Changmin’s Close To You Drops with Great Variety!

By Lilla Sheil

Changmin’s Japanese solo album has shipped to Japanese official BigEast fan club members and today we listened to the CD in it’s entirety. Each song is completely individual and different, surprising fans with the full variety and depth that Changmin offers in his vocals and song selection. We are taken on a journey of soft, silky ballads, to bouncy, cheerful reggae, and then thrown into the past rock and roll flavors along the lines of Queen!

Changmin not only masters each song, extending his range of vocals and style from one genre to another, he also harmonizes with HIMSELF, as he sings his own background vocals as well.

1. Into the Water
Music by Kim Edward Bergseth/Tom Hugo
Lyrics by H.U.B.

This lead song is soulful, accompanied by piano, Changmin begins our journey softly, and his lyrical voice soothes us into immediate submission, wanting more. He begins the song peacefully, lulling us … and then the haunting chorus “Into the Water… Into the Fire” that remains in our minds hours after we’ve heard it. This song also is sprinkled with English, and Changmin has no difficulty at all naturally advancing from one language to the next.

This song is beautiful both lyrically and vocally. The piano coaxes, highlighting the serene feeling you get while listening, and one would never guess this song is about breaking up or separating unless you understand the lyrics. It’s a declaration of love that Changmin conveys with every note, every word he sings. He is masterful in the delivery, and this was a grand selection for a music video.


Short version

Into The Water

Walk, where are you headed to?
Long, when the night ends
Even when the sky burns out and falls
Will still live on like the weeds

Into the water, for you
Into the fire, to be by your side
Wherever I go, within you
Into the water, there is me

Lonely singing every day
Calling you, can you hear?

Your irreplaceble existence that I desire
In spite of everything, I will never separate

Into the water, the journey continues
Into the fire, towards that very place
Wherever I go, onto the path of dreams
Into the water, there is you

When the sun sets, the sun will rise again
Waiting for the rising sun
Heart cries, for one desire
So I’ll be there for you

Stay with me, my love

Into the water, for you
Into the fire, to be by your side
Wherever I go, within you
Into the water, there is me

Into the water, the journey continues
Into the fire, towards that very place
Wherever I go, onto the path of dreams
Into the water, there is you

trans: @joeylfly


Photos and MV filmed at “L’ Atelier de ZÉRO” a filming studio in Chiba, Tokyo which is the same place Yunho filmed Burning Down.

2. 道程 (Journey)
Music by Matthew Gerrard, Maxwell Schneider, Kurt Schneider
Lyrics by Shinjiroh Inoue

Changmin dives into this song immediately, accompanied by acoustic guitar, his vocals dominate the cheery “Always looking for the answer, Always looking for the rainbow” with glee. As the song progresses, he treats us to some gravely, gritty vocals and it reminds me a bit of ORANGE RANGE, with a bit of a rock feel. Very upbeat, this song leaves me wondering what it’s about since I don’t have the translation of the lyrics yet, but the reaches and runs he delivers are solid. There’s one part of the song where he raises his voice, and goes up an octave, and I reached over to turn up the volume, wanting it louder, not getting enough.


Preview

3. Oh No!
Music by Alexander Holmgren
Lyrics by H.U.B.

Oh No! takes us to Jamaica mon! It truly has a reggae feel to it with the percussion, the timbre, the funky clavinet keyboard, jazzy harmonica and the melody. It seems like something Pharrell Williams would sing along with, and I like it! Changmin croons, “Oh No!” and “I know!” in English, and we can’t help tapping our feet along with him as he sails from verse to verse. Remember how fun Tohoshinki’s “Ocean” was when you first heard it? This has the same fun feeling, where you feel like you should be laying on a beach sipping something exotic and blue.

4. Rock with U
Music by Klaus Derendorf/Alfred Tuohey
Arrangement & Lyrics: Shinjiroh Inoue

I’m not a stranger to this song, since Changmin performed it as his solo during the epic Nissan concert for the TREE tour. The music and lyrics are written by Shinjiroh Inoue, of famed Tohoshinki hits such as Still and Duet. I was very anxious to get the studio version to add to my iTunes though! The music is written by Klaus Derendorf, who has worked with Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, and Charice, with arrangement and lyrics by the master Shinjiroh Inoue.

Other notable producing and writing credits include Josh Groban’s ‘Closer’,

This song made me run out to my car, with my Bose speakers, crank up the volume, buckle up, and take the longest drive I could home, so I could get the full effect of ROCKER!Min, and Rock with U will not disappoint! It delivers in spades, making me hit replay all the way home!

All of a sudden I am thrust into an imaginary mosh pit, reaching up my arms at Rocker Shim, screaming, ROCK WITH U!!!! at the top of my lungs, head banging as I’m trying not to crash on the 101 Freeway, and I want to yell at all the other cars around me, “JOIN IN” as we blow the roofs off our cars! This song is definitely reminiscent of a legendary rock group Queen, that rallies everyone that hears it. It’s probably my favorite song of the entire album, followed closely by “Into the Water,” which is a complete contrast! It just goes to show the flexibility and fluidity of Shim Changmin. His talent knows no bounds!

