I am sometimes tempted to find SME’s corporate e-mail address and bombard them with my friends’ portfolios and resumes because a) I’ve seen better photo editing, and b) I’ve seen this coloring before. This looks like something I could find on Tumblr (and it would have about a zillion reblogs too).
1. Up & Down – I was on the fence about this song for the most part. I like everything except for the chorus and the pre-chorus because it gets a little annoying, especially in Taemin’s comparatively higher register.
2. Lucifer – Extremely cool choreography redeems the song, which is actually not a good thing when you think about it. It’s not bad exactly; I actually wasn’t sure about this at first, and then I started progressively liking it less and less the more I listened to it, liking it more and then liking it less again. Catchy as hell but extremely repetitive, I felt like this song was longer than it actually was because the chorus completely overwhelms the verses (I actually found myself thinking, “Chorus again??” while listening). Minho was pretty good in this one, though; his rap was the only part I consistently liked.
3. Electric Heart – Food references again? Just kidding. I really like this song though. The beat is really slick and I like how they incorporated guitars with the hip-hop sound.
4. A-Yo – Not my favorite but it’s a good listen. I really like Minho’s voice in this one, it really suits the mood of the song, and I like that the writer didn’t force-insert a rap into the song.
5. Obsession – one of my favorites off the album, probably because I am a huge fan of the 80’s power ballad (something I’ve mentioned once before, I’m sure) and this reminds me of one, especially the last part with the amazing guitar riff. Minho’s rap kills me; I usually have a love-hate relationship with raps as more often than not, they feel out of place (like they’re thrown in just so the rapper has something to do) but this is just perfect. Emphasis on all the right places and I could actually feel myself bobbing my head a little, which is a reaction I never expected Minho to be able to elicit from me.
6. Quasimodo – I am pretty much in love with this song. I love everything from the harmonies in the beginning, to Jonghyun’s falsettos, the build-up in the bridge…it’s absolutely perfect.
7. Shout Out – Screeching monkey noises (wtf is that?) and Jonghyun’s ‘ah!’s aside, it’s a jam. I like it and again, I was bobbing my head throughout most of the song. I also like the fact that I get to juxtapose Key and Minho’s rapping styles for more than a few seconds. Overall, I prefer Minho’s because I feel like he has better flow, whereas Key gets by more by the attitude he raps with, as opposed to actual skill, if that makes sense.
8. WOWOWOW – Another favorite, though I don’t understand why they had to throw in the random autotune. I mean, it’s SHINee, for God’s sake, and they need the autotune about as much as a sundae needs a sardine, so that just made no sense. It’s young and fun and funky without being immature, which is something that other idols attempt but kind of fail at (think Jiggy by F.Cuz or Oh! By SNSD)
9. Your Name – I have far too many favorites on this album. This song reminds me of DBSK’s Beautiful Life (hi Cassies, please don’t throw rocks at me), in terms of just wanting to close my eyes and start snapping to the beat.
10. Life – I don’t like this song nearly as much as the other ballads but I really like the structure, how its all soft and staccato-y in the beginning, and then slowly building up and up. I also like that they gave Taemin a little solo part in the chorus (as opposed to just letting Jonghyun or Onew sing the whole thing) because I feel like it’s a little nod to how much he’s grown up improved since their debut.
11. Ready or Not – The ‘are you ready or not?’ parts really kill this song. I was starting to really get into it (for real, even the “guuuuuuurl” parts) and then you have Onew asking whether or not the listener is ready and I’m just, “Oh hey, I wasn’t aware that I was listening to Europop.”
12. Love Pain – I legitimately started rolling my eyes when Key said, “UH MY LOVE IS PAIN” (that is probably the most cliche way to begin a song…ever). This is probably the only song off the entire album that I’m sort of ‘meh,’ at. I’m not wild about the arrangement it’s completely typical and not as
13. Love Should Go On – I’m not wild about this song either, mostly because it just sounds so drastically different from the others (and here’s my gripe on consistency yet again. Why am I so OC?) I mean, there was variety in the songs but they sounded cohesive together, while this one goes off in another direction entirely. It sounds like something that should be in an anime or a video game.
General Comments: SHINee is not really interesting offstage unless Onew’s falling over something (and even that’s getting kind of old) so as long as they make good music and they can perform them well, I’m satisfied. As someone who’s seen them live (except for Taemin, as he was down with the swine), they’ve pretty much got the second requirement down pat. Unless you count RDD promotions, where they all took turns getting swine flu, I’ve never seen them…off, for a lack of a better term.
The first requirement is a little more difficult because SHINee has a tendency of drastically fluctuating when it comes to material: when it’s good, it’s really good (Replay, Love Like Oxygen) and when it’s bad, it’s like, “WHAAAT.” (the entire Romeo mini-album, Jo Jo). I do like this album a lot better than their first but I miss the simplicity of their earlier promotional songs. I am extremely attached to Replay to this day they were able to show off great choreography while also showing off great vocals. Lucifer feels like shouting rather than singing, and while the choreography is great, watching the lives made me consider the possibility of Onew and Jonghyun suffering from simultaneous aneurysms from all the belting.
The album itself is great, though. I like almost everything and the only ones I weren’t feeling, I didn’t like because I like to nitpick at everything and not because they were honest-to-goodness bad. Overall, I prefer the the slower, more mellow stuff, and I don’t understand why people think ballads immediately mean boring. I’m a bit of a dance geek (despite not being a dancer, ha ha) so I like that they consistently have good choreography, but at the same time, I like it when they just sit down and sing because Key and Taemin are reasonably good singers, and holy hell Minho, this is what I call progress. Good vocals from him and I am just loving his raps. He’s certainly gone a long way from “Hey. Love. Stay.” (for which my sister and I still like making fun of him)
4/5 for me. Good job, guys. 🙂