A Music Comparison – JYJ vs. Tohoshinki

This is my 200th post here on YAM. For weeks I have been  thinking about what I wanted it to be about. For me, it needed to be special because, after all, it’s my 200th post. It has taken me a whole lot to come to this number. Heck, I didn’t think it would be that hard to write 200 posts. I feel like I’ve written so many more.

Many ideas came to mind, but what I was certain about was that it needed to be very special. I believe this is the next step in my development as a writer. So who or what was to get the honor of being my special 200th post? As much as I kept thinking about it, it came back to one thing and one thing only: DBSK.

The good old days of DBSK

They are, after all, the ones that inspired me to achieve more of the goals that I felt I was too weak for. They are my source of inspiration for anything that I need to achieve. I think I can go as far as to say they are men that I look up to, my new role models.

Once I decided on DBSK, the question was what to write concerning them — should I do an introduction, perhaps a list of their best MV’s, best albums, best Korean or Japanese songs? Should I talk about the lawsuit, the future of DBSK or perhaps… the list was pretty damn long. But then I decided to do a comparison of their albums because, well, because it’s interesting, challenging and a bit frightening. This draft has been in my computer since October, part out of fear, part because of me not getting my mind around the issue. I feel that I need to challenge myself more with my writing. So here goes.

I will do a short review of both albums and then compare them to form a conclusion. Why not? JYJ and Tohoshinki are former members of the extremely popular DBSK/TVXQ. Although two of the members keep working under the name TVXQ, it is not the same thing. Adding to it is the fact that both groups came out with albums just one day apart. Coincidence or conspiracy? It was too juicy for me not to do this.

The interesting part here is that JYJ and Tohoshinki are different in many ways. JYJ released a Korean album, Tohoshinki is the Japanese name TVXQ takes when promoting in Japan. So this is Kpop versus Jpop. Also vocal talent  — there’s no denying that JYJ consists of three-fifths of the best voices of former DBSK, but current TVXQ still houses Changmin. How will that affect the overall product? Also this is a battle between small production and big production. JYJ, for the most part, write and produce their own songs. TVXQ is backed by SM, which is one of the biggest music companies in Korea. Not that it has to mean anything, but TVXQ has a huge room full of producers with songs ready to sing.

There are many elements to compare to each other. So let’s see how this goes, oki?


Music is all I do: I work in music, I write about music, I listen to music.

11 Responses

  1. Tina/Mis says:

    Wow. This is a really thought-through article about stuff I hadn’t really thought about.
    But to be honest, I don’t find it that strange that JYJ are sticking to a similar sound. I’m not a Cassie but as I see it, it wasn’t for musical reasons that JYJ broke out and though of course everybody have different preferences, I have never seen taste differences as one of the bigger cracks in DBSK. Which it has definitely been in, say, Big Bang. Or am I wrong?

    • Julyssa says:

      @Tina/Mis, Some are claiming that is was the music that was one reason JYJ broke away from SM, as in they wanted freedom to create the music *they* wanted.
      I think that Jae, Junsu and Yoochun do have similar tastes. Yunho prefers more dance/rap tracks and Changmin does it all. But then again, DBSK were under several years only allowed to do the music their label gave them. Big Bang has had freedom to do as they wish from early on and that develops different tastes i guess.

    • Julyssa says:

      *groans* here I wrote this great response but WP trolled me and it disappeared. Let me see if I remember it all.

      Many argue that one of the reasons JYJ left was because they wanted more creative freedom.
      When it comes to taste, well, DBSK as a whole weren’t allowed to do their own music for several years. Yes, they all have different tastes but it’s not like they could do many solo projects.
      Big Bang has been given creative freedom since an early stage in their careers. So I think that is what made them all kind of drift in to very different musical styles. Also, and this is another topic: but I think that the group dynamics in Big Bang are worlds apart from the one DBSk had. So that can add to the cracks.

  2. Camiele says:

    Well, I suppose there’s no point in stirring up the flames of DBSK fans (past and present). I’ll just comment on the article itself.

    This is rather diplomatic of you. Instead of blatantly stating a favourte, you more or less say both albums are great, but one just squeezes by being a teensy bit better… HaHa. But I don’t blame you for that. I mean, I’d say fuck it and just go for what I know, but, of course, I’ve only been a Cassie for five months… so, there’s that…

    As far as JYJ finally releasing a good album, in all fairness, prior to In Heaven, they only had a music essay (which is basically a mini-album with a book attached) and The Beginning… And really The Beginning… itself wasn’t all that bad. Ayy Gurl just shouldn’t have happened and it most CERTAINLY shouldn’t have been the lead track. That glorious English language debut should’ve gone to either Be My Girl or Empty.

    As far as HoMin’s concerned, I really need to check out TONE to know what you’re even talking about. I can’t be mad at them for not sounding like DBSK… because, I mean, there’s just two of them. They’re never gonna sound the same (as JYJ don’t sound anything like DBSK to me), so we have to do go with the dynamic we have. Plus, Yunho’s never gonna be the singer, but the imbalance of vocalists means his voice becomes stronger… gotta love that.

