Oct 16, 2016

SHINee's Retro Comeback With "1 of 1"


This years' October is truly one special month. This week in particular is extraordinary. Will I ever see SHINee, Got7, BTS and Infinite promote simultaneously on music shows like this again? Four of my bias groups on one stage? It's too good to be true, and yet it's happening. This fall has really been delivering so far, and all I need know is for my favorite girl groups to come back too and 2016 will end in the best way possible. SHINee released their new single and fifth full album "1 of 1" on October 5th and it was about time considering it's over a year since "Married To The Music" and even longer since "View". This comeback provides yet another side of SHINee to prove their endless versatility, while at the same time giving the feeling that this is what they've always been doing.

What impresses me the most, I think, is how drastically different this title track is to last year's "View" and "Married To The Music", but how it doesn't feel any less like SHINee, not even the slightest. How do they do it? How do they switch between concepts, genres and styles whilst still remaining that typical SHINee vibe? I don't understand how it's possible, but if anything that speaks of how atypical this group is and how special and unique they are to be able to pull it off. Anyone who says that SHINee isn't one the best groups to bless K-pop, at least in that aspect, is clearly lying to themselves. Call me biased, and I'm aware that I am, but don't tell me this group isn't fantastic at what they do.

07_B48CB8EC221F4F8FA"1 of 1" maybe isn't their best title track and MV might not be their best either, but I love the dedication to the 90's retro concept. We've seen the 60's, 70's and 80's been represented before, but the 90's has probably been too recent of an era to count as retro up until now, apparently. I like that they're going for it with the questionable clothes and cheesy-sounding music, and I'm quite positive that any other group doing this would've looked ridiculous. But not SHINee of course, because they have the magic ability of making anything look cool.

The song is really nostalgic sounding and they've truly mastered some of those classic 90's elements, and that goes for the video too. Neither are especially groundbreaking or brilliant, but they're charmig and puts a smile on my face. The song in particular has really grown on me, as it's much better when you just take it as it is; a quite generic 90's pop track. It sounds much like many other songs that were released during the same time period, but the musical arrangement is really enjoyable once you give it a proper listen and the vocals and harmonies are flawless as usual.

The video is also quite generic, but with a retro twist, and although it's not really that exciting the members are always bringing their A game. It's a pity Onew injured his ankle by the time of the shoot so he wasn't able to join the choreography scenes, but the other members cover for him well by dancing as well as only they can. The choreography is, by the way, much better than the one for "View", and although they aren't as synchronized or sharp as when they were younger they're still better performers than most acts. SHINee's charm is really what keeps this video alive because although I live for the cheesy 90's video transitions and outrageous clothing there isn't really much else happening, and I do find it strange that there are so many girls in the MV when it's about loving only one girl.

The album, which is the group's fifth, feels more like a long mini-album since there are only 9 songs on it. I personally would've liked even more tracks but I guess I'll just have to deal with what we're getting, and I can't complain about the material that is on the album. Personally I think that the album as a whole isn't their best work, and that goes for this comeback in general, but I'm happy to see them continuing to reinvent themselves and change up their musical direction. Without loosing any piece of their already established identity this album tries out a variation of sounds; from 90's disco music to alluring R&B as well as the classic SHINee pop.

03_A67378FF6FCE44B9I think he first five songs on the album are all brilliant with "Feel Good" and "Don't Let Me Go" being two favorites, and although I don't think "Prism" is as fantastic as fans are claiming it's still a great song. The second half of the album isn't as good, but I really like "Shift" and I'm on the edge of whether I'm intrigued by "U Need Me" in a positive or negative way. In the end the album does have a great flow and a cohesive sound, and the boys deliver flawless vocals as always. I'm especially impressed with Minho's constantly improving vocals, as he gets to sing a lot more on here compared to other releases. Like I said before; this isn't my favorite album of theirs nor is it my favorite comeback, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful. I know I'm SHINee trash but I actually don't think it's possible for this group to not impress me every time they come back.

MV: 3,5/5
Album: 4/5

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