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Review: Super Junior Unveil Guitar-Driven Old-School Sound For 10th Anniversary Single 'Devil' [VIDEO]

By Tamar Herman | July 20, 2015 12:42 PM EDT

Veteran K-pop boy band Super Junior threw their usual style out the window on their latest single “Devil,” released on Thursday.

The title track of an album commemorating the group's 10 years in existence, “Devil” had been highly hyped by Super Junior, with band members claiming in interviews that the song would become the epitome of their future musical style.

Though it could leave some of their longtime fans scratching their heads, this track lives up to the hype.

With a major emphasis on guitar and an organic sound that is more funk than pop, "Devil" is clearly a major departure for the group known best for hits like “Sorry Sorry” and “Bonamana.” Super Junior shows their maturity by throwing out the pop rulebook, with handclaps and Southern California harmonies creating a smooth, jazzy vibe that is an excitingly fresh direction.

Beginning with a heavy rock intro for the music video, “Devil” does a complete turn around when the simple feel-good rhythm enters with groovy strings and beats, reminiscent of both swing and early rock ‘n’ roll.

The naturalistic drum sound and the electric guitar track, which is mixed front and center, form the backbone of “Devil,” but perhaps the most suprising thing about this tune are the vocals.

Super Junior shot to international fame in 2009 with “Sorry Sorry,” a dance track that put more emphasis on the beat than the band members' voices. “Devil” is the complete opposite, forgoing the electronic dance music trend of most current K-pop.

“Devil” is one of Super Junior’s most vocally expressive title tracks since the group’s debut in 2005. Each member has backup vocals during their solo parts, with crooning harmonies and repetative “oh oh oh”s and “hey hey hey”s.

Those harmonies build into a falsetto chorus, with brass horns providing a big band sound perfect to dance to.

Another surprising moment of "Devil" is the musican breakdown where Super Junior's Heechul’s raps over a responsive, clap-filled interaction between bandmates.

While it is certainly a bold move for a pop group so strongly associated with a different sound, "Devil” is not completely unprecedented. Less digitally-processed, funk sounds a la Prince or recent Daft Punk have been becoming all the more common on the Hallyu landscape, most noticeably by SM Entertainment’s other senior male idol group TVXQ.

But that's not to take anything away from Super Junior. The new, mature, throwback sound of "Devil" is a breath of fresh air for one of K-pop’s longest running acts.

Watch the music video for Super Junior's "Devil" RIGHT HERE

Tamar Herman is a multi-media journalist and the co-founder of KultScene. She is a freelance writer-editor and an MTV Iggy contributor.

Tagged :  Super Junior, Devil, review

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