It has been a busy year for SHINee. Because of this year–more than any other–it has become clear that SM intends SHINee to take the helm of the boy bands after TVXQ.
ALBUM: Sherlock / Read the review of Sherlock.
Released online on 19 March 2012, and promoted for just under a month, Sherlock is the fourth extended play album SHINee has released to date. With a crazily choreographed dance by Tony Testa, SHINee promoted the singles Sherlock (Clue+Note) and Stranger. The lives in which SHINee did sing live were generally well-received, except for a few bumbling lines here and there by Minho, and even in the lives they did not sing live, their dancing was pristine. A solid, but short, comeback in Korea.
CONCERT TOURS: First Japan Area Tour, SHINee World II, SMTown Live World Tour III
Nothing much to say, really, sold-out shows all over the world; SHINee is busy filling their coffers.
see below for a discussion of JongTae, see Key covering Lady Gaga, Taemin not playing piano again
DRAMA: You’re Beautiful [Minho]
I never wrote anything about this drama on ilam, because (as everyone knows) my bias is mostly Jonghyun, so I rarely pay attention to other members’ solo activities, like Minho acting in You’re Beautiful. However, since I did love watching the Japanese verison, Hana Kimi, I watched the first few episodes of You’re Beautiful. I concluded that Minho has gotten better in acting, and his range of emotions has increased from two to four. Maybe even five. However, Sulli and the other actors were actually passable; I would have continued watching if not for the asinine writing. The funniest parts of Hana Kimi were perverted into emo touchy-feely moments in You’re Beautiful, so I ultimately decided to abandon watching.
GAYO DAEJUNS [end of year performances]: see this post for a complete review
SINGLES: Dazzling Girl, 1000 Years, MAXSTEP [Taemin], Spectrum [Taemin & Minho] / Read the reviews of Dazzling Girl, 1000 Years.
Released on 10 October 2012, Dazzling Girl was SHINee’s first original Japanese single, an upbeat dance track that quickly went down the drain after the first few listens–it also was not too popular in Japan, peaking at no. 2 in the Daily Singles Oricon chart, eventually earning gold certification.
Later this year, 12 December 2012 saw the release of 1000 Years, another original Japanese single by SHINee. This thoughtful single, while not too novel or epic–more like a hand-me-down from TVXQ–was the first real indication about how serious SHINee is about creating material in Japan. Nonetheless, 1000 Years has not been that successful either, peaking at no. 2 in the Daily Singles Oricon.
MAXSTEP by Younique and Spectrum by SM The Performance are, simply put, disasters in dubstep. I never paid much attention to MAXSTEP, as it was marketed as a song promoting Hyundai–a song like that will never be good, like 2NE1’s quasi-debut, Lollipop. As for Spectrum, I discussed it in depth in this post reviewing SHINee’s 2012 end-of-year performances.
SCANDALS: SHINee members receive SM stock, JongTae, Sulli and Taemin couple rings, jujugal closing, Onew’s depression / isolation / beating up Jonghyun, Taemin having lots of foreign sex
The first ‘scandal’ is not exactly scandalous, but I do remember there being quite a bit of uproar when on March 26, 2012, SHINee and their labelmates received shares of SM Entertainment. Each member of SHINee received 340 shares each, which at the time, was valued at $13,600, which is quite a measly value compared to what each SHINee member should bring in each year. Moreover, after payment of the fees to issue stock in the original IPO, a sunk cost, SM really does not lose money either from this transaction because at the core, they are just issuing pieces of paper. Moreover, however the artists choose to treat their shares, either by keeping them or selling them, SM does not lose money either. It is a win-win for SM. All in all, this was more of a symbolic gesture, SM still trying to cover its behind even all these years after TVXQ’s split, and trying to foster a more collaborative community in its company, giving its artists the illusion that they too, can contribute. But 340 shares? Stop kidding me. Out of 20.4 million shares of SM Entertainment outstanding, SHINee collectively owns only 0.000083% of the company.
SHINee fangirls have been waiting for ever this ever since Jonghyun bared his muscled back in Lucifer–Jonghyun parades his muscled chest, every inch as glorious as Minho’s, and then does a steamy performance with Taemin to boot. Nosebleeds abound. The Taemint fandom gathers up a storm.
Of course, a few sharp-eyed Shawols eye Taemin during Sherlock live performances and bring up the unlikely rumor, yet again, that Taemin and Sulli are dating.
Adding to controversial rumors of Taemin dating, the Shawol boat was rocked when jujugal, a well-known Taemint who did many translations and ran her own popular blog, suddenly closed down. Later along the road, many Onew fan sites started closing their borders to outsiders as well. The reason? Malicious Onew-biased fans started accusing the other members of SHINee of isolating Onew, using evidence gathered from the Onew fan sites.
Running along these lines, rumors of Onew’s depression and uncontrollable breakdown which resulted in the beating up of Jonghyun started to spread, along with a rather hilarious one that Taemin loves having lots of sex when abroad. I partially addressed these rumors on formspring: , . The conclusion to all these rumors, as ever, there may be a drop of truth–Onew may very well be struggling with fatigue, Taemin may be dating someone–but the extremes to which they are imagined are definitely not true. SHINee are all normal human beings, and we can all give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not as pigheaded as rumors make them out to be.
VARIETY: Taemin on Immortal Song / Read reviews on debut, ep. 2, ep. 3, 4, 5, ep. 6, 7, 8
We should have all seen it coming–with Taemin’s solo activity on Immortal Song kicking off the year–we should have known that 2012 would be Year of Taemin.
Taemin had a solid but unsatisfying run on Immortal Song, slowly improving throughout. However, it really is in the group activities later in 2012 that shows Taemin’s rapid progress as a singer.