[Review] Gasoline – KEY (SHINee)

We are still a couple of months out from a year since KEY impressed with his solo comeback. BAD LOVE (title of both the title track and first mini album). But that hasn’t stopped KEY from returning with a new music. More specifically, a new single and his second studio length album, both of which have been titled Gasoline. The new material dropped officially today, even though he did informally pre-release the sides tracks Another Life and Proud and performed Gasoline at the recent SM Town concerts.

But the focus of this review is purely on Gasoline, the title track. The biggest question that I have for myself heading into this comeback was whether Gasoline tops the likes of BAD LOVE (which knocked my socks off last year). Unfortunately, I can confirm that the new release does not exceed the standard that was set by last year’s release. I will explain why in a bit. Gasoline is a hip-hop dance track that really grabs our attention from the get-go with its bold and fanfare instrumentation at the start and during the choruses. Heavy thumping takes over the in verses and the brass elements that contribute to the fanfare influence in the chorus is taken down a few notches. All of this was very good and definitely is very memorable. I quite liked the decision to skip the chorus following the second verse, going straight into the bridge. It was an interesting change of momentum and the thumping beat was quite exciting and thrilling. It definitely got the adrenaline running through my body. My issue with Gasoline was the lack of melody. There was some, but none of it was rewarding or fulfilling like in his previous comeback. Also, the boastful and confident main hook of the song (i.e. the ‘A-List, The Latest, Made It, I’m Ready, Big Rings, Your Scream‘) felt so cringy and was very questionable to me. I see how the first four compliments the idea of being confident and ambitious, but the latter two that I quoted makes no sense. The start-stop manner it was delivered in was also a bit plain and wearisome, and I wished the hook was more gratifying to listen to. KEY’s rapping throughout the track was good, but it is the way Gasoline‘s centric moments were delivered that I find to be a letdown.

The music video makes up for the Gasoline‘s lacking aspects. I am blown away by the quality and jaw-dropping visuals that KEY delivers in this comeback. My guess is that KEY is like a god in this video, with the dancers worshipping him. This would work well with the confidence and ambition that KEY expresses in the lyrics of the song. The golden colour that appears throughout the video (and subsequently becomes a memorable aspect of the video) also helps out with this. Another thing I quite liked about the video is that KEY isn’t scared to show off a completely different style to other idols and isn’t shy of trying unique outfits. It left such a strong impression on me, as a viewer, which works hand-in-hand with the message he is trying to get across. The sets were also grand and imposing, helping to make KEY stand out.

I quite liked the powerful aspect of the choreography, which felt fitting to the way he delivered the track. The routine was definitely quite busy, as well, thanks to the number of dancers featured in this comeback. But I think this helps give the choreography a boastful image as well, which works well with the message the song gives out.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

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