Jang Jinyoung was a member of SM Entertainment boy group, Black Beat. They debuted in 2002, with an unstable lineup of between five and seven members. Unfortunately, this group did not make it big in the way that SM Entertainment was used to, and thus they were quietly left on the sidelines as SM focused their attention on Shinhwa and BoA. Black Beat unofficially disbanded in 2006. The various different members continue to work at SM in different capacities, with Jang Jinyoung being one of their vocal coaches. He has worked with some of SM’s biggest artists, including SHINee and EXO. The general public in Korea are aware of him as he was one of the vocal coaches on Kpop Star, and again on “Unnies!”.

The Barberettes are a retro girl group that debuted in 2012. They focus a lot on the “doo-wop” style of music. This includes both covers and their own music. They have performed in a lot of different venues all over the world and they have had some interesting collaborations, including the lead guitarist from Megadeth and bassist of British pop funk band, Jamiroquai. The group features in others songs quite often but this is the first time they have collaborated with someone like Jang Jinyoung.

Stranger’s Love

Song

The first thing that strikes me about this is the depressing lyrics. This is not a happy song, this is not a wistful song. This is a very depressing and painful song, which is only emphasised by the piano introduction. The lyrics speak about a love that is too painful to remember, that it’s etched into their heart, but they cannot possibly remember it in a good light. The pain is so much that they ask their ex-partner to leave them be, both in real life and their memories. They would prefer the love to be erased forever and for them to remember each other as nothing but strangers.

This is a change in direction in terms of what The Barberettes normally do. There is no retro doo-wop here, just the painful reality of life after love turns sour. It’s really refreshing to hear them branch out a little from the type of music that they normally do. Their voices work really well in this song and coupled with Jang Jinyoung’s lower tone, they work really well together. The only thing I would note about this collaboration is that sometimes Jinyoung sounds as if he is being drowned out by the ladies’ voices, as there are three of them. I think this song might have worked better if there was only one member of the group singing with the male lead.

The chorus is my favourite part of the song. It’s powerful and sad, and everyone involved sounds incredible. It’s definitely not a “feel good” song, but the chorus just worms its way into my head and stays put, Considering the song ends rather abruptly, with no definite crescendo or climax, I do like having a point that I can remember, and the chorus does that for me.

Video

The video for this song has absolutely nothing to do with the song itself. We do get some static shots of both the Barberettes and Jang Jinyoung but most of the video focuses on another guy, who spends the majority of the time half naked. We see him time and time again, covered in glitter or rose petals, and the only thing that makes sense to me is that perhaps he is the embodiment of the love that is now considered a “stranger”?

The video is super simple with everyone being very glamourous but not moving about a whole lot, and the half naked guy looking very melancholy. I’m honestly not sure what the video is trying to achieve. It’s not as if SM has produced some fantastic videos for this year’s SM Station but this one just falls flat for me.  So much more could have been done with the dark concept of the song.

Summary

Nice to hear the Barberettes branching out a little, and to hear Jang Jinyoung in his own song after so long is always a good thing. I love the song, it’s dark and painful. Definitely one to add to my playlist.

If you want to hear more from the Barberettes, I would recommend “Time 2 Love”, “Love Shoes”, and “Barberette”.