[Review] Blue – Onew (SHINee)

SHINee is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Album in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SHINee and your other favourites by clicking here to vote.

2018 has been a jam-packed year for many groups, with SHINee being a prime example. SHINee returned in 3 back-to-back comebacks (Good Evening, I Want You & Our Page) and a special single (Countless) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Since then, the members have embarked onto solo promotions, including Taemin’s Japanese releases, Minho’s movie filming and the recent solo debut for Key with One Of Those Nights. This leaves just Onew who is due to enlist in a couple of days. But this isn’t stopping SHINee’s leader from launching his solo career with the title track Blue and the mini-album, Voice.

Even though I just launched the KPOPREVIEWED Awards for 2018, I am already thinking ahead for 2019. And you can just blame the one listen I had to this song. Blue is a ballad, which isn’t unexpecting. But what is unexpecting is how amazing the song is. And amazing is probably an underwhelming description. It is one of those ballads where the orchestral instrumental and Onew’s vocals tell a story. It has that dramatic flair to really make you feel emotional and if I were to judge the ballad based on that, I would say it was highly successful. The instrumental was stunning. But it is his voice that gets me. You can feel the pain. You can feel the sadness. Onew does an amazing job of bundling all of that up in a matter of 5 minutes and leaving us in awe of the song. Literally, my only complaint about the song is why we didn’t get this sooner!

Once again, the comment section for the music video theorises about the meaning of the video. And I agree with what is being said. This is Onew’s recount of the events, beginning with his hiatus due to a scandal that occurred last year. Due to this scandal, he had to go on hiatus, which is presented by the isolation in the video. The diamond represents SHINee, as there are five diamonds in the mirrors. The shooting star attracts his attention to bring the diamond outside. He proceeds to go outside, walking past fishes, flowers (which I don’t know the meaning of) and blindfolded people who seem to stare at him (maybe due to his scandal). At the end of his walk, he recognises one person (the theories suggest he recognises the late Jonghyun) which surprises him and the diamond is lit up. He takes the diamond back to his house, meaning that these turn of events have told him to take another path and to return to the world. Whether this is correct, I don’t know. Like the song, you can feel the emotions throughout the video and you can tell that Onew is acting in this video based on experiences due to it feeling so real.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

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[Review] One of Those Nights – Key (SHINee) ft. Crush

Key makes his official solo debut with One Of Those Nights, which features successful R&B artist, Crush. His title track is featured on the album titled as FACE and it also features the pre-release single, Forever Yours (featuring Soyou) which was released a few weeks back. Key is the third member of SHINee to make his solo debut, after Jonghyun (RIP) and Taemin. Onew has been confirmed to make his solo debut with an album next month before his military enlistment, leaving Minho as the only member to not branch out in a solo music career yet.

But today’s focus is on Key’s solo release, which I quite like. The instrumentation combines guitar and house beats, which is now a classic combination. And it makes the track quite addictive despite it not offering anything that we can consider new. I think the stand out element of the song has to be the vocals. Both Key and Crush’s vocals actually sound quite alike and both suit this style of music very well. If I wasn’t watching the music video, I wouldn’t be able to tell who is singing, which I think is a smart idea for when Key has to perform the song alone. That being said, Crush’s featuring in the chorus allows for Key to dance during the chorus and I too like that idea very much. Overall, I thought the song was quite clean cut and easy to listen to/get into.

The lyrics of the song talks about having ‘One of Those Nights’ where you cannot forget about your ex. And I thought the music video did a good job at portraying that. Key’s acting was really good, showing off facial expressions that make him look lost or just completely zone out due to these memories. I liked how Crush featured in the music video. But he was tucked into the scenes, such as Key dancing on the train carriage and Crush singing in the background. I thought that was really cool. I also thought the sets were very nice in the video.

