James: There was some interesting… Oh, she interrupted me with that run. There’s another one. Wow! Umu: Now you’re reacting to a solo artist named Taeyeon, who is a member from the girl group Girls’ Generation. And the very first song that you’ll be reacting to called, ‘This Christmas’, is about her relationship with her father as she becomes older. As she goes to her father’s house in the music video, she looks back on the distancing relationship with her and her father. It is composed by a song writer called 13. Seiji: Man, I’m gonna go cry after this session. Holy cow. James: There’s one lamp post. It’s like Narnia.
Elizabeth: This is Wes Anderson. James: It’s like Narnia.
Elizabeth: That is exactly Budapest Hotel, that color scheme, with the snow everywhere.. Peyton: Wow. They really captured the the Christmas pop song vibe with the studio orchestra sound. And the soft echoes. When I can hear the breath in her voice very clearly, it’s like, (taking deep breath) Kevin: Oh, Taeyeon. Oh, my soul. Isaac: Ooh! Oh! The C, the *lyric* It sounds like an upbeat, but it’s actually a downbeat. Collin: Yeah James: There was some interesting…Oh! She interrupted me with that run. There’s another one. Wow! Kevin: More minor four, see? She’s just spamming that. But the seven is sometimes major and sometimes minor. It’s really cool. Fiona: Jingle bells. Instant holiday feels.
Lindsey:. Oh yeah, once again. We got them jingle bells. Comin’ in clutch with them jingle bells. Kevin: Ah! Ah! Jarod: Oh, modulation! Collin: This is super strange. K-pop did it again. Aaah! Jarod: K-pop did it again. Collin: I don’t know what’s going on. Shhh! Stephen: Hmm. Seiji: Gosh, quarter-note piano chords are just always so moving. Kevin: Another…Oh, second inversion minor four! They’re just doing all the possibilities of that minor four chord. James: We love some good vocal agility. We love it . Kevin: And then using the minor four as a two, to go to… Oh, my gosh. There’s the hint of going to the new key, but it doesn’t. Are we gonna get it? We gonna get it? Seiji: It’s almost like gospel music now. Like the past 20 seconds.
Stephen: Mmm. Stephen: Like a rock power ballad.
Seiji: Yeah. Exactly. Kevin: Whoa! Isaac: Whoa! Okay, six, seven, one. Six, seven, one. Flat six, flat seven, one. James: I can’t tell what’s happening harmonically cuz it keeps doing weird things. Kevin: It goes back and forth… Oh, my God! How many hoops did she just jump? Kevin: It was a quadruple deceptive! Four times! Four times! At least we have the security of the chorus staying the same. Ugh! Elizabeth: Well, she’s getting louder. This is definitely the loudest she’s been singing. Fiona: The melody’s really cool though. It’s like, I couldn’t just like spew it back to you right now, if I had to.
Lindsey: Oh, yeah, no, me neither. It’s very unique.
Fiona: That’s a sign that it’s good, in my opinion. Lindsey: Oh, yeah. James: She has a beautiful voice.
Elizabeth: She really does. Girls’ Generation does not mess around.
James: Yeah. Issac: Da, dee, da da… Kevin: Oh! Oh, with its soft seventh. Ending on that diminished chord would have been great, because it could have gone either away. See, one thing we probably don’t talk about the function of diminished chords, but basically, if you have one diminished chord, you can go to four different keys with that diminished chord.
Isaac: Um, hmm. This song modulates between C major and E-flat major like hyperactively, especially during the bridge. It’s always baiting your expectations. Like, are we gonna stay in C major, are we gonna go to E-flat, and sometimes even defies like music theory logic, in the way it does it, just to trick you. So if it ended on the second to last chord, it would have been the perfect way to say, we don’t know where it ends. But of course they gave it a solution, which is probably what a good Christmas song needed.
Isaac: Um, hmm.
Kevin: So, my cerebral side is like, give me that ambiguity, but the feelsy side is like, I’m happy with how it ended.
