The five iconic boys of K-Pop are back and set the K-Pop scene ablaze with one-of-a-kind tunes and styles. Heavily pushing that 90's trend that can be seen everywhere lately, SHINee grab ahold of the trend and make it their own with their 5th full album '1 of 1' and MV of the same name.
2. 1 of 1
3. Feel Good
4. Don't Let Me Go
6. Don`t Stop
8. U Need Me
9. So Amazing
With "1 of 1" being their main promotional track, SHINee delivers thrills and sensations as their album shows how they mastered not only their style but also authentic identities as artists. "1 of 1" opens up with a loud "Whoo," and the listener already gets a sense of the Michael Jackson vibes to come. Check it out below!
"1 of 1" offers listeners a trip down memory lane with strong instrumentals such as snares and blaring drums, disk scratching, electric piano blends and a rise in tempo from synthetic violin-like sounds. It is a total dance track that talks about love in a clever way.
The song starts off with witty lines of describing this "1 of 1" girl. Lyrics like "Just like each minute and each second are different / Day by day, you become new," and "A person like you has a name called Only One," have viewers wishing someone would whisper sweet nothings like that on a regular basis. But the lyrics aren't the only winning aspect - "1 of 1" is an enchanting song both lyrically and in sound.
The MV seems to be more fashion focused as "1 of 1" oozes 90's fashion and taste. Props to SM for also adding a grainy filter to the MV to give it a timeless touch similar to MVs filmed back in the day. The all-white rooms cater to the colorful patterns and style found in the member's clothing and billions of female background dancers. The MV is made simple, especially in its method of using graphics and effects, but not in a way that is lacking anything.
SHINee's stylist didn't miss a step in completing this 90's look as even the hair and lipstick styles are based off a mix of 90's Korean and American styles. I would like to personally brand SHINee's "fashion-forward" outfits as "90's Future," because it harbors the past styles (mainly through material and pattern), yet blends well with today's accessories. The high-water ankle pants; colorful, fitted suits; and denim designs are eye opening.
The dancing is sharp as well as flexible with variations of smooth movements, making it very well constructed. Their uncanny ability to portray the male body in a sexy way, such as when the boys shake their stuff towards the end of each refrain, also pays homage to Michael Jackson's famous choreography style of smooth dancing, rhythmic shakes, thrusts, and the like.
Taemin stole the show and owned the vibe of this track. I feel when Michael Jackson passed (Bless his soul), a bit of his musical powers fused with Taemin. Throughout the MV Taemin seems impossible to keep your eyes off (and I can honestly say I'm not biased here) and he just brings a new life to "1 of 1." Taemin and "1 of 1" go hand in hand.
The album shows a different side as it opens up with "Prism." The song offers a fast-paced track with a messy, club beat fused with game-like sound effects. "Prism" also features a heavy dose of ab-libs and echoing vocals from Taemin again.
This rushed song has a catchy refrain as they compare love to a shining prism while passionately shouting, "Shine light on my heart." The instrumental makes this track more of a winner as it dabbles with speed and has a nice fusion of classic piano, water drops and synthetic vocal sounds. The subtle changes in the instrumental make this song energetic, enjoyable and far from the smooth style of "1 of 1."
After "Prism" and "1 of 1," the album begins to mix up styles again with a mystifying sound in "Feel Good." The song's instrumental has an odd mix of noises like a Zumba Class or a hipster club in NYC. The odd usage of bells, synthesized vocals and claps on top of a funky 90's beat make "Feel Good" stand out nicely. As expected, SHINee want you to get in touch with your feelings as they chant, "I can make you feel good," in harmony with the bridge. The song evolves into a lusty track as each member is chanting into your ears with a hypnotic sound.
"Feel Good" seems as if it were recorded in a tin can, as it echoes and bounces back and forth between your ears, putting you in a trance. The deep "oohs" that coo in the background seems warm and sensual, which makes "Feel Good" become sexier rather than chic over time.
Following up is "Don't Let Me Go," which has a charming, upbeat piano opening. Suddenly, the drum snares shimmer and lead into a warm voice and more ab libs. "Don't Let Me Go" crafts a romantic atmosphere as SHINee utilize their gentle, angelic-like vocals with a higher pitch, aside from the rapping. The track creates a sense of longing and sentimental feelings as it rises in strength for the vocals in the chorus and settles down and ends with the steady pacing of rain falling down over a louder piano melody.