This seems to be an artistic performance. While we cannot see much in the music video, the verses do show some graceful moves to fit the tempo and tone of the verses. When the chorus kicks in, everything becomes more energetic and upbeat. The bridge and final chorus look like it is going to be very powerful highlights in the performance, so I am looking forward to that.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Under My Skin – Taemin (SHINee)

For this week’s Japanese review, we will be covering Taemin’s Under My Skin, which the music video was released last week, despite the actual album being released digitally on the 5th of November. Under My Skin is one of the lead title tracks off Taemin’s first solo album, titled after the singer himself. The other two singles are Eclipse and Mars. You may recognise some other tracks on the album including the Japanese versions of Taemin’s Korean hits such as Drip Drop, Press Your Number and Danger.

Unlike any of his other singles,  Under My Skin focuses on one major element, vocals. And this emphasis creates an epic song. Sure, they may not be powerhouse vocals like from other vocalists in the industry. But they are definitely very strong. The song is a ballad but it mixes in some soft yet grand electronic influences throughout the song. Combining this with some piano and drums, and you have what I would consider being a modern take on a ballad. But it is his vocals that make the song feel loaded and aesthetically pleasing. I like that throughout the song his vocals done push into a higher note, which keeps the song grounded yet extravagant in many ways. While I do enjoy this track (and style choice), I do think this choice is rather mediocre in comparison to his Korean releases. I feel like the linked Korean releases in the introductory were much more impactful and well suited for Taemin.

There isn’t much to the video besides the fact that is quite aesthetically pleasing. Taemin is shown to be singing on top of a mirror, which is placed along the beach or a field. The strong breeze makes everything feel so cool and epic, though I am not much of a fan of his black outfit. His red jacket though.. We don’t have much choreography in the song but the ending was extended to allow Taemin to do his thing in the dance department. You don’t really get to see much, however, as it is cut short due to the presence of more closeup shots of Taemin and well, it is too dark to really see anything.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Forever Yours – Key (SHINee) ft. Soyou

With schedules for group comebacks becoming more spaced out for many established groups (particularly for male groups due to mandatory enlistment), many members have turned to solo careers. SHINee happens to be one of these groups. Dramas and solo music careers can be placed under the names of the other members but Key has only dabbled in variety shows. Now, he is officially making his solo debut this month and as a special pre-release, Key has released a collaboration with his good friend Soyou titled as Forever Yours.

Following their group promotions with three title tracks and one special repackaged release single, Key’s pre-release is a tropical house EDM styled song. And given the current competition, his song fails to really break any boundaries and stand out. The instrumental is nice but it doesn’t offer anything new to really be amazed at. What does keep this song quite fresh, however, are the vocals of both Key and Soyou. I have to admit that his voice feels very plain in this song. However, with Soyou’s husky vocals and the parts where both of them sing together, their voices brings a nice dynamic to the picture. I liked how Key’s voice was at the forefront of their duet moments, while Souyou’s husky voice stands out from the back. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say about the song.

And like SHINee’s music video, Key takes a fast-paced ride into space in his car. It felt the same producer or director played a part in this video. I really liked the retro feel in this video. The fonts and styles choices of the words that you see in the video remind me of various movie posters and really cringy fonts back in the day. The visuals are quite abstract and I have no clue on how to interpret this odd concoction of visuals. I am a little disappointed that Soyou didn’t appear in the video, which would have been nice if she did.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] Countless – SHINee

We knew it coming but apart from the confirmation we would be getting a repackaged version of The Story of Light (which was released as 3 parts – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), we got no teasers whatsoever. So the release of Countless today caught me (and numerous fans) off guard. Countless is the title track off The Story of Light-Epilogue, joining the other three title tracks – Good Evening, I Want You and Our Page.

Countless takes on the extremely popular and trend tropical house genre. Interestingly, there are no rap sections. Instead, itis straight vocals from the start to end, which I thought was rather interesting. And as for the vocals, they were definitely the main driving force of the song. They managed to stay above the loud instrumentation, which is definitely a plus, to begin with. If they weren’t at this level, I felt like they could have been drowned out. Once again, I like how they sang together during the chorus, which made the song feel wholesome. I personally do not mind the bright instrumentation of the song but I wonder if the song was intended to be a ballad, given the message and lyrics. Overall, it isn’t technically the catchiest song released today but it does sound really amazing.

