[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.

 

 

[Review] Lullaby – Onew (SHINee) & Rocoberry

This week’s SM Station track features Onew from SHINee and Rocoberry, a Korean indie duo. SM Station’s Lullaby is a remake of Rocoberry’s Lullaby. This song joins the growing list of SM Station Season 2 songs, including Dream In A Dream by Ten (NCT), Would U by Red Velvet, Spring Rain by BoA and many others.

Like what the name suggests, the song is a ballad and a really nice one. It fits into the ‘Lullaby’ style of music. It’s very calming and sounds beautiful. I have never heard of Rocoberry (and probably won’t go investigating), but Roco (the female of the duo and the one you can hear in the song) has an amazing voice that compliments Onew’s vocals, which we all know. Both sound superb and amazing. This track also confirms one thing. We need a solo song from Onew. Given the quality of this collaboration,  I have such high expectations. The calmness of the track is quite effective and probably be a track I will turn to in the future if I want to calm down (I was writing an assignment before writing this review). While the instrumental isn’t amazing, the mix between guitar and piano makes it a little interesting. Like most lullabies, however, the track sadly falls towards the more boring side of music. I honestly can’t wish for more, mainly because of its style. Otherwise, I would ruin the track and its calming vibes.

The music video isn’t anything fancy. There are closeups of Onew and Roco by themselves and once we reach the chorus, we see images of a couple dancing in the forest. It matched the song quite nicely and didn’t incorporate anything flashy or ‘loud’ to cause any viewing displeasures. Onew was unrecognisable when I first watched the video, which resulted in me doing a double take and rewatching the video to prove otherwise.

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

[Review] Lonely – Jonghyun (SHINee) ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)

Jonghyun has returned with his newest compilation album. The album titled, The Collection: Story Op. 2, is a follow-up to his previous compilation album, The Collection: Story Op. 1, which contained the main track End of a Day. The main track from the new album features Taeyeon from SNSD and is titled Lonely. A compilation album, for those who don’t know, consists of songs that have been previously released or recordings that have not been released before. Some of the tracks have been unveiled on Jonghyun’s radio show before, while some are new releases.

The song falls into the ballad category, as expected. And it is a good ballad. The song opens up with a simple piano tune and it remains a simple sounding song throughout. There is a small dose of catchiness in the song that makes it goes a long way. I cannot resist the urge to sing along to the “I’m So Lonely” lines. The vocals of both Jonghyun and Taeyeon dominate the songs, however still maintaining the balance with the instrumental. Their voices compliment each other quite nicely. The only thing that doesn’t fit right in the song is the emotions in their vocals. It is a sad song, judging from the lyrics and the overall tone of the song. And while I can hear the emotions in their voices, it was subtle and at times lacking. While I am glad that it is not “in-your-face”, it made the lack of emotions made it feel dry and generic at parts. Furthermore, the song really didn’t seem that memorable. Besides that one line (mentioned early on in the paragraph), I don’t really remember much from the song after listening to it.

The music video fits the loneliness that the song presses on about. Only Jonghyun features in the music video and he looks lonely. There were some scenes that were powerful, especially the one with the tallies on his arm. Overall, the aesthetics of the video made it looked cool, despite it being slow and empty. An example would be the camera shots. Rather than focusing on Jonghyun, they focused on his mouth, which occupied only part of the screen. It probably doesn’t look that fancy but I thought it looked cool. You would think I would find boring, but rather I thought it complimented the song quite well. Besides that, there isn’t much else to talk about (and I am stopping myself here before I start rambling on about other irrelevant stuff).

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10

 

[Review] Get The Treasure – SHINee

Source: http://www.allkpop.com/upload/2017/01/af_org/SHINee_1485622735_af_org.jpg

I want to delve back into JPOP releases and hopefully extend my review base to artists who are not KPOP originated groups. It’s a promise that I have been making each year. While I don’t really see myself keeping that promise due to my commitments, I do want to keep doing a few JPOP reviews each year. And since SHINee just made their Japan comeback two weeks ago, why not? This is their 5th full album, titled as 5. SHINee has also released songs in 2016 that form part of the album.

Get The Treasure is something you expected from SHINee. Their Korean tracks have been more experimental in the last few years and the few Japanese tracks I have heard seemed to more consistent, with Get The Treasure fitting SHINee’s portfolio quite nicely. The song starts off abruptly. Not a big fan of that. It just felt too sudden and odd, compared to the rest of the song. Another part that I am shaking my head to (as in saying ‘no’) is the rapping sequence for the bridge. It felt disconnected and doesn’t flow well with the rest of the song. But everything else is pretty good. I love the grand and classy feel that the song has going on. It suits the casino concept that the video featured. The instrumental was spectacular. When they launch you into the chorus, they do not hold back with anything. Horns blaring and their vocals, being the forefront, was particularly strong and powerful. The instrumental here gave it a really nice funky and almost jazz-like flare. The verses did feel a little underwhelming, but it didn’t affect the overall listening experience. The chorus was the main show and they did manage to wow me during the main show.

