Super Junior aren’t exactly new to the creation of sub-groups, being the first K-Pop group to do so with such a large capacity of members. Since 2006 the birth of ‘sub-groups’ began with Super Junior-K.R.Y. created solely to promote the group’s vocalists; Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung respectfully. The group since have had many other sub-groups such as Super Junior-T; the group’s ‘Trot’ sub-group created for entertainment and variety purposes as well as Super Junior-H; the ‘Happy’ bubblegum pop sub-group and Super Junior-M; created to expand into the Chinese market singing in Mandarin and Korean (for title songs only). In 2012 the group’s most recent sub-group came to light after receiving much popularity following multiple performances together in Super Junior’s concert tours; Super Shows. Thus came the birth of the hyper and playful duo; Super Junior-D&E comprised of two members: Donghae and Eunhyuk respectfully.
Super Junior-D&E rose to popularity in 2012 upon the release of the duo’s first Korean single ‘Oppa has Risen’ for the pair’s special stage for Super Junior’s Super Show 4 World Tour. Since then the group have released multiple singles in Japan along with successfully holding their first Japanese tour as a duo following the releasing of their first full length album ‘Ride Me’. Now finally releasing their first domestic album in 2015, the group are showcasing a more mature theme image-wise as well as musically with ‘The Beat Goes On’.
Super Junior-D&E’s ‘The Beat Goes On’ (Special Edition) is comprised of a total of thirteen songs, some of which have been previously released prior to this album as singles or as Japanese releases due to the duo’s extensive promotion in Japan. The album bring a sophisticated outlook to the boys, having scrapped their usual playful dance image for their usual title tracks to instead a sincere R&B ballad track as their title song composed and written by Super Junior’s very own Donghae. This isn’t the first track composed by the singer, however this album allows more room for both Donghae and Eunhyuk to truly showcase their musical skills with the variety of genres and styles present in the album.
The concept brings on a melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere, showing the group’s range can bring both sentimental and stylish themes at once. A classy and funky feel is explored throughout the album with the duo styling a simplistic smart-casual look filled with waist-coats, sweaters and jeans (I’ll get to that pun later). The theme suits the boy’s maturing appearances growing as artists and men. This album is a wonderful compliment for anyone looking to relax and enjoy a smooth range of funk, R&B and stylish dance numbers it gives listeners a large variety of songs they cannot help but enjoy!
1. The Beat Goes On
The album kicks off to a simplistic dance number with an odd twist to it. The song is from The Underdogs, the producer of Chris Brown, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. The track begins with a gradual crescendo to Eunhyuk’s entrance to the song with a rhythmic rap accompanied with ‘ay ya ya’s’ between occasional line breaks in the verse comparable to Super Junior’s latest album release of Mamacita where the chorus begins ‘Hey Mamacita naega ay ya ya ya ya’. It could almost be seen as a playful hint at fans indicating the duo have elements of their style similar to their original group’s music however with Donghae and Eunhyuk’s own added twist to their music making it unique to their original group’s.
The music is rather confusing to listen to at first, throwing you off from the fluid beat of the rapping of the verse to a natural but progressive build up to its quirky chorus which at first can be considered somewhat far too simple for such a build up. However after a while its synthesised electro-pop beats are ‘taking over your body’, the duo can’t help but send their need to feel the beat to their listeners. The lyrics are emphasised nicely within the verse and chorus enabling it to be easily sung to we have to agree with D&E; ‘This funky music is like my style, Stronger than whiskey, sweetly intoxicating me’.
Where both chorus and verse rhythms would flow ideally as two separate songs, The Beat Goes On is a song which only grows on you a whole song after 2-3 listens. From then it seems like the beat really does go on with it’s ridiculously catchy chorus ‘never end[ing]’ playing in your head for hours. Be sure to check out their catchy comeback stage of The Beat Goes On here!