The music video for this song was definitely bright. I did think the video was rather boring as it went for a simple approach. There was a whole heap of spinning around, which I thought was rather cool, to an extent. But there wasn’t much else to the video. The sets did feel elaborate for such a simple video, however. But from my understanding (and how the video was released), the song won’t see much more promotional time, so a simple video (despite the elaborate sets) made the most sense.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 03 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

Over the last few weeks, SHINee have been releasing segments of their 6th Studio Album, The Story of Light, as a unique form of promotions. Each of these segments featured a couple of songs and their own title tracks. EP. 01 featured Good Evening, while EP. 02 featured I Want You. EP. 03 is the final segment, featuring Our Page and is the final installment of their latest album. I have linked my album reviews for the first two segments below, so you can read them if you have yet to before we get started on the final part.

[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 01 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee
[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 02 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

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The Story of Light EP. 03 Album Cover

1..Our Page (네가 남겨둔 말) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for Our Page. (10/10)

2. Tonight – I really liked the piano that was repeated throughout the ballad. It really sets the tone of the song, creating a nice atmosphere for the song, which reflects well with the lyrics of remembering a lover who had left them. The song zones into the vocals, who each do a wonderful job at delivering the lines. While the raps do feel like very standard KPOP raps, they fit extremely well into the song and gives the song a little more interesting notes in order to keep the song from becoming that repetitive ballad that you would get bored of easily. Tonight won’t be one of those and I am extremely glad for that. (9/10)

3. RetroRetro is a very unique song which takes on a jazzy type of song. I liked the upbeat vibes from the song, which does set it part from the rest of the admittedly depressing feels that this section of the album present. I thought the chorus was nice, with the ‘Emotional motional mo motional‘ line being my absolute favourite in the entire track. I thought the vocals were really nice but the raps felt very underwhelming. Overall, it was a nice track overall. (8/10)

4. I Say – This is another song that focuses right on the vocals of the group. It takes a classical approach to the ballad genre, which you know that I am a major fan of. What I like about the song is that they manage to change up each section of the song (i.e. verse, chorus etc.) allowing the members to buildup the song with their vocals alongside the instrumental. While that is expected in most songs, it is much more noticeable with a classical-based instrumental. I really liked it how they sing together towards the end and the harmonies at the 1:50 mark of the song really got my attention. This is probably one of their best works on the album. (10/10)

5. Lock You Down (Special Track) – Catching most fans (including myself) offguard, the song features the vocals of the late Jonghyun, who passed away at the end of last year. And while the song is quite lively and upbeat, it is really nice to hear him alongside his bandmates for one last time. Moving back to the song, the rap sequence and the chorus was definitely my picks for highlights of the song. The opening rap sequence was really attention-grabbing but its effect was far greater when it appeared midway into the song. The chorus, especially the falsetto vocals, and the ‘Run Run Run‘ hook was superb. The ending was an equally awesome section as well. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

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The Story of Light EP. 03 Teaser Image

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[Review] Our Page – SHINee

For the past month, SHINee has been returning fortnightly with different parts to their 6th studio album, The Story of Light. The first part featured Good Evening, while the second part featured I Want You. The third and final section of their album was released today, along with their third title track, Our Page. The final title track also pays homage to Jonghyun, who passed away in December last year.

After just one listen, I believe that SHINee left the best for last. Why? Well, the first element you notice when listening to the song is not the instrumental or its catchy hooks but rather the heartfelt vocals that deliver the lyrics of the song. You can feel the emotions layered throughout the song from each member which makes this song incredibly moving. As previously stated in the introductory paragraph, the song pays homage to Jonghyun, with lines such as ‘Five layers of folded hands, tears and memories‘ and ‘We’ll fill it up until the end‘. The R&B instrumental aids in this message, not going overboard in any area but rather staying clean and simple which allows their voices to be heard clearly. I also really liked how the members all sing together during the chorus, which makes them feel like one during the moving song (and it is my most favourite section of the song). The lyrics, melody and beat make this a perfect song.

