting a taste of once you’ve started. Wish he could have had more lines and add a little more of his own flare to this story!

Mnet [M COUNTDOWN] Ep.390 : 태민(with 카이)TAEMIN(with KAI) – Pretty Boy + 괴도(Danger) @MCOUNTDOWN_140821

“What kind of man do you want?
You want a manly man on the outside?
Think about it
What kind of man do you want?
Even with the same words, I’ll give you a different kind of trust

Baby, I’m not some greenhouse plant that everyone easily talks about
Baby, rather than the tough guys who are all talk
I’ll give you a different kind of trust
P R E double T Y Pretty Boy”

There is so much to admire and appreciate about not only what this piece attempts to do but what it does. And we’re so thankful that Taemin and Kai are the two young men challenging the perspective heard often in conversation about what a “real man” is. Both of these men are handsome and talented. They are both powerful forces to be reckoned with on stage. Not only because of the awe-inspiring way that they move but because they are breathtaking to look at. And in K-Pop where you often find not only young women but young men who are considered unbelievably beautiful, makeup or not. For a man to sing and dance as well as they do, some start to question whether that man is a “real man.” “Real men” don’t dance like that. “Real men” do other, “more manly” things.” Sure…and then add on to that the fact that these men are both reserved (not shy) when around others and present as more pensive and thoughtful, then you have a sudden disorientation. “But I thought a real man was supposed to….” or even taking a line from the lyrics which says “you’re a guy so…” It causes you to challenge your perception of gender. We like how the song is entitled “Pretty Boy.” It seems like they are reclaiming that word (and perhaps many other words that are similar in meaning but harsher and a little more derogatory…) in their own way and chanting it throughout this song as they have an upfront-take-no-prisoners conversation with their audience challenging them to take a step back and think about if they really know what a “pretty boy” is and what he could be. In other words, don’t limit their potential because of your own rigid worldview. The instrumentation of this piece matches the carefree and yet uncompromising message of this piece with in your face electronic horns, zealous guitar and hard hitting drums forcing you to buckle up and take notice of what’s happening here.

*WHAT WE WOULDN’T GIVE TO HAVE ANOTHER COLLABORATION LIKE THIS?!?!??!?!?!? The performance in and of itself is enough to have us clamoring for more and more of this best friend duo, Taemin of Shinee and Kai’s own regular collaborations. That is something we can certainly hope for in the future!

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