[Album Review] Chocolate (1st Mini Album) – Max Changmin (TVXQ)

It is time for another album review. Sorry that this is a day late again. I had it written up and ready to go. But I was too tired after a long week at work to actually copy into the editor and insert the videos for the album review. So I opted to Netflix instead, like a professional procrastinator. But without any further delays, here is yesterday/today’s album review post. Today’s focus is on Max Changmin’s official solo debut mini-album, Chocolate, which is also the title of the main title track on the album. This release comes after Changmin had debuted as part of TVXQ 16 years ago.

Chocolate Album Cover

1. Chocolate (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Chocolate. (10/10)

2. High Heels – One thing that stands out in High Heels is the subtle level of grooviness in this jazzy number. There is also a sleek and classy vibe thanks to the funky guitar and deep bass in the background, all contributing to a strong foundation. Adding to the appeal of the song is Changmin’s vocals, which I find to be quite light. I liked the harmonies between Changmin’s vocals and the background vocals. The sound of the high heels walking at the start and end of the song was also adds an element of curiosity and got me thinking why Changmin would be singing a song by a pair of high heels. Well, the high heels referred to in the song aren’t the actual shoes. Rather, it is referred to as a barrier and that their crush is unreachable. (8/10)

3. Lie (ft. Chungha)Lie steers the song towards the modern sound again. We get a minimalist instrumental in this song, with hollow drums being the main instrumentation we get during the verses. The song adds a dramatic flair and a beat to the chorus, driving the song forward. Lie also features Chungha, who we all know from hit songs and recent release (Stay Tonight). I really like how the song sets up for Chungha’s featuring for the chorus, inserting a squeaky synth into the background and easing us towards a high-pitched yet aesthetic ‘I’m So Lonely’, courtesy of Chungha herself. I like it feels like it is part of the instrumentation, yet at the same time, we know it is her featuring part. She isn’t limited to just 3 words on repeat, however, as she has a vocal sequence in the bridge, which was quite nice. Changmin, himself, sounds amazing in this song. He goes between a standard pitch that somehow just melt into your ears, high pitch and harmonises with the backing vocals that just adds further smoothness to his voice. The pair doesn’t share any sections explicitly, but they manage to develop a really strong chemistry that I just want more of. (10/10)

4. Piano – I don’t know if Piano is meant to come off as a fun number. But that is the feeling that I get from this amazing song. First of all, I am in love with Changmin’s vocals in this song. He goes lows for the verses and I find this very alluring, given the higher note of the piano in the background. His adopts a more powerful vocal delivery for the chorus and this felt very bold due to the contrast with his low tone. Second of all, how aesthetic is this instrumental. It predominately features someone hitting the same key on a piano throughout the instrumental. There is also this low bass beat and drumbeats which adds some character to the song. I also love the dramatic endings to the chorus, which add a zap to the song that really grabs your attention. To sum up, I quote Changmin in the song, ‘I Like It, Don’t Stop’. (10/10)

5. Me, Myself & I – Setting up the tone and direction of this R&B is an unanswered song and the line ‘I’m so freaking over you’. Changmin barely enters a different vocal range in the song unlike his other tracks, staying low and bringing out a raspy sound in this voice. It almost feels like he is whispering to himself. This R&B track features acoustic guitars and drum beat that pushes the song along. While it does sound like all is lost in his opening line (which is the opening line to all choruses in the song), there is a glimmer of hope and that is why you could feel a little warmth to the way the song came together. Unfortunately, I did find the song monotone to a degree and hence didn’t enjoy as much as the other songs on the album. (7/10)

6. No TomorrowNo Tomorrow is the song that closes up the album. And it definitely follows the feel at how the songs do not sound alike in anyway. It is upbeat thanks to the band instrumentation and acoustic guitars. The song also has a very bright profile, which I find every interesting. That might be due to the really uplifting lyrics that Changmin had penned. In No Tomorrow, his vocals are a lot bolder and not held back. Actually, a better way to describe is that Changmin lets loose in this song, without going with a crazy song. It feels refined this way and ends the album on a very bold yet happy note. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Chocolate Teaser Image

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