The Jonghyun stan in me finally won, and I will be doing a series of three posts on Jonghyun’s performances on Immortal Song 2. A little late, but ah, what else is new? I’m a bad fangirl.
Some things to keep in mind when you read this post: (a) I am not a professional singer nor do I have a deep knowledge about singing (b) this is my opinion only, you’re free to have your own and debate as you see fit, but if you disagree, be respectful. (c) Jonghyun sang live, and didn’t sit in a recording studio for days to get it perfect, unlike the original singers, so yes, these reviews are inherently unfair.
Performance 1: One’s Way Back, originally sung by Naul
For this song, Jonghyun really tried to stay faithful, so much so that in the beginning of listening to the original song, I did a double-take and almost thought it was Jonghyun singing it. Yet, as I predicted, where Jonghyun and Naul diverge is how they sing the high parts: Naul is more smooth (think Usher R&B), while Jonghyun let loose his wailing. Jonghyun’s wailing is a characteristic of his performance style, but this time, it didn’t work for me, because it’s such a disconnect from the rest of the Naul-emulation performance. While Naul is more cool about this “I really hate you for leaving without a word“, Jonghyun sounds like he’s whining about it. Jonghyun did have a bit of falsetto in there, but he didn’t follow through, which was disappointing.
However, Jonghyun is incredibly good at emoting. Albeit whining was about the extent of his emoting to me, he was extraordinary about conveying it with his body language and voice. Sometimes even the correct emotion–anguish–shined through; in the part where he sings, “if I was able to hold your hand“, I really wanted to pat his head and tell him I’ll hold his hand.
Though I did say that Jonghyun sounded like Naul, in the beginning, Jonghyun’s melisma (a group of notes sung to one syllable of text) was noticeably weaker, and he sang more softly for the first thirty seconds or so– I sort of get it, building up anticipation, getting softer –> louder –> to an emo-soft ending. So what happened was that Naul, singing fully in the beginning, drew me in faster and kept my attention while with Jonghyun, I was thinking, “when’s the party starting?”
Performance 2: One Million Roses, originally sung in Korean by Kim Jung Eun
I did not like the original mainly because I thought the sound engineering was horrible. The low guitars/synth combined with that low female voice made it hard for me to distinguish the melody. So I was a little puzzled that this sort of song was an ‘immortal song.’
Again, Jonghyun began singing softly, which irritated the heck out of me– building anticipation does not mean one big crescendo through the whole song, and then a dramatic subito piano at the end. Granted, Jonghyun doesn’t have to break out the wailing at the beginning, but he doesn’t have to rely on such a repeated and trite technique.
What impressed me this time around was the low voice Jonghyun showed us, reminiscent of the voice Onew uses to sing Nessun Dorma. In SHINee, though Jonghyun can sing just about everything, he gets relegated the high parts, and Onew takes care of the low parts. Hence, I was happy to hear this new range of his voice. S.M. should work on developing that lower range more on Jonghyun, because he sounds very controlled, and there were several points where I was thinking Jonghyun could have wailed more. Ironic, complaining about Jonghyun’s wailing before and then demanding more here. Different songs, different requirements, different atmosphere; the instrumentalists this time around were really egging on Jonghyun, but he did not respond well. For example, after the high note ‘climax’, the instrumentalists still kept up the same pace, while Jonghyun fell back, probably thinking about the subito piano too far in advance. So thus, the ‘climax’ felt like a preclimax, but when nothing happened after that, I felt a bit dissatisfied afterwards.
Final Grades (0-100, 100 best, 50 as average, roughly anything 75+ means I was impressed a lot)
- Perf. 1: 70.
- Perf. 2: 74.
**if interested, click to read the notes I took as I watched the original and Jonghyun’s performances:
**if any video links are broken, let me know!
notes as I watched:
One’s Way Back by Naul http://youtu.be/oxxQ4uOrd3E
What a nice piano beginning :3
Wow, Naul does remind me of Jonghyun, the breathing is similar and timbre, but he has less of a screech
the high parts feel fleshed out and whiny
random sax part in the middle? piano relegated to chords, blech
reminds me of R&B at the end, a little bit of breakup
the piano part gets overlaid with Jonghyun’s monologue
his beginning melisma is WEAK!
beginning is weak, not as gripping as the original (haunting?)
if I was able to hold your hand lyric. that is just so, so, so good. good emoting
more a gritty voice that morphs into screech .___.
more characteristic Jonghyun wailing, total departure from smooth song
the lower parts he kills it if he abandons his wailing
Jonghyun has always been great at emoting, The rain blows across my cheek lightly.. Jonghyun vein time! but he almost missed the note. the ending part that was supposed to me more R&B ish smooth wasn’t smooth :P
A Million Roses http://youtu.be/N7xh364s7YY
rather grungy sounding, voice so low :( sometimes I can’t distinguish it properly from guitars
same type of song as One’s Way Back, haunting
very relaxed, the singer
depends on what kind of genre you like, it does have a singable quality, but I don’t think it would have been classic :P if it wasn’t chosen
again, weak beginning.. building anticipation does not mean singing softly
ugh the editing sucks, always during the song
but I do like the gradual blossoming theme
Jonghyun needs to have this lower voice more, it’s lovely, on par with Onew or even better
I get reminded of Westerns rather than Russia
seems rather hurried, the arrangement is a little faster
rather angry at the end but that contrasts with the “without hatred theme”
lol all the closeups of Minho (he has longer eyelashes than meeeeeee)
ending vocalizations were good, but felt they were so controlled, he could have let go, and made it more waily :P
the ahjumma (Shin Soobong) leans forward when the music stops! she’s definitely invested in his perf.
ending is weak :(
this arrangement is bettur