Under The Sea (with Dana, Stephanie and Zhang Liyin)

Total Score 4.40

underthesea

pic is wrong era but STILL

MV: n/a
Sound Quality: 4
Singing Quality: 5
Contextual Fit: 2

Lyrics Only

Release Date: 07/05/2007

Yes, that “Under the Sea.”

This is obviously also a cover. Do you want a link to the original for comparison’s sake? Do you really need it? Here it is anyway. Super Junior (or half of them, anyway) covered this on the SMTown Summer ’07 album, along with Dana and Stephanie from TSZX and Zhang Liyin, who was a Chinese singer whom SM was promoting at the time. (SM does not seem to have the best track record with Chinese artists.)

So we’ve already heard Dana, along with Lina and Sungmin on “Someone Special.” We know what all the SJ dudes on this song sound like. Unless Stephanie or Zhang Liyin had spectacular voices, there was no chance in hell that this was going to compare favorably to the Samuel E. Wright original. But I’m not scoring this against the original; I’m scoring it against SJ’s total output, or trying to, anyway. It’s a pretty faithful cover of the original, down to the rhythm of the backing vocals, and the translated Korean lyrics match up well enough to the original English. Whoever arranged this seems to have felt that there was no single key that could accommodate both genders here, so the opening verse (all SJ) is in D major, and the 2nd verse (all women) is in G major, and then we’re back into D major again for the final chorus. The instrumentation sounds like a karaoke version though; the synth horns brought in for the instrumental bridge are tinny and terrible.

And for as much as I point at stuff like “Rokkugo” and “Happiness” to demonstrate how absolutely reeking of charisma Super Junior was in this period, this has absolutely none of it, and it’s a Disney song! It’s specifically the “exciting, memorable Disney sidekick show number”, much like “Friend Like Me” and “You’re Welcome” and “Be Our Guest” and “Hakuna Matata” and “I’ll Make A Man Out of You”. (Side note: how come Disney only put half their big songs on Youtube? I CAN TELL WHEN YOU PITCH SHIFTED IT TO AVOID DETECTION.)  Point is, this is supposed to have charisma. Where did they leave it? Donghae has a teeny bit here, but he’s only got like two lines, and everybody else is in generic smiling pop singer mode. Argh.

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