Isaac: Um, hmm. Collin: Like, it begins with this stereotypical like, it’s not a full bend, but like… they expand, and also the form of the song is super strange, but like they expand and contrast, and manipulate the instrumentation in super interesting ways. Like, the drums towards the very end were not there, and so towards the end, the electric guitar slide was like, what? Like the sleigh bells, okay, stereotypical, but like I need to listen to that again. Elizabeth: It was kind of another typical Christmas song, but there is nothing wrong with that. James: You know, watching a few of these winter- themed songs in tandem, it’s like pretty clear to me that they’re all going for like a similar vibe, but I mean the details are obviously not completely the same, I think,
Elizabeth: Yeah
James: like I said, this one was a little more exploratory. She, you know, it wasn’t just muted, intimate, soft, she got loud at one point, because there was some stuff going on with her father. She was doing some riffs which was interesting, that’s not, like for these casual kind of muted, soft Christmas songs, that’s not something I expect to hear, but she did them, and they were beautiful.
Elizabeth: In my film music history class today, we were talking…we watched three different scenes from three different productions of Little Women, and the first one we watched was from the 30s, and Max Steiner wrote the music for it, and what was notable about it is that the music was written exactly to what was happening on screen at the time.
James: Um, hmm. Elizabeth: So it was just like super dramatic, and like really like asserting its opinion. And I feel like that’s kind of what the background did with this; I mean it really followed the vocalist, like with the piano exactly mirroring what she was doing, and the crescendos and everything leading in service of her, and really like providing the underscore to her, basically. So I think that that’s sort of like schmaltzy, yeah, just like a schmaltzy feel. It was very Christmas-appropriate. Umu: So next you’ll be reacting to a b-side track from the exact same album, called ‘Let it Snow’. This is composed and arranged by Simon Petrén and Chu Dae-gwan. Collin: Right. To it. Jarod: Hit it. Collin: Stevie Wonder.
Jarod: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Fiona: Cool piano! Lindsey: Ooh! This is spicy, but in such a good way. Kevin: Again, we changed keys already. James: Ooh, that was a low note. She’s goin’!.
Elizabeth: Ooh, I like that acoustic bass line; that string bass plucking. Stephen: Interesting drum set beat.
Seiji: Yeah it definitely, probably wouldn’t comp this way, but still cool. Aaah. Lindsey: Wow! This is awesome! Stephen: The groove the drummer’s doing is like interesting, because it’s almost like a mix between like, New Orleansy, like second line beat. Collin: (singing) Jarod: This… Collin: What the…? Jarod: Like the voice in the background?
Collin: Is someone scatting? Peyton: It’s like like a jazz Christmas tune, sprinkled in pop stuff. Charlotte: With just a hint of like a Charleston.
Peyton: Yeah. Collin: Wow, the affect is so different! And they made it big. Lindsey: This one’s also kind of like a production of a piece, because you can see you’ve got the strings in the background,
FIona: Yeah Lindsey: but then on the surface it sounds very jazzy. It’s got like kind of a Latin jazz feel almost, with the rim shots and all that. Kevin: Melody’s crazy, though. Some octatonic stuff goin’ on. Elizabeth: We modulated. I don’t know where we are right now. James: Oh! Elizabeth: Oh, yes, there we go.
James: Oh! Kevin: See, the bridge takes, da, da, da, dum, but uses it as like, suspense-building material. Elizabeth: (singing the line, “Let it snow”) That’s a descending arpeggio, just like snow descends. Charlotte: Hey
Peyton: Ooh, that’s guitar. Charlotte: That wasn’t long enough.
Peyton: No, he gonna get two or three more choruses. Peyton: Wooh!
Charotte: Oh! James: Oh!
Elizabeth: There we go. It’s not the same key.
James: See, we keep modulating up. Jarod: Yeah, yeah! Lindsey: That was an ending! Fiona: (singing)
Lindsey: Oh, my God! That was really awesome. I loved that.
Fiona: That inspired me to have Christmas cheer.
Lindsey: That just kept me… I couldn’t not listen to that. Like you know, I didn’t want to stop listening to that. It was just very like…
Fiona: And then it modulated! Collin: That was sick!
