Fire is uncomfortable. Traditionally, jpop is on a higher pitch than kpop, but this song is so obviously out of everyone but Jonghyun and Onew’s comfort zones. Though Minho sounds quite all right in the track itself, I am sure this is more due to the light-fingered skills of the Japanese sound mixers. I would not be surprised if this song was actually pitch-shifted. Overall, this song does not offer anything new; it sounds like a B-side to 1000 Years. Except 1000 Years was already a B-side, so Fire is a B-side to a B-side (does that make it a C-side?). It is possible the EMI wants to milk SHINee’s youthfulness by giving them predominantly high songs, but Beautiful from SHINee’s Chapter 1. Dream Girl — The Misconceptions of You is a similarly paced ballad that exercises the lower ranges of SHINee, and still seals in SHINee’s youthful aura very well.
The video feels a bit forced, especially at the end with the clapping. Fire is too uptempo and the clapping too awkwardly slow. Nonetheless, the concept is sweet, and there are quite a few heart-squeeze moments. However, compared to Tohoshinki’s I Know, released at around the same time, it is not as visually interesting and intricate.
As for fashion, it also feels disappointing for Key to be the only one in blonde; usually in Japan, Korean groups tone it down and mostly everyone goes down to shades of black and demure shades of dark brown, as in Dazzling Girl. Taemin looks especially handsome in his black hair.
As 17 March 2013, Fire is lacking in live performances, and so it seems like a release “just because.” This is especially a disappointment, as their sunbaes Tohoshinki have released some of their best material in Japan, while SHINee’s stronger material undoubtedly is Korean. As seen with the release of Dream Girl, SHINee’s voices have been maturing; it is also not a coincidence that two member Tohoshinki’s best material in Japan is their ballads. SHINee’s improved voices present too good of an opportunity to miss, and EMI should be hot on their heels on wrangling a ballad that can match SHINee’s capabilities much better.