- Growing Pains” (너는 나만큼)
Growing Pains is labelled the duo’s title song and we honestly couldn’t find a more perfect song to be it. The song unveiled a melancholic outlook to the boys who stood out with a more mature concept that showed an emotional, sentimental side of the duo. The song composed and written by Donghae and Team One Sound, who are known to work with Donghae when composing tracks for himself, his solo stages, Donghae and Eunhyuk’s joint stages or for Super Junior’s songs as heard recently when Super Junior performed ‘Shirt’ for the group’s b-track comeback stage for their 7th album ‘Mamacita’.
The music is ultimately sweet sounding, with an acoustic guitar and piano melody heard throughout the song, it gives a rather personal feel to the track much like the duo’s previous Korean release of ‘Still You’ filmed here in London in 2013. The beautiful melody tells a sorrowful story in itself with the instruments sounding almost as heart-breaking as the lyrics. This song showcases both Donghae and Eunhyuk’s singing abilities outstandingly. Their voices illustrate clear emotion in the lyrics enabling the listener capable of truly empathising with the futility of trying to move on from a breakup that causes too much pain.
The wonderfully written soft-tempo ballad flows nicely with Donghae’s initial gentle singing from the first verse to Eunhyuk’s rhythmic but cutting rapping in the second verse. It is a song filled with pain and nostalgia of being unable to cope with separation, expressed within it’s chorus’ lyrics ‘But I hope you aren’t hurting as much as me, I hope for this every day, countlessly, I hope you won’t remember as much as I do, I hope you’re better than me (oh today and tomorrow)’. The lyrical message is that of the speaker expressing his regret that he and his lover are ‘discovered ourselves already broken’ conveying the foreshadowing of a broken relationship where the couple can no longer return to the happy stages of love and are now having to deal with ‘memories forgotten with time’. However the speaker is more hurt by this and as a result wishes that it is only him that remains hurt and his lover can move on and be happier without him. The most prominent part of the speaker’s misery is softly but sadly foretold by the catchy ‘ooh ooh ooh’s’ resounding after each chorus. It evokes a feeling of ‘if you love someone let them go’ and as a result all the singer wishes if for his ex-lover to be happy even he can’t be.
As the music video foretells, Donghae is assumedly the female protagonist’s previous partner, with him slowly realising the trauma of their once romantic and happy relationship to become broken and filled with crushing memories he caused and had tried to erase through a hypnosis company by the name of ‘Erasure’. Throughout the video his and Eunhyuk’s paths cross multiple times, with the latter currently in a relationship with Donghae’s previous lover, the roles are therefore reversed with Eunhyuk. This time the girl is the one to break Eunhyuk’s heart whereas previously Donghae broke her heart. Therefore despite Eunhyuk frustrated attempts to win her back, she remains unchanging, breaking off her engagement with him and his attempt to give her roses. Therefore ends the video with Eunhyuk coincidentally meeting Donghae at the ‘Erasure’ centre hoping to rid himself of the grief of his heartbreak and Donghae attempting to once again forget what he incidentally remembered as a result of seeing his past lover walk by him just after breaking up with Eunhyuk.
You can check out the music video here!
- Sweater & Jeans
Sweater & Jeans has to be without a doubt my personal favourite of the album. It’s complete with an orignal smooth R&B beat that ultimately feels like you’ve entered into a dream from the first note until the last. This song brings its listeners back in time with its almost ‘vintage’ familiarity to its tune however at the same time it creates its own modern, unique twist with the interruptions and frequently smooth change in tempo of the drum beat with a charismatic ‘hey’ in its chorus. Donghae and Eunhyuk experiment with the beat here with such subtlety it creates a wonderfully fresh but natural tune carried out to absolute perfection.
The music begins slow, entrancing you with the soft piano playing with a hit of the smooth drum beat introduced, the two instruments remain throughout the song, acting as a break between lyrics, creating a relaxing, effortless beat you can’t help but appreciate. The lyrics are carried out effortlessly to the beat their captivating melody invites you to discover more if the song’s story.