The music video starts off with each of the members doing their own thing. Onew is producing songs, Minho is filming a movie, Key is playing games/dancing and Taemin is working out. For a moment, it seems like they don’t want to be where they are but they push forward and persevere. Once they regroup, it reflects the sentimental nature of the song. I really liked the scenes where they are sitting in a circle and the camera is spinning around them while they are singing to the chorus. But the most moving scene is when they are singing into their glass poles/microphones and there was a fifth one in front (with nobody standing alongside it), which represents Jonghyun’s position in the group. There is one tiny detail that does hold the video back from being the perfect video, however, it was still beautiful.

I don’t think there should be any choreography for this song. Mainly because of its meaning and emotional punch it gives. However, we might need to keep our minds open as we are not sure how SHINee will present this on stage. I will return once we have a live performance.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.8/10

[Album Review] The Story Of Light EP. 02 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

SHINee’s comeback is in full swing with the release of the second part of their 6th studio album, The Story of Light. The group previously returned with Good Evening and the first part of the said album on the 28th of May. They are due to release the third part and entire 6th album this upcoming Monday (25th of June) and I may push the album review for the third part for next weekend (depending on how much work I can get done). But we are here for the second part of the album, so let’s get going!

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The Story Of Light EP. 02 Album Cover

1..I Want You (Title Track)Click here for the full review of I Want You. (7.5/10) 

2. Chemistry – I personally don’t know how to interpret the song. I feel like they could be hinting at something else but it felt more of the sexual nature (with a bouncy vibe). The instrumental develops into something that felt more standard pop. It also felt like the song’s boundaries were literally pushed out by the vocals and I felt this was a good technique to reel listeners in. I personally liked the pre-chorus and chorus, which definitely hooked me into the song. The song needed a rap sequence and that was delivered but it started off muffled which I did not get. Overall, the song was quite energetic, which was one of the other charms of the song. (8/10)

3. Electric – I personally like Electric. The song itself features an instrumental that feels like an electrical pulse and thumping effect combined. The song is about the adrenaline rush you get when you meet that special someone. I thought the drop to the song was really interesting and the repetition was extremely catchy. It also features great vocals, particularly around the bridge of the song. I think the only part of the song that leaves me disappointed is the rapping. I feel like it could have been more intense but overall, it was still a good song. (9/10)

4. DriveDrive has to be my pick for the weakest song on the album. But weak doesn’t always equate to bad.  The verses didn’t stand out too much, leaving the song lacking in memorability. However, the heaviness of the pre-chorus and the instrumental during the chorus definitely provided was probably defining moments of the song (just it didn’t seem to be enough). Like most ‘weak’ songs, this one has a few likeable elements that stood out for me. The harmonies in the pre-chorus and the vocals were actually good. On top of that, the rap sequences were noticeably absent, as they have yet to satisfy me in that department. (7/10) 

5. Who Waits For Love? (독감) – I have to give this song the vote for best song on the album. Who Waits For Love? is a song about not being able to move on after breaking up and how the pain remains. The vocals in this song were superb, particularly Taemin and Onew, who stood out the most (I don’t know who did that high note but damn). The song also manages to satisfy my hunger for the rapping, particularly the section during the bridge. I liked how the song took on a slower tempo, which allowed the chorus to pop and be quite bold. Also enjoyed the fading out at the end, giving the song a peaceful yet somewhat unique feel. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

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The Story Of Light EP 02 Teaser Image

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[Review] I Want You – SHINee

SHINee is still celebrating their 10 year anniversary with another part of their 6th full-length album, The Story of Light EP. 02. The title track for this part of the album is I Want You and you can expect an album review for the second part in the weeks to come. They previously released the 1st part of their 6th album (which I have reviewed) and the title track, Good Evening, two weeks ago.

