Tense (album)

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Tense
TVXQ Tense.jpg
Studio album by TVXQ
Released January 6, 2014 (2014-01-06)
Recorded 2011–13
Genre
Length 44:07
Language Korean
Label S.M. Entertainment
Producer
TVXQ chronology
Time
(2013)Time2013
Tense
(2014)
Spellbound
(2014)Spellbound2014
Singles from Tense
  1. "Something"
    Released: January 6, 2014

Tense is the seventh Korean studio album (thirteenth overall) by South Korean pop duo TVXQ. It was released on January 6, 2014 by S.M. Entertainment. The record was promoted as a commemorative album for the duo's tenth debut anniversary,[1] which fell on December 26, 2013. Tense consists of modern R&B and pop songs with components of neo soul. Its lead single, "Something", also has elements of swing jazz with big band arrangements. Lyrically, the album references the concepts of love, courage and hope. The repackage of Tense, Spellbound, was released on February 27, 2014.

Tense received general acclaim from music critics, who commended the album's cohesive production and TVXQ's vocal performance. In South Korea, the album debuted at number one on the Gaon Albums Chart, giving TVXQ their third consecutive number-one since the chart's establishment in 2010. In Japan, Tense debuted at number four on the Oricon Albums Chart, making it the duo's second Korean album to enter the chart's top-five. According to the Gaon Albums Chart, Tense is the fourth best-selling Korean album of 2014, selling 196,971 physical units.[2]

Background and composition[edit]

In November 2013, Korean news portals reported that TVXQ were close to completing the recording for their seventh Korean studio album, which was described to be a special tenth anniversary album.[3] Their Korean agency, S.M. Entertainment, announced that the duo had recorded twenty songs for the album, and that they may consider releasing it in two parts.[3] TVXQ called back their frequent collaborators to write and produce the project, such as Yoo Young-jin, Kenzie, and Hitchhiker.[1] Recording sessions for Tense coincided with the duo's seventh Japanese album Tree. In December 2013 the Korea Music Association webpage revealed the details of five new songs from the record, which included "Double Trouble", "Ten (10 Year)", "Always With You", "Your Man", and the lead single "Something", produced by Yoo Young-jin.[4]

On December 26 and 27, TVXQ held their two-day tenth anniversary concert, Time Slip, at the Korea International Exhibition Center.[5] At the concerts, the duo teased the new album with a performance of "Always With You", a pop-rock ballad.[6] When introducing their new album to their fans at the concerts, Max Changmin stated that he considered Tense to be their proudest record from their catalog.

TVXQ further called Tense to be an album with "unique musicality".[7] In the album, the duo included a mix of genres that they had not experimented with before, such as swing jazz.[8] With its focus on more mature music styles, the album steers away from TVXQ's usual electronic sound, opting for more acoustic backing. Tense has also been described as "less powerful" than their previous albums.[9]

The concept of time and TVXQ's own tenth anniversary is referenced throughout Tense, and the titles of TVXQ's older hit singles, starting from their debut single "Hug" (2004), are used in the lyrics for the album's opening track "Ten (10 Years)".[10] A pop song with swing and big band influences,[11] the album's lead single "Something" is intended to be a song with mass appeal.[9] It is noted for being a major musical departure from TVXQ's earlier songs,[12] which had heavy R&B, rock, and hip hop attributes. Continuing with the vintage theme set off from "Something", the album's third track "Your Man" is a retro pop punk song, and the dance pop song "Moonlight Fantasy" added gospel sounds for a more harmonious effect.[13] The R&B pop number "Off-Road" is the Korean version of the English-language song "Runnin' On Empty", a song TVXQ recorded in 2011 for the film Make Your Move 3D. U-Know Yunho also made a cameo appearance in the film, dancing to the song.[14] Changmin wrote the lyrics for the ballad "Rise".

Release and promotion[edit]

On December 25, 2013 the intro page of TVXQ's official website was changed to a teaser photo for an upcoming album, which was announced to be called Tense.[15] S.M. Entertainment confirmed that the album would be released in the traditional CD and digital mediums on January 6, 2014, and that official physical sales would begin selling on January 7, 2014. In an interview with Oh My News, it was explained that Tense represented the phrases "anxiety", "tension", and "on the edge", signifying TVXQ unwavering collectiveness and strength in their performances and music throughout the years. Tense also has a similar pronunciation to "tenth".[16]

On December 26, 2013, the day of TVXQ's tenth debut anniversary, a sixteen-second teaser trailer for the music video of "Something", the album's first lead single, began airing on television and other broadcast media around South Korea.[17] Through the trailers, it was announced that Tense would be released on January 6, 2014. Their official Korean website was also uploaded with an image of the album's digital cover, which was a picture of a golden coin engraved with the silhouettes of the duo. The image also included a message that thanked the fans for walking together with TVXQ in the past ten years.[18]

