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Album Review: TVXQ Give Their Fans The Fond Farewell They Deserve On 'Rise As God' [AUDIO]

By Tamar Herman | July 22, 2015 04:50 PM EDT

On Monday, The Gods of The East, more commenly known as TVXQ (stylized "TVXQ!") released "Rise As God," their final album together prior to the mandatory military enlistment of band member U-KNOW Yunho in the South Korean army, which took place the following day.

After over a decade together, Yunho and Max Changmin have gone through a lot of changes and explored a lot of sounds and "Rise As God" explores many of those same themes. As the final release before both remaining band members enter boot camp, the album is a gift that focuses on their overall career both as a band and as individuals.

"Rise As God" is the result of TVXQ's years of experience in both style and quality, simultaneously acting as a farewell album and a reminder why TVXQ is the group that the Korean Wave was built upon. 

TVXQ opens up the album with "Vertigo," a R&B taste that hints to what the rest of the album will bring. With smooth crooning and falsettos over a haunting backtrack, TVXQ's vocals are at their best. The song is similar to other recent retro-influenced, string-based releases by the duo, and could easily stand in as a TVXQ single.

Next up on the album is Yunho's solo song, "Champagne," followed by Changmin's solo song, "Rise As One." The duo has put out a lot of solo songs in recent years, but this pair of songs are, more so than previous songs, representative of the personalities and abilities of each member.

Yunho's "Champagne" is an upbeat dance track with a variety of sounds and styles that begins, where Yunho began, with a rap. The song turns into a funky, genre-blending dance track built to act as the backdrop for Yunho's dancing skills.

In comparison, Changmin's "Rise As One" begins as what appears to be a string-based ballad, but rapidly turns into an electronic dance song that could easily be played on radio stations around the world. While "Champagne" plays up Yunho's strong suits and emphasizes his role as TVXQ's dancer, "Rise As One" plays up Changmin's impressive vocal range as it explores a new style of music.

Following "Vertigo" and the solos comes a middle section of the album with three funky songs by the pair together.

"Everyday It Rains" offers a steady rhythm as the base of this R&B track that, as the title suggests, is made for listening to on a lazy, rainy day. A hint of chimes and horns add something special to what would otherwise be an unexceptional song.

"Smile (Wedding Dress)" begins with voiceover that comes off as more than just a little creepy, and then transforms into a dance song with a tropical feel and a pulsating drumbeat.

"Top Of The World," with its groovy beat is the quieter sibling to TVXQ's 2014 song "Spellbound," and pulls off this similarly groovy style well. 

Following those three songs, Changmin returns with a solo track entitled "Apology," followed by Yunho's "Komplikated." Changmin's solo song sounds more or less like what fans expect from him--an R&B power ballad that gives his voice a chance to shine.

While "Rise As God" showed off Changmin's belting prowess, "Apology" provides Changmin with a chance to better exhibit his vocal color in a less hectic environment.

Yunho's second solo song, "Komplikated," lives up to its title and creates a dream-inducing, rhythmic track that's ideal for clubbing. TVXQ's known for its dance pop songs, but "Komplikated" takes Yunho's musical style to a new level with its heavy house music influences.

"Dominos" brings the pair together again and is a much more traditional TVXQ style song than almost anything else on the album. The jazz-funk influences are there and Yunho and Changmin's voices meld together in the mature sounding mid-tempo pop sound that is right in their comfort zone.

The final song on the final album from TVXQ until 2017 is the rock anthem "Lucky Star."

The most surprising track on the album, "Lucky Star" turns things on its head and provides Yunho and Changmin with a new sound as they're headed into a forced hiatus from the music industry.

With electric guitar riffs and a steady piano sound providing the perfect backdrop for Yunho's nasally voice and Changmin's soaring vocals, "Lucky Star" is a promise of what's to come, rather than a reflection on what they've left behind.

Listen to the new TVXQ album 'Rise As God' RIGHT HERE

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


Tagged :  TVXQ, Changmin, Yunho, RiSe, as, god, special, album, review, album review, Album Release

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