Yunho Max

January was a strong month for K-pop thanks to the surprise rise of AOA, Girl’s Day’s continued domination, and of course, the release of TVXQ’s tenth anniversary album. As expected, TVXQ had the best comeback of the bunch, with their unparalleled live performances giving them the edge over their otherwise flawless girl group competition.

Now it’s March and TVXQ’s back with their repackaged album, and this time they’re up against some far more formidable girl groups: 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation. Definitely not a good time to return if you want to shine bright like a diamond, but you know what? TVXQ WIPED THE FLOOR WITH THESE RAGGEDY ASS BITCHES! I haven’t seen such effortless slayage since “Keep Your Head Down” had the JYJ stans gagging back in 2011.

For their title track, the appropriately-titled “Spellbound,” TVXQ have stayed in the jazzy lane from January’s swing extravaganza “Something,” but shifted it into a more contemporary urban direction with a strong funk’n’b bounce. The saxophone squiggling is more Kenny G than Coltrane, but this is K-pop we’re talking about — the genre’s brand of big band soul is supposed to be impossibly slick and glossy. It’s like being in a cool cabaret lounge listening to the band pay tribute to the legends, rather than listening to the legends themselves, and that’s totally okay.

The current version of TVXQ is often criticized for lacking the vocal prowess that the full five-piece was famous for, but it’s really just time for people to get over the good ol’ days and appreciate what we have now. Yunho’s nasally wailing is distinctive in a sea of samey singers and plays perfectly against Changmin’s boyish crooning. They can sing almost anything between them and pull it all off faultlessly live, so nitpicking at this point is useless.

Following the complex “Something,” which took repeated plays until most people really understood its brilliance, it was smart of TVXQ to return with something as instantly gratifying as “Spellbound.” It’s the kind of song that ropes you in from the first beat, although it definitely becomes more potent when the lyrics are understood — especially where the sexual innuendo is concerned.

When I see you, this is how I feel,” sings Yunho. “It feels like something is empty, but what’s cool is that when I enter and fill you up, it feels perfect.

Oppa can fill me up any day of the week, any hour of the day, any second of the hour, any millisecond of the second. Just sayin’.

The dance-in-a-box music video is really what Girls’ Generation’s “Mr.Mr.” video should’ve been, although it would’ve been completely unfair of SM to upstage the Divine Nine in such a humiliating way. As talented as they are, how could you put them –or anyone for that matter– up against TVXQ when it comes to choreography?

Even by TVXQ standards, the “Spellbound” routine is mind-bogglingly good. This kind of one-uppance seems to happen every time TVXQ makes a comeback — you expect that they won’t be able to top their previous release, and then somehow they manage to raise the bar each time to seemingly impossible new levels.

Individually, Yunho and Max have their weak spots, but together they’re utterly indestructible. To put it bluntly, they’re the greatest performers and entertainers in popular music since Michael Jackson.

Yeah, I said it.

Before you vehemently disagree, let me ask you this: Who else is there that can turn it out on stage today like TVXQ can? Beyonce? Hyperactive twerking and weave tossing does not maketh an MJ. Pink? She comes close, but her aerial acrobat act –as spectacular as it is– is a bit of a one-note thing. The truth is that there hasn’t been a pop star on TVXQ’s level in terms of performing and entertaining since Michael, Janet, Paula, and Prince ruled the ’80s.

Insert bad closing pun about being spellbound by TVXQ here.



  • Suzy Sooyoung

    completely and utterly SLAYED.
    when I thought Something was already so iconic they go and release this.
    I can’t even!

  • UncleFan

    It’s true, these guys have no equal. Have you EVER seen backup dancers so goddamned happy to be performing with an idol group? Did you see those girls’ huge, shit-eating grins?

    If I was a Girls’ Generation member, I would be PISSED at my managers for botching my comeback video while TVXQ’s admittedly low-key comeback was flawlessly executed.

    • D is for Danger!

      There’s too many attractive girls on stage! I don’t know where to look! The one girl who gives a wink at the end gets me EVERY.DAMN.TIME.

  • Chwangbambi

    They are amazing

  • fan

    do you watch their performances in tohoshinki concerts? they belong, breathe and live for the stage *___* not that they aren’t amazing in any other stages..

