review - 09.08.2012 09:47

XIA in English

News of UNCOMMITTED, XIA’s English single was quite a surprise to most keen observers of the K-pop world, especially since the single was announced while Junsu was touring Asia and promoting his album TARANTALLEGRA. The member of JYJ recorded UNCOMMITTED in the USA, where he was aided by Bruce „Automatic” Vanderveer himself, which added to the anticipation.

UNCOMMITTED was released on August 24th and has four songs, two of which are instrumental versions. Since this is by name an English single, the two songs are naturally sung in English.

UNCOMMITTED opens the release. It is a new song in XIA’s port folio. Medium paced and heavily influenced by urban and R&B styles, the song is pleasant to listen to, especially when you feel like chilling out. Junsu’s singing is flawless as ever, although his heavy-accented English may irk native speakers of the language. However, after a few listens one can discover that the song is quite flat, there is little variation to it and there is a significant lack of any parts in which XIA can show off his amazing vocal abilities. If he decided to try to conquer the US market with this single, he would fail miserably as the song would drown unnoticed in the ocean of similar songs made in dozens by American singers. Frankly, I was expecting something better, especially since the wonderful TARANTALLEGRA is ‘only’ the B side.

Speaking of the devil, TARANTALLEGRA is the second track on this single and Junsu sings it in English as well. True, he does not have too many things to sing as he shares the lyrical duties with Flowsik from Aziatix. TARANTALLEGRA is by far the better of the two actual tracks on the release; its composition and rhythm are more interesting, and it is more dynamic and has a unique sound, hence my surprise that it is not the promotional track of the single. TARANTALLEGRA itself is almost a true copy of the Korean original, but for a few additional sounds that make it into the melody towards the end of the song. Other than that it is still the same addictive, mysterious and sensual track.

It is good that XIA released UNCOMMITTED, because he keeps developing himself as a singer and it is always nice to listen to his voice. However, the title song does not add anything special to his musical port folio: apart from the prestige of recording in the USA with a famous American producer, the single has an average side A and a side B that we already know very well.

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