Released: March 2011, South Korea
It was a fierce battle between what's now my #2 song and this, but in the end, I'm afraid my beloved HoMin, and their gorgeous Korean single, will have to settle for #3 this year. But #3 is incredibly high too!
I really meant to publish this later in the evening because of my "11 albums you HAD to hear in 2011" post, so throughout the day, I was thinking of an appropriate food analogy for this song. I had a few ideas, including (leche) flan, and even royal icing for a while, but then I thought that maybe I should rest from comparing songs to food for a bit.
"Before U Go" is definitely not butter because even if butter is really smooth, it's kinda gross once it's melted and oily. Definitely not. So I went through the other possibilities, and I eventually settled. "Before U Go" is caramel. The hot, thick, incredibly sweet kind. It looks unsuspecting, it actually looks like your standard confectionary, but when you eat pure, newly-melted caramel it's so sinful. But so amazing, so much so that sometimes you need a sip of water because it's too much, but you still keep eating.
And because it's so sweet, caramel actually becomes a bit salty sometimes. It has dimension. "Before U Go" has dimension.
The song itself is so smooth, the orchestration, the melody, the background vocals, everything is so polished and smooth, but done with conviction -- that's the smooth, sweet part. The instrumental is very basic, but the melody oh my gosh the melody. It's a difficult song to sing, you have long lines that don't allow for much breathing, and high notes all over the place, but when it's sung well, the heavens rejoice.
The salty part is courtesy of Yunho and Changmin's vocals. They're not smooth like Kyuhyun or Jaejoong, they're not big like Junsu or Yesung, they're a bit thin around the edges, and not too flexible either, kind of like a thin sheet of plastic. You can bend it a bit, yes, but you can't really make it a completely different shape if you don't melt it or anything. But it's that firmness and the character of their voices that gives the song the dimension it needs.
But even with the dimension and the sinfulness, caramel is very basic. It's classic. You can put it on anything and everything, just like how "Before U Go" has the ability to transcend time. The song could very well be a classic, because despite everything going on, the foundations of it are very basic.
"Before U Go" is truly one of the most stunning, yet classic, songs you will hear.