Jan 10, 2015

Jonghyun's Solo Debut Post Coming Through!

Jong Hyun - BASE

Well well, who do we have here if not another SM solo project? I'm honestly not complaining even a tiny bit about some of my favorites getting some time alone in the spotlight, but I do think there needs to be a limit somewhere. It feels like literally everyone everywhere is getting a solo these days, and not only SM idols. CNBlue's Yonghwa and Teen Top's Niel are scheduled for solo debuts, as well as Crayon Pop's Soyul. It has become a trend, just like with sub-units a few years back, and that means I'm pretty much jumping ship because nothing kills it for me more than than that kind of hype. If everyone's doing it, it means that it's not really coming from a place of genuineness but rather just from jumping on the bandwagon.

Also, far from everyone has the capacity of standing on their own as a solo artist. If you've always been with your group and learned how to work together in a team, facing promotions all by yourself is a challenge not many will pull off as good as they might have if with their group mates. SHINee's Taemin went solo back in August, and managed to do a fairly good job, but that was mostly because of his phenomenal skills as a dancer and improved singer. When I heard that my darling Jonghyun would be next in line though, I felt nothing but joy and anticipation. I personally find him the most well-rounded in the group, as well as having an amazing presence on stage and a burning passion for composing and performing. 

Jonghyun has been interested in and passionate about writing his own music since a long time ago, and he has played some tunes of his own via his radio show "Blue Night" every now and then so fans could hear what kind of music he was into. He has also been involved in writing lyrics for some of SHINee's own songs, such as "Symptoms", "Juliette" and "Honesty" as well as composing for others, like Son Dam Bi and IU. With these credits all on his plate, I was excited for him to actually have have his own album which he could title only his, and perform the music that he wants to. If there's anything I want for this man, is for him to freely express himself through the music he creates, and it appears that's exactly what it seems he has done for "Base". 

Although the album has not come out just yet, his pre-release track "Déjà-Boo" as well as the title "Crazy (Guilty Pleasure)" have sounded pretty much like what I expected from him considering his previous compositions. The video for the latter came out two days ago (on the 8th), and I actually didn't watch it until today because I had to mentally prepare myself first. I'm not even kidding. 

It's kind of hard to me to know where to start with this video, because there is just so much going on and it's so hard for me to be objective when it comes to this man. If we start at the very beginning, I thought the teaser photos looked amazing, but it is of course Jonghyun we're talking about so nothing else is to be expected really. However, the concept seemed interesting and different, and the pictures made good use of playing around with lights and shadows and various filters. With SM, you never know if what you see is what you get, but this time it did match which I'm really grateful for.

[OFFICIAL] Kim Jong Hyun – Concept Photo For ‘Base’ 2000x3000Aesthetically, this video is beautiful. It's dark, both figuratively and literally, the entire way through, and like with the pictures it switches from black and white to intense reds and greens and makes use of lights and effects in clever ways. I guess you could say it resembles Taemin's a little bit, but Jonghyun's is a lot darker and quite more consistent as well. I particularly liked the splash of colors, as well as the fireworks and the disco-ball-like shadows on the band as the play. Jonghyun himself also fits the visual theme of the video, with his slightly darker makeup and hair that's thankfully not bleach blonde anymore, and I'm in love with the clothes he's wearing. Well, the clothes that he does wear. It would be quite silly of me not to mention his abs, and I would be lying big time if I said I didn't have a bit of a breakdown whenever he bared his torso for the camera. Seriously though, if you have a body like that, I would be unfair to keep it to yourself and not share it with the world.

At first, I thought that the song and video felt a bit mismatched, like they didn't really work together. The video is quite heavy, and the song is quite light musically. Although the lyrics fit perfectly, I would have wanted something heavier on the instrumentals for it too truly match the dark themes of the video. Now that I've watched it a few times the contrast isn't as sharp, but it's still a bit of a disturbance. If you take a look at the lyrics, which are indeed Jonghyun's own words, it's a confession and a cry for help. He sings about being trapped in this particular girl's nest, which the giant spider holding him hostage not so subtly symbolizes (seriously though, that spider was pretty cool), but he doesn't necessarily want to escape either. Although he knows she's not good for him and that he's bound to get hurt, he can't help but too fall in deeper anyway. You can see Jonghyun clearly struggling in the video, as he is both tied up and is wearing a gas mask (to keep him from suffocating, I presume). Yet he is also seen with the dangerous woman, gently touching her face and craving her closeness. I'm not sure how much of this is based on a true experience of his, but he does a great job conveying both the despair, confusions and anger he feels over being so addicted to the pleasure that comes from playing around with fire

[OFFICIAL] Kim Jong Hyun – Concept Photo For ‘Base’ 1600x2400
I personally really like the video, but I don't necessarily love it. For an SM release, it definitely sits in the higher ranks of video quality, but there doesn't seem to be a way to entirely escape the box sets. Not that it matters much here though, as you can hardly see anything because it's so dark, but I would have loved to see something more reality-based for this song. However, I do sincerely appreciate how this video came out because it is extremely visually pleasing, and everything in it makes sense. Jonghyun's performance in itself is also worth praising, because that man knows to express himself and bring another dimension of vulnerability and realness to the concept.

Song: 3,85/5
MV: 4/5


As much as I like the MV, nothing beats seeing Jonghyun belt it out live in motion. He's so engaged in the music and the lyrics, and his skills as a performer truly shine when he's actually on stage. Iron is also a rapper that I will watch more closely from now on, because I'm seriously enjoying him too. The moment where he and Jonghyun come together and combine the rapping and singing is magical. I also don't care at all that there's no choreographed dancing involved, because watching Jonghyun doing what he so obviously loves doing is more than enough to keep me entertained.

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