    So, all in all, this was a very “not tryna start no mess” 200th post. But it was definitely a good look at both albums. I’ll have to REALLY do better with my life and check out TONE… so slack, so slack :shakes head at her own shame:

    • Julyssa says:

      @Camiele, It’s not so much “not trying to start no mess”, I am keeping it short because I could go on this issue for the longest time. If I wanted to do a more “clinical” comparison, then this would turn out to be a thesis essay. No joke.

      Both albums are good, they just are good in different ways. TONE is more pop-y, In Heaven is more influenced by RnB. TONE makes me silly happy, while In Heaven makes me *ahem*, makes me feel a certain way.

      • Camiele says:

        @Julyssa, Well, “start no mess” more in the tone (seriously, no pun intended) of the feature. You could’ve made a blatant statement about which is your favourite, damn the consequences. but you chose a very diplomatic approach, not choosing, but instead sort of saying one is only slightly better than the other.

        I wouldn’t say In Heaven is more influenced by R&B, but is more influenced by heavy emotion. It’s more a showcase of their writing and vocals, thus the balladry is just ridiculous on that album. But, I can’t say anything about TONE’s influence… haven’t listened to it… STILL (fml… just, really). I WILL get to it, I promise… but you know me and voices. I know what to expect vocally and that may be the reason why I’m hesitant. If I actually listened to it, though, we may be able to have a better conversation about it (via a counter-review of my own… hmmm… let me think about that one…)

        • Julyssa says:

          @Camiele, Yes, raw emotion, that was the word I was looking for.

          I was diplomatic, because, quite honestly I do like both albums almost as much. It’s just that both albums make me feel different sort of happiness. Plus, they are good in different aspects. How can I judge wich is better then the other? It’s all a matter of taste.

          At the moment, I am adoring TONE more then In Heaven. But last year I was all about in Heaven and couldn’t even listen to TONE. So I can’t chose! :P

  3. Camiele says:

    @ Julyssa, I think it’s all a matter of what kind of sound you’re really into. But you’re more of the “flip-flop” type when it comes to that… HaHa. :P

    As for me, I’ve got a soft spot for vocal ability and emotion. The emotion I don’t doubt whatsoever with HoMin. You can’t have gone through what any of them have gone through and not have emotion. But as far as that translating to the vocal mapping of the album… that’s a completely different thing all together.

    That does it… this definitely calls for a coutner-review! I’m gonna listen to TONE this week-end! I’ve already listened to In Heaven — obviously. Gotta say, it’s already not looking good for HoMin… HaHa. BUT! I do happen to genuinely like both Yunho-ssi and Changmin… maybe not necessarily vocally, but I really wanna check the dynamic of their voices. I heard “Before U Go” (the sexy R&B version. I still can’t find my panties after hearing that one… that was a good pair, too. DAMN YOU HOMIN!!!) and kinda fell all manner of in love with it. And they worked that R&B sound pretty damn good together. We’ll just have to see.

    What d’you think…? Counter-review for both of these albums? Is it a possiblity, oh mighty Kpop princess?

  4. Kar says:

    Hmm, I can’t really make a good comment as I haven’t heard every song from both albums, but I think I’m liking TONE better. >.< I think of tvxq2 as a hollow DBSK, but still DBSK, you know? (no pun intended lol) but JYJ just looks foreign. Sometimes I just can't stand to hear "Empty", "Get Out", "Found You", and especially "Ayyy Girl". "In Heaven" is bearable; it just makes me really sad…I label them JYJ and DBSK (old and new) on my iPod but keep them all in a general DBSK folder.

    I feel JYJ is relying a bit too much on vocals, that dare I say it, their songs are much too flat, almost boring. There's a dull serene quality. On the other hand, Tvxq sounds very pop, catchy, but the voices just sound raw, different from their studio versio by a LARGE version. People say that Changmin and Yunho improved vocally since well, they have to, but I don't really see it. They ALL (yes, JYJ too) sang better together. I don't mean harmony, they actually sondes smoother, right on key, perfect high notes etc.

    That is all :) <3 :(

    • Julyssa Diaz says:


      Hi Kar! Thank you for your comment and input. I think that the points you bring up are very true. JYJ and HoMin have really embarked in two very different styles. JYJ is relying a whole lot in their vocals and why shouldn’t they? It’s their best asset.
      HoMin is doing the flashy pop seeing as they need to take a little bit of strain from the lack of vocals — but I do think they show some form of improvement in their ballads. Shiawase no Iro Hana is a great example of that.

      I am guessing you are a fellow Cassies right? I do agree that DBSK as five sound so much better together. Could be part that we are used to hearing them in that way, part that we love to hear them that way or the fact that there was something about them five that clicked so perfectly.

  5. clau says:

    mmm for me HoMin sounds better..
    it’s more mature,Changmin voice is perfect and Yunho voice is fine..
    i’m not a fan i just heard “keep your head down” and they are really good even their dance is way better!
    yes,i heard jyj and it didn’t attract me that much..well i didn’t download it
    well is a thing of taste..i guess!

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