“I’m betting 10 quid SHINee will never successfully predict my rating for the album on their album cover.”
- My famous last words
𝕊ℍ𝕀ℕ𝕖𝕖 𝕆𝕟 𝕄𝕖 - 𝔻𝕠𝕟'𝕥 ℂ𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕄𝕖 𝕓𝕪 𝕊ℍ𝕀ℕ𝕖𝕖
Yep. They fucking did it again. Look, disclaimers first, I am not a big SHINee fan, and I wasn’t a fan of them since the start, but I don’t care, I've been a fan of them for a short while and I get to have an emotional attachment to the boys too, end of the debate! SHINee was actually one of the last groups from SM Entertainment I got into, but you know what, a start is a start, I am not ashamed of it. What were we talking about again? Oh right, the album.
It’s been nearly 3 years since SHINee’s last comeback, due to military enlistments from 3 out of the 5 members. Note that a 2.5-year absence is absolutely detrimental to a K-Pop group, a clear example being PRISTIN. Yet, SHINee is SHINee, the kings of K-Pop at one point, they had a massive fanbase already, and with Taemin’s regular solo records keeping the hot steam rolling, when SHINee announced their comeback, of course, people shat their pants. So, is this worth the wait?
It’s good. Yep, a good SHINee album, shocking news, I know. SHINee again manages to create great pop tunes, add in a little bit of experimentation yet still keeping the sound they’ve been executing for so many years, with great success, of course. It was pretty apparent that they were going to continue with the R&B-Electro-pop blending from their teasers, sort of a continuation of previous records like 1 of 1 or Odd. This time around, they’ve practically abandoned the ballad style almost completely, going full electropop, and I applaud the stylistic progress. The production is solid, the tunes are oddly nostalgic, with the subtle separation with the rest of the K-Pop aesthetic right now. The blending certainly works, and while I think this record is unfortunately inferior to their previous works, there’s still valuable stuff here. Especially the title track, good Lord, nearly cried a bit there.
(By the way, if you understood the references made in the review, let me know how many you got in my shoutbox. First to get all of them gets a Toblerone bar.)
Now, hey Twice, the K-Pop’s busiest group, do you think SHINee’s vocals were good this time around? “Yes or Yes!” Ah, of course, yes. Look, SHINee are some of the best vocalists in K-Pop right now, no doubt about that. They’ve been in the Korean survival game for such a long time, and THEY KNOW THEIR SHIT. Harmony, smoothness, preciseness, everything you would ask for, they got it. And they are trained by SM, you wouldn’t cut some slack when you’re trained by the devil incarnate, right?
The 9-track album appears to me as top-heavy, if the first 5 tracks were an EP like the shtick they did back with The Story Of Light, it’ll be by far one of their best works. The final few tracks cooled off SHINee’s streaks a bit, but still, not bad at all, except Kiss Kiss. It just sounds too similar to Cake by The Ocean, and I hold a specifically high level of grudge against DNCE copies. Listen SHINee, I know you’re SHINee, but I won’t let this slide. You’re better than this. 30 points deducted!
This is the best K-Pop album of 2021, and while the year isn’t quarter-way there, it just speaks volumes to how legendary SHINee was. They’ve been in the industry for 12 years, and they’ve continuously improved and grown their individual sound, one that would prove to be near and dear for so many fans. And, when most of their peers (e.g. f(x) :(, 2NE1) have basically vanished, SHINee are still here, and they have proven that they still got it. Call SHINee the Carmelo Anthony of K-Pop. No shame about that. Anyways, I’m feeling a light to decent 7 on this one, tran- wait. *Looks at album cover* No fucking way. They predicted my score! How- how did they know...They have to be some sort of witch or something, perhaps Lucifer… *laughter rumbles* *90s sitcom jingle* Goodnight everybody, and don’t forget to stream Don’t Call Me!
Of course, I would like to end the review on a serious note and give tribute to Jonghyun, who will always be in our hearts. The man was a true artist who was daring to truly be a musician, breaking boundaries in the especially hard Korean pop landscape and gave us music that would be forever beloved. He will forever be an integral part of SHINee, and without Jonghyun, there wouldn't have been SHINee. Rest in paradise Jonghyun, you'll forever be in our hearts.