I Want You continues the EDM sound with the song entering the tropical house genre of EDM. The song is good, with great vocals and raps from the members. The harmonies heard at various sections of the song (like the pre-chorus and chorus) really gave the song some identity and profile. Taemin’s high note is just extremely smooth. The chorus was moderately catchy and it uses melodies as the main driving point and hooks as its memorable pitch towards the audience. My only concern with the song is that it falls within ‘typical’ territory. I personally don’t find anything unique or memorable enough for my memory bank. Instead, it is plain and a standard song. Don’t get me wrong, I like the song. Just compared with Good Night, I Want You falls behind it.

I am not sure of the connection between the two videos that SHINee has released thus far. I am interested in knowing how they connect. My guess is that they get sucked into some odd world when they look and reach into the well. But apart from that, the videos don’t really connect. Parts of the music video for I Want You takes a more humorous approach, particularly the scene where Onew is smiling while being sprayed by the glass. Actually, most of the video seems a little far-fetched. The video does have strong retro vibes with the hazy filtering and the use of green screen. I personally thought it was a good video, as well.

There isn’t a live performance for the song yet. However, I think there might be enough to write this section within the music video. Really liked the dance move during that instrumental break during the chorus. Also, I liked the ‘Oh Nah Nah’ moves for the pre-chorus (?). Overall, the dance was extremely fitting for the song and the members seemed more connected to their performance this time around.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

 

[Album Review] The Story of Light EP. 01 (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

SHINee has made their return in celebration for their 10th year anniversary since debut. The promotional cycle for this album is a little different from what you are used to. We saw the release of Good Evening and the first section of their album. The upcoming Monday will see the release of the second section of the album (with a new title track). The full album will be released on the 25th of June. But we are here for the first part of the album, so let’s get going!

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The Story Of Light EP. 01 Album Cover

1. All Day All Night – This song is one of the songs that would sound 100% awesome when the bass is turned up to the maximum. The powerful beat was the first thing that I noticed within the song, with it standing out quite prominently. The chorus was done really well, with the ‘All Day, All Night‘ part of the chorus catchy. I thought the vocals in the song were quite good, especially during the chorus, which felt like melodic shouting. The raps themselves were awesome. It starts the album on a very bold yet memorable tune. (9/10) 

2. Good Evening (데리러 가) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Good Evening. (9/10)

3. Undercover – The first thing you notice in this song is that it constantly changes. Like in the first song, the bass is definitely turned up, especially during the chorus. And this makes the song sound so good. I liked the muffled voices at the start but the vocals throughout the rest of the song actually felt muffled when paired with the loud dubstep instrumental. Going back to the changes, they were not (in any way) obnoxious. Instead, they connected well and the song flowed nicely as a result. There was a nice contrast between the ‘soft’ sections and the dubstep moments in the song. It’s not the best song on the album however it was still quite decent. (8/10)

4. Jump – The song starts off with a fade-in effect which I liked. I thought the song had an interesting atmosphere with the instrumental appearing to be somewhat retro and quite funky/groovy. The song is quite consistent and almost smooth with its transitions. Honestly, it is one of the few times where the consistency is the main charm of the song. Both vocals and raps fitted in nicely with the song. The fade out and fade in effect employed for the bridge was also quite good. Overall, it is an enjoyable song that doesn’t use unnecessary and loud synths. (10/10)

5. You & I (안녕) – The ballad of the album. There is an air of peacefulness in this song which makes it a really nice track. I like the huskiness in their voices and the soft nature of their vocals throughout the song. The slight echo that follows their vocals was nice, while the harmonies really made the song pop out. I really like Key’s part in the bridge, with that being a really grabbing part of the song. As a whole track, I liked how it ‘built up’ to its louder chorus in the final climax. Overall, it was a pleasant song to listen to and pleasant end of the first section. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

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Good Evening Teaser Image

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[Review] Good Evening – SHINee

It has been a long while since we heard from SHINee, who last promoted together in 2016. Their last promotional cycle was for Tell Me What To Do. The group made their debut in May 2008, so this comeback cycle celebrates their 10 years together as a group. Their comeback promotions this time is a little unique, with the album split into 3 sections and will be unveiled every fortnight from tonight. The first title track is Good Evening (this review). We also already have the titles for their second and third title tracks, which are I Want You and You Left Me respectively.

