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:
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
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
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.
Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.
What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.
Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO) Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang) Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice Popularity Award – SHINee Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE Best Rock – Hyukoh Global Popularity Award – EXO Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue) Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD) Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X
Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).
I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).
Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.
For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!
SHINee has returned to the stage after promoting View back in May. This time, they are joining the retro train with a throwback to music in the 80s, with Married To The Music.
This is a pretty nice song. It is definitely very different due that 80s feel it is going for. I love those small sections just before the start of the chorus. They add a more 80s feel to the song, even more than what the song is already showing. Not a big fan of the verses in this song. Not that they are bad, but they are pretty bland compared to the rest of the song. I really enjoyed Onew’s voice in this song. His vocal style and sound really fits in well with this song. The group’s harmonising in this song is pretty amazing as well. While the song is pretty unique, I don’t think this has the potential to turn into an iconic song. And honestly, I enjoyed listening to it the first few times, but then it was just forgotten for me. It really did not have much for me to go back to and I don’t find it catchy. But nevertheless, it is a pretty “popping” song that takes us back to probably the biggest era in music for today’s pop. But that is pretty debatable.
I enjoyed the music video. It had that Rocky Horror Show feel to it, which was quite big at the time (and I think it was big a few years back as well). I love how the whole music video can literally be turned into a movie. And how it was shot with a movie like feel. It is pretty creepy when you think back to it. Having your head lobed off or have your facial features stolen by some pretty and mysterious girl. To me, this has to be one of the best music videos this year to date. Everything that came together for this video worked really well with each other. The concept, the angles, the members, the editing and the really cool effects played well with each other. Jonghyun’s lips singing while in the bowl was pretty cool. Probably one of the most unique music videos to date. But if you don’t like heads getting chopped off (there is no blood in this video though), then you might not want to watch this.
The dance was really cool as well. Using back up dancers as your support is a pretty good idea to give off that impression of floating. Well, at least that is what I think they are trying to get at. I enjoyed how they interacted with the camera for the dance this time. It suits the fun side of KPOP that we are clearly missing.
Overall, a pretty good comeback but it got forgotten quickly. But it was hella unique and gave everyone memories to the 80s. 8/10
-whispers- SHINee’s Back. Yeah… I just had to. After over a year of no promotions as a group in Korea, the 5 member boy group is finally back with a brand new album. Let’s see what the band has done since their last promotions of Everybody back in 2013. Taemin and Jonghyun made their respective solo debuts in 2014 and 2015. 2014 was essentially SHINee’s year in Japan with loads of promotions, releasing numerous songs in Japan and having tours and concerts in the country. And they recently had their 4th Korean tour in May. So they have been busy even though as a group they were more in Japan than Korea.
This song is pretty amazing. At first I thought it would be a very weak song. It lacked a lot the first time around. But when I got to listen to it more, I have to say it grew a lot on me. It was a powerful song is a very subtle way. It is a song that I would expect attract a lot of young teenagers nowadays, mainly because that is what they are all listening to now. And I said that in an elder’s voice. Hahaha… Not but seriously, I now think that this song can top so much. It is catchy and addictive. The instrumental is quite strong on its own and the vocal work is adds another dimension to the song entirely. I may have wanted a rap sequence somewhere in the song, mainly because that is what I expected from Minho, not just three lines. The ad-libs really did not go overboard in this song. The high pitch vocals were not needed, because I can imagine them singing at a lower note and still rocking this song. But overall, a pretty amazing song.
The music video made entirely no sense to me. I got the really obvious parts, but beside that, I felt it did not match the lyrics that well. From the music video, the boys are kidnapped by a group of girls somehow. Don’t know how because they kidnapped the guys in the city, with guns and masks on. Wouldn’t that be obvious? And where was the security team? Anyhow, it looks like they were taken to a more tropical jungle and released. To which they decided to stay with the girls, do some illegal work and partying up a storm with their kidnappers. Oh, and making out with them. Ummm.. Yes, the view was nice, but they are your kidnappers. Just a kindly reminder. AND YESS!! SM has finally unleashed SHINee out of the box. Can you believe it? I expect a brand new trend with SM music video’s. F(x), Red Velvet, SHINee and from memory, EXO as well. Good work!!!
The dance was okay. It matched the song really well. It just doesn’t have that SHINee feel that I am used to. There really were no iconic parts to the dance, like Ring Ding Dong, Sherlock, Everybody etc. But it did do the job for the song and comeback.
Song was amazing music video was okay (minus the confusion) and the dance managed to do well. Minho’s biceps agree with me. So do many Shawols. 7/10
Jonghyun from SHINee is the next member to go solo. Not permanently, but as a side job. For his solo debut, he has enlisted the help of big names in the Korean music industry such as Zion T, Younha, Wheesung and Iron, who featured in the title track and the song being reviewed. For those who don’t know, Iron is also the same rapper who has featured in Hyorin and Jooyoung’s collaborative track: Erase. Back to the SHINee part, there has been speculation that the solo debut projects of both Jonghyun and Taemin are leading up to the official comeback of the SHINee later in the year. Nothing is confirmed yet, so I guess we might need to sit and wait.
This is another okay song. It sounds artistic and nice and all, but to me, his high pitch sounds are really off putting. It has that Jonghyun feel to it. It just does not appeal to me as other songs. I honestly expected Jonghyun to go with a dance number or a ballad. Instead we got this odd sounding Rnb sound. Though he can pull it off, it just does not appeal to me. It shows me he can sing, just it does not showcase his amazing vocals that we all know him to have. The song really does not have that much going on in it. The instrumental is not that special. Without Jonghyun’s voice, it lacks a lot. The rapper did a pretty good job in this song. He fitted into the song pretty well and complimented Jonghyun’s voice. Just overall the song was okay, just not the song I expected Jonghyun to have.
This music video is basically a fan girl’s dream. Imagine a shirtless KPOP star with nice abs being chained up with a huge spider crawling down! Wait! Don’t imagine that last part. Just imagine the KPOP star with abs chained up. That spider was unexpected and I did not notice it until after someone pointed it out in the comments. I like the use of the band. Once again, I know though lights are meant to be for artistic purposes, but I dislike them. To me, they are an eye sore and high distracting. The video was dark but I have to admit those lights gave it something else. A different feel to it, I think. At least we get to see that the girl is making him go crazy in this video. It fits in with the song and its title.
Wow, did not expect to write so much. I was hoping for a SHINee come back for quite some time and hope for one after this! Especially what has been happening with all the groups in SM, at least there is 1 stable group. 4.8/10