[Album Review] BAD LOVE (1st Mini Album) – Key (SHINee)

Key is nominated for Best Male Choreography (Solo), while BAD LOVE is nominated for Best Electronic Song and Best Album in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. SHINee and fellow member Taemin are also nominated for other categories, as well. Support Key, Taemin and SHINee in their respective categories by clicking here and voting for your favourite acts of this year.

On September 27 of this year, Key made his solo comeback with the amazing BAD LOVE. On the same day, he also dropped his first mini-album of the same name. BAD LOVE not only features the title track BAD LOVE, but also the pre-release single titled Hate That which also featured Taeyeon from SNSD. Originally, I had planned to review the pre-release single separately before the album review. But after putting it off for so many weeks, I have decided to just push forward with the album review without the separate review for Hate That. Otherwise, this album review will not see the light of day. Regarding the album (spoiler alert), I highly recommend to anyone who just want to discover something new. It is so good that BAD LOVE has managed to score a Best Album nomination in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards and is also my pick for Best Album of the year! Though not all songs scored a 10/10, there is not a bad song on this album whatsoever, so I am sure you will find something that you like. But that’s the whole overview of the album, let’s dive into each of the songs.

BAD LOVE Album Cover

1. BAD LOVE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for BAD LOVE. (9.5/10)

2. Yellow Tape – Continuing on from BAD LOVE with the electronic instrumentation is Yellow Tape. I really like how hard-hitting Yellow Tape was from start to end. It is the type of consistency that I quite like, with a refreshing tone also coming through at the same time. The bolstered beat and electronic textures in Yellow Tape makes this a knockout song. I also enjoyed the hype and satisfying energy that Key himself brings through his vocals. They were powerful and well-defined over the instrumentation. The breathy ‘breathe in, breathe out’ whispers were catchy and iconic, increasing the memorability of the song. A solid follow-up track to BAD LOVE. (9/10)

3. Hate That… (ft. Taeyeon (SNSD)) – As mentioned previously, Hate That… is the pre-release single of the album, and was released a month in advanced to the rest of BAD LOVE. It is a R&B track that brings out the best of both Key and Taeyeon. It is pretty much an outlier in the album, but it also gives us a bit of reprieve from all of the electronic influences. The pair really dug deep for this song, with each of them bringing a lot of emotion. To me, I find the instrumentation to be quite stilling for the most part, aside from the somewhat pulsing beat that adds depth to the song. This really compliments the emotional and R&B roots of the song. Their harmonies took the song to a new level, while the melodies for the main hook in the choruses were definitely memorable ring to it that just stayed in my head even after the song had wrapped up. Apologies for not reviewing this song earlier. (9/10)

4. Helium (헬륨)Helium brings funky vibes to the album and also uses this opportunity to incorporate an all-English track. While the funky instrumentation was great, I wished it was bolder and had more gratifying bass, all of which would have taken the song to the next level. But that being said, my suggestions don’t mean that Helium is a bad song. I really enjoyed Key’s falsetto vocals and his rap-speak delivery during some parts of the song really helped make this one a memorable track. Not exactly my favourite off the album, but definitely still ana amazing track. (8.5/10)

5. Saturday Night Saturday Night is blissful and atmospheric during the verses, before ultimately unveiling its true nature as another funky and groovy track when it came to the chorus. This one is a laid back and chill in terms of its energy, but effective and impactful at the same time. Key’s falsetto vocals return in this song to compliment the funky notes of the instrumentation.  I really enjoyed this song and was definitely grooving along to it when I heard it the first time. (10/10)

6. Eighteen (End of My World) – The final song on the mini-album is Eighteen and is a nice ribbon to tie the entire album together, in my opinion. To me, Eighteen felt like a concentration of everything that came before it and definitely showcases Key’s abilities. It started off as an emotional sounding track, similar to a ballad. The twist here would be the instrumentation, as it still emerges with that electronic influence that is throughout most of the album. When the chorus kicks in, the song brings forth a slow rock vibe, which in conjunction with the electronic created a very impactful and powerful instrumental. Key’s vocals were consistently powerful during the entirety of the song, emotionally charged and wholesome all at the same time. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.3/10

BAD LOVE Teaser Image

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