Home / Culture / [Editor’s Pick] Groovy hip-hop style of the funky D&E

[Editor’s Pick] Groovy hip-hop style of the funky D&E

Super Junior-D&E, formed by Dong Hae and Eun Hyuk, is certainly one of the most successful subunits in K-pop. After releasing The Beat Goes On in 2015, the duo went on a three-year hiatus due to the members’ military enlistment. Unlike the usual D&E or SuJu styles, their new unit album ‘Bout You brings a groovy hip-hop style. Apart from NCT, it is rare for artists under SM Entertainment to release a primarily hip-hop album. From hip-hop to R&B and even ballad, ‘Bout You is packed with eight songs of various genres and styles.

D&E falls in love at first sight and makes a sweet confession in title track “‘Bout You” (Track 1). Produced by Dong Hae and J-dub, the trap song is enhanced by prominent flute tunes and synthpop sounds. “‘Bout You” conveys the feelings of a man who is attracted to a girl and loves her from head to toe: “I’m just thinking all about you, you, I just wanna be with you.” I was at first surprised by their new attempt and wondered if they would suit this style. I was expecting either a funky song like Oppa Oppa or a melancholic number like “Growing Pains.” It turns out I shouldn’t have worried as the song is really catchy and dynamic. The flute sounds polish the track in a refreshing and summery way.

‘Bout You also contains Dong Hae and Eun Hyuk’s solo tracks. Dong Hae sings about the pain of breakup and being unable to forget his love in “Lost” (Track 6). The mournful ballad is a mixture of blues, guitar sound and vintage organ. Similar to Super Junior’s “One More Chance” from the Play album, Lost would fit right into a drama or movie OST because TV drama scenes pop up in my mind whenever I listen to it.

Eun Hyuk’s solo Illusion (Obsessed) (Track 7) is another hip-hop track that is written and co-composed by the singer himself. The deep hip-hop beats are built on dark and heavy bass and smooth and gloomy piano. It is unusual to hear such dark ambient music performed by a Super Junior member.

Not sure if it’s because of the FIFA World Cup this summer, but the upbeat Victory (Track 8), once again produced by Dong Hae and J-dub, reminds me of the cheering at a soccer match. This song sounds quite different from the usual R&B and hip-hop tracks I listen to. The melody and lyrics are encouraging and filled with positive energy. Victory is definitely the type of song that is nice to start your day with!

“Evanesce II” (Track 5) is a pop R&B track that creates a dreamy atmosphere within a soothing melody. Its beautifully written lyrics – the song depicts a person dreaming of his love after going through a breakup, but at the same time realizing that everything would fade away when he wakes up – caught my attention. The lyrics are not extremely straightforward, but rather deep and poetic. Apart from the song title, the bridge and chorus parts all remind of “Evanesce” from Super Junior’s seventh full-length album This Is Love.

Perhaps “I Love It” (Track 3) would be the song that most fits the style Dong Hae and Eun Hyuk presented three years ago. The uptempo future house jam expresses the joy of a man in love, and how every day feels like summer when he is with his love. Though this track sticks with the original style of D&E, the pop synth sound makes the background music sound rich and trendy.

‘Bout You marks a notable departure from the typical Super Junior style of music. As Eun Hyuk also jokingly mentioned in a program, this is actually not what their label expected them to show to the public. Overall, the album is a nice try in producing and performing a new and different genre. I love how they are willing to break out of their comfort zone and try out other genres they’re interested in. It paves the way for Super Junior to make brand new endeavors in music. Hopefully, there will be more impressive works in diverse music genres coming up from Super Junior!

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