Music Review: Kim Jaejoong "I/Mine"

I know it's a bit late, but I wanted to make sure to write about Kim Jaejoong's Solo Album! It's a bit early to say it, but I think this may be one of my favorite albums of 2013. All I have to say is, Wow! This is a spectacular album, and I'd expect nothing less from him! This album is refreshing and different, and the singing for it is amazing. Out of all the albums that have come out in January, this is the one I wanted to review the most!

Kim Jae Joong's Solo Album "I / MINE", released January 16th 2013! 

This album was released under two names, though personally I like the album title "I" better. The cover art is great, and represents Jaejoong well. Before this album was released, Kim Jaejoong pre-released "One Kiss" as a single to give people a taste of the upcoming album. Kim Jae Joong, aka Hero Jaejoong, was born in January 1986 and was a vocalist in TVXQ/DBSK, and later split from that group to form JYJ with Yoochun and Junsu. He has composed, arranged, and written the lyrics for several song over the years, as well as worked as an actor and director. This isn't the first solo project by Jaejoong either, he's released several songs for dramas and movies, and has done a lot of work in both Japan and Korea. You can tell the influence of Japanese music, especially Japanese Rock, instantly just by listening to this album.

- One Kiss 

I especially love the opening for this song, with that kind of strained voice pushing through the lyrics. The English parts of this song are beautiful, especially the way they trail out at the end. I think one of the main reasons that I love this song so mush is because of how passionate it sounds. Jaejoong puts so much emotion into every line that he sings, from the subtle and soft parts, to the intense and powerful ones. I also love the mix of electronic music with the string section and rock sound. There's so much going in instrumentally with this song, yet it's perfectly balanced. The Orchestral elements add a dramatic aspect to the song, and the guitar and drums add a rougher sound. Plus, the way that he is able to hold those notes is wonderful, his voice is so unwavering and strong. Jaejoong's voice suits the music perfectly, and I think this was the perfect song to pre-release, and start off the album.

- Mine 

This is the title track of the album, and the song that the Music Video was made for. As for the video, the edgier and artistic style reminds me a bit of Junsu's videos, which makes sense because they're from the same group. Most of it is stylized with black clothing and darker backdrops, and a lot can be interpreted from it. With running against the Ravens, the Wolf's "Hounding" him, and wearing a mask and not being capable of really emoting of showing people who he really is seems to be the story of his artistic journey. Between TVXQ and JYJ, Jaejoong (and his fellow members) really went through a lot, and he's finally free to do as he pleases and can put out this album, song, and video! If you look into it, and get to know his story, the music video is powerful and not just a mishmash of artsy shots. It also has a kind of Anime-Fantasy feel to it, which I'm personally bias towards. The video, matched with the J-Rock sounding song, made for an awesome pairing that I was instantly drawn to!
The song itself is very theatrical yet modern at the same time. I think his voice is what adds to that the most, it's so powerful and dramatic and goes along with both sides of this song, Rock and Theatrical. It really sounds like a theme song for an epic battle or showdown during most of the song, though I especially love the bridge when it slows down and switches to the piano before diving back in. With the song theme being a kind of freedom with no interference, that powerful and inspirational sound goes perfectly. Finally, the futuristic sounds mixed with the heavy rock really make it, and if you've ever listened to Japanese Rock before I'm sure you'll absolutely love this song!

- There's Only You/You Fill Me Up (내안 가득히)

I love the kind of trotting pace of the beat for this song, it reminds me of going for a walk in a way. The chorus for this song is gorgeous, I love the layering of his voice and the harmonies that were added. The unique tone that Jaejoong has really come out in this track, and it's not the kind that other people can replicate. The soft rock sound paired with the piano and strings matches the mood of the lyrics, and the way that they are all intertwined shows the talent of the composer. The lyrics, like the others on the album, are really poetic and earnest. There's only one person he loves, the person that fills him up, and he will love that person in a passionate way, as if it were his last day alive. It's that kind of "you complete me" theme, yet stronger and more meaningful. Instead of simply saying that you aren't complete without another person (which I've never liked that phrase too much), you feel "full" when they are with you, and hence emptier when they are gone. Although I love the music, it's the vocals that really made me love this song, it's done masterfully and it sounds "bigger and fuller" than just one person singing. I also enjoyed the ending of the song, with the soft sound of traffic for the fade out.

- My Only Comfort/Healing for Myself (나만의 위로)

Although this is another softer ballad kind of song, it sounds nothing like the previous one. This song is so heartbreakingly gorgeous, and the pain in Jaejoong's voice sounds genuine. Starting off with the lyrics, "The ring I prepared for you lost it's pair, it's only left on my finger", you know this is going to be a sad song. Even though the woman he loves left, and abandoned him, he still orders two coffees, and her cup sits there and gets cold because she's gone just like his heart. All I can say is wow, this is one of the most tear invoking songs I have heard. The acoustic guitar that starts off the song is slow and melancholy, later accompanied by Cellos and various light instruments. His voice really takes over the song again, and the way that he says "Sarang (Love)" and "Ulgo (Cry)" really penetrates the music. As the song goes on, the instruments get louder along with his voice, as the pain builds and becomes too much. At the very end he just cries out with some of the most painful sounding notes to the lyrics "Oh, you are my love forever". The song ends abruptly, adding emphasis the the final line, and closes a hauntingly beautiful song.

- All Alone 

The ending song give you the complete picture of Kim Jaejoong's talent, as he shows off his higher vocal range and skill. Most of the song is in English, with only a few Korean lines for the verses. The feeling of being left behind by the person you love, and the terrible loneliness that you can feel from that is real, and it's portrayed in a honest way with this song. Even though that person is gone, he is still saving all of his love from them. The Chorus is wonderful and addictive, with the harmonies of the higher notes and the simple lyrics that express how he feels. That same sound is in the bridge, with the way he repeats "love" over and over again. I don't find it excessive of repetitive at all, in fact I think the repetition makes is just as poetic as a well written verse. It may just be the way that he sings it, because his voice can express so much and always sounds so open and natural, but whatever is is about this song I just cannot get enough of it! It's a fantastic song, and a perfect way to end the album.

There you have it, the Solo Album by Kim Jaejoong! It has a J-Rock, Rock-Ballad, Theatrical sound to it, and I love it! If you haven't heard the full album yet, it's definitely worth checking out. Something this beautiful and refreshing doesn't come around as often as it should, which is why this album has already been replayed about a hundred times by yours truly. You can buy this album on Yes Asia or Kpop Plus for about $15, and you can also buy is Digitally on iTunes for $5. If you already own this album, or have listened to it, let me know what you thought in the comments! If not, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,

(P.S. I'm finally getting over being sick from the stomach flu, and other spreading illnesses, after about two weeks! I really need to stop getting sick!)