COUNTDOWN TO LIVE: SHINee

I promise you this one might surprise you.

As you might already know, I'm recapping the songs by the various SMTown family I'm most psyched to see performed live in person in just a few short weeks (just two left!!!) at Madison Square Garden at SMTown New York. I've already presented my picks for f(x), Girl's Generation and BoA. It's officially time to talk about one of my favorite KPOP boy bands, and the youngest male artist (technically) on the SM Food Chain: SHINee.

The five-piece boy band SHINee (pronounced like "Shiny") only debuted in May of 2008, but since then, they've been a literal firestorm of material. What began with the relatively innocent (although with somewhat ominous undertones suggesting pedophilia) "Replay (Noona Is So Pretty)", has transformed into five "contemporary" dynamos, as put on display with their most recent Korean releases via their second full length album, Lucifer. The ages of the quintent range from 21 year old leader Onew to 18 year old Taemin, and they often rely on their penchants for charming older women (see "Replay", all versions).

This Noona was first charmed by SHINee in the wake of their "Ring Ding Dong" promotions in late 2009, but they were upgraded to full on stanship thanks to the frenzy-inciting squeal magnet that is/was/will always be 2010's "Lucifer". I've already shared more extensive thoughts on "Lucifer" (both the song and the album release) and its re-package followup "Hello" on the blog last year, so it would be pretty pointless to re-iterate how much I fell in love with "Lucifer" yet another time. However, after viewing the live footage of "Lucifer" from the Paris concert this past summer, which includes flying bits, screaming rock guitar and a new, chanty bridge, the honest truth is "Lucifer" is the main deciding factor in my fanship of SHINee.

Their appearance on the Korean variety show Hello Baby, in which the five members attempt to take care of a precocious three-year-old as if it were their own, was another factor, plus the added bonus of lead singer Jonghyun's literally gorgeous crystalline-clear voice blending into the sex that was S.M.The Ballad's "Hot Times". Suddenly, SHINee was no longer a guilty pleasure for me, but a full fledged emergence in my musicial library. (Also -- can I also put out a formal appear to see "Hot Times" also performed live and in person at SMTown? SOMEBODY? Please?)

Suffice to say, "Lucifer" will be #1 on the Live Anticipation List for Onew, Jonghyun, Key, Minho and Taemin, but there are a few other lesser appreciated cuts that I enjoy and wouldn't also mind seeing live in addition. One, I highly doubt will be included in their live set list -- "SHINee World". It was often included during their "Ring Ding Dong" promotions, but after hearing it once, I instantly was more hooked on that than I ever was for "Ring Dong Dong" itself. Check out a shorter live perf of it during a year end award ceremony in 2009 here. The mere prospect of hearing the screamed "We're living in SM Town!" at Madison Square Garden makes me kind of excited -- I think it would be a really fun opener. Alas, I'm guessing it probably won't happen but it's still fun to dream.

Which brings me to the single that made me begin to believe SHINee was more than a hooky one-trick pony during their "Ring Ding Dong" Days -- the high energy, utterly unrelenting "A.Mi.Go".

Released back late 2008, "A.Mi.Go" was SHINee's third official single release, and marked the beginning of their change in sound toward more synthy, darker pop in comparison to brighter prior singles in "Replay" and "Love Is Like Oxygen". It's lyrical content could also be a kind of harbinger toward the "Lucifer" to come -- "A.Mi.Go" is not a reference to the spanish word for friend but is rather a shorthand for the Korean phrase: "Areumdaun minyeoreul joahamyeon gosaenghanda", which when translated to English is roughly "When one loves a Beautiful Person, they will suffer." Ouch.

While I enjoy "Replay", "Oxygen" and SHINee's other "sunny" singles, it was their more hard-hitting darker brand of pop that really made me get excited over them. "A.Mi.Go" was what helped start that trend for SHINee, so to see it live would be something really special. The difference between then and now is that, no matter your opinion on SHINee's sometimes questionable wardrobe choices, at least they are out of that awkward "hip hop" phase. Thank you, Stylist Coordis, for small favors.

PS - There is a totes awesome mashup remix of "A.Mi.Go" with Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" done by DJ Masa that will blow your mind (if you are a SHINee fan). Trust that the minute you hear it, neither song will be the same to your ears.

(Note to Self: Start jogging everyday in case you need to outrun Choi Minho. Also, continue to practice Key and Minho's rap in the shower in prep for October 23rd.)

Check back next Sunday for another installment of what I'm most looking forward to at SMTown!

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