JUNHO – CANVAS
3. Instant love
4. Nobody Else
5. WOW (CD ONLY)
6. Run to you (CD ONLY)
7. BYE BYE (Feat. CHEEZE)
Junho has just dropped his mini-album! The 2PM singer unveils 7 new tracks on 'Canvas,' 2 of them available only on the CD. He also released 3 MVs as well, along with a "Special Clip" of "BYE BYE." It's been 2 years since his LP 'ONE,' so fans of his solo career have been waiting for this one.
The title track "CANVAS" is hybrid R&B with some elements of tropical house. It doesn't really settle on one genre. The presentation is fairly nondescript... all the standard things that we expect are there, like a thrumming bass and a pounding beat. But there are those plinking almost xylophone-like sounds throughout, as well as the down-pitched vocals and synth flourishes. Junho's voice sort of has an ironic sound to it here. I like this song because while it can be simply listened to, there are layers to it that are fun to uncover.
"Fine" is the ballad on the album. It's got enough going on where it barely qualifies as a ballad, more like soft pop. Still, it's tenderly sung, and he seems to take a gentler approach to the vocals. The chorus is the hook, and despite his insistence that he's fine, we can tell very clearly that he is not. I like the vocal range that he's shown so far and look forward to hearing more.
"Instant love" is the club-banger but it has some distinctly retro elements. For instance, the chorus is done almost entirely in falsetto and sounds for all the world like something that you might hear in a '70s discotheque. The main verses have that thrumming bass, and a pounding beat that sets it up for something exciting. It's a good song and a refreshing change from the other slower songs that started off the EP.
"Nobody Else" is a pop tune that should be very very familiar to any 2PM fan. It has been performed time and again, and this time he put it on the EP. There is almost no difference between this and any other version you've heard, other than the fact that he does the raps himself. It's not a bad tune, though I was maybe hoping for something more – maybe a bluesy remix?
"BYE BYE" (Feat. CHEEZE) is a duet between Junho and Dalchong of CHEEZE. This is a light R&B song that seems, well, a lot like a CHEEZE song, with the exception of Junho's vocals. It's very polite and restrained, and I think that's part of the problem. There's not a lot to distinguish it, nothing to make it pop other than Dalchong's sweet, sweet voice.
In some ways, it's tighter and more realized than 'ONE.' I think the mini-album format is good because you need to have more of what makes an album good. And he's done that here, for the most part. He's become a little more experimental and does so without straying too far out in left field. This EP is a canvas, and Junho has wielded his brush skillfully.
MV REVIEW – "CANVAS"
Here Junho seems to be searching for something or someone, as he goes from place to place. He's not in Korea, though -- those cacti, palm trees, and rock formations give you a clue that he's somewhere in the American southwest.
It almost seems as much travelogue as MV, as he visits various locations. There are just some intense shots here, where he's walking at night, bathed in the lights of the city, or silhouetted against a scarlet sky. This is one of those videos I love, simply so I can see places that I have either never been, or don't get out to see often.
And it's hella artistic. The way the clouds move is sometimes impossible, the backgrounds dynamic. While I'd expect Junho to be the focus, here he almost takes a backseat to the scenery, which just makes for a stunning MV.
MV REVIEW – "Fine"
This MV treats us to the various dreamscapes that only animation can show us. We get words traveling across the screen, paw prints that hang in midair, and figures that form and are just as quickly discarded or morphed into something else.
The animation is fun, the art style whimsical. It reminds me of Drunken Tiger's "The Cure" in some spots, P-Type's "Lazyyy" in others. Either way, I'm an animation fan, so seeing an MV full of it can be sheer joy.
It's a pretty fun time, even if you're not supposed to think too hard about what you're seeing. It's nothing terribly amazing. But it's a nice escape from the day, where you can enjoy some music and catch some interesting visuals along the way.
MV REVIEW – "Instant love"
In direct opposition to the title, we see this MV chronicle a couple falling out of love.
The MV stars TWICE's Sana and most of it is filmed home-movie style, with the awkward camera angles, jerky camera work, and iffy video quality associated with all that. There other shots that drive home the shattered love affair concept, like the distinctly un-home-movie-like melted neon heart, and pictures tossed in a pool. They fight too, but the MV, fortunately, skirts the issue of domestic violence.
Still, I like this framing device, cliche though it may be. I like stories, and this MV definitely tells one. It is a pretty simple MV -- there's none of the swanky animation or stunning vistas of the previous two MVs. Just a couple of attractive lovers who are closing the book on their relationship.
Still, as MVs go, it's certainly not a bad one.
(Scores are averaged across all MVs)
MV SCORE: 8.7
ALBUM SCORE: 8