JYJ just had their first music broadcast since entering the lawsuit against their former entertainment company, SM Entertainment. The performance took place Sunday, September 4th, at the closing ceremony of the IAAF World Championships, which took place in Daegu this year:
There was some controversy prior to the broadcast where some wondered if JYJ’s performance would be allowed to air. There have been a number of incidents in the past where JYJ’s scheduled performances were either cancelled or limited on broadcast. Many attribute the group’s lack of media exposure to the sway held by entertainment giant SM.
Even though it’s a lip-synced performance, there are several points I find positive:
First, the obvious fact that JYJ has finally been allowed to appear on public television. It seems that their attempts to stay in Korean entertainment through the alternate routes of Korean dramas is working. To date, all three members have participated somehow in drama entertainment, Micky Yoochun having the most drama exposure, Jaejoong currently getting a number of positive reviews for his role in Protect the Boss and Xiah Junsu showing up for a cameo role in Scent of a Woman. It seems that through drama exposure, JYJ may be able to build up enough popularity power to continue their music careers in South Korea.
Second, the choice of performing “Empty.” One of the songs off JYJ’s English-language album, The Beginning, “Empty” was produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Jerkins has an incredibly impressive resume, but “Empty” was initially bumped off in favor of “Ayy Girl,” produced by Kanye West. Despite the song’s sub-par lyrics (Before I give you another try/I’d die/Love won’t make you cry or ask why/Oh why), I found “Empty” with its thumping electro-beat and dance tempo to be the catchiest contemporary track on the album–it’s the kind of pop track where melody and rhythm make up for lyrics that don’t totally make sense and you can overlook not understanding what the singer is singing.
The sound of “Empty” is comparable with Danity Kanes’ “Damaged”:
With JYJ striving for/being pushed to market outside of Korea, I hope the choice to perform “Empty” signals a better understanding of what appeals to international pop audiences. Some of the decisions Korean companies make when attempting to enter outside markets makes me wonder if and whom they consult in their decisions.
While I don’t exactly love their music, what I do appreciate about JYJ is their professionalism in performances, all three members being solid singers and dancers, as well as their increasing involvement in the products they put out. Each member has accumulated experience in songwriting, and through the post-SME releases we’ve been able to listen to their attempts at creating their own music. It seems that they are aware of the problems and limits in the domestic music market and are trying to expand outside of those boundaries as they endeavor to build up their post-teenage careers.
JYJ will be continuing their efforts through a Korea comeback, commencing through online previews tonight at midnight and a full MV release later tomorrow, September 6th, on their company website. The song, “In Heaven,” was composed by member Jaejoong after the suicide of close friend and actor Park Yong Ha (Winter Sonata, On Air). The song has been performed live several times, but I believe this is the first time it will be offically released.