[Column] “Go Forward, SHINee!”



SHINee is SM Entertainment’s most ‘extreme’ group. With the crux of Ring Ding Dong, a song that drives like crazy all along, their songs have been the fastest in SM, and their dance moves the fiercest as the members do a tremendous amount of motion from beginning to end. If you can’t believe it, watch SHINee in casual outfits practice Sherlock dance in the practice room. Dancing without having to sing live, they move almost like beasts. As we know so well, however, SHINee is a male group with the tenderest image in SM. They were ‘shiny’ from their group name, and the members wearing ‘pretty boy’ outfits made by stylist Ha Sangbaek sang “Noona Is So Pretty.”

Extreme in Anything

Pretty younger brothers in a company full of charismatic ‘oppas’ to fans since H.O.T., or idols on stage in outfits that seem to be made for a fashion magazine. SHINee, a self-called ‘contemporary’ group, debuted to follow the trends of the time.  Their songs and dance, however, advance SM’s peculiar style to its extreme end. ‘Sherlock’, a song combining the good parts of two different songs into one and the members moving from left to right as in 3D, is an extreme of SMP (a term for SM style music and performance). The group’s content is an extreme of SM, but its outward expression reflects popular trends. In the group coexist soccer mania Minho and fashionista Key. SHINee is something like SM’s laboratory.

The image on the jacket of SHINee’s new album, <The Misconceptions of You>, looks like SHINee’s image projected by the public as the title implies. Members’ images and several accessories form someone’s face. The jacket image is the most sophisticated among SM groups, and each member has a distinct personality. They are extreme in every area, the group name, performance, fashion, even Taemin’s slim body. If any of these grabs your eyes, you become a SHINee ‘deokoo’ (a slang for passionate fan). But it is hard to pick one image which can explain the group intuitively to the public. What SHINee needed was being easier rather than doing better, finding a solid axis to hold the various aspects of SHINee together–something like the mic stand in ‘Dream Girl.’

In ‘Dream Girl,’ SHINee wear suits of different styles and sing with mic stands. The group’s colorful feel maintained, the suits and mic stands deliver a more clear image of the group. Their fashion is still flashy but more of one team; their dance is fierce but with points for the public. Other members in certain dance motion form a background while a member is doing his solo dance part–this has become SHINee’s style from ‘Lucifer’ through ‘Sherlock. However, their dance for ‘Dream Girl’  is made of big and lively moves rather than minute hand motion. It is more focused on the other members playing the role of background for the member doing his solo part than on the complex and restless progress of moves. Their technique is advanced as they play freely with mic stands, but the way of showing it to the public is now easier and clearer.

sh_dg<Sherlock and Dream Girl>

Your and My Conceptions of SHINee

As the title ‘The Misconceptions of You’ suggests, the songs in the album reflect SHINee’s images conceived of by the public. SHINee’s style confirmed since ‘Juliette’ is to drive on in a crazy speed with a combination of funky sound and a vocal style like that of an idol group version of Michael Jackson. The percussion-like sound,used in the opening of ‘AMIGO’ and ‘Ring Ding Dong,’ remains in ‘Dream Girl’ like a symbol. But funky guitar sound makes an axis of ‘Dream Girl’ to balance with thin and light synthesizer sounds. If TVXQ is a group of weight, SHINee is one of speed. Songs, including ‘Dream Girl,’ in <The Misconceptions of You> are light and speedy. Their melody goes fast and slow following funky rhythm leading to a refrain lively and sparkling like carbonated water. SHINee’s title songs–‘Ring Ding Dong,’ ‘Lucifer,’ ‘Sherlock’–form a performance trilogy to be recorded in the history of male idol groups but rather powerful, complicated, and difficult for a team named ‘SHINee’. ‘Dream Girl’ is lightest, intuitive, and easy while its making process is elaborate.

‘Dream Girl’ looks like balancing rather than completion of SHINee. SHINee has been hard to define, which could be a strong or weak point. They still have different colors, which are now more neatly arranged. SM merged what they can do best into what the pubic wants from SHINee. At a press conference for SHINee’s new album, Key said, “It is a new attempt for us to do it more easily. Our previous songs were difficult, but we aim to make it more lively and accessible.” As Key said, SHINee and SM maintain their identity and approach the public sentiment and trends, the self-defined ‘contemporary.’ In <SHINee’s One Fine Day> aired on MBC Music, members appear as young men watching soccer games on streets, not idols on stage.  When ‘idol’ has become ‘I+doll,’ SHINee walk out into the streets as shy or lively young men instead of becoming shiny idols. SNSD’s ‘Gee’ or Super Junior’s ‘Sorry Sorry’ showed that SM can make a song accessible. However, not a song but the whole group of SHINee is approaching to the public. SM has made a significant move for the 2010s.

