[kpop] SHINee biased analysis of Gayo Daejun

I completely forgot about Gayo Daejun last night. This is a fail, because I was planning to watch it. Instead, I got up at 12:20PM today. Major fail. Nevertheless, Youtube is forgiving.

SHINee appeared in three performances: Key and Onew singing trot, Taemin participating in the maknae performance of Britney Spears’ Circus, and Lucifer with f(x).

I advise you skip over the trot, unless you specifically like that genre. The corny sparkling black outfits of Key and Onew were kitschy, but their good-natured expressions made the whole 1:02 minutes bearable. Sort of.

Taemin as the ringleader in Circus was horrendous. Instead of being sexy, he was awkwardly-cute-trying-to-be-sexy. If you watch the beginning of the original music video, Britney Spears has an undeniable, overt sexuality: we see her curvy silhouette, and in another cut, she is dressed in a skin-tone, skin-tight outfit. Of course, some may argue that Taemin does not have to imitate Britney because they are, after all, different artists. In this case, given the lyrics and the music itself, it is sort of impossible not to channel sensuality. Moreover, they gave Taemin a whip. A whip. So yes. The producers knew that they wanted to channel Sex Taemin. Taemin has proved he can be Sex Taemin in Lucifer (see long hair and guyliner), though androgynously so.  In this performance, he looked like a lamb with his curly hair, and it didn’t help that his costume made him look like a Puritan on the way to Thanksgiving.

Also, I don’t think that Taemin’s voice has achieved the amount of finesse necessary for Circus, it sounded all rather the same inflection: awkward-sexy. Looking closely, Taemin lip-synced most of the performance, so the track we heard was pre-recorded, which makes the result all the more disappointing. Sometimes I think we tend to take Britney’s recorded voice for granted—-she has an amazing range of breathy, raspy, nasal inflections that all culminate in a snappy and addictive song. This performance highlights how much Taemin has to grow as an artist and the questionable choices of the producers: Why the Puritan outfit? Why Circus? Why Britney Spears (that music video would probably be banned in South Korea!)? Why not cover another Lady Gaga like Just Dance in 2009? Or at least a Ke$ha?

Given the improvement Taemin’s shown as a singer in Lucifer and Hello, compared to their Love Like Oxygen days (where Taemin never nailed his high note in live performances), I am confident he will continue to develop in the right direction.

I completely loved the beginning of Lucifer with f(x), all of them chained and yelling. Jonghyun in the cage made me have a symbolism-orgasm; breaking free during his long note was also a neat trick. However, the music reinterpretation was a bit lacking: the remix was just the rock remix they previosly performed with TRAX. In addition, the f(x) cameo felt unnecessary and random: while f(x) was on stage, there was minimal interaction, and after f(x) was done singing, they disappeared. Honestly, I think that f(x) was just put out there, with their experienced sunbaes, to get more exposure and try on a harder and womanlier image.

All in all, Gayo Daejun 2010 was a glorified Music Bank or Inkigayo or Music Core, take your pick. I’m sort of glad that I decided to sleep 12 hours instead. (I lied. I slept for around seven hours, woke up to play Professor Layton and the Unwound Future on the DS and then went back to sleep.)


[kpop] what is Jonghyun doing in SHINee. he should be a solo Ne-Yo by now. –updated with reflection

Have you ever heard the acoustic version of Juliette? Juliette, the first song that Jonghyun penned the lyrics to.  The song that was probably their least popular, the song that inspired god-awful tie-die outfits.  The song that I now can’t get enough of and now am considering to learn the Korean so I can sing along with Jonghyun in the acoustic version.

If you have not heard this performance, you are dreadfully deprived. Dreadfully, miserably so.

Jonghyun has remarkable talent, in all the performances I’ve watched, he’s never off-key, at the most, a little sharp, but that comes from the (beautiful) wailing that he does.  He is never flat and horrible and embarrassing like Taemin in the great majority of the “Love Like Oxygen” live performances, which frankly is a little sad.  The live performances are pre-recorded, so Taemin has no excuse to be continually flat.  Which he is.  Onew’s voice has gotten a lot stronger; I suspect mainly because of his participation in musicals, his voice is no longer smooth and thin, it’s starting to gather a richer quality.

It astounds me to think that in any other country, Jonghyun would be the solo star.  He wouldn’t even be Rain.  He would be Usher.

Why is SM hiding him within a boy group? Why is Jonghyun’s career slated to die once he reaches a certain age?

Li Yundi. perfection.

I don’t know why this version of Juliette is so moving to me.  The subtle and controlled inflections in his voice reflect an artist in growth, so full of potentials and so full of love for his line of work.  This is the glimmer of godliness.  This is the glimmer that I usually reserve for Li Yundi.  However, Jonghyun has quite a ways to work towards becoming brighter than the Big Bang.

Jonghyun has the tough guy, softie marshmallow on the inside working for him.  He is the man that girls want to show off to their girlfriends as being a bad boy, and the man that they’ll take to see their parents.

If Jonghyun’s voice isn’t enough to make you pee in your pants, maybe you can watch Key touching Taemin’s butt during the performance.


Update: 24 Aprile 2011

This is a bit late, but I was following S.M. The Ballad’s promotions, and Jonghyun’s live performances on music shows were all rather disappointing– the radio shows were much better, but I noticed Jonghyun has a recurring problem landing on the pitch directly. For high notes especially, he usually starts flat and then slides into it. I can’t lie, this is disappointing. Especially so since I’m a pianist and I usually cannot tell pitch problems, but when I can, that means pitch problems are pretty bad.

So, Jonghyun better get back to his singing lessons.

A little explication on my comment about Jonghyun as a parallel to Usher, I meant not in terms of popularity but in terms of vocal talent. I think Jonghyun would not be as wildly popular, but he definitely has the vocal chops to meet Usher.

I hope that clears some things up; I am, after all, somewhat rational..