[kpop] Jedward v. Toho. Honestly, which “Superstar” is better?

So, late as usual, I stumbled onto Tohoshinki’s TONE album and I have been happily listening to this album for about three weeks while getting sick already of SHINee’s The First within the first week. Naturally, I really like the track “Superstar” because of its heavy dance-beat. Just as naturally, I start Googling and then find out:

Clear condescension. Tohoshinki made a cover? Of a song that Jedward only released after Tohoshinki released their song? I was a little suspicious. Before I started to bristle my Tohoshinki bias, I listened to both of them.

[listen to Tohoshinki’s “Superstar”] / [listen to Jedward’s “Everyday Super Star”]

Differences between tracks:

  1. Tohoshinki has way more autotune. Do not misinterpret, I do not have anything against autotune unless it obscures the voice of the singer and does not add or fit in with the song. It fits perfectly in with the rough synths, and is genius. Genius. Tohoshinki sings this heartbreakingly well live without autotune, but the song is simply just not the same.
  2. Yet, Tohoshinki has more electronic polish, while Jedward feels like a demo. A demo is like a preview, before the finished product that will be actually recorded by the actual, ahem, superstar (sorry, could not resist making pun).
  3. Jedward clearly for a younger audience, because it feels like a sugar high, rushing headlong with no solid backing synths. It leaves me slightly insecure and shaky, like it could fall apart and crash at any second.
  4. Jedward’s lyrics are a bit unwieldy, “boom boom like Britney” is a bit awkward, though to be fair, so is Tohoshinki’s Japanese in that part, where they also kept the “b” sound.
  5. “You know what? She’s not your average everyday girl, listen up” is Jedward’s beginning; Yunho says in the beginning, “I wanna be your superstar, oh my girl.” Clearly, from English speaker’s perspective, Jedward is less awkward, but then Yunho’s deep voice saying it, sort of makes up for it (Michelle hormones, back down!).

Tohoshinki takes the cake this time, simply because they are mature and have better sound engineering, to be expected from a pop group that has dominated for far longer than Jedward. Jedward has potential, but not to the point of taking credit for Tohoshinki success.

I tried, in vain, to search for Jedward’s original tweets, but they have since been deleted, owing to the controversy they created when they claimed Tohoshinki had ‘covered’ their songs. This is not true; just like Tohoshinki’s “Mirotic“, each company bought regional rights, one for Europe (Sarah Connor), and the other for Asia. In the case of “Superstar,” the entertainment agencies both bought regional rights from Lars Halvor Jensen, and so both recordings are originals.


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