My last couple posts have been a little salty, so I decided to write about something purely positive to cleanse my palate. Day6 is a group I started liking in January 2018 after seeing the MV for “If,” a Japanese release. At the time, I didn’t know Kpop “bands” existed, but I was excited to discover one and pretty much stanned them within a week or so. I didn’t pick a bias immediately though, it took a few days of playing their songs on repeat in my van for me to be drawn in by what would eventually become my favorite voice in K-pop: Park Sung Jin.
When the gates of Heaven open up for me, as I pray they one day shall, the accompanying soundtrack will surely be the voice of Sungjin singing one of his signature Day6 vocals. If his voice isn’t singing when those gates open, then I’ll know I’m not going to the good place.
If there’s a more heavenly sound than Sungjin’s vocal in his first lines in “Letting Go” (the Daydream version), then I have yet to hear it. In fact, so many of his vocals would be the perfect accompaniment to entering heaven. Take the song “Colors” when the chorus kicks in. If you close your eyes and listen as Sungjin sings it, I challenge you to visualize a warm ray of light beckoning you to it’s welcoming embrace. Pretty easy, huh? Need more evidence of celestial connection? We know angels herald appearances of the Man Upstairs, right? Okay, so now go to the pre-chorus of “I Would” and hark the herald Wonpil’s angelic build-up to Sungjin’s God tier chorus. See what I mean!! And of course, this topic wouldn’t be covered if I didn’t mention what I consider the most iconic Sungjin chorus in Day6’ discography, “You Were Beautiful.” Notice that Sungjin sings second in each refrain, with Wonpil and Jae taking the herald angel roles.
One thing about these divine vocals I’m referencing is that, lyrically, they’re all rather bittersweet, as it is when you pass through the pearly gates. Sure you’re entering your heavenly home, but you have to leave your earthly life behind. “Letting Go” references wonderful memories of a lost joy that can only return through the act of letting go. “Colors” paints an image of something that could bring comfort to your pain, but the harder you grasp for it, the further it slips away. “I Would” is the realization of a lesson in love: you’ve learned what would heal your broken relationship, but you can’t go back in time for a do-over. “You Were Beautiful” isn’t a love song, it’s a lovelorn song. Heck, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about these tunes! Day6, why does your beauty have to be wrapped in such pain? Maybe I don’t want bitterness tingeing my heavenly reception after all. Day6 has straight-up happy songs too! Give me the joyful strains of Sungjin belting the chorus to “My Day” cranked up to eleven! Honestly, though, it really doesn’t matter what Sungjin is singing as I cross over, he could sing the phonebook as I walk through those gates, as long as it’s his voice singing it, it’s all good.
My language doesn’t even have words descriptive enough to properly define Sungjin’s voice. People say it’s raspy, it’s husky, it’s flinty, it’s gravelly… Ummm, no. Lots of singers have those types of voices, so you can’t just use words to define Sungjin’s voice, you have to paint a picture of his voice with words. You know Game of Thrones? When I hear Sungjin sing, I picture a sword like Ice or Longclaw being fashioned and readied for battle by a 7 foot blacksmith. I picture diamond steel blades cutting sheets of platinum. I picture sparks flying from the welding of precious metals.
I know I’m gushing a bit too much now about my bias’ voice, but can I lastly point out that standing out from a power vocal pack like Day6 is no easy feat! Any one of them could be the voice of Heaven (as in their cover of Twice’s “Ooh-Ahh” below), and I’m sure every My Day agrees with me. I’m more than occasionally bias-wrecked by Jae, Wonpil, Young K, and Junhyuk too, in the early songs. Hey, even Dowoon is coming for us with that bass-y baritone lately, he’s workin’ on that baby! But I’m never wrecked for more than a few seconds because as soon as Sungjin’s voice cuts in like sharpened obsidian, my bias meter is immediately re-calibrated to the correct setting.
2020 UPDATE: Recently I learned that JYP actually wanted Day6 to have a “signature voice” to distinguish their group. Sungjin changed his singing style and created the raspy tone in his voice. I always wondered why his pre-debut vocals were so much clearer and less gritty, yet still amazingly raw and beautiful. I assumed it was just maturing. I love his raspiness so much, but now feel bittersweet about it knowing that it caused him difficulty in the beginning as he learned to use his adopted tone without harming his throat or voice. I have even more respect for him now. To work that hard, and put your gift at risk for the sake of your team’s success. Wow. His vocal is heavenly no matter what tone he uses, his “signature voice” was present from the beginning! I pray he takes care of his incredible talent so that it lasts his lifetime, and if he ever wishes to stop singing with the rasp tone, we fans will support and love his voice no matter what, for always.