Junho - CANVAS
It's been two years since 2PM member Junho dropped his last Korean album, ONE, which was one a fantastic set of songs, and I can't wait to check out this mini in full. Last week, Junho began teasing us for his new mini-album, CANVAS, by dropping a few music videos. "Fine" and "Bye Bye" were given to us as lead up tracks to the now released title track, "CANVAS." "Instant Love" was also released today, though I won't be covering that until later in the week when I review the full album.
Right off the bat there are several synth notes weaved in with a set of hard-hitting drums. There's a groovy bass underpinning the entire verse that's easy to miss beneath Junho's silky voice, but it adds a lot of texture to that section. The pre-chorus features an almost march-like drumming that makes sure the listener feels the progression of the song into the refrain. Several pitches of synth come together during the chorus but they all act cohesively and structurally make sense. Junho's voice is toned down a bit in this song, blending in with the instrumentals just a tad while retaining its prominence as the focus.
"CANVAS" has a more relaxed vibe to it overall, and I'm not sure if I've just been burning myself out on this type of music, but it wasn't all that appealing to me. I think that the song is really well-produced and obviously there's no issue that I take with hearing Junho's voice. Perhaps it just doesn't do enough to stand out among the several different attempts at this style of song for me. I honestly cannot pinpoint the exact reason of why, but the song just doesn't pull me in the same way that his previous releases have. Maybe after I find a translation for the lyrics (English ones were not available at the time of writing) that will sway my opinion, but from a musical standpoint, I was not blown away.
The video has this awesome opening shot of a city and an ocean, each paralleling one another while the viewer is unable to differentiate which is the actual orientation of the video. It shifts over to Junho seeming to walk around aimlessly, and then a series of odd transitions pull us from one scene to another. There's weird watery effect, bizarrely flashing fades, and lots of screen rotations used for transitions.
There's a very clear use of oversaturated blues and reds to make distinctions between what I"m assuming to be two worlds, which would be what was shown in the beginning of the video. Blue and red are known to be cool and hot colors respecitvely, so if I were to guess one is a calm world, while the other is a more intense world. At first I thought it might be two different Junhos, but now I'm more sold on the idea that it's the same Junho sort of exploring two sides of his life.
Call it whatever you'd like, but my theory is that each world is representing a side of Junho's life as an idol. The blue world always seems to be empty, serene, and has dim lighting if any are ever shown. The red world features the exact opposite, with lights constantly flickering and glowing brightly. I believe that the red world is a visual representation of the pressure that he feels as an idol, whereas his blue world is more how he sees himself as a regular person in the world. Obviously I found of a lot of possible symbolism in the video, whereas others might simply just think I'm looking too far into things. Regardless, I did enjoy finding some kind of meaning to the video, even if it's just something that I personally think.
The shots in the desert felt similar to ones used in "Ice Cream Cake", "Why", "Why Don't You Know", "Solo Day", and I'm sure tons of other videos shot in the desert. I didn't mind it, but I do think it's something that's been done quite a lot in recent years. There were a few times where scenes almost seizure-inducing with the flashes of colors and lights between more plainly painted scenes, but overall I don't think it was super obnoxious. I enjoyed seeing something in the video, even if my theory is wrong, so I found the video to be fairly enjoyable.
While I didn't personally like the song, I do think it's another great example of Junho's diversity as an artist. Linking this alongside all of the other tracks from this album, you get a distinctly different vibe between them all, but they also maintain a sense of connectivity between them as well. Though I haven't listened to the mini just yet, these four songs already tell me that there's a general consistency to it, and I'm excited to hear that. Be sure to check back later this week to see what I thought of the other songs I haven't reviewed yet.
I've since finished my review on the mini-album, so be sure to check it out here.