In 2010 SM debuted their first company-wide unit, SM The Ballad, featuring Super Junior’s Kyuhyun (obviously the most important singer in the world), SHINee’s Jonghyun, TRAX’s Jay, and another member Jino, at the time and currently not involved in any SM Entertainment groups. The group released an EP and promoted it. The EP included two group songs and solos. It seemed to go over well with fans, and ever since I became a fan of K-Pop in 2011, I kept hearing about the demand for an SM The Ballad comeback.
Well the demanders wish has been granted, but I suppose ‘beggars can’t be choosers’. SM released a statement on February 3 (note: Kyuhyun’s birthday) that SM The Ballad will be promoting in 2014!
But without Kyuhyun, Jino, or Jay – the latter of whom is still completing is required military service.
What the hell?
Instead of Kyuhyun or the other two members, they decided to add in Taeyeon from SNSD, Krystal from f(x), Chen from EXO, Changmin from TVXQ, Zhou Mi from SJM, soloist Zhang Liyin, and Yesung from Super Junior, who is actually SUPPOSEDLY serving his own military service right now.
This is such a mess.
To make it even more of a mess, the album is supposedly to include 8 songs, which are all different language versions of the same songs. And none of the songs will be sung by all members.
I’m not against a co-ed group, but I’m not about an SM The Ballad without Kyuhyun in it. This lovely blog here has released unbiased vocal analysis of vocalists from SM (and other companies), and only Kyuhyun, Taeyeon, Changmin, and Chen are represented of those I’ve brought up here, but Kyuhyun was evaluated as having one of the better voices in K-Pop, so where he hell is he in this vocal unit?
I know nothing about EXO, and don’t care to, so I won’t even talk about Chen. EXO needs a representative since SM is pushing them so hard as the next big thing, so he’s there.
As for f(x) members, since when did Krystal become the main vocalist? Luna’s voice is so above and beyond, as she’s proved with countless musicals and her Immortal Song performances. A lot of fans seem to be defending Krystal’s inclusion, by saying her voice meshes better with Taeyeon’s, and that ‘Luna is doing a musical’ – but from what I read, the girls won’t even be singing together.
I’m both glad and surprised Jonghyun is the SHINee representative; glad because he does have a great voice, but surprised that SM didn’t decide to put Taemin in there. SM keeps pushing Taemin everywhere and he’s been getting a bunch of lines in SHINee songs lately too. Granted, Taemin was already in Younique Unit and SM The Performance, so maybe SM figured to leave well enough alone to avoid even more outrage. I have no idea what’s up with Onew though, since he’s praised a lot for his voice too, but I’m not a huge SHINee fan so it’s not a big deal to me.
Obviously Taeyeon is the SNSD representative. Why wouldn’t she be? She gets the most praise for her voice in the group. I prefer Tiffany’s tone, and I think Jessica is just as good of a singer as Taeyeon, but Taeyeon is definitely more versatile, and doesn’t get as much criticism for her tone of singing as Jessica.
When I first heard the news about this mess, my second reaction after “Where the Hell is Kyuhyun?” was “Where is Changmin, by the way?” TVXQ is one of SM’s biggest moneymakers, so putting a member in the unit would help with the promotion of it; looks like SM thought the same thing, since the official announcement from SM did mention that Changmin will be included in this unit. He’ll be singing a duet with Krystal.
Kyuhyun and Changmin have an awesome bromance going, and they’ve been performing together at the SMTown concerts. SM already has been using their popular ships (read: Taeny, Eunhae, etc) to make money, so why not let two amazing singers who have a great friendship duet together? Especially since they have a lot of chemistry on stage, which would help with promoting this mess.
I’m not even sure how this mess going to be promoted.
Anyways, we come to Super Junior. Yes, obviously I am extremely Kyuhyun biased, and I think his voice is a gift from the heavens (it actually is, but that’s another story), but Yesung is supposed to be serving his country, not recording/releasing songs. When other Super Junior members served their military time, they weren’t doing anything music related that didn’t have to do with the military, and SM didn’t include the members in anything company-related. Kangin did nothing; though his picture was used in SPAO ads as well as being on the back of one of the BONAMANA repackages; though these were taken prior to his enlistment and never promoted. Leeteuk did a musical for the Korean military before they abolished celebrity soldiers, and now is about to become a sergeant, and Heechul (who was a public service officer due to an injury) hosted a military radio show.
I believe Yesung is a public service officer as well, but from what I know, he still goes into his parent’s cafe to visit. He constantly posts on his social media, and even made himself a Facebook in this last week, and now SM is releasing a solo song of his. I don’t even care that it was recorded before he went into the military. All of his fans made a huge deal of him going into the military but it’s like he’s not even gone, aside from not participating in Super Shows.
It’s not like he can promote the song since he’s doing his military service anyways. Why didn’t SM wait until next year to release it and market it as a welcome back for him. Maybe I sound biased, but why release a song of an artist who can’t promote it properly? Especially while he’s in the military; Super Junior already has enough scandals, and I guarantee netizens are going to rip him apart for this.
Personally I don’t see what’s so great about Yesung’s voice anyways. I actually prefer Kangin’s voice, which has a similar tone but isn’t as raspy.
I should note that the official memo also mentioned that Zhou Mi of Super Junior M and Zhang Liyin, a soloist SM is notorious for ignoring, will be included. The initial leaked information didn’t have this tidbit, so I was surprised about this, along with the notice of Changmin’s inclusion.
Because this mess is going to have 3 languages included on the same CD; Korean, Japanese Chinese, instead of releasing 3 different versions, and would have helped increase SM’s profits. While I’m proud SM didn’t pull the dick move for once, they should have waited to not pull the dick move on a group they know is profitable (read: EXO, Super Junior, TVXQ, SNSD, SHINee; who are all popular in multiple language markets).
Obviously fans of Zhou Mi and Zhang Liyin are excited for their inclusion on this project, because of how little attention SM gives either of them. I don’t really have an opinion on either of them being in the unit overall; honestly I don’t think I’ve heard a song by Zhang Liyin, and I know Zhou Mi does get solos on SJM projects. My feelings about him getting shafted and constantly insulted by Only13 ELF aside since I don’t want to rant, he does have a nice voice so I’m glad overall that SM finally decided to throw him a bone.
Basically, SM is turning SM The Ballad into a mess. If SM wants to make it co-ed, cool, but they chose Krystal, which was a huge mistake, aside from the fact she’s the most popular f(x) member. Taeyeon’s inclusion I understand. I’m happy they left Jonghyun, but why couldn’t they leave Kyuhyun too? I get Yesung is considered a great vocalist despite my own feelings towards his voice, but he’s supposed to be serving in the military. He can’t promote with the group. Even if they wanted Kyuhyun out (though I cannot fathom why), they could have put Ryeowook, Sungmin (his send off gift before his own enlistment this year), Kangin, or Heechul in. They all have strong vocals too, and they’d be able to promote.
Unless Kyuhyun is getting that rumored solo project this year, I am giving up all hope on SM Entertainment because they keep screwing over one of their biggest assets.