[Review] DICE – ONEW (SHINee)

After another brief absence, I am back and coming to you with more reviews. This review focuses on the second comeback that occurred on Monday. The track in question is DICE and belongs to SHINee’s leader ONEW, who is returning to the music scene as a solo artist for the first time since 2018. He debuted as a solo artist in 2018 with the single BLUE and mini-album Voice. Since then, ONEW completed his mandatory military enlistment and last year returned as part of SHINee through Don’t Call Me and Atlantis. He also resumed his acting and musical careers, whilst also releasing a few collaborative singles and solo OSTs.

DICE is a retro city pop track that is extremely pleasant. For those who have been reading my blog knows that the word ‘pleasant’ can either be a good or bad thing. With DICE, the use of the term is a bit ambiguous. The pleasantness of DICE makes it palatable and balanced. But at the same time, however, the pleasantness is a bit of a disappointment, as I expected the song to kick it up a notch along the way. But it never did. ONEW sounds really good in this song, with smooth vocals bringing life to DICE. It was silky and the flow from one end of the song to the other just felt flawless. The retro influence on the instrumental gave DICE a very nice subtle groovy touch, whilst also being rhythmic. For the final chorus, I liked the leadup and that refinement when it came to the mini explosions in the instrumental. There were some smooth hooks and I can see the song growing on me even more as I continue to replay the song. But whilst DICE comes off as a great song, it ultimately lacks oomph. There is definitely potential for DICE to really have a bit more meat to it in both the instrumental and vocals department. It didn’t have to just be pleasant. We all know how good ONEW’s vocals are, as evident through the many hits SHINee have provided us. And we all know how good city pop songs can be if the instrumental was just a tad bulkier or bolder. Overall, DICE is promising and a nice return for ONEW, but it definitely felt like more could have been done.

The music video features ONEW as the main character, who notices the female character from afar. But she is soon kidnapped by these pale green masked people and ONEW goes in pursuit to find her. At the start, you can tell that ONEW is a bit scared and timid when going into the hotel and following the path of green gloop. But as he roles the dice, he becomes more comfortable and relaxed in his surroundings (though there are parts of him that is still scared and timid). He notices some unusual practices in the hotel including injecting lemons with some mysterious substance (that seems to be the life source of these masked people) and the use of chainsaws throughout the hotel. He later finds the female character, who has dealt with the masked people herself (i.e. ending their lives with high heels), and she runs away with ONEW in a happily ever after type of ending. I thought it was a neat video, with a small plot twist and creepy factor, all rolled into one.

The performance felt pleasant as well, which works well the version of the song that we got. But it is bit plain and looked loose. Had DICE had what I felt was lacking from it, and the choreography was intensified and made to look sharper and tighter, this would have been a smashing performance piece.

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

[Review] Blue – Onew (SHINee)

SHINee is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Album in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support SHINee and your other favourites by clicking here to vote.

2018 has been a jam-packed year for many groups, with SHINee being a prime example. SHINee returned in 3 back-to-back comebacks (Good Evening, I Want You & Our Page) and a special single (Countless) to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Since then, the members have embarked onto solo promotions, including Taemin’s Japanese releases, Minho’s movie filming and the recent solo debut for Key with One Of Those Nights. This leaves just Onew who is due to enlist in a couple of days. But this isn’t stopping SHINee’s leader from launching his solo career with the title track Blue and the mini-album, Voice.

Even though I just launched the KPOPREVIEWED Awards for 2018, I am already thinking ahead for 2019. And you can just blame the one listen I had to this song. Blue is a ballad, which isn’t unexpecting. But what is unexpecting is how amazing the song is. And amazing is probably an underwhelming description. It is one of those ballads where the orchestral instrumental and Onew’s vocals tell a story. It has that dramatic flair to really make you feel emotional and if I were to judge the ballad based on that, I would say it was highly successful. The instrumental was stunning. But it is his voice that gets me. You can feel the pain. You can feel the sadness. Onew does an amazing job of bundling all of that up in a matter of 5 minutes and leaving us in awe of the song. Literally, my only complaint about the song is why we didn’t get this sooner!

Once again, the comment section for the music video theorises about the meaning of the video. And I agree with what is being said. This is Onew’s recount of the events, beginning with his hiatus due to a scandal that occurred last year. Due to this scandal, he had to go on hiatus, which is presented by the isolation in the video. The diamond represents SHINee, as there are five diamonds in the mirrors. The shooting star attracts his attention to bring the diamond outside. He proceeds to go outside, walking past fishes, flowers (which I don’t know the meaning of) and blindfolded people who seem to stare at him (maybe due to his scandal). At the end of his walk, he recognises one person (the theories suggest he recognises the late Jonghyun) which surprises him and the diamond is lit up. He takes the diamond back to his house, meaning that these turn of events have told him to take another path and to return to the world. Whether this is correct, I don’t know. Like the song, you can feel the emotions throughout the video and you can tell that Onew is acting in this video based on experiences due to it feeling so real.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 10/10

[Review] Lullaby – Onew (SHINee) & Rocoberry

This week’s SM Station track features Onew from SHINee and Rocoberry, a Korean indie duo. SM Station’s Lullaby is a remake of Rocoberry’s Lullaby. This song joins the growing list of SM Station Season 2 songs, including Dream In A Dream by Ten (NCT), Would U by Red Velvet, Spring Rain by BoA and many others.

Like what the name suggests, the song is a ballad and a really nice one. It fits into the ‘Lullaby’ style of music. It’s very calming and sounds beautiful. I have never heard of Rocoberry (and probably won’t go investigating), but Roco (the female of the duo and the one you can hear in the song) has an amazing voice that compliments Onew’s vocals, which we all know. Both sound superb and amazing. This track also confirms one thing. We need a solo song from Onew. Given the quality of this collaboration,  I have such high expectations. The calmness of the track is quite effective and probably be a track I will turn to in the future if I want to calm down (I was writing an assignment before writing this review). While the instrumental isn’t amazing, the mix between guitar and piano makes it a little interesting. Like most lullabies, however, the track sadly falls towards the more boring side of music. I honestly can’t wish for more, mainly because of its style. Otherwise, I would ruin the track and its calming vibes.

The music video isn’t anything fancy. There are closeups of Onew and Roco by themselves and once we reach the chorus, we see images of a couple dancing in the forest. It matched the song quite nicely and didn’t incorporate anything flashy or ‘loud’ to cause any viewing displeasures. Onew was unrecognisable when I first watched the video, which resulted in me doing a double take and rewatching the video to prove otherwise.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10