Max Changmin starts the year off with a bunch of new releases. All of these new releases (plus a few more songs) form part of his second mini-album, Devil, which officially dropped today. Per usual, I will be focusing on the releases with music videos. As the post type ‘double review’ insinuates, I will be reviewing two releases in this post which in my mind act as the pre-releases for this new album. The first is titled Fever, which ‘stage’ video dropped on 8 January 2022. The second is for Maniac, which ‘promotional’ video dropped on 10 January 2022.
Fever kicks off promotions for the new album with an impressive and captivating track. Fever opens up with some jazzy influences and teases us with some rock as well. His voice flirts with us for a moment, just briefly before Fever builds to its full potential. Within less than half a minute, Fever has changed its tune. The song now brings out heavier and powerful drumming, while Changmin ups his vocals to a higher and powerful tone to compliment the change in momentum. While percussion becomes a prominent part of Fever from then on, the piano and rock influences do not falter and are consistently present throughout the rest of the song. As Fever progresses, the instrumental gets more intense (especially each time we re-enter the chorus) and Changmin pushes his vocals in both direction, impressively showing off both his high and low registers throughout the song. However, that is not all. For the best parts of Fever, it has to be everything from the instrumental dance break (that forms the bridge onwards). The concentrated rock and the interjection of the piano melody for the dance break, followed by Changmin literally blowing me away with his high notes on top of the powerful drumming that feels more like slams at this point. I am in awe every time I listen to Fever.
Maniac left me speechless when I listened to the song the first time around. Second and third time around, I was enjoying myself and the exciting tempo and relentless energy that was coming from the Maniac. And it is still hard to sit down to review this song without nodding or tapping along to the beat. Maniac takes on a completely different vibe to Fever, going down a more Queen influenced and theatrical path with its style and sound. I just loved the colour and vibrancy that was coming from Maniac, a definite positive aspect of the song. It is also quite unique and is very fresh, as a result. Another positive aspect of the song has to be the showcase of Changmin’s vocals, which are undoubtedly superb in this song. His voice just captivates you in this track as well, and pulls you in. The character behind his vocals compliment the theatrical side of the song, and the vibrancy his vocals bring to the song just amps Maniac to new heights. I really like the different types of melodies used throughout Maniac, including the ascending and descending melodies in the choruses and bridge. Overall, both Fever and Maniac are bold numbers in their own right, with each coming off as different and appealing at the same time.
Fever‘s video is more straightforward, as it is a stage video. Essentially, the performance is the main focus of the video and it appears that Changmin is singing the track live (due to the presence of the microphone on his face – but I hesitate in calling this a live performance for now). The stage looked cool, though I think the lighting at times could have been better. I also wished his outfit was a bit more unique and not cliché. Maniac on the other hand has a more fleshed out music video, with influences from Alfred Hitchcock being a prominent feature of the video. For those who are not familiar, the music video carried influences from Psycho and The Shining, as well as Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy. But to fit the brighter and upbeat tone, the video strayed away from the horror elements (though it looks like we did get a touch of that still) but more so on colour and vibrancy. I also liked how the video was separated into acts, further bringing the theatrical influences from the song to the video as well.
Maniac does not have a performance, so I will skip over that. However, Fever does. And it is a bold and powerful routine, just like the song. What makes it bold would be more so the ambition of pulling off a live performance with this song. And when I mean live, I mean live vocals and the same energy as we got in the video! I would love to see Changmin perform Fever live. I doubt there would be any issue on his part, and I will be very impressed with any attempt of it.
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10
Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10