Rock with U

Laying on top of each other
Making sure of our love
Falling in each other’s arms, laughing
Sharing kisses, it is still intensely sad

Rock with You, our emotions become a mess
Loving You, the love that made the two of us burst open
Just with You, You …. You…. You~

Laying on top of each other
Making sure of our love
Falling in each other’s arms, laughing
Sharing kisses, it is still intensely sad

Feeling shy and blushing, don’t look down
With a heart that seems broken, I’m staring at you
I love you too much and it hurts

Rock with You, a pure heart that wants to know you
Loving You, on windy days, impatient desire
Just with You… You… You… You!

Come closer to my side!
Unfold your soul and spread it naked
Repeatedly, time and time again, round after round

Rock with You

I just can’t help myself, I want you just beside me

Rock with You it’s fine without words
Loving You, to the beautiful you
Deeply…

Rock with You, our emotions become a mess
Loving You, the love that made the two of us burst open
Just with You, You …. You…. You~

Rock with You, a pure heart that wants to know you
Loving You, on windy days, impatient desire
Just with You… You… You… You!

Feeling shy and blushing, don’t look down
With a heart that seems broken, I’m staring at you

trans: s3adolphinJP

5. Gold Dust
Music by Christopher Wortley/Paul Drew/Greig Watts/Pete Barringer
Lyrics by H.U.B.

This is a classic ballad about heartbreak, music and lyrics written by Christopher Wortley, (Japanese lyrics by H.U.B); Changmin actually performed the English version first, and later changed to the Japanese version during Mission II. Changmin softly spins this tale of separation was and break up. The studio recording is just as powerful as the live performance!

Hey please come back
Hey please come back
About how I made you cry baby,
If you can forgive me, stay tonight
Please come back

That night we cuddled together
And counted the stars
Now I’m all alone,
Where are the lights that disappeared?

That day we were just like gold dust,
Gone Gone Gone
Gone Gone Gone

Love is slipping out of the palms of my hand
Shone Shone Shone
Gone Gone Gone

Ephermal

I want to forget already
It just hurts too much
I tried going out with old friends
I want to forget the tears

But your voice, your warmth
Are still embracing me
Why won’t they let me free?

That day we were just like gold dust,
Gone Gone Gone
Gone Gone Gone

Love is slipping out of the palms of my hand
Shone Shone Shone
Gone Gone Gone

Ephermal

To the sky
A prayer

That day we were just like gold dust,
Gone Gone Gone
Gone Gone Gone

Love is slipping out of the palms of my hand
Shone Shone Shone
Gone Gone Gone

Ephermal

trans: s3adolphinJP

6. Admit it, You Love it
Lyrics by H.U.B.
Music by Adam Nierow (BMI)/Peter Habib (BMI)/Drew Ryan Scott (ASCAP)

“You Gotta Admit that you Love it … You gotta admit that you feel it…. You gotta admit you want it.” Very energetic, Changmin does a bit of pseudo rapping, “I think I had a little too much,” and it truly seems like a drinking song! Just when you think you’ve got the fun feel down, and are ready to raise your glass, you are spun into an EDM hook! The dance break that catches you off guard! And soon Changmin is singing about getting out on the dance floor under spinning the mirrored ball, and you are staring blankly, wondering when did Changmin become a clubber, just who is this man anyways?! Who cares! He’s tempting you out to dance and you can’t help but follow his voice!

7. 木枯らしが届く頃に (When the Wintry Winds Come)
Lyrics and Music by Katsuhiko Yamamoto
Arrangement by: Shinjiroh Inoue

The last song on the album is a dreamy ballad that is accompanied by piano but melds with guitar, bass and strings as the song builds. Changmin’s soft tenor also builds into his signature falsetto, and you just want to close your eyes and be transported as he takes us higher and higher with the sheer power and range of his voice.

Then before you know it, it ends as softly as it began.

This album is proof that Choikang Changmin definitely has what it takes to deliver as a soloist, just by the way that he see sawed from one end of the spectrum to the next so lithely and skillfully. It is solid gold, and every song testifies of his sheer talent. He naturally presented his best to us, and although I am left wondering why on earth he didn’t have a solo concert for SM’s Agit series before he enlisted, I know the answer before I even completed the question: Changmin values TVXQ over any solo performance or work he could possibly do. He is committed to the return of Tohoshinki as a duo, and really doesn’t have any aspirations as a solo artist. He longs to be reunited with his partner, and present to us the best of both fire and water, sun and moon, heaven and earth, Yunho and Changmin are TVXQ.

Within the next few hours he will report to boot camp for training for the Seoul Military Police, as a conscriptive police officer. I’m so thankful I was able to listen to this solo album beforehand, because it will make tomorrow much easier to bear.

Thank you Choikang Changmin for this beautiful lyrical gift … I will play it often in the two years I wait for your return with Yunho.

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2 Comments

  1. Aysha Zaheen

    ‘Gold dust’ is the song which made me fall in love with Changmin in the first place. I’m so glad he released a studio version to this and ‘Rock with you’

    1. kkokenes

      I’m glad too … I remember hearing it in English first, and loved it!

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