    • Chwangbambi

      they are fantastic in live, Im proudly see them 2 times, sadly I still need to see them as a duo in Japan.

  • D is for Danger!

    Having only gotten into K-pop in 2011, I was never exposed to the music of the original lineup of TVXQ. I might get a lot of flack for this, but I highly prefer the two-member group. The older TVXQ released some pretty shitty material, both in Korea and Japan. I’m sorry, but I’m not here for shitty ballads and stereotypical J-pop and K-pop. Tarantallegra aside, I’d much rather have Keep Your Head Down, Catch Me, Humanoids, Spellbound than whatever crap JYJ is putting out or has yet to put out.

    • I’m totally the same, I got into K-pop in 2010 and all the way by 2011 when TVXQ made Keep Your HEad Down comeback, so I never experienced the original lineup. Although one reason TVXQ’s older music seems cheesy is it reflected the time and it’s outdated now of course, but at the time a lot of it was considered really cool.

      I actually believe that splitting made TVXQ so much better. Max and Yunho pushed themselves in ways they wouldn’t have and ended up becoming the greatest performers in pop music today, while JYJ are fantastic in their own right with their gorgeous power ballads and vocal harmonies and the fact that they all get to do solos and write and compose their own music which they clearly wanted to do. Both TVXQ and JYJ were able to grow so much from the split. If they ever reunite it will actually be great coz everyone involved is now performing to their full capacity rather than before where they were amazing but hadn’t really done all thy could do yet

      • Chwangbambi

        I dont see any spectacular about JYJ lyrics and compose their songs, and their music ugh I still cant forget the tragedy of Ayyyyy Girl, the only good song who I like is ’empty’ and thats it. Im not going to talk about their lives concerts tho, my friends says that they cant handle as old days, even Changmin who can write flawless song do better in ballads.
        I give up on them for many factors but I dont get how overrated are as solo artist and as a trio, I dont get it.

        • Leki

          Me too. I still can’t forget that disaster named Ayyyyy Girl. At that time, I just started to get into TVXQ so I checked their old MVs, etc. both TVXQ and JYJ and found it. I was really surprised (not in a good way though) that in this era, there’s still that kind of very poor production MV.

          • Chwangbambi

            I dont have any problem with their old music and videos (I know them since 2007 aprox), in fact I love many of their old stuff (I admit that some of their old videos are embarrasing tho xD) but I simple adore the duo more cause both of them make an evolution as singers, idols and performances.

            Amused me how someone here get really press reading a different opinion about their JYJ

        • yuka5470

          HAHAHAHAHA no, don’t worry no fans actually can digest the black hole named Ayy Girl XDDD
          as a hardcore OT5 fans who support whatever they do, i wish Ayy girl never happen. its my second embarrassing time as an old fans esp the MV (the first is DB5K triangle, ugh, the fashion)

          people have their own preference, there are people who prefer jyj’s music more than homin’s too, you know? is that mean they have no taste? no, its always subjective. just because you think its overrated, doesn’t mean its bad, just saying ^^

          is The beginning the only album you’ve ever heard of JYJ?

          tbh, as an old fans myself, In heaven album also not my taste, so many premature songs and the arrangement was so bad (maybe except the 2 title song in heaven & get out). then again, its their first time involved in album making -fully-, so its understandable. JYJ were not like Gdragon who trained by YG in music making since he’s young. SM didn’t really let JYJ/Homin grow as real artist. it’s only in their mirotic album that some member get chance to involved themselves in composing musics more. even changmin (tho he’s more into writing lyrics than composing).

          maybe i’m too used to their old style, but i’m not really jamming homin’s album. the songs quality are better than JYJ because they’re under SM, and as SM’s old artist, they received better songs more than the other idols. but even their japanese releases were more into autotune now it stressed me out, honestly. their TIME album was probably the worst J-album they ever had, thank god TREE is great.

          while JYJ, recently they’re growing, doing better and better at composing music and writing lyrics. junsu & jaejoong’s solo album have a better quality the more they release (i prefer jae’s rock style since the music was refreshing with less autotune), and with the news of JYJ will release new album as a group, with their experience now, i have my hope up ^^

          • barita

            Jaejoong music is so mainstream Jpop and jyj style and junsu styles are to mainstream too.I don’t see how they ae so original +yunho composed songs too, same as changmin.
            sm have old artist like suju too and they give them crap music.Your argument is not true.
            P.s: jyj have autotune in their music too.Everyone does.
            This is coming from an ex JYJ fan/ot5

          • Chwangbambi

            Exactly about Junsu and Jaejoong.
            I try to give him (JJ) a chance hut he is trying so hard to act like a rock singer. I prefer him in the old days in TVXQ. And about Junsu, no…. just no. Seriously what is going on with them

          • Chwangbambi

            I beg to differ in 2 point:
            TVXQ japanese album are flawlees
            JYJ music is bland

      • D is for Danger!

