Total Score: 4.00
Sound Quality: 5
Singing Quality: 4
Contextual Fit: 3
SM used to do a lot more of these, but here is the second SMTown Winter album on which Super Junior appeared. Would have said third, but “Show Me Your Love” was actually a standalone single. Aside from Super Junior, the album has the usual suspects: BoA, TVXQ, TSZX, Kangta, etc, but now introducing SNSD! SNSD is not on this track (though they as a group and individually have several songs with SJ members later), but on an SJ-related note, were introduced as the “female Super Junior.” I’m not sure there was actually any parallel aside from SNSD having a lot of members, but they still only had 9 to SJ’s 13. Art is a vast improvement over the previous SMTown Winter album, although I’m pretty sure that’s Hyoyeon down there bottom row, third from the left, between Kyuhyun and Leeteuk, IN PIGTAILS which is weird to see. Also Heechul, fifth from the left on top row, is apparently incapable of pretending to sing without also modeling.
So, the biggest concern for me on a designated winter/holiday song, aside from “are there any egregious singing/composition issues”, is the question of does this actually SOUND like a winter/holiday? And… yes. It’s not as fireplacey as “Show Me Your Love” gets, but not as “this is a summer song but we’ll sing about snow and that’s good enough” as “Tic! Toc!” Yesung increasingly sounds like SM was attempting to set him up for a solo career; he does WAY more adlibbing on SJ songs than anybody else at this stage, and some of it is rather overwrought but at least it’s mixed low enough here that it’s not drowning anything out. The verses are winterier than the choruses, but the very end of the song has a neat little sliding strings effect that should be just a pinch slower but is close to swoony anyway.
I am coming back to this after 2-3 weeks of not writing due to general horror about national news, and also listening to stuff other than SJ, and it’s inclined me to be more picky about voices. Pitch is fine, but everyone who has that second line of the chorus (“kkomadeul useumsori neomchyeowa”) sounds forced and overdramatic. Yes, that means you, Kangin, Siwon, and Donghae. And Ryeowook is doing the “fling open the door and start yelling” thing on “nan al su inneungeol” that Yesung did back on “Tic Toc.”
“First Snow” didn’t have a video, but SMTown’s “Only Love” did, if you want to see various SJ dudes singing a very serious ballad with various other non-SJ people. (Not reviewing because content isn’t SJ enough.)