Good Evening kicks off their promotions and it does not let you down. The song is super catchy and addictive with its electronic pop instrumentation. On top of that, they throw in their amazing vocals and rapping (from both Minho and Key), you have a winning formula. Their harmonies during the sections in which they sing together had this alluring feel to it, which drew my attention. Onew’s vocals sounded so good in the song and the rappers did a fantastic job with the rap section. It is a ridiculously groovy track that joins the list of songs that I have mentioned previously to be on my continuous replaying list. And if this is what they are kicking off the promotions with, I am keen to hear what they have coming up in the weeks to come.

Their music video is extremely artistic this time around. While it has that same colour feel to View, the video seems to be a spinoff of F(x)’s 4 Walls, with some scenes reminding me of the latter. My guess with what the video is trying to send over is that there has been some tension but they managed to figure it all out at the end. One of my most favourite scenes from the entire video is when the rapping starts and the members are dancing (while sitting down) under the plastic film. That looked awesome and really took the aesthetics in these music videos to whole new level.

While there hasn’t been a stage yet, I think there is enough in the music video to say it is awesome. Particularly that dance break during the instrumentation at 3:24 to 3:30 of the music video. On top of that, it seems the aesthetics charms from the music video also featured in their choreography, with some parts looking amazing and very artistic.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performane – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

I didn’t want to remind people of the sad events that shocked the KPOP industry in December last year within the review. Despite losing a member, I am glad to see SHINee back and still doing well. I think it is also the common belief that the video also pays tribute to Jonghyun with the inclusion of a 5th shadow at the well scene. Jonghyun will always be missed. 

 

[Review] Shinin’ – Jonghyun (SHINee)

One month ago, KPOP (as a whole) lost a very dedicated and passionate artist, Kim Jonghyun, the main vocalist from SHINee. It was confirmed weeks prior that Jonghyun would be returning shortly with a new solo album. One month on, we finally are able to listen to the second and final album, Poet Artist, produced by Jonghyun, which was released in memory of the artist.

Shinin’ is a funky track that is quite upbeat in comparison to his past promoted songs. However, you get the same vibes from each of his songs. I haven’t been much of a fan of his previous works but this particular song was very easy on the ears and I easily got into it within the first listen. The instrumental isn’t overwhelming but managed to remain funky and retro, which is quite good. It feels like restraint was put onto the instrumental but it allowed the song to become more retro. An instrumental like this also allows his vocals to be the main attraction of the song. They were quite smooth. I particularly like the way he delivered the lines during the pre-chorus, which makes me come back to re-listen to the song. The “Baby, come in, you you you‘ chorus was really catchy and addictive. Overall, definitely, a new song that I would be replaying constantly.

Fitting in with the funky and retro sound is the music video. I like the ending of the video, which reminds me of some of the scenes that came out of the Tron movie. But needless to say, the light strobes patterns do bring a sense of nostalgia. I also liked how Jonghyun literally shone throughout the video. Not sure if it is intended originally but it definitely put him in the spotlight.

For this particular review, I have decided to forgo the rating, which is something that I put at the end of the reviews. In its place:

You Did Well, Jonghyun.

[Review] Day & Night – Taemin (SHINee)

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Taemin has made his unexpected return with a repackaged album of his second studio album, MOVE-ing. He previously returned with Move (which is the title of both his second studio album and title track) in November. His latest title track is Day & Night, which is one of the four new tracks on this repackaged album.

Day & Night is a mid-tempo song that seems to draw attention to Taemin’s vocals. It is a lot different to his previous comebacks and title tracks as it doesn’t employ dance elements or synths. Instead, everything is stripped back and made to sound more acoustic. And it is a style that I would love to hear more of from Taemin. It has never occurred to me that he should do this style, but hearing it once just confirms that we need more of these songs. His vocals are extremely well done and it definitely shows the road he took to get here. Them ad-libs at the end of the song were really good. I have to say, despite the guitar-based instrumental, the song has this very chill vibe to it. It does lack a good hook to make this song memorable but I will be replaying this song regardless.

