[Album Review] Sherlock (4th Mini Album) – SHINee

Last week when I realized that I hadn’t reviewed a particular group in the PAR (Past Album Review) segment, I had a quick search around to see which groups I hadn’t reviewed in this segment yet. And that is how I identified SHINee as the artist to review this week. I wanted to review a studio album from SHINee (as that is what their discography is predominately made up of). But I ran out of time to draft the review up, so today I opted to look at a mini-album instead. And when you think of SHINee, you think of ‘SHINee’s Back‘. So today, I will be reviewing the Sherlock mini-album which was released way back in 2012.

Sherlock Album Cover

1. Sherlock (Clue + Note) – Originally, I gave a 9.5/10 for Sherlock, factoring the song, video and performance. Given its iconic status and very powerful appeal, I have decided to bump Sherlock to that 10/10 rating. Click here for the full review of Sherlock (Clue + Note). (10/10)

2. Clue – For those who don’t know, Clue is one of the tracks that was mashed together with another on this album to form Sherlock. The title track made Clue’s ‘SHINee’s Back’ whisper and instrumental introduction forever iconic. It is also the birth-song of Sherlock’s first verse, the second part of Sherlock’s bridge of the title track and majority of the instrumental. With the rest of the song, the melody of the sections taken to Sherlock was continued. What I didn’t like about the song is that it doesn’t really feature a chorus. You could argue that what served as Sherlock’s pre-chorus was Clue’s chorus. However, I would say otherwise as it just wasn’t memorable enough to be a chorus. Though this might be my favouritism for Sherlock speaking. Regardless, Clue felt very incomplete because of this ‘missing chorus’. Two other aspects (one is positive and the other isn’t so much) of the song stood out for me. The positive aspect was Jonghyun’s adlib in the first half of the bridge. That felt cool and really added a colourful tinge to the song. The not-so-positive aspect was the abrupt ending, which is an element that I don’t like in any song to this day. (8/10)

3. NoteNote is the other ‘half’ of the mashup that formed Sherlock. When it first started, it felt like a completely different track as it had a slightly different instrumental. But as the song progressed, we approach the familiar sequences we can also find in Sherlock, such as the choruses, the pre-choruses, Key and Minho’s rap sequence that follows the chorus, the first half of Sherlock’s bridge and the closing sequence. As this song has a chorus (or the chorus, depending on how you think of it), it felt more complete. And since the chorus is quite powerful in both songs, the rest of Note reflected this by incorporating powerful vocals in the other parts of the song (i.e. the verses). I don’t really have much else to say regarding this song as nothing really stood out for me. But Note was still a good song. (8.5/10)

4. Alarm Clock (알람시계) – The next track on this album delves into the R&B genre and delivers an impressive display of the group’s vocals. Every member sounds superb in their own sections and I really liked how the members came together for the chorus. Their voices also do an amazing job of showcasing the song’s stunning melodies, which in turn helped the song become memorable and quite flowy. I also like Minho’s deep tone rap sequence at the end. It was so suitable for the song’s dramatic and emotional atmosphere. It was also served as an impactful ending for this nice song. I did think Alarm Clock‘s instrumental was a little standard for the genre. But it served as a great canvas for the member’s voices. I also really liked the twirling effect/sound they had going in the background, which added something different to the otherwise straightforward R&B instrumental. (9/10)

5. The ReasonThe Reason follows a similar setup to the preceding song, where all the members contribute to the chorus by singing together. But some of the members do get an opportunity to shine amongst each other during the chorus. Regardless, all of these vocals and techniques come together to create one of the best sidetracks EVER. I admit that it has been a while since I have heard the song. But that makes relistening to The Reason so much better as it just blows me away, especially as the song approaches and enters the first chorus. The song is a ballad, but the instrumental is a little more modern with the use of electronic synths on top of a standard classical instrumental. It also features a substantial guitar solo that is just the icing on the cake for this song. I would love the opportunity to hear this song live one day, as I am sure it will be even more blissful in that setting. (10/10)

6. Stranger (낯선자) – From my understanding, Stranger was a single from one of the group’s Japanese album and also served as an OST for a Korean, Japanese and Chinese series. Stranger is okay as a sidetrack. I really liked the nostalgia that the song with how it started with the vibrating synths. The melodies remind me of OST of various dramas that I have watched while I was younger, so there is that sense of nostalgia as well. I also found it to be quite addictive and catchy, as a result of those melodies. But in comparison to the other songs on this album, Stranger feels quite weak vocally. It didn’t have that impressive vocal oomph that the other song had. I know the song may not be suitable for powerhouse vocals. But given that is what I have heard so far on this album, Stranger, unfortunately, feels like the odd one out. (7/10)

7. Honesty – The album ends with an acoustic track that puts the limelight on their vocals. While it isn’t powerhouse vocals, what we get in Honesty suitable for the acoustic nature of the song. And even then, SHINee pushes themselves in that direction. It is a casual song and is a lot lighter compared to the rest of the album. With that mindset, I find Honesty to be a pleasant album ender. It might also be different to the rest of the album as Stranger had also felt. But its placement was well thought out and the song served its purpose wonderfully. I love how the song ends with both Minho’s rapping, Jonghyun’s ad-lib and the fade out of the acoustic guitar. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

Sherlock Teaser Image

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