"Don't Let Me Go" is a delightful track and gives individual members a chance to rap a bit more than simply sing. The structure of the song seems to escape the 90's essence that was so heavily pushed in previous tracks and the switch up is appreciated.
Keeping to today's sounds, "Lipstick" continues the break from the 90's trend but still carries a similar sound shared from previous tracks. The uniformity is appreciated but "Lipstick" lacks a little variety. However, that doesn't stop it from being a good addition to the album.
"Lipstick" opens up with another beautiful piano melody and becomes enchanting as it has a mellow tune with a beat that seems hollow in sound. The upbeat guitar strums paired with the lively vocals of SHINee create a flirty atmosphere. I love the witty reference of wanting to steal a kiss through the lyrics "I want your lipstick and your color." The lines "your color" is symbolic of the staining color found on one's lips after kissing a woman, like a badge representative of romance.
After "Lipstick" the album takes a turn into different musical territory. "Don't Stop" appears a bit dangerous with a mysterious instrumental and whispery voices. You can see SHINee's maturity shine through this song, as "Don't Stop" is the more obvious love-making track out of the bunch.
However, "Don't Stop" isn't another cliche, baby-making side track - the song musters up an almost impure feeling similar to Ga In's "Paradise Lost." Doing something deemed naughty and taboo but loving it anyways. The song is another enchanting track as they mutter "Baby don't stop," and hold the "ooh" in "stop" towards the end. The song has a lot of synthetic instrumental breaks that sound closed in and gradually fade away, drifting into the next melody.
Just like SHINee, their fans since their debut days have grown up and now need a sultry sounding song like "Don't Stop." Definitely a favorite for many, I'm sure.
With the melody of "Don't Stop" slipping into emptiness, the sounds are revived through the club-like intro of "SHIFT." This song isn't as full of flavor and funk compared to other tracks. It comes off a bit generic with another rough, synthetic instrumental.
"SHIFT" is quite futuristic and has playful sound that fuses female vocals in the background as well. I hate to say it, but it really sounds like another perfect addition to an 'H&M' playlist. The lyrics reveal their is a "Shift" and "something changing between you and me," as SHINee want their lover "to get it together." However, I'd like this song to get it together and sound a little more original and distinct. Not completely disappointing, but lacks the strength the rest of the songs composed in this album have.
"U Need Me," hits the mark where "SHIFT" somewhat missed it. "U Need Me" is a bit more sassy and loud as the instrumental is sporadic and noisy with an in-your-face attitude. The vocals are well-paced and float along the melody with that familiar SHINee sound, but the rapping seems to come out on top in this track.
From rough snaps, ear piercing ringing in the refrain and destructive EDM sounds to suddenly soft vocals, piano melodies and blaring trumpets, "U Need Me" seems to jump everywhere. The instrumental seems to emulate the mind of someone going crazy without a person by their side. A bit messy, but much better than "SHIFT," in my humble opinion.
Being quite the lengthy album, the fun sounds of SHINee finally draw to a close with "So Amazing." The boys didn't necessarily save the best for last, but they didn't close with something weak either. "So Amazing" is loud and composed with another dance track melody.
"So Amazing" is fused with a futuristic jack-swing style and has a lot of flair. The blaring trumpets, loud snares and disk scratching make this track energizing and empowering as the boys shout "this feeling is so amazing" and "refreshing."
The lyrics continue carrying that love theme listeners enjoyed in previous tracks as the song rehashes love's amazing spark between two people. The song's lyrics are what make "So Amazing" creative and enjoyable as the instrumental alone isn't as intriguing compared to previous tracks.
Overall, SHINee pushed the bar up another notch with this album! They made today's trending sounds and styles their own with the promotional track "1 of 1" and showcased their evolution of music over the years through this album.
While the album does pay homage to the 90's and amusingly utilizes Michael Jackson's iconic flair, the album has a lot of heart and soul from SHINee themselves. The songs are well developed, offer variety and is worth the listen.