Release Date: March 28th, 2018
- 평행선 (Love Line)
- 운명 (The Chance of Love)
- 다 지나간다… (Broken)
- Only For You
- 퍼즐 (Puzzle) | U-KNOW SOLO
- Closer | MAX SOLO
- Wake Me Up
- 게으름뱅이 (Lazybones)
- 새벽 공기 (Without You)
- Sun & Rain
Total Runtime: 00:36:00
Recommended for: Those looking for a groovy, simplistic album with a great number of interesting tracks, varying both in style and genre.
NOT Recommended for: K-POP fans looking for an exceptionally upbeat or experimental album, or those looking for something more complicated when it comes to sound or style.
TRACK 01 | 평행선 (Love Line)
Kicking off the album, we have the light-hearted sound of Love Line. Unlike many of the other upbeat tracks featured on this album, Love Line showcases gentle, whispery vocals. The plinking instrumental works together with the gentle vocalization to create a bouncy, fluttering contrast.
The lyrics detail a story of two love interests who are “walking on parallel lines”. They are so different, yet they can’t help but be attracted to one another. This results in the two of them trying to come closer together, while walking on a confusing path of emotions. The instrumental on this song greatly compliments the lyrical content, as its sweet and bright sound mirrors the lyrics of two people finding love in each other.
Love Line is easygoing and fun, with the tropical house vibes mixing effortlessly with the overall mellow sound of the track. While it is relatively safe, with no intense changes in either tone or pace, it fits nicely with the albums overall simplistic style, focusing only on the bare essentials of what makes an engaging track. Love Line is relaxing and minimalistic, while maintaining a bright and inviting sound that is perfectly fit for an opening track.
TRACK 02 | 운명 (The Chance of Love)
The title track of this album, The Chance of Love introduces a slick and smooth sound that is prominently featured throughout the rest of the album. The instrumental to this track is relatively toned down, letting the duo’s vocal performance take the spotlight, however every here and there we can hear it coming out of its shell.
With a soft and repetitive whoo both starting the song and filling the chorus, The Chance of Love doesn’t overdo things where it doesn’t have to. The appeal of this track is in its simplicity, as TVXQ are able to deliver a strong performance without packing the song full of inessentials.
Around the 2:30 mark the track picks up a bit more in pace, and breaks into a short English lyrical part that helps the bridge stand out from the rest of the verses. This change in tone doesn’t divert from the original sound, instead it’s able to stop the track from feeling too monotonous as it works in a bit of flair to keep the song alive.
Ending the track we have a repeat of the final chorus to wrap things up nicely. Overall, The Chance of Love shows that you can produce a memorable title track without overcompensation. The song’s polished nature works well with the swing-jazz influences rooted in the instrumental, and the sleek vocal performances tie everything neatly together. The refrain is able to easily become ingrained in the listener’s mind, and I’ve repeatedly had myself coming back to this track again and again due to its simplistic addictiveness.
TRACK 03 | 다 지나간다… (Broken)
Moving on, we have the groovy, contemporary sound of Broken. Masked in ballad fashion, the song is carried by TVXQ’s stunning vocal performance, which flows through the verses and makes an even bigger impression during the chorus. In the refrain the singing from the duo draws in the listener, as both Korean and English lyrics blend together to create a mature, sensual sound.
TVXQ have always been regarded for their strong stance in the vocal department, however it is tracks like these where you can really hear their capability. To see them take such a simple track and transform it into something this solid, you can get a sense of how much their vocal capabilities are able to heighten the listening experience.
The instrumentation is slow and steady, with a noticeable synth beat giving the track a bit of flavour. However, the use of synth doesn’t overshadow the vocal performance, and instead enhances the verses, giving them a lift in energy. The mix between beautiful singing as well as a simplistic, yet intriguing instrumental creates an alluring relationship that makes this track stand out, even if it isn’t as upbeat as the other songs on this album.
TRACK 04 | Only For You
After the toned down sound of Broken, the tempo is brought back up with Only For You. This rushing, fast-paced track works well with its intricate instrumental. The quick rap verses compliment the high speed of the instrumental, and the singing verses are able to keep the song grounded throughout, which stops anything from becoming too overwhelming.
I find that the instrumental to this piece is really the focal point. The instrumentation during the refrain is a bit more complicated compared to the other parts of the song, and it really helps differentiate the feel of a regular verse from that of a noticeable chorus. The details in the refrain are only heightened by the lack of lyrical content present during that part, which really lets the instrumentation shine.
Not only does this add a bit of charm, like many of the other tracks on this album, it plays into that minimalistic feel that TVXQ seem to have mastered. From the first time I heard this song I was definitely intrigued, and it’s been one of my favourites ever since.
TRACK 05 | 퍼즐 (Puzzle) | U-KNOW SOLO
Now we’re onto Yunho’s solo track, Puzzle. This R&B jam packed full of EDM undertones compliments Yunho’s unique vocal colour, as each verse steadily leads into the following chorus without disrupting the flow. The repetitive “right now” laid out in the choruses are addictive, and the simple catchiness of the refrain results in it being able to get stuck in the head of any listener.
While Puzzle is quite straightforward in its approach, it is not completely so. The continuous changes in tempo throughout the song, most noticeably the parts leading up the chorus, as well as a short part from 2:02 to 2:16, keeps the track from becoming stale. Yunho’s singing is accompanied by various other vocal parts intertwined throughout the song, as the instrumental easily transforms itself to match each different tone felt on the track.