And SHINee’s <The Misconceptions of Me> is due out in April. As implied in the title, this album will present music as conceived of by SHINee or SM. ‘Dream Girl’ is the most public-appealing among SHINee’s songs, but not a mega hit. But it is certain that the song has broadened the contact surface between SHINee and the public, and someone whose eyes are drawn to any of SHINee’s song, performance, fashion, or nice figures will become a ‘Sha-deok’ (=SHINee deokoo). They maintain their fandom but don’t give up on the public; their growth is slow but with a distinct color. 5th year is a time some sunbae groups started declining. However, SHINee seem to be advancing toward their first climax only now. Indeed, there is nothing common with them.

Written by Kang Myoungseok (former editor of 10 Asia) / Trans by jujugal

*The translation may not be 100% accurate.

*The writer is a music critic well-known to music fans for his deep and meticulous analysis of music and respect for good music and musicians.

*I wanted to translate this column because I can sense how the writer respects SHINee’s music with a clear understanding of what they are doing with Dream Girl 🙂


[review] Key as Frank in Catch Me If You Can

2nd stage, let’s learn how to overcome one’s weakness.

The time when the word ‘almighty key’ was awkward has passed. SHINee’s Key expresses himself without reserve from singing and dancing to fashion and fine art. Especially his cover of (girl) group dance and songs is an outcome of his constant observation of each group’s unique point and rhymes. Making his debut as a musical actor in Catch Me like Sunny, he shows his sharp observation through his detailed reactions. When he makes a gesture like nosebleeding at the moment a playboy model shows up or when he mouths his father’s story that has been repeated 100th time, it vitalizes his own and the partner’s acting and enriches the play. It is true that he has weak points such as his short breath, inaccurate pronunciation, and lack of control, but he knows how to hide them with his reactions and with his boldness to overcome the pressure as the one top main. He knows how to make comic points with his sly wit and how to make himself outstanding on stage by instinct. I think he will be good as Nathan in Guys and Dolls. Especially, I’m pleased to imagine Key singing “Sue Me” while saying ‘noona’ to an older lover.

[Source: http://m10.asiae.co.kr/view.htm?no=2012050620010871020 | trans by jujugal]

*Key knows his strength and uses it effectively. I believe he knows what kind of characters will suit him and how to make them his own.

Up by sungyujjang

[review] IZM Gives 3.5/5 for SHINee’s Sherlock

Although the current idol world is said to be ruled by three strong managements, SM seems to be the one that make big strides among them. It is because they are developing talented artists and taking an advantageous position in unexplored areas from a broader view of the market. From the success of BoA, an artist targeted at the Japanese market from the planning stage, through TVXQ and Super Junior who secured their places in Asia, and to f(x) of 2011, who made a unique “musical achievement” among girl groups by twisting trends at risk. It has become SM’s standard formula to grab greater achievements by taking a big risk while looking like seeking stability.

I think we can add one more case to it. SHINee’s move in this album is an advance that deserves to be added to SM’s chronicle. This group, whose path was R&B pop tune targeted at the U.S. or Europe in the beginning, bids farewell to domestic trends in their comeback after one and half year hiatus. It is true that f(x) and SHINee, who have pursued their distinguished colors even to arouse concern about being out of joint with the mass, have not made outcomes as great as those of other SM groups, but it seems to the right and consistent direction with a view to creating a clear character and color in the long-term perspective. SHINee is in full blomm with their EP following f(x).

The album throws a counter-punch from its subject material and combination. Although it is concentrated on the first 3 tracks, it brings a fresh feel derived from the original idea. The self-named project title is a little cheesy “hybrid remix.” It’s an experimental attempt to create a separate track titled “Sherlock” by mixing up “Clue” and “Note.” While SNSD’s “The Boys” was mocked because it was out of line with their image, SHINee made an noteworthy outcome within their own world. The connecting link was so smooth that it made me wonder if “Sherlock” was made first and then divided into two later.

Each of the two songs, “Clue”, which makes one feel Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ silhouette in Jonghyun’s vocal and beat, and “Note”, whose compressed synth loop meets a straight melody to open up and expand into air, has its own charms. The lyrics for each, the one based on intuition and the other on documents, are interesting. Parts of each song are cut and arranged like a puzzle to create “Sherlock”. They have a different shape and different nature, but when jointed, play up the beauty of the song’s development. When its perfectly-structured smooth organic quality is combined with performance, it captivates one to look at the group’s evolution orchestrated by the management absent-mindedly.

But it is only to that point that the word “surprising” dances in my mind. I do not mean that the other tracks are not as good as the first 3, but feels ordinary compared to the impact of the first 3: “Alarm Clock” whose heavy rhythm and impressive flute sound mollifies the nightmare of a break-up, “Stranger” which shows the influence of Komuro Tetsuya as it was in their Japanese first album, and “Honesty” which closes the back door to finish the running time with simple vocal colors to the acoustic guitar sound.