One thing did jump out at me when watching the video. Their lip-syncing sucks. Not exactly sure if it is the language, but some of them barely moved their lips. But besides that standout issue, everything else in the video was really cool. First of all, the guys look really cool in their suits and black outfits. The mannequin challenge or the ‘pausing of everyone else’ while SHINee roamed around looked amazing. The editing done here has to be one of the most complicated processes ever. And also one of the best. I really enjoyed the choreography scenes. The chandelier dropping and then pausing midway just so the guys could dance with the glass pieces flying about really looked cool. Obviously, they did hold back in the video making process as well. Not even shooting guns could stop these guys!

The dance looked cool and fitting for the song. But it wasn’t as memorable as any of their past dances.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10 
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] 1 of 1 – SHINee

SHINee has finally returned with their next release. It has been over a year since they released their repackaged album, Married To The Music. Each member has embarked on their own solo work in the past year and has now regrouped to perform as SHINee once again with their newest mini-album.

I am quite torn about the song. I like it but there is a boring side to it as well. Let’s start off with what make this song pretty good. The retro sound is much more pure in this release than any of their past releases. They stayed retro here and did not include any modern sounds. Their vocal work is superb in this song. Flawless. The rapping was definitely a letdown. Sorry to Minho here, but it lacks energy and sounds more complicated than what it needed to be. The autotune was not needed. The rest of the song flowed quite nicely. The chorus made the song feel like a more emotional N Sync or Back Street Boys (and they are already quite emotional sounds). It almost sounds softer as well, compared to those boy groups. I am probably poking into the wrong era, though, but they were the bands that popped in my mind when I first listened to this song. However, the song lacks the intensity that SHINee has continuously used in all their songs. As I said the song sounds quite soft and it just does not sound right for SHINee. I expected something a little more hard-hitting and powerful. Hence why I felt the song was boring. But props to the guys for releasing a song that is purely retro (pretty hard to come by these days – or at least from what I remember).

I personally have yet to watch the video, so I will be giving my initial thoughts on the video here.

  • The cheesy transitions are making me laugh. But I actually like it. It actually quite funny to see the members glide across the screen.
  • The fashion is questionable for today’s standards. I know that most of what they are wearing were in trend in the past. It just surprises me to see what everyone was wearing back then.
  • Using the white background is quite smart. As soon as you see the members, you are drawn to their flashy colours and the members themselves. Really emphasises what everyone is wearing and is very minimalistic.
  • Quite interesting with the models in the video. I am very intrigued with what they are doing. The video shows a nice pattern and the members are just singing around them. At first, I thought they served no purpose in the video, but towards the end, everything become clearer and their presence was really cool.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the video. Might not the best video, but it still fits in well with the retro sound and concept.

I personally don’t think this is the right dance for the song. It lacks energy. It doesn’t really pick up until the end of the song, which is disappointing. I personally liked the end of the dance (the small bit where the instrumental also picks up after the final chorus) more than any other part of the dance.

Rating – 7/10

[Review] She Is – Jonghyun (SHINee)

Jonghyun made his solo debut last year and has officially made his first solo comeback after more than a year. For those who don’t know or remember, he made his debut with Deja Boo and Crazy. Now, he is back with another album and has released She Is as the title track for this promotional run.

This song kind of reminds of his past releases. Not that they are the similar standard tracks as I called them last time, but the variety and different sounds he has going on, in his songs. And this song is not standard. It is so much more vibrant and modern in terms of sound. His English may be a little troublesome. It sounds a lot like “Shits” rather than “She Is”. Where is that break between the words, when you need Korea??? His vocals this time around rolled off the tip of his tongue quite nicely. The vocals matched the instrumental quite well. The song flowed quite nicely, despite the use of the disjointed electronic/ synth dominated instrumental. The song does seem to limit his talent, as I feel like a lot more could have been showcased in the song. HI ad-libs are quite artistic and fitted the song quite well. Overall, I think it was a much better song than his debut songs, which I didn’t think they were good.

Not sure about the odd filter placed across the video. It made me sleepy. But I guess it was to counteract the bright clothing and colours that you could tell were there. I just thought the video looked a little too dark. The use of yellow though in the SM Entertainment videos for the past few releases have been a little evident and emphasised. It seems like he is a guy with many jobs (I need a job, hire me). And he doesn’t seem to be that happy, with everyone going to him. It is a quite confusing song. I do like this style of video, but sometimes it is quite repetitive. But it is the director’s style after all. This one was a little confusing and I can’t really tell what is going on. SO, if you know what is going on, comment below. Enlighten us with your knowledge and deciphering skills.

As for the dance, I was unimpressed. The stages were pretty boring and the dance didn’t really draw my attention, though. In terms of style, I feel like he went backwards more than anything else with this dance. Backwards, as in “not improving”.

Overall, it was a pretty solid comeback. A lot more could have been improved on, but what we have already can satisfy different fan’s needs. 6.5/10 PS. Check out White T-Shirt. That track on his album is really good.