        I really don’t like power ballads, so I guess it makes sense why I don’t like JYJ or the older TVXQ.

        I prefer the smoothness of Ten or the gritty electro/rock sounds of Gorgeous.

      • fan

        i used to think of a reunion too. that’s what happens to split groups coz they can make a lot of money. but to yunho and changmin (i can only talk about them ofc) it’s personal and would consider it a step backwards after all they’ve been through and all the hard work they did to make the duo work. they always shade those people stuck in the past in their interviews lol.

        i still love their past SMP hits! rising sun, “O”, etc. i wish they’d perform The Way U Are in full again. i don’t remember them performing the entire song as two. only a small part.

        so sad D doesn’t like ballads :(( i love their current ones (dbsk + thsk) and the vocals they serve :)) their vocals in TENSE was one of the highlights of the album for me.

      • reinalol

        not wanting to start a fan war, I swear, but if they do reunite, Yoochun
        needs to bring his A game on cause he is lacking a lot
        lately…..(vocally) Jaejoong is just ok now and Junsu is forever flawless…
        Jaejoong and Yoochun have let their vocals go, they would be the weakest singers in the group now

        • yuka5470

          yoochun…/sigh/

          #lets have circle pray for singer!chun comeback
          lol

        • Chwangbambi

          I really never cant stand Junsu voice so much. But I understand that for the world (specially Corea) his tone is the typical that people praise.

          • reinalol

            I always though he has one of the best voices, he and Hongki r in my top 5

    • fan

      nah. current tvxq fandom has moved on, remains strong, and many of them either also prefer the current line up (and music) or has no desire for the past to come back. and a lot are also post-split. they mostly keep to themselves because they’re over the drama so they avoid, say, certain kpop communities or just dont find the need to defend oppas constantly anymore.

    • Chwangbambi

      I love your comment so much, I hate how overrated JYJ are specially when ppl talk about their music. On the other hand I love TVXQ music and performance as a duo.

      • D is for Danger!

        I keep hearing about them on K-pop related websites, but other than solo work, it never seems like they release anything as a group.

        • Chwangbambi

          exactly

      • Trần Thái Hân Nhi

        oh how long have you been a cass? staying in my heart is just BD5SK and i think that JYJ isnt overrated while their voices are so wonderful.

        • Chwangbambi

          you are nobody to say who or how Im a cassiopeia or not. My heart belong to TVXQ and I love and respect the duo for keep the name alive something that most of you OT5 cant.

      • dyana_3

        JYJ aren’t overrated, they are talented! People talk about JYJ’s music because they like what they hear. ,,I hate how overrated JYJ are specially when ppl talk about their music.” – just LOL. People have different preferences when it comes to music…you don’t like JYJ music for some reasons, but i assure you that there are many people who like their music for so many reasons! And the assertion about JYJ’s live concerts is just plain ridiculous!

        • Chwangbambi

          Why so press? you will tound plenty of people who dont like JYJ get over it

          • kiwi

            You are The only one pressed and butthurt here lol why so butthurt about JYJ? Yeah BUTTHURT!!!! you claims dbsk2 is the big thing but you still need to bash JYJ to praise Yunho and changmin lol so insecure lol even when JYJ is not active like group,you still need to compare them with Yunho and changmin lol.. you think if you bash JYJ ,people will think that yunho and changmin are better? This is so stupid denies that JaeChunsu is talented…anyway,no matter what or how butthurt you are..
            many people still think dbsk5 stuff is the best,JYJ voices are amazing..deal with it :D butthurt

          • Chwangbambi

            Yawn so pressed and butthurt nothing new from jyj fans and their overrated comment about their oppas

          • dyana_3

            Hun, the only one who’s pressed here is you! Just look at the content of your comments, all i can see is you trying to put JYJ down. I should be the one to ask you the question: Why so pressed? You should get over your hate towards JYJ!

