Time’s up, H.O.T. Make room for the new oldest song reviewed for Throwback!
This week started out pretty slow, then got a bit more exciting as Thursday got closer and closer. A big one for sure is this whole “Beyond The Scene” rebranding. Since I think it’s too early to pick Beyond the Seen for Throwback, I might make an individual post to address the subject of Beyond the Sea’s surprise news. (EDIT: This should do.) In other news, Apink made headlines again for having Bomi do blackface for a skit on SNL Korea. And the story that nearly got picked this week was a victim of JYJ’s Yoochun getting acquitted, which does not make him look any better. (Not like anything, even being a model citizen who donates to charities and respects women would still not help his face.) In the end, I felt like writing about Shinhwa (again) as leader Eric became the first member to get married. While I had a few other song choices in mind, I have quite a few things to say about T.O.P.
Being a k-pop fan who joined the party in 2015, I found this song like anyone else who found k-pop around the same time; Through BTS’ This Love/T.O.P. cover with a thumbnail that meets required standards.
I clicked this expecting something related to Big Bang’s T.O.P. Even though he was nowhere to be found, I wasn’t too disappointed with the video. The cover of This Love is a bit messy, vocals getting in the way of an instrumental I would love nearly a year later. So I was more drawn to T.O.P., even if my Big Bang Bias had nothing to do with it.
The song is sampled from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and being force-fed classical music up to my teen years, of course I love it. I like how the classical music mixes with the ’90’s beat. And of course I do a double take when Rap Monster said that word. When the video ended, I immediately searched for who did the song originally, and saw a familiar name.
I already knew about Shinhwa thanks to the only k-pop mashup that matters. I only knew their most recent song at the time. Now I got to know their older material. Unfortunately, the MV is of very low quality and full of those awkward close-ups every 1st Gen MV had. Live stages like the KCON version help in this situation.
I wasn’t able to pick a bias at that time. Almost a year later, I have to add how smoking Jun Jin is when he does his rap now compared to when he was my age. Listen to his rap from 1999 (2:06 in the MV above) and his rap from KCON (3:20). He grew the fuck up and it’s magnificent. Being old isn’t always a bad thing! (Except when he as to sing his parts from older songs. I just can’t. His voice is very restricted now) Maybe his voice is smoking now because he was smoking. If that’s the case, then I can’t be against his smoking habits.
Meanwhile, the second in line of my Shinhwa bias list almost never looked good when the group was with SM. Apart from Perfect Man, Hyesung had the worst styling in the early videos. He didn’t look too atrocious in T.O.P., but it’s still awful compared to the styling he got after leaving SM.
About Eric’s rap, if there was one thing the 1st Generation of K-Pop was amazing at, it’s the English lyrics. The 2nd Gen also had iconic lines, but the 1st Gen is on another level with nonsense sentences that go on and on and on. Idols could say anything back then because it was English so the Koreans thought it was cool or whatever. As years went by, these English fails were reduced to one short line, or even just a word. Hopefully Wanna One’s swaggy rapper Lai Guan Lin will bring back the epic use of English in k-pop when he debuts (and once again for his Cube debut). But with less racial slurs. It would be embarrassingly funny in 1999, just embarrassing in 2017.
Back to T.O.P., even though I rather liked the song at first listen, it didn’t have enough Jun Jin exposure in high definition for me to stan the group sooner instead of later. I give it an A.O.K.