[Review] Chase – Minho (SHINee)

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MINHO makes his comeback a solo artist this past week with the single and debut mini-album that shares the same title, Chase. This is his first comeback since the release of Heartbreak at the end of last year. Since then, MINHO refocused on his acting career and released new music as a solo artist in Japan earlier this year. MINHO has definitely been busy.. In a rather interesting move (though not necessarily unheard of), MINHO released Chase (both the single and mini-album) digitally last week, while the physical version of the album and the music video dropped today.

Chase, as a whole, comes off as your typical R&B track. The slowness of the track helps makes the track sensual in nature, while the instrumentals help create a moody atmosphere. All of this was pretty successful. The instrumental was a combination of a neat piano loop, trap beats and a heavy bassline. Altogether, these instrumental created an alluring background piece. Another interesting aspect of Chase was the lyrics, which expresses the emptiness that one feels after chasing someone they cannot get to. Again, it feels like a message that is suited for the R&B genre. But aside from that, there isn’t much else from within Chase that attracted me to the song, and this limited appeal is why I put Chase down as a ‘typical R&B track’. In the vocal department, MINHO sings his lines for the entirety of Chase,. And while he does a decent job, they aren’t vocals that we can rave about, not like how I did in his previous solo releases. He handles the job well, but there are other compelling vocal performances out there. You might argue that it might be a bit harsh for me to judge MINHO as a singer, when he usually takes on the role of main rapper during group performances with SHINee. But from how I see it, he (or his company) had the opportunity to put out a song that showcase a better side of him, but the decision was made for Chase to be MINHO’s best foot forward. I get the need to show a different side of an artist in their solo work, but I don’t think Chase was the best choice. It also didn’t help that Chase didn’t have much of a hook to help make the track more memorable (i.e. during the chorus), not did it have melodies that could act in place of a hook. Overall, a fair effort from MINHO for his solo comeback, but I am sure that there are other styles and songs that fits MINHO’s profile better..

I found the whole music video for Chase to be quite an interesting watch. The very start of the music video features a suspenseful montage of shots from later on in the music video that perks up your interest. We see an affectionate couple, followed by a fiery accident and finally a shot of a female whispering into MINHO’s ear. The plot of the video then starts with MINHO waking up. We see flashbacks to a time when MINHO was lying in bed with his partner, but it is apparent from his messy surroundings in his solo shots that she is no longer around and he is heartbroken. At night, he visit bars to seek out his missing partner, but it earns him a bashing and bruised face. To be fair, he was pretty much disrupting the patron’s night. After failing to find her, he sits on the streets and his mind takes him back to the fiery accident I mentioned earlier. We see that he is practically unscathed from the car crash, but it turns out his lover was not as lucky as him. She was a fatality in the accident. In the midst of the accident, Minho notices his lover standing afar. But despite chasing after her, he cannot reach her. It is later revealed that her ghost has been haunting him by staring back through the mirror and whispering messages into his ear, which is probably why he cannot get her out of his head and ends up ‘chasing’ her every night. In the end, he takes a gun and shoots the mirror to stop her. As a quick sidenote, there was a sinister scene at the start of the video which flicked by where his lover staring directly at the camera whilst on the bed (see the 0:19 mark on the video), which gave me creepy chills.

It comes as no surprise to me that the moves in this routine were of the slow and smooth nature, which is complementary to R&B tracks of this nature. But it wasn’t the slow moves that stole the show for me. The formations of the dancers at the start and end of the performance, and their small bobs in time with the piano made me go wow. I also found the routine during the bridge to be quite cool, especially when MINHO and the female dancers all did a wave to bring him back up.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.3/10

[Review] Heartbreak – Minho (SHINee)

Another comeback that occurred in December 2021 that I have not yet reviewed is Minho’s Heartbreak. It is Minho’s SM Station single release, I’m Home, from way back in 2019. Since then, he has enlisted in the military and completed his two year mandatory enlistment. He also participated in SHINee’s Don’t Call Me and Atlantis comebacks last year. But apart from that, it has been fairly quiet from Minho. That was until December 21, when Minho’s dropped his first solo single, Heartbreak.

