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Music Releases
Posted by AKP STAFF Sunday, July 17, 2011

[Review] "One More Chance" by CSJH-Dana & Sunday


Miraculous things occur in K-pop on the daily - one of those being unprecedented comebacks by long-long idols. As a nod to this wildcard phenomena, this review takes on a comeback from a forgotten pop star (in this case, pop stars), CSJH The Grace! It's a thrill to hear that a veteran girl group has planned to rejoin the masses, because, as of late, it's only been the boy-bands that have come back. However, for those readers reminiscing over CSJH's past activities as a foursome, I'm afraid to say the nostalgia will be met halfway, because only two members have returned. Hence the new sub-unit, CSJH-Dana & Sunday. — It's bittersweet, given how CSJH has been dubbed as one of the best girl groups ever employed under SM Entertainment as far as vocal strength and performance is concerned. They're also SM's female answer to TVXQ, and while CSJH's success in K-pop had a shelf life of only a few years and they weren't nearly as historic as TVXQ, they still managed to leave their mark amongst the mass populations of girl groups. — CSJH is a four-member ensemble comprised of Dana, Lina, Stephanie, and Sunday. They were - or for most of us, still are - known for having strong vocals, which they showcased right from the beginning with their 2005 debut ballad, "Too Good". The song highlighted their technicality and control,  but the true test of those skills came with their up-tempo tracks. "Dancer in the Rain" in particular reassured CSJH's position on their now high pedestal, thanks to its intricate composition. The song itself was one-of-a-kind, for it combined today's prominent concepts - sweet and fierce - into one song. When was the last time you heard conflicting styles coexisting in harmony? CSJH proved they had the vocal acrobatics to make it work. One other thing they proved was the human capability to deliver epic vocals whilst dancing one's derričre off. (Case in point: Live performance of "Dancer In The Rain"). Now, listening to their 2011 comeback single, "One More Chance", it's interesting to hear exactly what CSJH have done to that mold we created for them, that we remembered them for, and to hear if they're as compelling as they were during their prime. Given that this is a mere sub-unit, and not the whole package, the approach to that has been slightly skewed, and may or may not be the source for the obliqueness of their new song. "One More Chance" has present-day SM Entertainment written all over it. Obviously, it ought to, since it spawned from the company, but to hear how precise the company's production team has become in their style and execution is impressive in a 'whoa, why does this sound freakishly familiar'-kind of way. By now, K-pop enthusiasts have come to recognize an SM tune the moment it plays, and "One More Chance" is no different. SM has developed a style combining grungy synths, catchy beats, and quirky bells and whistles. Rather than focusing on the intricacies of composition and songwriting, SM has been well aware that their audience would rather lather, rinse, and repeat with songs a lot simpler and faster to stomach, so they've delivered. In Dana & Sunday's case, who come from a period in pop music that favored pompous songs with varying degrees of difficulty and flash, have re-entered that same music scene, but now must conform to its new rules to stay relevant. Which is interesting, because that's what this song is all about. Lyrics aside, "One More Chance" serves a plate of the trite and rudimentary aspects of SM's 2010-2011 musical style, which was surprising, since this is Dana & Sunday we're talking about. But there are two extremes at play here: one humorous, and the other quite sad. It's no secret this song is awfully simple, especially when any member of CSJH could handle anything ten times as difficult. Dana & Sunday are singing with very little effort, exactly like their juniors, except the thing here is they're exemplifying how ridiculously easy it is now to pull off a pop song. Dana & Sunday are given the exact formula of today's SM pop stars, and are showing them how easily it's done. The best bit of the song is the last third, in which they seem to shake off most of the heavy processing from the first couple minutes and start dabbling in more than the one note they had to work with through the verses (which is probably two more, tops). Dana & Sunday have executed today's pop song to the best of their ability, considering its banal design. Yet, it's that conventional aspect of "One More Chance" and overbearing SM aura that slightly knocks the song down, because there's something oddly formulaic about it that almost keeps this tune from being too unique and particular to Dana & Sunday as a girl group; replace the vocals in your head with those of f(x), and suddenly you have a hit on your hands. === SM Entertainment could have potentially made this an explosive summer for Dana & Sunday had they stepped out of their comfort zone and put some thought into giving them the proper, mind-blowing female song they deserve. Instead, the public received a couple week's notice of Dana & Sunday's comeback with very minimal promotional effort. Which pales in comparison to the time and work they invested in TVXQ's valiant return to K-pop. Of course, words cannot amount to the continuous flow of revenue SM receives from their golden boy-band, but it's an underwhelming truth to see Dana & Sunday stuck with a song that doesn't show half of their vocal talent to today's Kpop fan base. K-pop fans have multiplied tremendously over the past couple years, and most of them aren't familiar with Dana & Sunday or CSJH. SM gave TVXQ a song that showcased both their amazing production style, as well as one that showcased the boy's vocal power, even as a duo ("Why? Keep Your Head Down"). Lamentably, Dana & Sunday could have really come back with an explosive song as well, one that SM seems to have plenty of within their arsenal, and put today's girls groups to shame. When all's said and done, however, "One More Chance" itself is witty, playful, and quirky. If one ignored the politics behind the song, the production is top-notch, and as catchy as it should be. Dana & Sunday, welcome to Kpop 2011. — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ng2PFi7v-k — Overall Rating: 3.6/5What are your thoughts on CSJH-Dana & Sunday's comeback single? — Suggestions for a future review?  Hit the author up on Twitter (@rothsresidence) or via e-mail (arnold.arteaga@allkpop.com)! — Note: This article does not reflect the opinions of allkpop, only of the author.

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