S.M. the Ballad – Vol. 1
SM Entertainment, home to some of Korea’s top artists – BoA, DBSG, SNSD, Super Junior, and SHINee, presents its second ballad project group, S.M. the Ballad. It succeeds the company’s first project group, S (which comprised of Kangta, Shinhwa’s Shin Hye Sung, and Lee Ji Hoon) that debuted in 2003. The new group, S.M. the Ballad consists of Trax’s Jay, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, SHINee’s Jonghyun, and rookie singer, JINO.
Even before the album release, I’ve already had high expectations from the group because three of the four members were the main vocals of their respective groups. Thus, I knew singing would definitely not be the problem. I also thoroughly enjoyed S’ work when it was released, and so I believed this album would likewise meet my expectations.
01 Miss You
The album begins with the title track, “Miss You” a very simple ballad number accompanied by beautiful string and piano arrangements. The boys were flawless in terms of their singing, but sadly to say, the song was on the boring side. When I realized that this was going to be the title track I was very much disappointed. I felt that the group had so much more potential that was not being shown through this song. “Miss You” in my eyes was not title track material.
02 Hot Times
Luckily, S.M. the Ballad was able to redeem itself with their follow-up song, “Hot Times,” a medium-tempo R&B number composed by Yoo Young Jin. Unlike the former track, “Hot Times” highlighted not only each of the member’s vocals and rap skills, but their harmonization skills as a whole. The jazzy elements heard throughout the song further livened up the mood to this “sexy” number. Possibly my favorite track in the album.
03 Love Again
Track three is “Love Again,” a gorgeous medium-tempo ballad sung by Super Junior member, Kyuhyun. Although listeners can definitely hear the singer’s emotions, the song is surprisingly very calming and soothing at the same time. Overall, beautiful melody, arrangements and vocals! Love it!
04 Don’t Lie
“Don’t Lie,” sung by SHINee’s Jonghyun and newcomer JINO is another favorite of mine. Unlike the previous three tracks, this song is much more upbeat – enough to get people moving. The beats are very funky and Jonghyun and JINO do a fantastic job showcasing their power vocals, emotions and style. Henry of Super Junior-M also lends a hand with his rap featuring, which in some ways can be positive or negative, depending on the listener. Luckily the English lyrics made sense since Henry is a native English speaker. Yet for some reason, the rap portion made me cringe. Great song nonetheless.
05 Another Day
Jay of Trax completes the album with his solo track titled, “Another Day.” This song once again is a beautiful, yet another typical Korean ballad that showcases the artist’s great vocal range and sad emotions the lyrics portray. Not my favorite, but better than the title song, “Miss You.”
In conclusion, I was quite satisfied with the outcome of this album. Although Jay, Kyuhyun, and Jonghyun all have their distinct musical qualities within their respective groups; through S.M. the Ballad, each member (except maybe JINO) was able to show yet another side of themselves. We knew the boys were talented but through these five ballads/urban R&B tracks, fans were able to see much more from their favorite artists. I was quite delighted with this outcome, and I hope the project group continues with more collaborations in the near future!
5/5 – Even if you’re not a fan of this artist/group this album is a must buy.
4/5 – If you’re a fan of this artist/group, you must buy this album.
3/5 – If you’re a fan of this artist/group, you might want to add this one to your collection.
2/5 – I don’t think a fan would even buy this.
1/5 – You might as well just flush your money down the toilet