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Kim Jaejoong: Seeking solace in ‘Mine’

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Kim Jaejoong has finally found his footing.

Seeking solace in ‘Mine’ might seem like a rather awkward way to title a review, but in all honestly – this feels exactly like what it is. This is Jaejoong’s escape – his relief and comfort all encompassed into his first proper foray into the industry alone. And we love that.

Despite him never being my favourite member of TVX5 or JYJ, I’ve always had a soft spot for Jaejoong. Always the one to lend his passionate, heart-wrenching vocals in songs in contrast to his members’, Jaejoong has constantly struck me as the most effortless.

The 26-year-old might have to deal with messy parentage issues and be part of one of K-Pop’s most talked-about group break-ups ever, but for all the trials and tribulations he’s had to face, he’s blessed with one of the most adept voices (in and out of K-pop) I’ve ever heard, with the ability to transcend ever-present adolescent uncertainty revolving around falsettos and provide flawless delivery in every note he belts. Besides that, he’s also working his way up to be a pretty great songwriter and composer (he wrote six out of the ten songs on just ‘In Heaven‘ alone, including the same-titled beautiful ballad).

I‘ is Jaejoong’s first solo mini-album and right away we see that title track ‘Mine’ delves into the genre of J-rock with its sound and MV. With inspiration from visual kei bands, it shows off a grittier and completely new style in the industry that hasn’t really been touched by idols yet. Yet, Jaejoong isn’t just any idol, nor is he a stranger to J-rock, having performed many at TVXQ concerts – my favourite being ‘Maze‘ from the last installment of the Trick Project: ‘Keyword/Maze‘. This shows that besides the various musical influences he has credited over the years (particularly R&B ones Boyz II Men and Japanese group Gosperats), Jaejoong has put in great thought into what he really hoped to explore with this solo venture, as well as what he really believes he’s able to portray with stark intensity.

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There’s a lot of blatant symbolism in this MV but besides that, the settings and intricate details, right down to every piece of clothing or accessory Jaejoong wears, as well as the facial expressions that he portrays are entirely gripping and instantly draws you. The cinematography and costumes in ‘Mine’ all lean toward monochromatic colours and it feels almost like a gothic, fantasy-like tale. We first see Jaejoong in the woods, looking visibly lost though not at all afraid through the gripping, cold look in his eyes.

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We move on to shots of an owl and a wild dog, completely different animals but both metaphorically chosen in ‘Mine’. The owl has long been associated with both good and bad elements: wisdom, prophecy, a sense of foreboding and apprehension. An owl’s appearance in the night time also signifies a time when one is helpless (Jaejoong in the woods) and could possibly run into imminent danger. Similarly, wild dogs have been linked to darkness, ferocity and hunting, and the one we see in the video is unrestrained, lashing out with a vengeance.

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Especially powerful are the scenes that follow – of Jaejoong donning a Bane (The Dark Knight Rises) mask and literally being chained up and struggling to break free. The chorus here is raw and gripping, heightened with the thrashing rebelliousness of guitars and alternating between focused and unfocused shots of Jaejoong blaring his heart out to the lyrics. When he finally tears away from his chains, there’s a triumphant moment as he lets his collar falls to the ground with a purposeful thud, and then we see him running head-first into a flock of crows flying toward him from the opposite direction.

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The next part is probably my favourite part of the entire video, because there’s this amazing piano entrance as Jaejoong fingers mimick the soft tinkering of keys. It’s just very carefully added and perfectly thought out, making it an essential part of the video with how well it goes with the music at that very point in time.

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What I really like visually about ‘Mine’ is how Jaejoong is too, shown as an animalistic and spiritual creature, and although the CGI-ed wings and snarling at the end could have come off as cheesy, Jaejoong’s got so much heart and soul in him that you see the MV as something spectacular rather than gimmicky.

‘Mine’ is written by Kim Bada, the main vocalist of Korean rock band Art of Parties and Sinawi, and although he didn’t know who Jaejoong was when he wrote ‘Mine’ and ‘One Kiss’ (another track off ‘I’), he stressed that Jaejoong was exceptionally good in taking in the genre of rock music after listening to the way he made the songs his own.

I don’t particularly listen to a lot of J-rock or rock songs in general, but what I do know is that ‘Mine’ isn’t too hard to digest for someone completely new to the genre. The song has a good build-up right from the start, first executing a strained, almost painful vibe before it explodes into a glorious climax of breaking vocals. Also good are the gentler insets after the first chorus and at the end, which add a touch of fragility and gentleness to the otherwise angst-filled track. Like I’ve mentioned previously, Jaejoong has a voice and quality that goes beyond the regular idol, and he really impresses here.

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I’d say that ‘Mine’ is absolutely solid in its own right and not only brings Jaejoong new-found respect (and possibly a whole new league of fans), it’s also fantastic that he’s able to finally do something he loves without caring about whether or not it appeals to the mass market. In an entertainment monopoly saturated with overly-used concepts and manufactured personalities, it’s refreshing to see Jaejoong settle right into his own skin. The man’s had to handle nasty ups and downs in the past few years, but we’re glad that every focus on him right now will solely be on his music. Well done!

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Comments
5 Responses to “Kim Jaejoong: Seeking solace in ‘Mine’”
  1. Reblogged this on Ms Kim and The Alien and commented:
    Reblog with full credit to the owner :) Thanks

  2. mamajyj says:

    Reblogged this on JYJ FAN’ANTIC’. Credit to the owner. TQ

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  1. […] Such a fantastic song. Read my review on the MV and track in an earlier review here. […]



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