The chorus is built up by the beautifully harmonised ‘Yah ah ah ah ah’s’ appealing to the subtle seductive nature of the song’s soothing atmosphere. The chorus is almost as cool as its verse if not more so. It contains the occasional English word, its not difficult to understand the theme of the song’s classic concept. Its fluid tune almost sensual with every word sung, with it’s occasional emphasis on it’s striking use of English words it has you falling in love with the song, Donghae and Eunhyuk and their soothing voices with every word and note played. Particularly, the pair beautifully harmonise during its repetitive chorus of ‘You are my Vintage Sweater And Jeans, Always on my body, My own Vintage Sweater And Jeans’. She is compared to casual but comfortable clothing fitted on the speaker perfectly, or in other words, he has found his perfect match; one who makes him nostalgic and captivated by her breathtaking persona.
It’s lyrics foretell a girl the duo have fallen in love with for her reminding them of the romance in films our parents are familiar with, describing her as ‘She’s like a girl who came around the corner from a black and white film’ with Wendy of Red Velvet in English saying the line ‘Excuse me, I’m a little lost’, possibly imitating love interests common in classic Hollywood black and white movies as the lyrics continue ‘She drove a classic 1957, This is the flashy Hollywood, It’s like I’ve met Marilyn in front of me’. The song conceptually continues to metaphorically illustrate her image as one they have been longing for a long time inspired by a vintage, classic style made popular by Marilyn Monroe having been mentioned in the song frequently. The girl is an image of perfection the speaker is bewildered and captivated by her being what he had been looking for all his life as the lyrics say ‘You’re like a lifetime in a photoshoot say hello, The word that follows you is beautiful, I’m kissing the hand of the Cinderella that I finally found’.
Check out the full song here:
- Breaking Up
Breaking up is another brilliantly composed song on this album that uniquely creates a familiar but timeless mood with its smooth funk, it’s one which can be considered hard to appreciate at first, with the cheesy rhyming couplet of ‘I guess we’re Breaking Up, Breaking Up, Breaking Up, Just so we can Make it up, Make it up, Make it up, Make it up’. Regardless, after another listen, it’ll have you falling for it’s quirky casual beat in no time and singing along to it! The stylish bass accompanied with the duo’s rhythmic singing gives this song a lot of character it is undeniably easy to enjoy. While the beginning of the song reminded me much of Justin Timberlake’s introduction to ‘Pusher Love Girl’ on his latest album, particularly since the duo are fans of the singer, the similar style adds originality to setting the song’s mood as a simple and charming crescendo to the dramatic introduction to the actual song. This song showcases the pair’s singing nicely giving a classic 90’s feel to it, it compliments the modern twists of rapping and music breaks wonderfully.
The lyrics contrast the song’s happy funky melody with the catchy ‘ooh ooh baby’s’ with Donghae and Eunhyuk’s bittersweet singing of a love that the speaker is finding difficult to accept is over. The singer appears in denial of the reality of his girlfriend being about to break up with him saying ‘I’ll pretend I don’t know, I’ll avoid your eyes, as you bite your lip’. However he simply asks for one more day with his love, to spend it happily before they end their relationship together, something he isn’t ready for yet asking her ‘Don’t leave me today, Let’s say the tearful goodbyes tomorrow, Don’t leave love behind, Let’s leave the world without you for tomorrow’.
Check out Super Junior -D&E’s stage of Sweater & Jeans here compiled with Breaking Up!
Or check out the full song here:
5. Lights, Camera, Action!
Lights, Camera, Action! is another booming dance number created this time by Super Junior-M’s Henry and his team; Noizebank. The team have produced songs for the duo before such as Love That I Need which features Henry as the rapper. Lights, Camera, Action! is a marvelously addicting house track featuring a classic club beat, creative autotune sound effects and music breaks that make you want to freeze and continue dancing to the lyrics of ‘Let me see your hands up, Let me see your hands up’ when the music resumes with a hard hit of the drums.
The song’s party atmosphere delightfully ties with its creative lyrics. While it can be easy to miss, due to the enthusiasm of the song’s atmosphere, the song as a whole is cleverly formulated with an extended metaphor of the song’s title being that of the singer’s attraction to the girl’s character. Following the theme of the title, each verse articulates how the singer’s love interest is partnered with lights; ‘You swallow up the lights, brighter than the stars’, a camera; ‘Everything around you gets blurry, focus out, The frame with you in it, I’ll zoom it more (zoom)’ and action ‘The night grows deeper and I’m endlessly shooting the shot, Changing the angle’!