Dipping into the R&B genre, Heartbreak was a decent release back in December (and remains as is even today). There is a lot to like in Heartbreak, but it didn’t feel enough for me. Maybe it is because Heartbreak is not a full fledged release, with an album to sink into. Or that Minho’s solo career has yet to deliver the same impact as his fellow members have and Heartbreak doesn’t really have momentum to give us said impact. Or that Heartbreak is a relatively simple and straightforward song that doesn’t really offer anything new in the grand scheme of things. Regardless, I am left wanting more. Anyhow, Heartbreak has such a smooth atmosphere to it that really pulls me into the song each time I am listening to it. The bass and synths were pretty simple, but they definitely gave Heartbreak substance and meat to the song. And together, they have a straightforward backing piece. There is nothing wrong with this, but it isn’t the most innovative piece. However, it works splendidly with his vocals. Minho is more well known for his rapping sequences in SHINee’s releases, so to hear an entire song of just Minho’s vocals is very rare. I like how well suited his voice is for the R&B genre, with his husky vocals making Heartbreak so much more alluring and seductive. I wouldn’t mind more of this. His ad-libs were also quite decent as well. Like the atmosphere., the melodies and hooks are very smooth as well. Overall, an overall great return to the solo scene for Minho (though I think more is definitely needed!).

The music video is the most promising aspect of this comeback. In the video, we see two timelines. 2021 and 2049. From what I can tell, 2021’s Minho is manipulating the future to communicate with 2049’s Minho. This leads to 2049’s Minho to travel back in time in his car, to which he is told to torch it. I presume that the original 2049 version of Minho was still heartbroken over a relationship since the year 2021, and the 2021’s version is giving 2049 a chance to go back and move forward with his life. That’s my take on the video. Other than that, I liked the Matrix-like computer coding effect we get and overall futuristic concept. Minho also looks very cool and charismatic throughout this video.

Performance wise, I felt Minho looked a bit tense for the performance. Not too sure why that was the case, but it made the performance look a bit rigid for me. Other than that, it was a decent performance with some good moves. It could have been more, like the song. More seductive, more alluring. But it was nice to see Minho back on stage.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] I’m Home – Minho (SHINee)

Another very late review is coming your way! Out of all the SHINee members, Minho has yet to release any solo songs in this career. Instead, he is the most successful member in acting. And as many of the members were nearing the military enlistment age, we have seen an influx of releases of from member. Minho joins this influx and made his solo debut on the 28th of March, through the release of I’m Home. The single is released as part of the SM Station Season 3 project, which has seemed to be focusing on solo tracks more this time around.

I’m Home is a mid-tempo ballad. SInce Minho isn’t known for this vocals, I wondered how a song of this nature would play out. Rather than being anything negative, I’m Home manages to be quite pleasant and easy on the ears. The song opens with some whistling, something that you would associate with a breezy type of song. The instrumental is predominately acoustic guitar, with the incorporation of percussion for the vocals. His vocals are quite impressive. They were rather clear and it basically throws out on whether Minho could handle the ballad genre. His high note was very nice, as an example of his style. Nicely incorporated into the song is a rap sequence. To me, the song plays towards Minho’s strength. It isn’t the most memorable song out there. But for longtime fans of Minho and SHINee, I think this would be a very nice and well-deserved treat.

We start off with Minho walking up to the sound of both his alarm clock and the phone ringing. His character in the video is a businessman, who is basically working 24/7. However, based on his expressions and posture, it seems like Minho is longing to be with his partner, who is not in the picture at the moment. This goes nicely with the song. Every time he takes a rest, the alarm clock or phone (or another person) is waking him up. This just constantly reminds him of his loneliness and forces him to live with that feeling. I think this forces to him a move at the end, where is running to probably propose to his partner. I really like how he is singing in the midst of everything, which I think was a creative thing to do. I also like the golden appearance of the video and that slightly hazy effect.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10