Teaser pictures of the duo smartly dressed in black and white checkered suits were released to Korean media agencies throughout the week, and on December 30, a highlight medley of the songs from the album was uploaded to their official YouTube channel.[19] Their official Korean website was also updated with a new teaser photo,[20] and online pre-orders for the album were made available that same day. Two different covers of the album – red and black – were printed. Pre-orders peaked at number-one on various real time charts, and by December 31, pre-orders were sold out on the online medium Synarra.[21] Selling over ten million albums in the last ten years, S.M. Entertainment published an ad of the duo's milestone, which also promoted for the upcoming release of Tense.[22] On December 31, the Japanese version of the "Something" teaser, which includes an extra ten seconds of footage, was uploaded to Avex Trax's official YouTube account. S.M. Entertainment allegedly spent over 167.1 million won on the commercial ads.

The official music video for "Something" premiered on January 1, 2014 at 6pm KST. TVXQ debuted their first live performance of "Something" on January 3, 2014 on Music Bank, and continued their comeback tour with performances on Show! Music Core and The Music Trend, respectively on January 4 and 5.[23]

Singles[edit]

"Something" was announced to be the lead single through a teaser that aired on December 26, 2013.[24] The music video premiered on January 1, 2014 at 6pm KST and the song was officially released on January 6, 2014. In Japan, the Japanese version of "Something" was released as a double A-sided single with "Hide & Seek" on February 5, 2014.[25]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
IZM[26] 3/5 stars

Critical[edit]

Korean music critics provided Tense with positive ratings, calling it coherently diverse and musically complete.[27] Sticking to acoustics rather than electronic sounds, Kwon Suk-jung of Tenasia commented that the album was more mature yet less ambitious than TVXQ's earlier releases.[27] IZM: Neo Music Community praised that Tense was the best album released by the duo, and felt that the album was "tattooed" with all the happiness and hardships that Yunho and Changmin have endured through the years.[28] Jeff Benjamin of Billboard K-Town gave the album a favorable review, describing the project to be an album with "throwback-inspired pop and sultry R&B productions", also adding that the album would "sure to delight" even fans of Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars and general R&B fans.[29]

Chart performance[edit]

On the first day of release, the album debuted at number one on South Korea's digital charts. One day after release, it ranked at number one on the iTunes Stores in Japan and Vietnam, and was charted in the top 10 on the iTunes Stores of seven other countries. It also debuted at number 253 on the iTunes top album chart in the United States.[30] According to South Korea's Hanteo Album Charts, Tense sold over 73,100 physical copies on its first week of release, debuting at number one. Tense was also the number-one K-pop album of the week in Taiwan.[31] Demand for the album among Japanese fans was also high, with Tense debuting at number four on the Oricon Weekly album charts with sales of 13,895 imported copies.[32]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Ten (10 Years)" Yoo Young-jin Yoo Young-jin 3:12
2. "Something" Yoo Young-jin
  • Yoo Young-jin
  • Yoo Han-jin
4:01
3. "너의 남자 (Your Man)" (Neoui Namja) Kenzie
3:07
4. "오늘밤 (Moonlight Fantasy)" (Oneulbam lit. "Tonight") Jeon Gan-di
  • Coach & Sendo
  • Alexander Holmgren
3:35
5. "그 대신 내가 (Beside)" (Geu Daesin Naega lit. "Instead of him, let me") JQ
  • Albi Albertsson
  • Ricky Hanley
  • Stephan Elfgren
3:45
6. "Double Trouble" Kim Bu-min Hitchhiker 3:44
7. "Off-Road" (Korean version of "Runnin' On Empty") Seo Ji-eum
  • Peter Habib
  • Marc Joseph
  • Adam Nierow
  • Yaroslav Vynnytsky
3:32
8. "갈증 (Smoky Heart)" (Galjeung lit. "Thirst") Seo Ji-eum
  • Brian Kennedy
  • Dewain Whitmore
3:33
9. "Love Again" Jang Yeon-jung
3:52
10. "뒷모습 (Steppin')" (Dwismoseub lit. "Back View") Jeon Gan-di
  • Im Gwang-wook
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Martin Hoberg Hedegaard
3:11
11. "Rise..." Shim Chang-min
  • Jarkko Ehnqvist
  • Pessi Levanto
  • Martin Mulholland
  • Deez
4:40
12. "항상 곁에 있을게 (Always With You)" (Hangsang Gyeote Isseulge lit. "Always Be By Your Side")
  • Hwang Hyun
  • Agnes Shin
  • Im
  • Jackson
  • Hedegaard
3:55
Total length: 44:07