This is the first music video under Taemin’s belt that does not feature a choreography. Instead, they contained various shots of the artist himself in nature. It makes for an artistic video. On top of that, it is loaded with aesthetics especially with the colour palette that was used. Besides that, there isn’t much else to say about the video.

Despite my wording in the review so far, it isn’t a Taemin comeback without a choreography. If I were to pick one word to describe it, it would be ‘elegant’. The way his body moves to the music is captivating and this song is great for displaying that.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10 

 

 

[Review] Thirsty (Off Sick Concert Version) – Taemin (SHINee)

This is my third and final pick for the SM Station releases that I missed in the past few weeks. Taemin returned with his second full-length album and the title track, Move, in October. Thirsty featured on the album but the concert version for the song was released under SM Station a couple of weeks ago.

For the most part, both versions were quite similar. The major difference that I could hear was the addition of some trap elements to certain parts of the song. Without the trap elements, the original was quite sensual in its delivery and sound. Even the lyrics were quite suggestive (but not as bad as other songs). With the trap elements, there is an additional intensity that makes the track more interesting. It also felt fitting for the track, overall. There is also an added dance break that didn’t appear in the song but the stage version which he promoted, which sounded awesome. I liked how he kept the original instrumental in the song and how the new synths went well with the piano sound in the original track. His vocals are also a must to talk about. When I said there was a sensual vibe, his husky vocals are partly to blame, going well with the piano or trap elements for both versions. I just felt the song was a little too linear. The dance break did help fight that but I don’t think it helped that much.

Usually, SM Station music videos aren’t given the same level of attention compared to other music videos produced by SM. More simplistic approaches are employed (as like the previous 3 reviews I have done). And while SM Station has had their fair share of actual high-quality music videos, this could easily be passed off as an actual main music video for his second album. The way it was shot and the sets seemed well chosen for the song. It focuses on his dancing and doesn’t go overboard in any unnecessary manner. Overall, a great video to watch.

His choreography doesn’t really wow me this time around. It just didn’t feel memorable or as impressive as his previous choreographies (Move, for example).

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] Move – Taemin (SHINee)

Taemin has made his solo comeback with some new “Move(s)”. And that is the last of punny me for today. Taemin’s latest full-length album, which also shares the same title as the title track, Move, features songs in which he had already performed at his solo concert, a day before the release.

Taemin goes out of the box once again with Move. This time around, he tries a more sensual sounding song that pairs well with the dance background that he is known for. His vocals go surprisingly well with the concept, which was probably one of the highlights of the song.  The aesthetics of the song are definitely a captivating aspect of the song. Moving to the more negative side of the song. The instrumental doesn’t scream ‘major hit’ and remained subtle and non-progressive throughout the entire song. The song also doesn’t rely on a catchy hook or line to get listeners going. But despite all of that, my mind is telling me to say that it is a good song, regardless of what I considered to be its flaw. Instead, every time I listen to the song, I end up being in awe with what he has put out. And I  think that is enough to say how good of a song it is.

Taemin shot 3 music videos for this comeback. One main video. One solo dance performance video and another dance video with a partner. That’s quite a lot, in my mind. What is great about the video, in my opinion, is that it matches the song in terms of its subtleness. There are barely any major changes in the video. From start to end, he dances in the alleyway in the rain. It doesn’t progress much, just like the music. But yet, he pulls the concept off quite well. Awesome, abs and biceps alert for you fangirls out there.

The dance performance is great. We have seen him, time and time again, putting out great choreography for this solo work. This is no exception. There is definitely that sensual nature to it. And while he does perform the same dance as the female back up dancers (that hip swaying tho), there is a masculine side that he puts on display, which I thought was great.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

10 Favourite Non-Title Tracks (Part 1)

Welcome to the first ever ‘Special’ segment of my website. Though I have used the category ‘Special’ for other purposes in the past, I thought I could use to expand the content of what I write. So I thought I would make various lists of different aspects of the KPOP sphere, starting off with non-title tracks that should be more appreciated. I have other ideas lined up like “favourite OSTs’ and ‘favourite dances’ etc. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and I may just look into your idea. In no particular order, here are 10 (and this particular will be expanded in further editions) favourite non-title track songs by KPOP artists.

