[review/kpop] ToHeart’s 1st Mini Album

This is sort of, kind of, most likely, the worst duo project I’ve heard since Eunhyuk and Donghae’s album RIDE ME. INFINITE’s Woohyun and SHINee’s Key, though they are great friends in real life and have great chemistry in the music videos, their singing and rapping do not mesh well. They do not complement each other: they neither lessen each other’s weaknesses nor strengthen each other’s specialties. To be fair, it’s hard to balance with a voice like Key’s. All too obviously, this mini-album fails the balancing act and even raises the question, did they even attempt to create balance?

The production also seems off-quality– I’ve been told that it’s not the usual slew of SM producers backing this, rather from Woollim Entertainment. I’ve never really enjoyed an INFINITE song, and I suspect it may be the unfinished and corny sound that that Woollim tends to favor. Rather than SM’s style of slick pop, Woollim gives off a safe-family vibe.

In this review, I will only be talking about the album and will not review the music videos or the lives, though I may mention them in passing. Be warned, this review is more crass than you would typically read because I couldn’t find much to like about this mini.

2

Intro

I can hear it now, the waves of corniness with a big side of unnecessary piano and bass comping in the background. Can I make it through without gagging? $10 on me not being able to make it to the end.

Delicious

Did you adventurously bet that I could make it to the end? You just lost a significant amount of money. Sorry, the “Come on girl love is so nutritious” made me gag reflexively. However, like the SHINee fan I am who has survived Ring Ding Dong, I moved past it. Sort of. I kind of started gagging again near the middle after hearing Key’s terrible singing for over two minutes. It seems throughout this entire song he cannot hold a vibrato when it matters and his rapping seems so mechanical and shouty. Yet, this can describe Key in a lot of SHINee songs. What’s different? Two things: Key is singing a lot more and Woohyun is powerless to counteract or counterbalance Key’s voice. In SHINee, there is always a Jonghyun, Onew, or Taemin to soothe away the brittleness of Key’s. Woohyun’s voice is nowhere near powerful enough to do so nor do they blend well; Woohyun and Key, for the most part, sound like they’re singing in separate silos. Best friends do not necessarily make the best duet partners.

I do get the impression that Woohyun is a main vocalist and does have control in many places that Key lacks, but again, one can only be as good as the duet partner. I’m sorry to say Key drags it, sounding flat and the opposite of bouncy and delicious. However, Key can bounce, as he showed in Kiss Yo. Wait, what’s the difference? The rest of the SHINee members supporting Key and the fact that Key only sings a few lines.

I’ve watched a few minutes of Key’s musicals, and coupled with ToHeart, it’s clear to me that Key isn’t a marathon singer, despite how much practice he has had. He gets continually flatter and unregulated as he sings more and more– even on a carefully recorded track. It’s painful to listen to.

Maze

Key’s voice is doctored a lot more, so a lot of his lower passages are passable. Yet, all this doctoring makes a dull song even duller. Uninspiring and I’m starting to think that Woohyun’s voice is incredibly limited in this doo-woppy fast-dance genre. Perhaps this is not his genre.

You’re My Lady

At last, Key is starting to try and ToHeart has some sort of semblance of being partners in the song. Yet, as I listen to this song, I feel that while Woohyun’s voice is nice in some places, I would not be confident of recognizing it outside of context. It sounds like the mass of rookie male singers that I cycle through from time to time. He does not have a particularly distinctive voice and his expression seems limited. Woohyun’s vocalizations seem to be cut of the same cloth each time, making them all unimpressive after the first impressive run.

Tell Me Why

This song had potential until the full instrumental kicks in at the chorus, just another feel-good chorus without any feelings from the oh-so-plaintive beginning. However, this is the only song in the album that does not cause any gagging– a small accomplishment in itself, I suppose. This small success is owing to the fact that Key sings mostly in his lower register in the verses, and manages quite well. Nonetheless, he still strains into his upper register in the chorus. Woohyun hands in a solid, but unremarkable, performance, yet again.

Departure

Tell Me Why had passable lower registers, but Departure is a very good example of bad lower register singing. The corny harmonica, guitar and string comping  add an unrefreshing country feel. Is this album over yet? It is. Great. Now let me move on with my life.

About these ads

2 thoughts on “[review/kpop] ToHeart’s 1st Mini Album

  1. haven’t commented in a while, but i had an unfinished review of “Delicious”, where, despite being a Infinite fan and slowly diminishing Key stan, I could not stand Key’s portion of the song. (warning some bias and lack of vocal skill terminology below)
    when i first heard of their duo, I knew right away their voices would clash badly and it was not going to be impressive (at least I thought Eunhae was fun, hey maybe it might show in Wookey? Nope it didnt) nor interesting. Woohyun is the main vocalist of Infinite and, IMO, this is probably one of the meh-est songs he’s ever sung in. He was more powerful and fuller sounding in Immortal Song and older Infinite promos (see “She’s Back”, which was supposed to be a SHINee song apparently) and I personally think he would make an interesting duet with Onew, who also has a fuller(?) voice, (my two fave voices out of both groups). Anyways, I wasn’t surprised when I was disappointed by the song. *shrug*
    It doesn’t help that, unlike Eunhae, they weren’t able to “save” the MV by bringing out their friendship/personality(?) tics. what worked with Eunhae is that SM tends to have a dance box-solo cut-simple style, whereas woollim tends to be art-collage video-style; things actually happen, people do things other than looking pretty at the camera and dancing. Which key may not be used to, and i was actually looking forward to see whether or not he’d be able to handle being in a woollim video, along with infinite’s retro/light rock-ish style of songs.
    unfortunately, wookey, clearly clearly clearly do not know how to act natural, despite both of them being in dramas or musicals. so parts that did not require natural acting, were passable to me. but you bring up a good point about “unfinished” style of MVs, and thats actually something that agitates me about infinite for a really long time despite being into them.
    lastly. woollim’s engrish has always been terrible (so so many typos xD). lets take a moment and giggle at their subunit name xD

    • hmm you make very good points. I’m very ignorant in all things INFINITE sadly.. this whole album pissed me off quite badly because vocally, with Woohyun it was a meh but then with Key, he basically sunk the whole ship (sorry stalking Shawols, it’s the truth). I also think Woollim is just not my style meh, sorry again to stalker Woollim stans.

      bah I don’t know why they thought this would be a good idea; I even remember reading that they originally wanted to do a photoshoot or something else together, but not singing..

      Michelle

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s