Because finals are creeping up and school is closing up, it may be a while before I get to painstakingly review Why So Serious. Therefore, in order to review the single, “Why So Serious?”, I recorded around 20 minutes of some laughing and some silence and some jabbing at Taemin. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: it is currently 1:30am, and thus I may not be able to vouch for the absolute rationality of this post.
Before I rip on each song, let me first rip on the entire album. Discounting the songs that were released previously released singles beforehand, the new songs in Time all make me yearn to tear off my ears. It is so disjointed and silly and not worthy of the vocals that Changmin and Yunho possess. They also do not mesh well with the previously released singles, either. Time is a slapdash album, and it throws into sharp relief precisely what Yunho and Changmin do not excel at– happy stuff.
What in tarnation is the first minute in Fated? It is heavy and untoward, and then breaks into a lovely bare, Yunho solo, followed by Changmin. I understand that as the introductory song, conceptually it may be nice to start with a ‘strong’ opening, but the contrast between the strong and weak parts was too unsettling. The chorus is too repetitive and too cliched to be memorable. I get it. The epic introduction. Whatever.
Next up is Catch Me -If You Wanna-. I did not review their Korean single Catch Me, which I did like, though it was simply following the dubstep dance trend. It is a solid song, with a very beautiful embellished instrumental. Their lives were simply amazing.
逢いたくて逢いたくてたまらない is probably the most awkward song to come after Catch Me. Upbeat, happy, replete with whistling sounds, and repetitive, and simplistic, it makes me want to wretch. Neither Yunho nor Changmin are exactly great at conveying cheer in their singing; their voices are on the ‘reedy’ rather the ‘full’ and ‘warm’ side, which makes it hard for them to pull off singles like this.
One More Thing and STILL I had reviewed previously, and to make a long story short, Tohoshinki rules at emo ballads.
I Know is more of the same deal: Tohoshinki ruling an emo ballad. I cannot stress enough that they are flat-out professionals at handling this genre. Every little inflection is carefully controlled, and the instrumentals are just enough to support the voices without overpowering them. The piano motif is sad and plaintive without being too commonplace. Their voices are so smooth and yet so tense and painful at the same time. Better yet, Changmin and Yunho continue to match and complement each other scarily well; when listening, you do not think, “Oh that’s Changmin. Now it’s Yunho.” It is just Tohoshinki.
Y3K is the next song, and Please Kill Me Now. The range is too low and the chorus is contrite, with the ring of “been there done that.” The rather slow beat just makes it excruciating to listen to for the whole four minutes. The yodeling melismas are just silly, too. The bridge seems to no relationship to do with the song itself– it is just an empty cesspool where we wait for the meter to return.
Thankfully, BLINK comes after Y3K. Along with ANDROID, I had reviewed these two singles, and long story short again: I was highly impressed with Tohoshinki’s clean and cohesive electrodance stylings. When compared to Catch Me, Android is the better dubstep single. It is truly an upbeat electrodance single while Catch Me is more like dressing for meat bait– the two steaks being Changmin and Yunho, of course.
When reformatted for the Japanese market, atrocious English was added to Humanoids. Think of Humanoids as the Catch Me B-side. It was not good enough to be a lead single. That is all.
Save me from this happy bland song: One and Only One. The latter half of the song, which dips into the higher register, sounds so unnaturally strained for both of them.
Is this song a love song for their fans? Judging by the six minute run time, and Yunho being forced to “la” into oblivion, In Our Time is the love song. As such, it is an insufferable song, sweet and sickly. Time to wash my ears by listening to another love song for fans, SHINee’s Dream Girl.
Last night, a thunderstorm blew into SHINee World– rumors of a possible Onew-Jung Ah (After School) couple. Here are the facts, and following are the photos:
- Onew and Jung Ah were photographed exiting a restaurant and sitting inside a car together.
- both agencies deny this relationship. From Pledis: “The two are close as senior and junior. They’ve had meals together for a long time and we′ve known the two are close.” From SM: “This is an old rumor and it’s not the truth. We’ve known the two to be close friends.”
- Onew has cited Jung Ah as his ideal type in 2010.
- They tweet each other on Twitter.
Here are the rumors:
- they’ve been dating for a year already.
- Jung Ah has visited Onew’s dressing room during the SHINee World tour and later they were spotted holding hands, wearing couple bracelets.
- they were on a date in Apgujeong recently without any disguise; they usually have quick dates in Jung Ah’s car.
- Onew and Jung Ah had previously been spotted ‘linking arms’ at a movie theater.
My personal take on the rumors– with the Jonghyun-SSK scandal, it is quite safe to say that all the SHINee members know they are under watch 24/7 in public, and I doubt Onew would do something as stupid as having dates in public without disguising himself. If I remember correctly, a patch of After School members had visited SHINee to support them in their solo concert; so, Jung Ah may have visited Onew’s dressing room, but the story is incomplete. Were they alone? Was it a long visit? Or was it one of those “congratulations”, bow many times, and leave? Moreover, apparently the holding hands scandal was caused by a user on Twitter who wanted to stir up drama.
