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Max Changmin portrays fear and stress derived from surroundings through ‘Devil’

Max Changmin of boy band TVXQ poses during an online press conference Thursday. (S.M. Entertainment)
Max Changmin of boy band TVXQ poses during an online press conference Thursday. (S.M. Entertainment)

Max Changmin of boy band TVXQ became the first artist from S.M. Entertainment to hop onto the January music chart craze with his second mini-album, “Devil.” The album, which dropped Monday evening, touches on the different colors of music.

In a press conference on Thursday, the singer said he embarked on a journey of tunes and melodies while preparing for his new solo while he had been away from music for nearly two years. The musician added that he wanted to musically show that apart from being an idol, soloist Max Changmin is an artist that can sing and perform various genres on stage.

After releasing his first-ever solo album in April 2020, the 33-year-old said he took a leap of faith with his latest release by listing himself as a lyricist for his title track and both the lyricist and composer for his sidetrack “Alien.”

In line with the name of the album, leading the six-track print is titular “Devil,” which the virtuoso described as a “slow-tempo R&B song blended with groovy drum beats, bass riffs backed with a heavy acapella chorus.” He added that the music is a remake version of Swedish artist and producer Alex Runo’s “Devil,” released in 2021.

The singer also said his high notes and adlibs through the three-minute track are what fans and music listeners should keenly listen to.

Talking about how he penned the lyrics, he said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic inspired him. “Many of us are confronting difficulties amid times of trouble, and the stress derived from the pandemic is immense. The title of my song is ‘Devil,’ and the term has a negative connotation. But what I wanted to express through ‘Devil’ is that there‘s a devil that lives inside us,” he said. 

(S.M. Entertainment)
(S.M. Entertainment)

The musician went on to say that the “devil” he tried to portray is the fear that people might have to face, as the virus doesn’t seem like it will dissipate any time soon. He referred to it as the “two-year period that has evaporated because of the pandemic.”

“The original version of the song is much more powerful and gives a strong impression, but I wanted to express my thoughts about how important it is to say out loud one’s beliefs despite evil whispers,” he added.

The artist also described “Alien” as a cute song, and said he used the word as the title to liken the strange and mysterious feeling of falling in love at first sight.

Max Changmin said that the title track’s melody line and rhythmical beat perfectly match his vocals, making his song worth listening to. When asked why, he said he continuously strove for better music and vocal range while preparing for his new album.

“People often think of me as a singer who is in charge of hitting high notes, which is true and is my trademark. But I wanted to branch out of that frame and show that I have matured in my singing skills,” he said.

The singer said he had little time to prepare for his previous album, saying that he thought the album had several “slip-ups.”

“It’s maybe something that I could only feel, but I think I was a little unprepared in terms of performance, vocal skills and how to express things. And actually, the first thing I did after completing work on my ‘Devil’ album was listening to my first mini-album,” Changmin said.

The musician went on to say that he has “musically” matured over time, and improved in terms of singing and performing. He added that he still feels young when he’s on stage.

He also likened his vocals to Spider-Man’s suit. “The recent version is the most upgraded one compared to the previous two versions. And I think my vocal range and skills have also enhanced over 18 years,” he said.

At the end of the event, the singer expressed hopes that his new song would be used as the background song for the trailer of a soccer game.

“Of course, the numbers of how many views and streams the music video and song have is important. I would love it if my song lands well on music listeners’ playlists, but this time, I think my kind of success would be logging my song into the soccer game trailer,” he said.

The six-song package was released at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

By Park Jun-hee (