Jarod: That was so great!
Collin: I don’t know…what? What?! Jarod: That’s like music you listen to, just like it, it was…
Collin: That’s so much! Jarod: fun. It was so much fun. Like the piano. There was that, wait, is that scatting going on? Like a little vocal counterpoint going on?
Collin: Yeah, what the h*lll was that?
Jarod: Like that’s so cool. And like the piano is shifting chords, but yet there’s still like, the top voicing creates a line in itself, which is really cool, because sometimes you get like chord, chord, chord, chord, chord, whereas like it seemed to have a little bit more of like, yeah, there seemed to be a line to it, which was really fun. And then there was like the trumpets, the bass, everybody kind of like, every instrument kind of had its time to shine. Seiji: There was a lot of different things going on.
Stephen: I really have a lot of respect for the fact that they didn’t just, oh, we’re just gonna do like a regular, you know, drum set beat on like two and four, and like, they never did that, except for maybe like one point, where the dude with the cross-stick, but it was very inventive and creative, but it was still…it didn’t detract from the music, it enhanced it. I liked that, I liked that a lot. Especially on the chorus, when it’s like “‘Let it Snow”, and the drummer is kind of playing a more syncopated beat that’s not what you’d hear on a straight-ahead pop song. It was really nice.
Seiji: it was just a really good hybrid of like jazz, and pop, and I guess, musical theater-type music. Kevin: Yeah, everything just feels like it’s boxed in, and it doesn’t feel like a jazz band sound, it feels like a jazz band trying to sound like one instrument, and it’s the doing of a producer after the recording process.
Issac: Um, hmm. Kevin: So, I don’t think I’ll be going back to that one, but it was an enjoyable listen, and I think it was well composed. Isaac: I don’t know, the song was like, it got a little bit repetitive. But then it’s like, it went through the motions of like, modulating in different places, throwing in some chromaticism to like swerve around a corner and come back to the normal key, and then modulating again. It’s like, very standard, but it’s a very enjoyable voice.
Kevin: I think, just the pure frenetic energy of the song almost makes the modulations like, okay, they were going a little too far with this, but I can enjoy it because
Isaac: Um, hmm Taeyeon actually sounds like she’s excited to sing in this song,
Isaac: Yeah and all the instrumentalists sound like they’re giving it their all, which is great, you know. It’s so easy to have a cold approach to like doing like very metric pop songs, but this just feels… Even jazz songs, sometimes you feel that coldness and distance, but this feels very warm,
Isaac: Um, hmm
Kevin: like Christmas should make you feel on the inside. James: I think you were saying so many interlocking components
Elizabeth: Yeah, just a lot of syncopated rhythms that all come together to form the underlying texture.
James: Yeah James: And it grooved so well.
Elizabeth: Yes, it was definitely very much a groove. It’s just, it makes you feel very happy. It makes you feel like getting up and dancing and being cheerful, which you know, it’s…
James: Totally Elizabeth: Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
James: Yeah, it’s like get up and bop. Although I do like that, I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but the title of the song is like, “Let it Snow’, which is
Elizabeth: (singing) Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.. It’s like another Christmas song
Elizabeth: Yeah
James: and it’s a very like basic, kind of like, singing with your family when your family aren’t musicians, you know, like everyone can sing this song, and it’s like a very simple song, but she took it and made it into something that was…I mean she just used
Elizabeth: She’s paying homage. James: Yeah, paying homage, but like doing a really cool, jazzy spin on it. I liked it. And her voice was awesome. She’s was hitting those lows, she went up high, she was doing riffs–it was beautiful. Hello, everyone, I’m Umu and, I’m the channel runner of React to the K. I really hope you enjoyed watching this video. If you’re curious about the videos that we’ll reacting to in the future, I put a link to a doc with our release schedule in the description. Last but not least, if you’d like to support our channel, you can help us out by pledging any amount you would like on our Patreon. On Patreon, you can get access to full, unedited pair reaction playlists, reactions to Japanese releases, and much more. And of course, a huge shout out and thank you to our superstar patrons. Thank you so much for your support. Bye.