I like JYJ’s Kim Junsu. No doubt about it. And I think it’s natural if I want to know more about anything related to him, like his twin brother, Kim Junho. When I know Junho – or Juno, his Japanese stage name – has musical activity in Japan, I didn’t jump right into listening to his music. Only recently do I have the feeling to do so.
Despite Junsu’s renown vocal ability and musical achievements, I don’t have any assumption nor expectation on Juno’s music. They both different people who are likely to produce different kind of vocal and music.
I listen to Juno’s first album “STYLE”, released on October 17, 2012 under a Japanese label Rhythm Zone. The album is of pop genre that consists of 10 songs: 7 slow songs and 3 upbeat songs.
When I start listening to it, my notion proves me right. I think Juno has a shorter range vocal and sounds best in middle notes, while we know Junsu’s voice is broader in range and can reach higher notes. But Juno’s sounds more manly. I catch much less expression from his a-bit-husky voice and much fewer improvisation.
The first time I listened to “STYLE”, I thought his voice wasn’t too suitable for upbeat songs. His sounded a bit weak in parts that were possible for powerful vocal or high notes. I hoped something more on his slow ones. However, contrary to my expectation, his slow songs mostly didn’t leave me impressed and were easy to forget. In both type of songs, I rarely heard any improvisation in his vocal.
After the second hearing, I concluded I liked him better in upbeat songs because the strong beats complemented his voice. In doing so, the songs were becoming more pleasant and entertaining to listen to. I’ve also found songs that are my favorites in the album. “Fate” is the kind of song that can always play in my head, while “Look At Me” is the first slow song that I happily sing along. I’d also add “Everything” in my favorite list since it appears as an oasis in the middle of a desert of average slow songs.
What I like from this album is it sounds so Japanese despite being sung by a Korean. Most K-singers who try their luck in Japanese market sing their Korean song translated into Japanese, so basically it sounds Korean style. But Juno’s album is the exception. It is most likely part of his label’s strategy for Juno to be able to be accepted by the market. But then again, I think Juno will be mainly based in Japan rather than in Korea. So it makes sense. Being familiar and falling in love with J-pop first, then with K-pop, my nostalgic ears are stimulated and my heart warms upon hearing it.
Writing such less favorable comments have left me doubtful about myself not having certain assumption on Juno’s music as I said before. Having been impressed by his younger twin’s work, I think, deep down, I kind of expect something similar from him at least. But of course, it’s not the case here.
My little brain has tried to analyze why Juno isn’t impressive with “STYLE”. Probably he hasn’t got suitable songs that work well with his voice or he still needs improvement in the singing technique. I can’t be proud of my knowledge in any singing technique either but my point is I think he still has much more explorations to do in his music.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find any info whether Juno composed or wrote lyrics of any of the songs in “STYLE”. Otherwise, I can compare his self-composed songs to Junsu’s. What I know is he has lent his lyrics writing skill to Junsu’s solo album in songs like “Tarantallegra”, “Fever” and “I Turn Around and Around”. And his lyrics in “Tarantallegra” is my favorite in Junsu’s album by far. So he may be more of a lyricist guy. But it’s interesting and I’m hopeful to wait for his next musical venture in the future.
My overall conclusion of Juno’s “STYLE” is it will not be in my list of favorite albums of 2012 but I still can find time to listen to it because the Japanese composing style has helped me like the album in general.
PS: During finalizing this post, I’ve just known that Junsu’s digital single “Thank U For” is released. Juno is the co-lyricist alongside Kim Jina ^^