TVXQ Celebrates 15 Years with The Truth of Love
On their 15th debut anniversary, TVXQ released a special album titled New Chapter #2: The Truth of Love. The album features six new tracks along with the title, a few of which have some special featured artists. TVXQ never disappoint, and that reigns true with this return as well.
The Title: “Truth”
The duo brings a musical flavor to the K-Pop genre that isn’t used as often as it should be, at least in our opinion. Their title tracks often draw heavy inspiration from jazz and funk, two big musical movements that are often overshadowed these days by the popularity of hip-hop and EDM. “Truth” is the epitome of these two genres with a modern twist, even featuring a verse of the two old-school scatting at the very end of the song. When is the last time we heard any of that in popular music? Probably the early 20th century. The addition of this retro element really helps make the song stand out and somehow manages to not feel super out of place.
As expected from TVXQ, there is a heavy amount of choreography in the video. Changmin and Yunho excel in dance, so it’s always a treat to watch the two perfectly in sync. The video has some fabulous visual elements, starting with the yin & yang aesthetic going on with the duo—so on point that Changmin even has light hair to contrast with Yunho. The video features toned-down colors generally bathed in blue light to match the somewhat darker tone of the lyrics, which speak about the struggle between emotions and logic when it comes to falling in love and the pain that inevitably comes along with it.
The mix of shots of the two members dancing on the streets at night and trapped in rising water is a lovely contrast that will certainly captivate your attention for the duration of the video. While there aren’t a lot of uses of bright colors, except for a few neon colored signs, the video composition has its own charm and beauty that is hard to deny.
New Chapter #2: The Truth of Love features a solo track from each member, as well as a couple of special featured artists. The album begins with the title then transitions into “Sooner Than Later,” a more modern EDM and funk mixed track that features rapper The Quiett. It is interesting to take in the rapper’s verse, which has a lighter tone to it than we’re used to hearing from him. The verse definitely fits better in a pop genre rap than a classic hip-hop driven rap. His verse is also fairly short, and he doesn’t make another appearance in the song, which seems slightly abrupt. Still, “Sooner Than Later” has a consistent, driving beat that never loses energy and can be quite addicting.
Next comes “Jelly Love,” a track that starts off with a sexier and slower R&B beat in contrast to the first two songs on the album. It’s a nice shake-up musically, and something about the TVXQ duo aiming for the sexy concept is just perfect. Perhaps that is the noona fan in me, but something about the older men working the sexy angle instead of the teenagers debuting these days has much more appeal. Bouncing back to the light jazzy feel, “Morning Sun” follows with the traditional TVXQ angle that we are used to hearing from the duo.
Yunho’s solo track comes first, a song that features NCT’s Taeyong. This is an intriguing mix for sure going into the song, since NCT’s music is usually very different from TVXQ, begging the question of which genre will prevail. Yunho doesn’t disappoint, and goes for a more modern R&B beat with a sensual feel, much like “Jelly Love” but even darker. Taeyong’s rap verse definitely sounds like something we would expect from the NCT member, quite different from The Quiett’s verse in that it fits his general music persona. I wouldn’t hesitate to say this is the best song on the album.
Changmin wouldn’t allow this album to come out without at least one ballad track, which he delivers in his solo song “Beautiful Stranger.” Changmin’s vocals are no joke, and they really help bring out the melancholy in the slow and dreamy track. You’re guaranteed to feel your emotions stir up after listening to this song. The album closes out with “Circle,” a slower and warm acoustic track that is a great transition from “Beautiful Stranger.” “Circle” has the album ending on a very different note than it started, bringing the album full circle.
TVXQ has been in the K-Pop scene long enough that it’s hard to imagine a time where their album release is a disappointment. This seasoned duo knows what works and is willing to try new musical ventures in the B-sides of their album. Overall, it’s a great release both for longtime fans and newcomers alike.