Whether they are actually dating or not, I actually do believe that they have gone on at least one date. Especially since Jonghyun confessed that SSK was his ideal type, and then later was revealed to actually be dating her– Jung Ah is no Emma Watson, so I do not think Onew would have any trouble securing a meeting with her and possibly going out on a date with her. Of course, the more salient question is, are they dating now? Perhaps. If they are, I doubt they are meeting regularly now, because Dream Girl promotions are taking up the bulk of Onew’s time.
However, what actually surprised me the most is that Onew seems to still have serious acne. It is naive of me to think money can cure everything, but really, money can cure most acne. Perhaps it is easier and cheaper to put on makeup than invest in intensive care for Onew’s skin. It pains me when I see that he still looks like that underneath the concealer, because acne-friendly or not, concealer still inhibits the pores’ ability to breathe and prevents acne from healing properly and as fast as possible.
The second thing that irked me was Onew’s smoking. Given the prevalence of smoking in South Korea among men is 50%, I am not surprised that Onew is another statistic. Yet, there is something personally disgusting to me about smoking, even though many studies have shown electronic cigarettes do not have the smell or the heavy dose of carcinogens that conventional cigarettes have. Onew is a singer by trade, and smoking away his signature smooth voice signals a lapse of responsibility to me. Perhaps he only occasionally partakes, perhaps. Who knows? All I know is that to me, smoking is disgusting. Please note that this is not a judgment on Onew, saying that he is a bad person because he smokes. Some people prefer the dark and mysterious type, and in the same way, some people prefer non-smokers.
While it is refreshing to see a more human side of idols, Onew has been slipping up too much lately. To this end, I hope everything is all right with Lee Jinki; that rumors of his continuing depression are false. I have no doubt S.M. will deal strictly with Onew this time around, from flipping off Jonghyun, a ‘major’ dating scandal, not putting on makeup adequately when in public, and smoking an electronic cigarette. If I was Lee Sooman, I would have not second qualms about disciplining Onew proportionately, because the image is a huge part of kpop. kpop is all about the complete package, and if one element is ruined, the other parts are in jeopardy, and the other parts include the other SHINee members. Though these are all Onew’s own actions, the other members will still be negatively impacted by his actions. Though Onew has done nothing wrong, his lack of discretion has an impact beyond himself, so I hope he can learn this lesson well and continue being the smiling face that we have come to support.
BONUS SHINee members with acne: Continue reading
I hope you are all as excited as I am to analyze the SHINee’s Dream Girl comeback. I will split this review into four main parts: album, music video, lives, and overall assessment. Let’s get on it.
(1) Spoiler. This song begins with the opening synth to Sherlock. As SHINee has said, Dream Girl: The Misconceptions of You should be viewed as a continuation of Sherlock. Moreover, this introduction mentions each song in the album; establishing a very clear connection between Sherlock and Dream Girl. In fact, the instrumentation used on this track is not unlike Sherlock, except a little lower and sultry. SHINee is definitely back but it is definitely in a more understated, sexier fashion. Case in point, we have wonderful chants of mostly Jonghyun singing “Tonight, tonight, tonight…” at the end of the song. In fact, this song– verses and chorus– is mostly dominated by Jonghyun’s voice. The biggest disappointment is this track is Key. There are times he does sound lovely, but often the endings of his singing parts stick out and seem largely unfinished compared to the sultry croonings of Onew and Jonghyun, and yes, even Taemin.
(2) Dream Girl. Praise lord that this is not ”acid electro funk,” as described to the music critics who received a preview of Dream Girl before it officially released. This is just electro funk. If it were “acid,” it would be much more sharper and higher, and the electro part of the song would not be as full. Think Dream Girl on heroine and slowly wasting away but crying out for more to feed an addiction; now that would be “acid electro funk.”
Dream Girl is amazing electro funk. The tricky problem with funk is that if not done well, the novelty of the funk can overpower the singers– so, in essence, the audience is thinking this song is really weird and no matter how talented the performers are, they simply cannot ignore the weirdness of the funk. The song was assiduously mixed with this in mind: the funk elements are there but not in your face– we get treated to beautiful falsettos mostly sung by Onew and Jonghyun (heavy on the Jonghyun for the most part), and “funky” synths like guitar riffs and interesting bass lines, while present, are kept minimal in the background. These funky moments are likewise paired with minimal electro synthy tricks; the choruses are all our familiar Sherlock electro with a light percussive beat, so the track itself cannot be categorized as just plain funk, hence the electro funk. Dream Girl strikes the correct balance, which is what makes it such an exciting track to listen to.
I am excited to say that I will be reviewing SHINee’s Dream Girl album in its entirety, including the music videos and subsequent live performances, hopefully within one week. In the meantime, I was listening to Dream Girl using Google Music and it surprisingly generated a great playlist based on Dream Girl. It can help you, perhaps, to pass some time while you are waiting for my review. As a good SHINee fangirl, I have been listening to Dream Girl non-stop, and so it is refreshing to jam to other tunes from time to time!
Included: Maroon 5, G-Dragon, BEAST, 4minute, Jin Akanishi, Marina & The Diamonds, TVXQ, and more.