Rising Sun. Hug. Purple Line. Mirotic. Those are only a few well-known songs from legendary k-pop group DBSK. Debuting in late 2003, the “Rising Gods of the East” Hero Jaejoong, U-know Yunho, Micky Yoochun, Xiah Junsu and Choikang Changmin dominated the Asian music charts, holding the World Record in 2008 for most Official Fanclub members and being key figures in the “Hallyu Wave” that introduced k-pop and South Korean culture worldwide. Case in point, in 2005 DBSK was my introduction to the black hole known as k-pop and I don’t think I’ll ever love a k-pop band as much as I loved them.
But teary feelz aside, DBSK was known for their heavenly a cappella skills, cool and complex dance routines and flawless lives. But given all their albums of course there’s always been a couple gems besides the title tracks that I could never skip no matter how many years pass. So whether you follow JYJ or the now 2-man DBSK or both, these low-key tunes will be sure to have you practicing your trills and adlibs and smashing that repeat button like no tomorrow. … And possibly going into an Emoshinki video marathon on YouTube like I did. Sigh, my heart. </3 Anyway behold, my top 7 favorite lesser-known DBSK songs! And these are my picks from when DBSK were five members as I listened to those albums the most.
1. Whatever They Say
Like I mentioned earlier DBSK was known for their heavenly a cappella skills, but that’s because they debuted with the concept of an a cappella group. Whatever They Say is a shining example of their a cappella prowess. Listening to this song is the closest mankind can get to hearing angels sing on earth. No exaggerations. Take a listen for yourself. Do listen closely to my favorite part, Jaejoong’s special high note at 2:43… slay baby, slaaaay!
If for some reason you’re still not convinced, just watch their music video and be amused by the awkward close-ups. Also, those shirts! Fashion in the early 2000’s was a wild time huh? If you want more a cappella check out “Always There”.
2. Stay With Me Tonight
“Stay With Me Tonight” was DBSK’s first foray into the Japanese market. And being newcomers to the world of J-pop they appropriately introduced themselves right off the bat: “Hello, welcome to my world~ we’re TVXQ!” followed by a couple more strings of sweet a cappella before busting out into a lively tune with a splash of guitar. While this song didn’t do stupendously on Japanese charts I’ll always love the easy-listening quality of “Stay With Me Tonight” and how you can hear the group’s ear-pleasing backup throughout the entire strong. DBSK dancing snazzily in those big white suits is pretty great too. You’ll want to learn this song just to sing that soaring chorus with them (like I did); “Stay with me tonight, kono mama tomodachiiiii NARAAAAA!” If you dig “Stay With Me Tonight”, don’t miss their second Japanese single “Somebody To Love” featuring a very similar song structure, big red suits, and more awkward close-ups and snazz-tastic dancing.
3. Million Men
… is my automatic reaction whenever this song comes up on my iTunes. “Million Men” is the sixth track of DBSK’s first Korean album Tri-Angle. With obvious hip hop and R&B influences it’s a popular track with old-school Cassies who drop everything when this song comes on so they could “BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE” with Junsu (you’ll see what I mean when you listen to it). I really wish they made a music video for this song because the beat is slick, their voices are killer and while it’s not one of those songs I actively look for, when it comes on, AW SHIT SUN!! TURN UP THAT BASS!!!
4. Get Me Some
Behold the third track of DBSK’s third album, “O”-Jung.Ban.Hap.: “Get Me Some”. Yes, it’s what you think it’s about. Yes, they actually say “I wanna get me some of that” in the chorus. Naturally I couldn’t stop laughing when I first heard this song but before I knew it I was unconsciously breaking out singing this whenever I saw a smokin’ hot guy/girl. Protip though, don’t sing it even if that smokin’ hot guy/girl is 5 feet away from you. Trust me, they’ll hear it. (Thanks a lot, DBSK.)
5. Crazy Love
Dig electro sounds? “Crazy Love” is for you! Tucked away in DBSK’s fourth Korean album Mirotic (the last to feature JYJ), the use of autotune in “Crazy Love” is a departure from their roots, but it fits with the changing times of k-pop in 2008 and the chorus brings it back to signature DBSK-style with sweeping harmonies and sweetly sung falsettos. I especially love Yunho’s line around 1:51 which he starts off singing and ends almost rapping. Yunho improved immensely as a singer since debut, even more so in DBSK’s recent songs with him and Changmin, but I think it’s in the Mirotic album where all his hard vocal work is best demonstrated. Not gonna lie, I’ve also got a soft spot for “Crazy Love” since I sang Junsu’s parts in a collaboration for “Crazy Love” back in 2009. It remains one of my favorite collabs today. 🙂
6. Darkness Eyes
From the moment you press the play button you know you’re in for a rare treat. Hidden away in DBSK’s third Japanese album, “Darkness Eyes” features subdued vocals and a mysterious repetitive piano riff, a far cry from DBSK’s signature power ballads and performance-driven tracks. One of their most unique songs, “Darkness Eyes” will wrap you up in a thick purple fog, rendering you immobile until the song fades, in which the fog dissolves leaving you with goosebumps and an uncanny sense of mystery and uncertainty… and the uncontrollable urge to press replay again and again. I adore this song. I most love the distribution of lines in the chorus; one person doesn’t sing the whole chorus but one sings one line, another sings the next, Yoochun sings the bottom layer, the next two alternate lines and they continue to weave in and out of one another perfectly without overpowering anyone.
The live performance of “Darkness Eyes” during their Japanese tour is utterly mesmerizing as well! That part when they’re floating up and they lean backwards? Ugh, that always gets me… (wipes away single tear)
I also hosted my first singing collaboration with “Darkness Eyes” where I painstakingly pieced together an instrumental based off that same live performance and sang as Jaejoong. Here it is if you’re interested~ But really, what a song! “Darkness Eyes” is my personal favorite lesser-known DBSK song.
DBSK briefly promoted Tonight but it still definitely deserves a mention in this list. If you were impressed by Whatever They Say, get ready to explode at the epicness known as Tonight. That harmony! Those trills! Those glorious OOHS and AHHs and GROWLS! I remember when I first listened to this song and I was going back to 4:14 and playing that shit over and over again while dragging my hands down my face, eyes brimming with tears of awe and joy. I always viewed this song as the holy grail of k-pop boy band powerhouses (The female equivalent being Big Mama’s “Woman”, in case you’re wondering). Tonight is one of those songs that’s even more impressive performed live. Show me an idol band nowadays that can come remotely close to singing Tonight! … What’s that? You can’t find one? Why not? Oh–because idol bands never cover this song? Hmmm. I wonder why. 😉
There you have it, my Top 7 lesser-known DBSK songs that’ll make you want to bash your head against the wall at the awesomeness! It was quite tough narrowing it down to 7, so in case you didn’t have enough check out “Begin”, “You’re My Miracle”, “One”, and “My Destiny”! “My Destiny” is my jam; I was obsessed with “My Destiny” for months and the imagery in the music video will stick with me for years.
Anyway what’s your favorite lesser-known DBSK track? Tell me in the comments so I won’t be alone getting sad and mentally crying waterfalls thinking about the good ‘ol times! </3 (Just kidding. Sort of.)