Super Junior has come a long way since they first burst into the K-pop scene in 2005 and went “viral” with 2009’s Sorry Sorry. Now, they’re well into their 17th year as a group!
Their 10th studio album, The Renaissance, is another great addition to their already extensive discography with tons of memorable hits. The album was supposed to be released in December 2020—their 15th anniversary year—but the release date was pushed back to March 2021.
“Renaissance” means revival or rebirth, and this concept aims to tell everyone that a new chapter for the group has begun. Since their debut, all of the group members have branched out into hosting radio and award shows, guesting in variety programs, acting in dramas and musicals, and more. So, this album, I think, was a great way to remind people that the members are singers first.
Unboxing the album
I’ve been listening to Super Junior for a long time, but I never really bought albums or merch—until now. And I think I picked the perfect SJ album to buy.
I’ll admit I’m most probably biased, but I honestly think the album looked beautiful. I opted to buy just one version—I got the Renaissance version—rather than the whole set (the other versions are Beautiful, Versatile, and Passionate). As a multi fan, I have to budget wisely so I can support all the groups and soloists I like equally!
But I digress. So, back to the “unboxing” Super Junior’s 10th album.
The title itself—The Renaissance—evokes images of a newer, brighter, more refined image, which fits perfectly into their concept. It came in what looked like a slim coffee table book that I may or may not have displayed in my living room alongside random art picture books.
The photos are, well, beautiful! They almost had a regal feel to it—I could almost see the invisible crowns on their heads. And while I did appreciate the aesthetics (like every E.L.F. did, for sure), I was also half-expecting an adorably goofy mess of a group photo that the group is known for as I flipped through the pages.
Unpacking the music
I listened to the whole album while gushing over the photos. The album started off with the high-energy Super, a hype song that fits well with the group’s image and personalities. Next up was the title track, House Party, is a disco-pop track with a surprising trap break in the middle. This sudden change of pace in the middle of the song was a bit jarring (and please, let go of the skrrt skrrt already!), and it took me a couple more listens to fully appreciate the song and its message. SJ sang about observing social distancing and following health protocols, and its message was so on point that it got the attention of the World Health Organization’s Director General.
Burn the Floor was a pre-album release single that I felt could’ve been the title track, mostly because sound-wise, it seemed to match the photo book’s elegant concept. The dramatic intro immediately caught my attention—mostly because it didn’t sound like a Super Junior song! But after listening to it, I felt it was a song only the group could pull off. It’s my personal favorite on the album. On the flip side, the song that didn’t sound like a Super Junior song was Closer. It’s a nice song to jam to, but for some reason I kept on thinking that the track seemed like something EXO would sing.
The Melody sounded almost nostalgic—fitting, as the lyrics talk about the group’s journey through the years, and how they will continue to walk together with E.L.F in the years to come. The sweet harmonies and fresh vocals throughout the song remind listeners that the men of Super Junior are great singers—something that I feel most people forget.
Nostalgia was real with the remake version of Raining Spell for Love. The remake’s tempo was slower than the original, and it showcased everyone’s voices well. Yes, the group has the holy trinity of vocals that is Super Junior – K.R.Y., but this song further drives home the point that all the members can sing beautifully.
Mystery was a surprise. I don’t think I’ve heard Super Junior try this kind of song before. The whistles and the beats were addicting. The same goes with Paradox.
More Days With You was a sentimental ballad featuring a more delicate take on SJ’s vocals. Finally, the album closed with Tell Me Baby, an upbeat, cutesy, holiday-themed song that reminds me of the equally cutesy No Other.
I like how, even after more than a decade churning out hit songs, Super Junior continues to experiment with their sound. They must’ve tried every genre in K-pop by now, and it doesn’t seem they’ll be stopping anytime soon!
2022 update: The group is releasing new music! The Road: Winter for Spring single album and the single Callin’ dropped on February 28.
Watch Super Junior be their usual goofy selves in this interview video during the MV shoot for Callin’:
Featured Image Credit: Paula Abiog