There are some parts a bit lacking in regard to the vocal. Their smooth and soft vocal as heard in “Replay” or “Love Like Oxygen” is constantly turned up to follow the grand arrangement and structure. It is hard to find vocal control according to the flow, and their technique and vibration are too exaggerated, so it gives an impression that they try to appeal with skills but no emotion. It is time for them to think whether the group’s strong points as shown in their debut days are not ignored.

It is when I listen to this kind of album that I feel boy groups and girl groups are leading the Korean pop world. It is like we can have excellent players and good games when there is tough competition in the field. I favor this album because it was a paradoxical idol album that made me listen to it with all my concerns about the flooding of albums as planned commodities pushed aside. Individual teams’ growth doesn’t stop despite their apparent limits–here is the ‘SHINee World’ of high quality which has proved the curious proposition.

2012/03 Hwang Sunup (sunup.and.down16@gmail.com)

[Source: http://www.izm.co.kr/contentRead.asp?idx=23811&bigcateidx=1&subcateidx=3&width=150&cTp=4&searchTp=&star_score=&start_date_year=&start_date_month=&end_date_year=&end_date_month=&search_keyword=&page=  | Trans by jujugal] *The translation may not be precise in terms of word-to-word correspondences to the original text because of its wordy nature.

[review] On SHINee’s Vocals

SHINee’s Comeback – Full-force Spurt

at the Chris 2009-06-07

* Taemin’s singing voice, revealed for the first time in the regular album, is not quite bad. Even so, it does not mean that his position in the team is now clear. Because he’s still at puberty. Now I think Taemin’s vocal might have been verified within SM much more than what has been exposed to us. Probably they haven’t exposed it simply because it is not stable yet.

* It could be a hint that they gave almost no role to him in the first (mini) album.

* We didn’t have to wait that long to see Taemin’s role come to the surface. One of the reasons I have waited for this member to play his own role is that (the team) needed him.

* If there were a problem (?) in SHINee’s team vocal, it would be that Jonghyun’s is too strong and too good. He doesn’t even sound like a new singer. Moreover he does Michael Jackson style R&B with quite a strong accent, so (his vocal) sticks out rather than embraces other members’. In view of voice color, Onew should form two tops with Jonghyun and balance it out, but their voice colors are completely in opposite ends.

* I haven’t had a chance to talk about Onew, but he owns a really good – in fact very rare voice color in Korea. I made a brief mention about this before, but his style is a standard pop ballad like Pat Boone. It’s quite amazing. SM is a company really proficient in such a thing.

* Pat Boone style and Michael Jackson style vocals forming one team, does this make sense? Well, it could. But in their early (until their last album) period, Onew had difficulty in doing rhythmical parts. It’s not because he’s not good, but it’s just the way things are. Like Pat Boone would have difficulty in singing Michael Jackson’s song. It would be amazing if he could do it well. However, SM is the world’s number one in that kind of training. So I had no doubt Onew would improve. Even so, the gap between Onew’s and Jonghyun’s syle is quite wide. Key stands far away from both, and they needed a member to be in-between. Taemin was the right person in his voice color. His voice has a R&B feel with an accent like Jonghyun but at the same time is more neutralized. So the whole vocal structure of SHINee depended on what role Taemin would do.

* Signs of Taemin’s vocal were quite good. First of all, it looked like he would digest (songs) quite wonderfully in sensuous ways. It was short, but he seemed to digest the nuance and style of R&B quite smoothly. He just lacked power. But this can be quite dangerous. If you lack power and sound – everything is useless. However, Taemin’s voice on Juliette performances shows power that turned a point. That much of basic power is enough. Now what he should do is to push further. That boy who works so doggedly will sure make it when it is the matter of a “part to be filled with effort”.

* Supposing Taemin starts filling his part to the full, it might be the right answer that he becomes SHINee’s main vocal. Then Jonghyun and Onew could express their own unique individualities much more freely. Then it could result in quite an interesting real picture.

*Just as was expected, Onew’s skill in adding beat onto rhythmical groove has become much more solid than in their last album, hasn’t it?

* Key is also very interesting. His sense is ‘Hip Hop’ style. To make a Hip Hop feel in the team with a relatively authentic R& B color. But to be so, Key needs to be stronger, but he hasn’t met the need. He should have caught up with Jonghyun’s R&B vocal at every moment, but he couldn’t do so as Jonghyun is so strong. However, he’s become more powerful this time. He has this smooth general flow and a very refined style hidden, so I look forward to the color sense he will contribute to the team in the future.