Not only is this a showcase of Yunho’s capability as a soloist, it also demonstrates the properties needed to make an intriguing standalone track. Packed with both a solid instrumental and captivating vocals, Puzzle works great both on its own, as well as with the overall theme of the album.
TRACK 06 | Closer | MAX SOLO
Following in Yunho’s footsteps, the next track on the album is Changmin’s Closer. The dreamy synths work together with Changmin’s gentle vocals, as he switching in between singing and falsetto, to create a warm, sultry sound. Changmin’s vocalization on this track is both powerful, yet inviting, evoking passion with every verse.
The track is a perfect blend between a strong instrumental and strong vocal presence, creating an environment where both can coincide with each other. I find that the instrumentation on Closer reminds me a lot of the themes present on Changmin’s label-mate Jonghyun’s album, She Is. You can especially hear the likeness in sound when you compare Closer to tracks like Orbit or RED, which also feature distinctive synth beats.
I find that this style works great with vocalists that have unique, distinctive timbres, such as Changmin and Jonghyun in this case. The synths bounce off of the singer’s verses, with the steady beat in the background keeping the track grounded. Closer works well with what it is given, as Changmin showcases both his vocal prowess, and his ability to work alongside a strong instrumentation.
TRACK 07 | Bounce
Bounce is another energetic track, with a heavy bass erupting throughout. Relatively straightforward, Bounce earns it’s catchiness when it comes to the chorus. The addictive “I just wanna do my thing – bounce!” works well alongside the vocals and instrumentation, and each small buildup before the chorus helps distinguish these parts from the verses.
Changmin also steals the show starting around the 2:24 mark, as the bridge builds into his remarkable high note. This bridge is definitely the part that stands out the most. It brings life into the track, and stops the song from becoming boring or too repetitive. Bounce ends on a strong note, with Changmin and Yunho singing their way to a close.
TRACK 08 | Wake Me Up
Wake Me Up begins with a playful piano melody, as it meets Changmin and Yunho’s cheery singing. As we dive into the chorus, we are met with strong retro throwbacks. Resembling the sound of a 90’s show-tune, Wake Me Up is a something right out of a sitcom. With a fresh and funky vibe, the piano melody works alongside elements of brass and drum to bring together a distinctive sound.
Definitely one of the most fun tracks on the album, Wake Me Up creates its own little show. This track is very firm in what it wants to accomplish, with the retro vibes guiding the songs overall style. The duo put on a great vocal performance, and the lively instrumentation helps distinguish it as one of the more interesting tracks on the album.
TRACK 09 | 게으름뱅이 (Lazybones)
After the upbeat vibe of Wake Me Up, the mood is toned down for the gentle ballad Lazybones. Featuring a light piano melody and soft vocals, Lazybones creates an atmosphere for itself. The beautiful harmonies delivered by the duo brings a captivating dynamic to the track, as Changmin and Yunho work together to give this track the life that it needs.
Around the 2:35 mark, the song welcomes more passionate singing and soft background vocals to create a grande buildup. The addition of guitar elements paired with a simple piano melody and drum beat leaves room for TVXQ to shine the most. After the strong bridge, the song ends on a delicate note as the instrumental slowly fades to an end. For those who enjoy ballads, Lazybones is definitely the track for you.
TRACK 10 | 새벽 공기 (Without You)
Without You possesses a much more ‘open’ feeling compared to Lazybones, yet it also has a hit of melancholy present. The light, whispery vocals compliment the relaxing instrumentation, as if this song could gently lull you to sleep. Focusing on a clear piano melody, steady drum beat, and soft guitar strums, the instrumental smoothly pulls the listener through the track. This simple slow jam doesn’t include any intense changes in tempo or sound, however it excels with its dreamy ambience.
Changmin and Yunho’s vocal presence on this song isn’t as strong as it is on others, but this works to the advantage of the songs overall style. Once the track starts coming to the end, it is met with these almost ghostly vocals, as they slowly fade out to the conclusion. Without You packages it’s vocals and instrumentation nicely together to create a track bold in simplicity, yet soft in sound.
TRACK 11 | Sun & Rain
Coming to the end of the album, we have the final track, Sun & Rain. With lyrics written by member Changmin, Sun & Rain details a relationship between lovers who are the opposite of each other, comparing them to the sun and rain. A strong piano melody lines the track, merging with Yunho and Changmin’s passionate singing. Stripped down, this track flaunts a simple instrumental and straightforward verse to chorus pattern, yet it’s able to deliver an a song full of emotions with the help of the duo’s vocal performance.
One extra thing I enjoy about this song is the fact that it blends so easily with the rest of the tracks on the album. This makes it easy to repeat the album again and again, because there is no jarring transition between Sun & Rain and the beginning track, Love Line. The minimalist take on this track coincides with the mature, sensual vibe of the album, leaving the listener wanting more. Sun & Rain is a great conclusion to New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love, as it sums up the themes of the project as well as demonstrating the beautiful vocals that TVXQ are known for.
Overall, New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love is a compelling album cop full of many different sounds and styles. Modern and mature, while it may not be their most experimental project, New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love presents a great blend between vocals and instrumentation, drawing in the listener with every unique track. If you’re looking for an interesting album that uses its simplicity to its advantage, but doesn’t sacrifice energy or engagement, then this is the album for you!