          • Chwangbambi

            Im done with jyj stans so please get over it like me

    • kkaebsong~

      Ok, we get it, you like TV2XQ. But did you really have to be so damn rude and disrespectful?

      TVXQ’s old material was gold. Their Ballads were one of the best.
      Just bc YOU THINK its shitty, doesnt mean it is. lmao what kind of stupid logic is that?
      JYJ music is good too(i didnt really like Ayy Girl tho lol). even if you dont think so. And also, why do you even bother listening to their music if you hate it so much?
      And the TV2XQ “Cassies” here, dont comment back to me, dont need to here anything about your butthurtnes.
      I’m also over it now(the break-up), It was damn hard for me to do so tho(since i’ve been a fan of them for years). but i didnt take any sides. and im just supporting them both now (TVXQ and JYJ.)

      So, even if you dont like TV2XQ, DB5K or JYJ OR their music, just show them some respect. ok?

      • Chwangbambi

        the only butthurt one here is you

        • kkaebsong~

          you can think that way all you want tbh. i dont really care lol

          • Chwangbambi

            me neither butthurt lol

          • kkaebsong~

            im not really saying you are.
            But most TV2XQ Cassie i meet these day get butthurt over every little thing. dont know why they’re like that tho.

            I’m ok with you as long as you have respect for JYJ too.
            I just wish that both JYJ stans and TV2XQ could show some respect and stopped bashing one another.

            Lets just stay nice. I dont think Yunho or Changmin(or JYJ) would be happy if they knew that their fans acted like this.

          • yuka5470

            /pats/pats

            calm down dear, we all know this whole TVXQvsJYJ sh*t will never over, all u need is steel hard and ears (or eyes lol).
            you’ll get used to it and ignore it…like me haha

          • fan

            respect. why don’t you start with yourself? ʘ‿ʘ “TV2XQ” lol

          • barita

            U want to know why? Because jyj fan are so damn arrogant and offensive so tvxq fans became so defensive

      • barita

        I’m an ex jyj/ot5 fan and i don’t like jyj anymore

        • andras

          I don’t like TVXQ2. Their music is same and choregraphy-ha,ha,ha. I like everything about JYJ. From Romania, with love for JYJ.

    • dyana_3

      You can praise TVXQ without putting JYJ down…is this article about JYJ? No, it isn’t! So, why do you mention them here? Trying so hard to start another irrelevant fanawar… You should learn the meaning of the word ,,respect”!

  • KingBeaArthur

    Spellbound >> Something

    I liked “Something” but it never really captured me like KYHD or even “Catch Me” (not to say it wasn’t amazing – I actually prefer the Japanese ver. tbh). But “Spellbound” was an instant hit to my ears! From the staging to the choreography; everything is perfect! Shoutout to the flawless back up dancers as well! They kill it just as hard as Max & Yunho!

  • Kris

    I can’t at TVXQ snatching SNSD and 2NE1’s weaves with a repackaged single…they weren’t ready!

  • leesigh3

    Did they release a digital version of this yet? I haven’t seen it on instiz. Also, did you see 2NE1 came in at 61 on billboard? Record shattering!

  • Delinda Deline

    This comeback is really is flawless in every aspect. nuff said!

    “When I see you, this is how I feel,” sings Yunho. “It feels like something is empty, but what’s cool is that when I enter and fill you up, it feels perfect.”

    hnggggggggggggg!

  • miracleorange

    Before you vehemently disagree, let me ask you this: Who else is there that can turn it out on stage today like TVXQ can?

    COUGHboaCOUGH

    • _craypopper

      Ok, but she’s pretty much the only one that can deliver on that level besides them.

    • Honestly BoA’s been too inconsistent. She’s amazing but she’s had too many weak performances, but she is great. She’s the Janet to Homin’s Michael.

      • miracleorange

        I don’t agree, but I can accept that assessment.

        Of course, there’s always the argument that someone who’s been around… roughly 4 times as long as HoMin in their current form is bound to be a bit more inconsistent, but there’s always room for opinion in these matters.

