[review/kpop] Jonghyun, Immortal Song: ep. 2

review ep. 1, review ep. 3

As usual, remember (a) I am not a professional singer nor do I have a deep knowledge about singing (b) this is my opinion only, you’re free to have your own and debate as you see fit, but if you disagree, be respectful. (c) Jonghyun sang live, and didn’t sit in a recording studio for days to get it perfect, unlike the original singers, so yes, these reviews are inherently unfair.

Performance 3: Left Handed, Panic

**note: I uploaded this quickly myself because I couldn’t find a video on YouTube for it. It’s unlisted, which means I don’t want people to be flocking to it (copyright issues?), it’s only intended for this blog’s readers to listen to. Feel special! So please, don’t go sharing the link to this video willy-nilly, or even worse, re-uploading it yourself.


The original song is pretty snappy and happy. If I was a more universal fan of that high school garage band / indie genre, I think I’d like it very much. In the way of high-school-garage-bands, the singers generally don’t have amazing voices– they have weird timbres, weird ways of reaching notes, but that all adds to the high-school-garage-band charm. So, I don’t have much to criticize or remark upon the singing in the original.

Jonghyun was in a band before he became a trainee, and he played the bass. He actually mentions that he invited some of his old high school bandmates to help him out, so I thought the interaction between the instrumentalists and Jonghyun would be much better than his second performance, when he sang A Million Roses. It really was.

For some reason, Jonghyun decided to go the heavy-metal, scream-o route during the downbeat highlights, and Jonghyun and the band were synchronous in capturing these almost whimsical changes in mood. The beginning chords reminded of Smells Like Teen Spirit— this arrangement was definitely more grungy than the original, and so Jonghyun’s novel scream-o didn’t sound too out of place. I say “too” out of place, because it’s a little unnerving to hear them the first time he does it; it’s so unexpected. He gets points for taking that risk, and more clearly juxtaposing themes of happiness and defiance.

Though Jonghyun’s voice sounds nothing the original, I couldn’t help but feel this song was suited for him to sing, a good mixture of low and high melodies. This song was also suited for him to perform. Jonghyun looked as if he was indulging his rocker fantasy on stage– dancing crazily, doing vocal ad-libs– because any chance of that with SHINee would be nonexistent. It was all very natural for him, and all very natural for Jonghyun, all very natural for us to watch. He conveyed the infectious happiness, mixed with a twinge of anthemic defiance, of the song very well. Sometimes I wonder if dancepop is the right genre for him, because his voice, though it drew comparisons of Michael Jackson in the beginning, can handle a lot of complexities of the rock genre well, and he does not always have to be the go-to falsetto and wailer on SHINee albums. As I mentioned in the review of episode one, Jonghyun has a great lower register as well that is rarely used, sadly.

I must contradict myself a bit. Some of Jonghyun’s ad-libs seemed too rehearsed, especially the cue for audience waving, and the part where he announces his ambidextrous capability (woops, I didn’t realize the video I provided isn’t subbed. Around 2min35s, where there’s only a drumline, Jonghyun says, “I have a confession to make. [emo-scream-o mode] I’M AMBIDEXTROUS!”). Of course, I don’t expect Jonghyun to come up with them on the spot, but they seemed a little lacking and a little like, “OK, this is what I need to do” or especially for the latter, “let’s get this over with because I need to focus on the next scream-o note.” Losing this rehearsed quality comes with familiarity of performing without an intricately detailed script before live audiences. But S.M., letting SHINee do their own things? Ha!

Watching this made me remember that Jonghyun is the true singer in SHINee. He always set his eyes on this life, while the others were scouted first or had more general dreams of becoming entertainers. So, as much as I love SHINee, it pains me to think that an alternate Jonghyun’s success could have been denied by being shuttered with four other people.

Final Grades (0-100, 100 best, 50 as average, roughly anything 75+ means I was impressed a lot)

  • Perf. 3: 85.

**if interested, click to read the notes I took as I watched the original and Jonghyun’s performances:
**if any links are broken, let me know!

Funny tidbit, while I was writing this review, I was listening to Li Yundi’s Chopin, Piano Concerto No. 1. Li Yundi transcends fangirl-dom. He is godly perfection.

Left Handed by Panic

rather short song
nasally voice
rather happy
sounds rather high school garage band
it’s infectious, but ‘immortal song’ wut
sort of like a Ke$ha voice, the na-nas get annoying after a while
the ending climax is pretty well done
there’s really nothing much to say, I can’t say it’s a bad song, but I can’t say I love the voice.. it has a certain niche

indulging rocker fantasy?
beginning chords remind me of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
apparently the guys from his old high school band came, hopefully better interaction? but they’re in the background, ick, lighting
props to Jonghyun for going death-metal screamy but it doesn’t fit :(
his voice fits
audience waving helps.. rehearsed?
ad-libs rehearsed?
infectious because he seems very happy, really truly
ambidextrous, rehearsed? but cute
ending was good :) ending melisma
his whole story just really reminds me that he is the true singer in SHINee
much personal touch with the ad-libs
the anticipation kind of flew naturally this time
good chemistry between band and Jonghyun (especially with scream-o)
especially the drumline  when he confesses but he doesn’t really own it.. looks a bit out of breath, like he’s anticipating the next move (the low note)


6 thoughts on “[review/kpop] Jonghyun, Immortal Song: ep. 2

  1. Yep, yep, the synchro was way better. :) Though I did shudder a bit at his first scream. XD

    I was so confused about the ambidextrous thing. XD I saw the Korean subtitles, and I typed it into Google, so I thought the others were talking about him. I was like, what does that have to do with the song? *fail*

  2. Pingback: [review/kpop] Jonghyun, Immortal Song: ep. 1 « the innocent lam

  3. Pingback: [review/kpop] Jonghyun, Immortal Song, ep. 3– and an overall assessment of all three episodes « the innocent lam

  4. I know this is pretty late, but I felt I had to comment. I agree with almost everything you said regarding his performances. However, I disagree with your comment about Jjong being the only Shinee member who wanted to be a singer from the beginning. The only member I would say your comment applies to is Minho.

    • Proof? I’m pretty sure Jonghyun wanted to be a singer but Minho I got the feeling was more of entertainer.. I think it is translation difficulty.. unless you are Korean.. that is and can tell for sure. Singers and idols sometimes are used interchangeably in translation when they shouldn’t be.

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