* Minho and Key’s rap has become much more flowing than before. But their rap tone does not match the vocalists’ tone. It looks like it will take more time. SM is not strong at rap. However, because they don’t follow the typical style of rap genre, it could sound more comfortable to those “music fans who prefer the vocal”. And once in a while there comes a very unique rapping. Like Micky Yoochun’s rap these days. I expect Minho and Key to make their own unique rapping that fits with SHINee’s style.

* How amazing it is for them to come back in such a new look in only a few months. Even SM doesn’t have a “medicine that drills a voice,” so it must have been quite a spurt for each member. I’m envious while being proud of them. Now with a frame made, I hope they could do well in the process of building and completing the frame, which is not an easy thing to do. The joy of watching their live has just begun.

[piffania.com] Trans by jujugal

This is an old review made when SHINee came back with their first regular album in 2009. No review can be absolutely objective, and I didn’t translate this to shove it as such to your face. I just think this reviewer is making a very interesting point.

On YTV ten, the MC pointed out what’s so attractive about SHINee is their good relationship as well as their wonderful singing and dancing. We all agree with him, don’t we? Sadly, I see lots of divisive and hurtful comments about singing parts here and there these days. What’s happening with SHINee World? Our boys are in good harmony. While they are so mature, self-confident, and in harmony, we shawols are ashamedly so childish and bias-centered. Jonghyun once said, “There’s no particular position to each of SHINee. We can all sing, rap, and dance.” See what some of you are making your bias. You guys are actually lowering the one you think you love.

I think some of fans lose the perspective as a shawol when they are too much obsessed with their biases. When you only see things from what you think is the perspective of your bias, you may actually end up ruining his prospects. Members are not rivals that steal lines from each other. Let’s not forget they are working together as SHINee. They are mature enough to know what’s good for SHINee is good for each of them. They are out to make the world stage their own together as one. I used to be proud of SHINee World. These days, my sha-pride has been hurt badly.

[Review] The Classic Idol – SHINee Ranked 5th

There was a time when music critics considered idols’ CDs “untouchables.” They did not want to review the disposable and consumer-oriented music, and there was nothing much to talk about. However, there have been signs of change. Now we are in an age in which people should be “sorry not to be cool” if they are still prejudiced about idol music. The improved quality of idols’ music has contributed to the change. Songs made by young composers like Kushi, Kenzie, Brave Brothers, Shinsadong Tiger, Jinu (Hitchhiker) are no doubt well-made, and there is no turning away from such well-made music. What idol CDs do music critics think are the most valuable? We asked each of 10 music critics, who are working actively in the field, to select 5 CDs, and the following is the list of the top 5 CDs.

1. Brown Eyed Girls (2009)

2. 2NE1 1st Mini Album (2009)

3. BoA (2002)

4. Taeyang (2008)

5. SHINee (2009)

At the time of “Noona Is So Pretty” or “Love Like Oxygen,” SHINee just had the image of “idols tailored for noonas.” At least until they sang “Ring Ding Dong.” If their previous songs were in the line of Chris Brown, SHINee’s music since the end of 2009 has turned closer to Li’l John or Ludacris. With their music style change from gentle R&B pop to dirty South hiphop beat, SHINee have transformed from asexual boys to self-confident men. Especially Ring Ding Dong and Jojo are songs impressive enough to be counted as good examples of adapting African rhythm and 1980s house beat into a twenty-first style. It illustrates the range of references Yoo Youngjin and Kenzie used.

By Cha Woojin

Writer – Kim Hakseon

[from http://www.dazeddigital.co.kr%5D

Trans by jujugal

[Review] “Next Entertainment Idol Onew” in KBS Journal

Onew is not in any program yet after Yahaengsung ended. But Onew is rising as a next-generation MC or post-Lee Seungki because he can make subtle reaction comments and unexpected adlibs at will. When he guest-stars in a program, the program’s viewer board is filled with requests for casting Onew as a permanent MC, and the PD hints through captions his hope to have him in the program.

With his smart image, cute face, gentle but manly voice, and bellowing singing, Onew has grabbed noonas’ hearts. In the beginning, however, he was not a promising Entertainment Idol. In the first few episodes of Yahaengsung, Onew was just a well-mannered idol who didn’t do anything but smiling and had a “soon-to-be-dropped-out” tag. But Yahaengsung PD didn’t give up on him, saying “Lee Seungki was not who he is now from the beginning.”

Now Onew is reborn as a next Entertainment Idol with his walnut-breaking ttakbam skill and triple entertainment techniques (MC-ing+reaction+adlib). To Onew who replies “That’s your ability” to Park Myeongsoo who complains about Onew stealing his comments, noonas want to say this: “Please, show your ability.”

[from KBS Journal]

Picture cr to OnAir | Trans by jujugal


I hope we’ll see Onew as an MC in a program soon~ It’ll be a breakthrough for him. With fingers crossed~