Crying – Sistar

Sistar leaves behind many great tracks, so of which barely get enough attention. What makes Crying a great track are the vocals. They were dynamic and gave the song a very unique feel. I thought the chorus was extremely catchy and interesting with how it starts off with a striking delivery of the word “Love”. The instrumental was pretty simple and their vocals/raps matched it perfectly.

One Step, Two Step – Oh My Girl

I personally thought this song has a very nice blend of instruments. It also felt like angels were singing to me.  The track ended up being very addictive, becoming a song that I would search for on YouTube for a while. I loved how the track started off very sweet and nice. But as you approach the chorus, we enter a more upbeat phase, making the build-up sound amazing. The violins in the bridge were also amazing, with it being another highlight of the track.

Albatross – B.A.P

Adding to the fun vibes of their 5th mini album, Carnival, Albatross is one track to jam to. It is a very down to earth feel and listening to the song makes you wonder how fun the recording process would have been if there was a stage or music video accompanying it. It was released in February but there is a very vibrant and Summer feel to the song, making it a track that I constantly listen to during Winter when I want to feel some warmth.

Shadow – F(x)

I think out of all the non-title tracks out there and the songs on this list, this is the song that everyone will agree on as the most underrated song ever. It literally catches your attention with its very creepy lyrics. But the lyrics are smothered with the sweetness of the instrumental and their vocals, making the creep factor exceed the highest possible limit. It is extremely addictive and I totally love it.

I Wanna Fall In Love – Song Ji Eun (Secret)

Song Ji Eun’s tracks have always been intriguing for their dark messages. Her more recent releases haven’t followed that path, which is quite disappointing. But there are a few that have caught my attention, such as I Wanna Fall In Love. It is much better than many of her recent title tracks and her strong vocals resonate throughout the entire track. It dominates the entire track, which I think is amazing and the song is quite catchy after a number of listens.

Get The X Out – Sunny Hill

Judging from the title, I would never have thought of the song being what it is. It is extremely unexpected, as the instrumental is reminds you of toys and dolls. Very innocence. But instead, it holds a very scary message telling their partner to just leave. I love how they cut the swearing out (or else it would be banned) but it makes everything feel more intense. And this is another reason to why I love Sunny Hill’s songs. They take uniqueness to a whole new level.

Before The Song Ends – JJ Project ft. Suzy (Miss A)

To hear that JJ Project will be getting a unit comeback stage before the end of the year makes me extremely happy. But before that, I must show you all this extreme party-vibe track. Sure, it may be overpowered by autotune but it one hell of a song to jam to. Suzy’s featuring in this song makes it so much better. But the real winners are JJ Project, who has such a dynamic track under their belt.

Maze – VIXX

I tried to include some old tracks and some more recent tracks on this list. Maze falls under the “more recent” category, with it being one intense track to listen to. That is mainly because every time I listen to the song, I feel a rush of adrenaline as if I am actually running through a maze myself. It is a super catchy track and dynamic at the same time.

Switch – NCT 127

Switch is the only song on this particular list that has its own music video. From memory (and what I read a few months back) that this song and music video was recorded before the debut of NCT. I was totally into (and still am) the instrumental of the song. It sounded different to other songs that I have listened to. It’s another track that gives off a nice Summer feel, which I am totally digging at the moment, as I freeze each morning.

One Minute Back – SHINee

This, by far, is up there as one of the best songs ever released. It is such a unique song on so many levels. Their vocals are on point throughout the track, especially during the entire chorus. The lyrics of the song depict a guy catching his partner cheating on him and wanting to turn back time. Overall, listening to just once will not be enough as it leaves a very long lasting impact that makes you want to go back and listen to more.