Thursday, March 29, 2012


And apparently they are so curious, cheeeeahhhhh.

SM Entertainment's reigning flagship five-piece boy band (yeah, that's the reality folks), SHINee have made their grand comeback to the music scene in Korea in full force. They've returned to their debut form a la "Love Like Oxygen" with a more grandiose, almost Motown-esque swing, over the more electro-infused epicness that was "Lucifer" or Auto-Tuned "Ring Ding Dong". In short -- it's kind of where polished SHINee shines (pun very much intended).

The EP, Sherlock, is seven tracks in length, which is rather long for an EP at first glance, until you realize it is is built around the single "Sherlock", which is allegedly a "mashup" of two songs that are included in the set in addition, dubbed "Clue" and "Note" respectively (playing into the whole 'Sherlock Holmes'-esque concept they are gunning for this time 'round -- complete with 19th century London-esque garb). In my opinion, the mashup idea is a bit superfluous, as "Clue" and"Note" don't really stand apart sonically, so fusing them together as "Sherlock" really should have been enough.

"Sherlock" the single is a fun one to be sure. While it lacks the instant gratification that "Lucifer" brought almost two years ago (can you believe it was that long?!), "Sherlock" is more heavy-handed without the fuzzy synth. However, "Sherlock" is one humdinger of a loud cut. It's one of those songs that sounds awesome turned up loud in your headphones, but you just know it'll be a breath-draining killer to be performed live (kind of like, say, Katy Perry's "Firework"), even by a strong and capable vocalist like SHINee's lead go-to, Jonghyun. When watching some of the the live performances, this much is very obvious as, while the boys manage to pull through it without looking too wilted, the chorus is clearly murder on the vocal chords.

Conceptwise, "Sherlock" has been all over the darn place -- first with the frightening "French-themed" member-by-member teaser photos that looked more like some kind advertisement for gay porn from the 80's featuring underage (and skinny) models, then the artwork/more teaser imagery with lots of splashes of paint/color suggesting an almost hippish theme. Then "Sherlock" arrives and lives up to its title trench coats, top hats, vests and magnifying glasses (ie, SHINee bbs playing dress up), mixed up with the typical SHINee hipster style (perhaps this is where the "hippie" idea comes into play) during the dance sequences. The two don't really collab well (other than the color scheme in the cinematography was similar), but I think we can all agree at least SHINee had a "concept" video with a "storyline", which is more than their Super Junior hyungs can brag about during their Mr. Simple era.

On the plus side, "Sherlock"s choreography is easily one of my favorites I've seen in KPOP recently, simply because it's so visually arresting, and makes use of the space with each of the five members working more as puzzle pieces that fit together rather than a staple arrangement we've seen a million times from any other boy band of choice (another awesome example is Super Junior's "It's You"). It was dreamed up by Tony Testa (Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and even the late, great Michael Jackson). It was a great reminder of why I had become so captivated by Korean boy bands in the first place...

"Sherlock", the song, is also the first single in a long time from the SM camp that ISN'T written by Yoo Young-Jing ("O", "Don't Don", "Girls On Top", "Sorry Sorry", "Ring Ding Dong", "Lucifer", etc. etc.), so take that for what it's worth. In addition to "Sherlock", the EP offers another stellar uptempo in "Stranger", written by Kensie (SHINee's "JoJo", Girls' Generation's "Oh!"), which was also performed live during their comeback stages and will be used in a future drama broadcast. The EP also continues to stretch SHINee as musicians, as Jonghyun wrote the lyrics to two of the cuts ("Alarm Clock" and "Honestly").

Overall, it's honestly the first SHINee release that I've enjoyed every cut all the way through (all though, I do think the inclusion of "Sherlock" and "Clue" and "Note" is a bit...much). Well done, bbs. I knew I could count on you to pull me back into my KPOP boy band lovin' feel. Take that, One Direction.

Check out the music video for "Sherlock (Clue + Note)" below.

And for the fangirls:
  • Let's all acknowledge the pink elephant in the room in that this is the first official SHINee era where all five of them are of legal age, so folks like moi can feel now only marginally uncomfortable rather than like a total pedonoona. They now all range in age between 18 (Taemin) and 22 (Onew).
  • I'll play ball with this ridiculous style concept but can I just police "caution tape" exist during the 'Sherlock Holmes' time period? Or computers? And also, if this is 'Sherlock Holmes', than that is British, so using a newspaper dubbed "New York News" is entiely the wrong hemisphere. Oh, SM...
  • Did you catch the sticker on Key's laptop said "iWatson"? Trololol...
  • Up until this era, I was resisting calling a bias in SHINee, mostly because I feel all five of them have their own endearing qualities. I always leaned a bit toward Key because of his hilarious personality and stage presence, and SMTown New York certainly confirmed that for me. But...
  • Jonghyun's hotness is hard to deny, especially when it's coupled with his big voice and those arm muscles. *.* You are a star, hun. Own it.
  • Speaking of Key, are those star shorts with nude leggings? What in the hell...
  • Taemin, bb -- girl, you need to tell your stylist to stop making you wear extensions. Like yesterday. Really. Really. Because not only have you grown into your dancing skills, you're really proving yourself to be a strong vocalist, especially in this era.
  • Minho, bb -- hun, you need to step your game up. Perhaps you should stop spending so much time mooching off your older sexier hyungs (ex: Changmin, Kyuhyun, Donghae...) and focus on contributing more to the SHINee party than your marginal rapping. Just throwing it out there. And I know I'm not the only one complaining.
  • Is it wrong that I want a trio of Jonghyun, Changmin (TVXQ!) and Yesung (Super Junior) where they just have an ad-lib (scream) match just for funzies?

1 comment:

Linus said...

Hahaha, I always love the "Fangirl" part of your K-pop reviews!

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