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Tense.[33]

Performers and musicians
Technical personnel

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
South Korean Albums Chart (Gaon) 1
Japanese Albums Chart (Oricon) 4
Taiwanese Albums Chart (G-Music)[34] 16
Taiwanese East Asian Albums Chart (G-Music)[34] 6
US World Albums (Billboard)[35] 2

Sales[edit]

Region Chart Sales/shipments
South Korea Gaon Albums Chart 196,971
Hanteo Albums Chart 159,971
Japan Oricon Albums Chart 51,572 (with Spellbound)

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label
Worldwide January 6, 2014 Digital download S.M. Entertainment
South Korea[36]
  • CD
  • digital download
Taiwan[37][38] Digital download Avex Taiwan
February 14, 2014 CD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "TVXQ to release 10th anniversary album". Naver (in Korean). 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  2. ^ "2014 Gaon Album Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b Dong-jin, Im (2013-11-22). "TVXQ to release 10th anniversary album" (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  4. ^ "Korea Music Association". KOMCA (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  5. ^ "SMTOWN WEEK - TVXQ! 'Time Slip'". TVXQ's Official Facebook. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  6. ^ "TVXQ take fans on a Time Slip through the past decade together". Allkpop. 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  7. ^ "The key to TVXQ's long-running success" (in Korean). TV Report via Naver. 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  8. ^ "TVXQ to make powerful comeback" (in Korean). Newsen. 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  9. ^ a b "TVXQ's less powerful image receives positive responses". Yonhap News via Naver (in Korean). 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  10. ^ "TVXQ to make their first comeback stage today" (in Korean). Newsen via Daum. 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  11. ^ "TVXQ's seventh album follows a 'big band' concept". Newsen (in Korean). 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  12. ^ Jung, Yeawon (2013-12-27). "TVXQ and Girl's Day to come back on the same day with the same titles". Mwave. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  13. ^ "TVXQ releases seventh album 'TENSE'". E Daily (in Korean). 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  14. ^ "The Music of "Make Your Move" OST – Derek Hough, BoA, TVXQ, Girls Generation, Shannon LaBrie". Make Your Move fans. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  15. ^ "TVXQ's Official Website" (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  16. ^ "TVXQ to make comeback on January 3, 2014". Oh My News via Naver (in Korean). 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  17. ^ "TVXQ Official Notice". TVXQ's Official Website (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  18. ^ "TVXQ 7th album - TENSE". DBSKnights. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  19. ^ "TVXQ to show 'Something' this Friday". Tenasia. 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  20. ^ TVXQ! Official Website
  21. ^ "Tense - Synarra". Synarra (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  22. ^ "SM puts out full page ad as TVXQ passes 10 million albums sales by their 10th anniversary". Allkpop. 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  23. ^ "TVXQ to release tenth anniversary album on January 6, 2014". News 1 via Naver (in Korean). 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  24. ^ "TVXQ teases comeback with 'Something'". Osen via Newsen (in Korean). 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  25. ^ "Tohoshinki - New Release". Avex Group (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  26. ^ "TVXQ! The 7th Album 'TENSE' Review". IZM: Neo Music Community (in Korean). Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  27. ^ a b Kwon, Suk-jung (2014-01-06). "Reviewing January albums". Tenasia (in Korean). Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  28. ^ "TVXQ! The 7th Album 'TENSE' Review" (in Korean). Neo Music Community. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  29. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (2014-01-06). "TVXQ!, 'Tense': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  30. ^ "TVXQ's 'TENSE' ranks in the top 10 on iTunes chart in 9 countries". Allkpop. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  31. ^ Shin, Diana (2014-01-13). "TVXQ 7th Album 'TENSE' Tops Korea-Taiwan". Kpop Starz. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  32. ^ https://twitter.com/Tvxqtime_com/status/423020771129061376/photo/1
  33. ^ Tense (CD liner notes). TVXQ. S.M. Entertainment. 2014. SMK0316. 
  34. ^ a b "G-Music Combo Albums Chart - 2014年—第7週" (in Chinese). G-Music. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  35. ^ "Tense (2014), week of January 24, 2014". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  36. ^ "TVXQ! The 7th album 'TENSE'". MelOn Music (in Korean). 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  37. ^ "The 7th full album 'TENSE'". Avex Taiwan (in Chinese). 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  38. ^ "The 7th full album 'TENSE' (Taiwan version)". Avex Taiwan (in Chinese). Retrieved 2014-01-28.