Total Score: 7.14
Sound Quality: 7
Singing Quality: 6
Contextual Fit: 5
Release Date: 05/05/2008
Right on the heels of Super Junior-M’s debut album is Super Junior Happy’s debut (and only) EP, Cooking? Cooking! While Super Junior Happy only put out five songs ever–even SJ-T had a few songs later–two of them got music videos, and a third song became a tour standard. Super Junior Happy consists of Leeteuk, Kangin, Eunhyuk, Yesung, Sungmin, and Shindong. (So, assuming that SJ-M and SJ-Happy were recording at roughly the same time, since their debuts were a month apart, that means that Heechul and Kibum are the only two who didn’t participate in any of this. I’ll assume it’s because ACTING!) The entire premise of Super Junior Happy is CUTE AND BOUNCY AND HAPPY. If you missed Silly Super Junior, it’s back with a vengeance! And luckily for me, unlike the “Me” album, there were a CRAPTON of promo photos from this group!
“Cooking? Cooking!” is a song with a plot, of which SJ doesn’t have very many. Specifically, SJ-Happy’s girlfriend (played in the video by Sunny from SNSD) is a terrible cook. How bad, you ask? She can’t tell the difference between soy sauce and cola. She can’t even boil water. She cooks numerous terrible, terrible dinners for the poor lads (sample lyrics: “What on earth did you put in it? I could cook better food with my eyes closed”), until suddenly she falls off the map for a while, and when she returns, they discover she went to cooking school and has learned to become an amazing chef, just for them. Dawwww.
The song is FULL of sound effects and interjections of general despair and disbelief and wailing. I thought it was just the video, but nope, it’s the album version too. Sitting under that is a pretty straightforwardly bouncy song in G major, which is a great key for SJ since if it stays between G4 and G5 it’s in the support zone for everyone. The song also features Shindong’s falsetto, and since everybody sings and nobody raps in this song (though Shindong’s in “humorous fat guy” mode again and not trying too hard to sing), Sungmin and Yesung predictably come out as the best of the bunch. Sungmin has a very gentle tone to his voice in general, and it works well on friendly songs like this (it gets pinched-sounding on more aggressive songs).
This is a song that I suspect is very, very easy to dislike, because largely of the aforementioned sound effects and running interjected commentary. For me, it sits nicely alongside “Rokkugo” in my head as “the two videos that got me into Super Junior.” Who knew. And honestly, even video aside, this song just sounds so genuinely happy! Big Bang could not do a song like this, and that’s not a dig against Big Bang, it’s just… I’ve seen happy bright-colored Big Bang stuff and T.O.P looks like he would rather be anywhere else. (Shinee MAAAYBE could but I’m not going to go much further down this path before I embarrass myself with lack of knowledge.) Super Junior in particular had/has a knack for this kind of stuff.
The video, as you might guess, is very giffable. It’s bookended (and book-middled?) with shots of Leeteuk as a scruffy-looking prisoner to presumably his terrible chef girlfriend. Kangin makes happy faces about pooping. Shindong is wearing his actual hair I think but it looks like a bad wig. Yesung decides to handle the silliness by being his normal self, just more smiley. Also I am pretty sure that my site header’s Leeteuk image is from roughly this era; silly applehead ponytail aside, I think this is the best hair he’s had.