Check out the song here!
- Can You Feel It? (촉이와)
This song is without a doubt one of the best songs on this album with its crazily catchy lines it’ll have you urging to dance the minute you hear its striking lyrics of ‘Choki choki wa Alright can you feel it can you feel it’ ‘(I got a feeling, I got a feeling, Alright can you feel it…)’. This addictive dance number is admittedly odd at first if not fluent in Korean, however with it’s fun and bouncy electropop beat, it’s incredibly hard to not love. Eunhyuk and Donghae’s rapping creates a strong rhythm for the song’s music as well as the bridge prior to the chorus being almost as catchy as the chorus itself with the lines ‘Call them, call them, your friend, my friend, we’re all friends, Come here, come here, hey friend, my friend, we’re all friends, Feel it, feel it, yo friend, your friend no my friend’. It’s a song that automatically hooks you into its upbeat playful beat, it creates the idealistic dance song for any party.
Can You Feel It, is brilliantly quirky from its intense build up to the fun chorus to the charismatic melodic harmonies that follow it matching smoothly with the electrifying beat after contrasting the sharpness of the verses and repetitive chorus. The lyrics are one to boost the ego of the one singing the song, feeling empowered and addicted to the beat and wanting everyone else to feel it too as told by the lines; ‘It’s not just skill, it’s art, no one can come close, I never miss the target’.
Check out their hilariously fun stage of the song here!
As well as other fellow SM Entertainment artists go crazy to it!
Mother, being the sentimental, beautifully composed song on the album, captures the hearts of everyone who listens to it. It’s sweet endearing message dedicated to mothers everywhere is one to reach your heart for its beautiful message. Sound familiar? That’s because its the one other song apart from Growing Pains that is also composed and written by Lee Donghae himself and Team One Sound. It is apparent this song meant a great deal to Donghae and Eunhyuk as they sing to relay the message to their mothers, (who cried when they heard the duo sing it for the first time) as well as let all mothers out there; ‘And you know, You know, You know, I love you’.
The simplistic music accompanied by a simple piano and guitar gives a more personal touch to the song, having the emphasis placed on the lyrics all the while backing singers sing words filled with gratitude and sentiment; ‘Thank you… Love you…’. The lyrics relate to anyone who is experiencing the realisation of just how much our mothers have actually done for us while raising us to the adults we are today, saying ‘I’m here because of you, You always embraced my young and immature self’. While young although it is hard to appreciate how we all have been towards or mothers, as we grow older, we all realise we really couldn’t have done it without them as the lyrics go; ‘I’m finally telling you now, Now I know your heart and how you always believed in me’.
In the end, the message is clear. Now that our mothers have raised us and taken care of us, its time to return the favour and be there just like they were for us and say ‘Now I’ll be your strength and return that bright smile’.
Check out their touching song here:
The album now come released in a Special Edition including the songs ‘Motorcycle’, ‘I Wanna Dance’, ‘Love That I Need’, ‘Oppa Oppa’ and ‘1+1=Love’; one of my personal favorites also written and composed by Donghae and One Sound. As well as lastly, ‘Still You’ to which the music video was filmed in London following Super Junior’s Super Show 5 World Tour concert in 2013 which also features on the album.
This album is ideal for those looking for a variety both fun, upbeat dance tracks that’ll have you unconsciously moving your body like ‘Can You Feel It’, ‘The Beat Goes On’, ‘Oppa Oppa’ and ‘I Wanna Dance’. As well as a combination of slow-tempoed, smooth songs that’ll leave you sighing with content like ‘Sweater & Jeans’, the funky ‘Breaking Up’, and the romantic ‘1+1=Love’ and ‘Still You’ ballads. As a result, I’ll most definitely be looking out for if Donghae and Eunhyuk ever decide to produce an album themselves. I rate this album a 9.6 and a must listen for its interesting range of genres from funk, R&B and dance as well as its catchy and beautiful lyrics.