One of my hopes for 2023 is a Korean comeback from TVXQ that honors the legacy of their best work. We’ll see if SM Entertainment has that in them, but until then we have a new Japanese single from the legendary duo. Parallel Parallel arrives five months after last year’s Utsuroi and ups the tempo considerably.
Parallel Parallel is a nice blend of the old and new. There are aspects that callback to TVXQ’s older work (its impish rap is chief amongst them!), but the song’s electro swing style feels fresh. It’s an off-kilter approach that defies current trends, and I appreciate that. Parallel Parallel’s instrumental is loaded with texture. From the rubbery bass underlining the verses to the twinkling keys of the chorus, the track has a fullness that’s quite satisfying. Add TVXQ’s confident performance and you’ve got all the ingredients for a showstopper.
I’m not sure Parallel Parallel quite gets there in the end, but it’s still a fun, quirky addition to their discography. The melodies have a playfulness we don’t always hear from the guys – especially in their later work. There’s a sense of showmanship that grabs your attention immediately and pulls the entire track forward. Though some moments in Parallel Parallel border on novelty, the song has no throwaway lines. TVXQ dig into the material with relish and that spirit is infectious. Above all else, I’m happy they’re still making music together, proving that age doesn’t automatically relegate idols to OST ballads and subdued coffeehouse fair.