Keep Your Head Down
|Keep Your Head Down|
|Studio album by|
|Released||January 5, 2011|
|Recorded||2009–10; S.M. Studios (Seoul)|
|Singles from Keep Your Head Down|
Keep Your Head Down is the fifth Korean studio album (ninth overall) by South Korean pop duo TVXQ, released on January 5, 2011 by S.M. Entertainment. Recording and writing for the album roughly began in the summer of 2010, but full production did not begin until August 2010, after U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin debuted their first performance as a duo at the SM Town Live '10 World Tour concert in Seoul, South Korea.
Bringing in a new line of producers, including E-Tribe and Outsidaz, Keep Your Head Down largely consists of dance-pop songs with urban and electronic arrangements. The album has been described by critics as fierce, dark, and powerful due to its SMP influence, an experimental genre that is defined by mixing the styles of orchestral pop, rock, and contemporary R&B with hip hop beats to create catchy, rhythmic tracks that allow for very strong dance performances. Released in two different versions, the album spawned two promotional singles with one lead single, "Keep Your Head Down". Lyrically, the album explores dark themes of relationships, betrayal and self-empowerment.
In South Korea, the album debuted at number one on the Gaon Albums Chart for the week of January 8, 2011, and maintained its number-one position for a second week. By the end of the month, Gaon reported that 230,227 copies were shipped. By the end of the year, 263,412 copies of the album were sold in South Korea alone, making it the third best-selling album of 2011.
Before U Go, the repackage of Keep Your Head Down, was released on March 16, 2011. The album was expanded to fourteen tracks, and its lead single "Before U Go" achieved moderate success on the Gaon Singles Chart.
Background and recording
In July 2009, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, and Xiah Junsu filed a lawsuit against their agency S.M. Entertainment, claiming that their 13-year contracts were excessively long and their profits were unfairly distributed. In October 2009, the Seoul Central District Court granted the three members a temporary contract injunction, thus halting TVXQ's group activities in South Korea. The trio continued their activities with TVXQ in Japan under their Japanese label Rhythm Zone, but in April 2010, Rhythm Zone's parent label Avex Trax suspended TVXQ in order to sign Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu as the band JYJ. The suspension pushed remaining TVXQ members U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin to an indefinite hiatus, and TVXQ's fifth Korean album was put on hold.
In August 2010, Yunho and Changmin performed as TVXQ in Seoul's SMTown Live '10 World Tour, which was described to be an "experimental" stage for the duo. Earning strong and supportive reactions from the audience, Yunho and Changmin decided to continue TVXQ activities without the other three. There was an attempt to add new members to the group, but their mentor Lee Soo-man suggested that they should continue as a duo act.
The duo began working on their comeback album shortly after the concert in Seoul. "Keep Your Head Down", an SMP song Yunho performed at the concert, was chosen to be the album's lead single. The song was produced by Yoo Young-jin, who also produced the album's third track "Maximum", a dance-pop song that was originally recorded by all five TVXQ members in 2009. Bringing in a new line of producers including E-Tribe and Outsidaz, principal recording for Keep Your Head Down spanned three months.
Release and promotion
In November 2010, S.M. Entertainment announced TVXQ's return with Keep Your Head Down in January 2011. On December 20, 2010, two weeks ahead of the official album release, TVXQ released the digital single "Athena", the theme song for the South Korean television drama Athena: Goddess of War. Two versions of the album were subsequently announced – a special edition with a 100-page photobook; and a normal edition, which includes one bonus track.
A week before the album's official release, two teaser trailers for the music video of lead single "Keep Your Head Down" began airing on television and other broadcast media around South Korea. "Keep Your Head Down" was digitally released on January 3, 2011, and the full album was made available for download on January 5, 2011, the same day as the traditional CD release of the album's special edition. On January 11, S.M. Entertainment released a free TVXQ iPhone app to promote the album. On January 12, 2011, physical copies of the normal edition were distributed to retailers.
Reception and commercial performance
Keep Your Head Down received generally positive reviews from music critics and K-pop fans, who have praised the album's "powerful" production and its cohesive blend of pop and R&B. The lyrics of "Keep Your Head Down", which talks about recovering from a relationship breakup, came under intense media scrutiny after it was claimed that it was written as a diss track to JYJ. Several TVXQ and JYJ fansites also withdrew their support for the song. Yunho and Changmin clarified that the lyrics were misinterpreted, stating, "It's just a song about a man's anger towards the woman that threw him away. That's all."
The album has been commercially successful across Asia. In South Korea, it immediately shot to number one on the real-time daily charts of Hanteo, selling nearly 30,000 physical copies on its first day of release. Keep Your Head Down debuted at number one on the weekly Gaon Albums Chart and maintained its number one position for a second week. By the end of the month, Gaon reported over 230,000 shipments. Keep Your Head Down was the year's third best-selling album, with 263,412 copies sold in South Korea. The album also debuted at number four on both Taiwan's G-Music and Japan's Oricon.
"Athena" was digitally released on December 20, 2010, and debuted at number 50 on the weekly Gaon Singles Chart. The music video for the album's lead single "Keep Your Head Down", officially premiered on January 3, 2011. The single debuted at number 5 on the weekly Gaon Singles Chart. "Journey", the theme song for Changmin's television drama Paradise Ranch, was released on January 26, 2011 and only managed to peak at number 111 on the Gaon Singles Chart.
|1.||"왜 (Keep Your Head Down)" (Why)||Yoo Young-jin||Yoo Young-jin, Yoo Han-jin||3:59|
|2.||"믿기 싫은 이야기 (How Can I)" (The Story I Don't Want to Believe)||Park Chang-hyun||Park Chang-hyun||3:22|
|3.||"Maximum"||Yoo Young-jin||Yoo Young-jin||3:40|
|4.||"Crazy" (feat. Jay from Trax)||Kim Tae-sung, Noday||Kim Tae-sung, Noday||3:18|
|5.||"Honey Funny Bunny" (U-Know Yunho solo)||E-Tribe||E-Tribe, Jang Yun-ho, Gong Hyun-sik||3:19|
|6.||"Rumor"||Hong Ji-yoo||Outsidaz (Ryan Kim, Christopher Golightly, Anthony Lee)||3:17|
|7.||"고백 (Confession)" (Max Changmin solo)||Shim Chang-min||Mr. Cho, Kim Tae-sung||3:56|
|8.||"Our Game"||JQ||Simister, William Edward/Hawes, Tim Mondhera, Obi Shimbarashe/Priddle, Stuart||3:30|
|9.||"She"||Kenzie, Matthew Tishler, Amy Powers, Liz Rodrigues||Matthew Tishler, Amy Powers, Liz Rodrigues||3:15|
|10.||"아테나 (Athena)" (Athena OST)||Hwang Hyun||Hwang Hyun||3:35|
|Normal edition bonus track|
|11.||"Journey (Paradise Ranch OST)" (feat. Seohyun of Girls' Generation)||Kim Dal-woo||Kim Dal-woo||4:26|
|Worldwide / South Korea||January 5, 2011||Special edition||S.M. Entertainment|
|January 12, 2011||Normal edition|
|Taiwan||February 11, 2011||CD||Normal edition||Avex Taiwan|
|February 24, 2012||CD+DVD||Taiwan special edition|
|Hong Kong||February 22, 2011||CD||Normal edition||Avex Asia|
|Philippines||April 29, 2011||CD||Normal edition||Universal Records|
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