        Regardless, it’s a BoA stan up against a TVXQ stan, so no one is ever going to win in this argument LOL

        • I’m actually a BoA stan too! But BoA and TVXQ are around the same age and TVXQ keep getting better whereas BoA kind of goes up and down. Only One promotions were incredible but the Hurricane Venus era was so bad 0_0

          • miracleorange

            Well, like I said, BoA’s been around a lot longer, about four years before DB5K, if I’m not mistaken, and being solo is actually harder than being in a group in multiple ways. Soloists get lazier easier, too. Just look at Britney.

            And if we remember that Hurricane Venus was basically her getting back in the game after being run RAGGED by both SM and avex, it wasn’t THAT bad.

            I guess time will tell, then. Her next Korean album will be a good indicator. As of right now, though, I’ll concede that TVXQ have been more consistently amazing.

            Plus, I want Yunho to make love to me.

  • Just here to say that I got the Kanye West reference (because whenever I drop that same reference nobody gets it and it annoys me that people have such short memories).

  • barita

    JYJ can’t even perform good stages like TVXQ now. I’m sure since i watched both live lol

  • omg! i can’t happen to like tvxq!’s music even if they’re interesting as “spellbound” and like “something” also was. i think it’s that i just don’t like boy bands.

    but fuck! whenever i see these guys performing on stage i’m so slayed i have a stan fever and spend hours watching the same performance all over again! it’s AMAZING!

  • TerriDesu

    dammit Yunho is so fucking hot

  • Thais Magalhães

    I’ll ALWAYS be a DB5K cassiopeia, HoMin are incredible together and the best in choreography but the five together would be AMAZING. Pls try imagine everybody dancing this song ….. *ovaries exploding* I can’t love only Homin or JYJ, I LOVE ALL OF THEM! I’m a old cassiopeia and I’m proud for that! I can understand if someone maybe like one group more than other but I can’t believe that anyone think that don’t like the 5 reunited! ARE U CRAZY? It’s ridiculous!

    • screaminpka

      sorry to burst your bubble but there are /many/ current tvxq fans that doesn’t wish for the original line up to reunite so.. yeah.

      • KissShitaMama-Goodbye~

        sorry to burst your bubble but there are still many of fans that wish they do ~

  • D is for Danger!

    Man, I didn’t know my comment would get so many people’s knickers in a twist.

  • Russ

    This was a combination that creates a perfect storm. TVXQ’s vocals and sheer showmanship, a catchy well-written jazzy gotcha hook song. And THE hottest dancers I’ve seen (especially that one at the end) doing NappyTabs choreography (they did ‘I Got a Boy’ and BoA’s ‘Only One’).
    Now, I’m going to make some people mad here.
    They ARE stellar. But they are two. SNSD is nine and appeals to a completely different fanbase, and a larger one.
    As for who can turn out a performance on an MJ scale, the aformentioned BoA.
    I don’t see KPop as having one reigning diety. I see it as a pantheon…and these guys are right there where they should be, on Olympus with the other KPop divinity.

    • cher

      a larger one? i don’t think so

      • Russ

        Internationally, SNSD has pretty much everyone beat with the POSSIBLE exception of 2NE1. In Korea and Japan, yeah….TVXQ is bigger. World wide….I’ve been a fan of GG for a while now and of BoA for even longer. I’ve only recently gotten to where I like TVXQ and that’s only because of the direction the music is going with this album.
        I’m not trying to ignite a fan war here, I’m simply stating that TVXQ put out a kick-ass album and combined everything they needed to and did it with style..but they’re part of a larger tapestry. One that is incredible when taken in as a whole and … well… kinda petty when the different fan bases bicker about it.

  • yosafbridge

    I heard rumors that these back-up dancers are going to be SMEnt’s new girl group. Normal backup dancers don’t get so much close-ups nor play such a huge part in the choregraphy in MVs especially that hottie who ends up winking at us. She reminds me of Fei’s younger prettier sister.

  • Kolanget_MANMANW!JJislife

    Does fuggly bitches like you know that there are people out there that like both JYJ and TVXQ, AS FUCKING SEPARATED GROUPS?
    God, I clicked on this to drown in my feels for my husband Changmin, but instead roasted in anger over this writer’s dickface. Please, I know it’s already 2k15, but find a dick and promptly choke to death on it.

  • jaetae

    Again, you can’t just praise TVXQ2 without bringing down JYJ…How pathetic.