After bidding annyeong (‘goodbye’ in Korean) to group TVXQ in 2010, Korean singer Xia Junsu is back with his second solo album, Incredible.

Released on July 15, this album’s title track features American rapper Quincy, son of producer and hip hop artiste, P.Diddy, now know as Sean Combs. This is the second time the 27-year-old’s collaborating with American artistes – the first being Kanye West, who rapped for his current band JYJ‘s debut album, “The Beginning”.

“Incredible” is a fun, high-energy song from start to end. With the partying and dancing scenes in the music video, coupled with the talents’ colourful outfits, this song’s perfect for summer. Too bad Quincy’s rap failed to match the energy of this song. Seriously, Quincy, what do you mean by “shake your spaceship candy”? The song is better off without the rap, nonetheless, this is still one of the best tracks on the album.

What’s truly incredible here is the singer-songwriter’s voice in the brilliantly composed “11AM”. Xia’s vocal prowess, acknowledged as one of the best in the Korean pop industry, truly shines with just the minimalist piano accompaniment.

“Rainy Eyes” combines elements from R&B, jazz and ballad, and is almost as good as “11AM”in terms of showing off the soulful voice of the singer who has won 12 awards as a solo artiste in both acting and singing. What makes this track so unique is the flawless use of horns, a Western orchestra instrument rarely heard in K-pop songs.

Like “Rainy Eyes”, “Chocolate Girl” carries the same jazzy vibe, but with a more upbeat tempo. An easy-listening song, it sounds effortless, nonchalant and is an easy one to groove to.

A song easily appreciated by Korean drama fans, “Sorry” sounds like something off an OST for a typical Korean love drama, with the least Western influence among all the other songs. Xia has done many OSTs since he started his career as a singer in 2004.

Arguably the worst song in the album, “Turn It Up” sounds nothing like its title. Listeners probably expect a booming electronic beat, with powerful choreography and a lot high notes. Well, the booming beat’s there… At least in the first 5 seconds of the song, but it gets flat and boring for the rest of the song. And with 10 other great songs to show up its weakness, this number looks even more inept in comparison.

Overall, Incredible is a huge improvement from his first solo album, Tarantallegra, which lacked artistic and musical direction. Strongly influenced by Michael Jackson, Xia confessed in an interview with The GRAMMYs that his dream’s not to win awards or to be on top, but to be remembered as a timeless singer by fans all over the world


Album Details:

Artiste: Xia Junsu

Album Name: Incredible

Rating: 4.5/5

Language: Korean

Genre: Pop, R&B, Dance

Record Label: C-JeS Entertainment, LEON Entertainment

Release Date: July 15, 2013


Album Tracklist:

1. No Reason

2. Rainy Eyes

3. Sorry

4. Chocolate Girl

5. Incredible (feat. Quincy)

6. I’m Confessing Now (feat. GilMe)

7. Don’t Go

8. Turn It Up (feat. Dok2)

9. Fantasy

10. This Song Is Funny, Right?

11. Seems Like Love

12. 11AM