Total Score: 3.20
Sound Quality: 3
Singing Quality: 3 (this is Kangin only, not Choi Yoonha, who is like a 7-8)
Contextual Fit: 2
Release Date: 10/15/2008
In late 2008, Kangin and Heechul both appeared in a South Korean stage production of Xanadu. Both of them alternated playing the protagonist, Sonny, who falls in love with Clio/Kira, played by Olivia Newton-John, I mean Choi Yooha. And as such, both of them put out songs on the official Xanadu OST; Kangin gets “Suddenly” (in which Sonny and Clio fawn about each other) (also, I have not seen the movie Xanadu but apparently Sonny was CLIFF RICHARD ughghghghghg), and Heechul gets “Don’t Walk Away”, which we’ll talk about tomorrow.
I went off and listened to the Olivia/Cliff/ELO version of this as a comparison point. It’s… not a good song. Even ignoring whatever I think about those musicians in particular’s performances here, it doesn’t feel well-written. The chords sort of feel all over the place, and there are no hooks; there’s a random 2/4 bar in the middle of the chorus. (Did this get into the Billboard top 100 that year on the strength of name recognition? Did the movie do real well or something? How in the world was this a hit argh.)
The Kangin/Choi Yooha version follows the original pretty closely. Kangin doesn’t sound super comfortable with the lyrical line for some reason, almost like he’s sight-reading after having listened to the song a few times. No emoting whatsoever. Yooha sounds good, at least. Kangin doesn’t have pitch problems, but he is so bland here. I know he and Heechul were alternating the part because this was an SM production and thus market as many SM artists as possible, but I wonder if this would have been any better if he had been the ONLY Sonny and thus had more opportunities to dig into the role. Or maybe he’s just a bad actor. He wasn’t good in Attack on the Pin-Up Boys. Heechul could have done a better job emoting here but not necessarily a better job of actual singing. Poor Yooha is left singing her heart out to a cardboard cutout.