[Review] Devil – Max Changmin (TVXQ)

Today is a Max Changmin day, as I review a third song from the soloist, who made his official solo comeback today. The song in question for this review, along with the title of his second mini-album that also dropped today, is Devil. Serving as pre-releases for this release is Fever and Maniac, which I had just posted reviews for in a double review format. The last time we saw Max Changmin as a solo artist was through his 2020 release Chocolate and more recently his Japanese single Devil in December 2021 (which I am hoping to review soon).

Devil continues the string of unique and individualistic releases from Max Changmin with an epic and bone-chilling track. I have a personal playlist of epic and thrilling sounding tracks that I have heard over time (i.e. movie sound tracks, songs used to back intense moments from TV shows and other general tracks that I have come across with epic vibes that puts me on the edge of my seat), and Devil would fit right into that playlist. From the very first second, Devil itself stands out from the crowd with its acapella ‘hoo hoo‘ background and Changmin’s lower tone. Some striking guitar and percussion work comes into play soon after, but they are kept very minimalistic for the time being. All of this continues up until we get to the chorus, which is separated by a brief moment of silence and a slightly roughed up autotuned ‘So let it rain‘ line, before we are launched into an epic chorus that is made of the exact same instrumentations already mentioned (including the acapella that provides us the ‘Rain on me‘ lines in the chorus). and features an intense drop. It is definitely a bold and worthwhile endpoint. Like the other songs reviewed today, Changmin pairs his voice with the instrumentation and throws in some tension as he raises his vocals. The melodies aren’t as striking, which is a tad disappointing. But that can be overlooked by the execution and epicness of the chorus His vocals are once again shown off in the brief second verse and bright, before we are brought back to the chorus each time. His high notes were so satisfying and just added so much more oomph to the song. He finishes in an amazing manner, with an ad-lib that brought nice closure to an otherwise thrilling song. Overall, Devil leaves me impressed and in awe – which is definitely continuing thread of the whole comeback. Can’t wait to listen to the album.

Per usual, I am not entirely sure what is going on in this video. From the ending (spoiler alert), it appears that Changmin is the devil. So I guess, the video is some sort of origin story. Again, not entirely sure. But what I am sure is that I really enjoyed the dark vibes from the video. It is a dark intensity that I look for when KPOP does ‘dark concepts’, to which only a few acts have managed to pull off before. And the forest scenes in this video nailed it. I also liked how minimalistic the video was as well (like the song), but there was still so much going on at the same time. The flashes in time with the beat for the chorus were also a great idea.

The performance of this release is quite aesthetic. From what I can observe from the music video, it fits the epic vibe and flair of the song quite well. The second chorus looks amazing with Changmin in the middle and the dancers surrounding him. Also the spin in the final chorus looks stunning. I do hope we get to see a live performance of Devil with all these elements in it!

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

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