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[Album Review] SS301 is suave on ‘Eternal 5’

"Eternal 5"

The three members of SS501 who returned as the unit group SS301 -- Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong and Kim Hyung-jun -- may have been away from the scene for seven years, but on their EP “Eternal 5” they showed that they have not lost their touch. Catchy and dramatic, the five tracks follow the latest trends in K-pop, creating structures that highlight their vocal talents.

The record starts off smooth with a R&B-infused vibe in “Dirty Love,” then gets big, loud and catchy on the lead track “Pain.” Both songs have dynamic song structures that keep the listener engaged, but steer clear of the confusing genre-crossing transitions that have plagued some recent albums from other artists. 

With “Saxophone,” the trio take on a groovy, funky tempo to produce a danceable track, and on “21 Gram,” titled after the saying that a person’s soul weighs 21 grams, the members’ vocals are displayed raw against a simple piano accompaniment. 

The album closes out with the easy-going urban R&B track “I’m Sorry I’m Busy,” which incorporates predictable chord progressions and steady back-and-forth transitions between singing and rap for a solid finish. 

The record includes instrumental versions of two songs, “Pain” and “21 Gram,” which are excellently arranged and definitely worth listening to in their own right even without the words. 

“Eternal 5” may not be ambitious, but it is a stylish tease that raises expectations for the return of the full SS501.

By Won Ho-jung (