Super Junior are back on top

11 October 2012 / 4 years 1 week ago

Source: The New PaperSuper Junior member Siwon baring his bod for the group's new studio album, Sexy, Free and Single.Suave. Stylish. Smooth. Sharp.These are some adjectives often used to describe top K-pop boy band Super Junior, best known for their synchronised dance moves and catchy earworms.Now, the 10-man outfit can add sexy to the list, with their sixth and latest studio album, Sexy, Free & Single, propelling the mega-group to a new level of hotness.Bare-chested shots of members Lee Teuk, SiWon, Dong Hae and Eun Hyuk on the album's cover and in the lyric booklet are bound to evoke shrieks and screams from their predominantly female fanbase.The rest of the pack, while not topless, look as if they've boldly refreshed their wardrobe.Sung Min's long platinum blond locks! Ye Sung in a singlet! Ryeo Wook's shimmering lip gloss!Indeed, by Super Junior's own admission, they've wholly embraced their newfound sensuality - not just outwardly but also through their painstakingly-perfected choreographed dance routines.We've worked extremely hard to show a different dance style by adding more groove... I think it will look sexier than before, said 29-year-old leader Lee Teuk at a press conference to launch Sexy, Free & Single in Seoul earlier this month.Local Super Junior fans tell LOUD that their idols' sexy image is a move in the right direction.Said Ms Chen Qibin, 23, a teacher, "It makes them look more attractive and masculine."Most boy bands will evolve, like SMAP and Backstreet Boys, who also started dressing more maturely when the members started ageing...You can't expect Super Junior to always be stuck at their 'Sorry, Sorry' phase."Planning analyst Kelly Ng, 30, agreed."It's a natural progression for them", she said.The boys also hope to venture into new territory musically, after feeling somewhat tired of their signature acid funky style in their last three releases, Sorry, Sorry (2009), Bonamana (2010) and Mr. Simple (2011).Said Lee Teuk, "From our third to fifth album, we have been singing similar songs... We wanted to do something new, and change our music and dancing style in this album. And we are quite happy about it."Local K-pop aficionado Nasmer Fontanilla, a 19-year-old third-year student at Temasek Polytechnic, feels that the Super Junior members have made tremendous improvements in their vocals on Sexy, Free & Single."Last time, there were some members, like Dong Hae, who were vocally weaker, but they're all so much better now, especially on the ballads."Super Junior's popularity is achieved through their hard work and determination."Current Line-UpThe current line-up of Super Junior, which also includes Shin Dong, Kyu Hyun and Kangin, are certainly on a roll.Not only has Sexy, Free & Single swept almost all of South Korea's domestic charts, it has also performed superbly internationally.It came in third on America's Billboard World Album Chart and over on iTunes, peaked at No. 24 on the US Top 100 Albums chart.The title track also claimed the top spot of the Korean Music TOP 100 Chart for KKBOX, one of the largest online music sites in Taiwan and Hong Kong, for two consecutive weeks.More astonishing was the massive popularity of the music video for Sexy, Free & Single.Upon its release on YouTube on July 3, it racked up hits so fast that within a mere 11 hours, it had already accumulated more than one million views.But things weren't always so smooth sailing for the dudes, who debuted in 2005.Last week, on South Korean variety show Strong Heart, some members of Super Junior revealed that at one point, they fought so hard that it almost led to the disintegration of the band."There was a time when Lee Teuk got mad in the middle of a shoot for Inkigayo (referring to a music television programme)," said 26-year-old Eun Hyuk.The other members kept picking on him and he just couldn't hold his anger. It wasn't me that picked on him, but Lee Teuk thought differently, so he flared up at me...I felt really hurt.Tough TimesLee Teuk agreed that those were some really tough times."There was a lot of misunderstanding and emotional hardship among the members. I felt like our group was going to separate," he said.He recalled Eun Hyuk giving him a "cold look" when he passed him the microphone on stage after their blow-up.Thankfully, Super Junior soon found their synergy and unity once again."The fight started from a little misunderstanding and grew out of proportion...."But it wasn't long before we had to go on an entertainment show together," said Shin Dong, 26, the comic of the group."We were able to solve everything, building a stronger bond."Personal troubles and compulsory military enlistment - something that many young Asian boy bands have to take into account - failed to split them up too.Diehard fans would no doubt have noticed that Sexy, Free & Single marked 27-year-old Kangin's return to Super Junior after his three-year hiatus.It is also the first album without member Hee Chul, 29.Kangin, who has a history of drink driving and assault, rejoined his teammates after being discharged by the army in April.Hee Chul officially enlisted in September last year.Next up to don the green uniform is leader Lee Teuk, who is expected to enlist any time after the group concludes its promotional activities for Sexy, Free & Single.At the press conference in Seoul earlier this month, Kangin thanked Super Junior and their management agency, SM Entertainment, for not giving up on him even when he was arrested for assault (he was not charged) and drink driving (for which he was fined) in 2009."I've been away for three years... I spent the past three years fitting the lost pieces of the puzzle back into my life," he said."The company and my members did not let go of me and instead, held on to me tightly."The 10 guys also announced, much to the delight of their fans, that they will "take turns to serve in the Korean military", so that the group will never have to go on hiatus and will thus continue to reign at the top of K-pop for a long, long time."We considered our options and decided it was best to enlist one at a time, to maintain the band," said Shin Dong.

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