Dec 19, 2016
Dark SHINee Emerges With "Tell Me What To Do"
This review comes quite late as SHINee has already completed their short two-week promotions of follow-up single "Tell Me What To Do", but I've been incredibly busy with school and have had little chance of writing anything, really. I do however want to briefly touch on the topic that is SHINee's comeback with their repackaged album "1 and 1" and their new single which takes a different route than the retro and upbeat "1 of 1".
"Tell Me What To Do" is in fact everything but retro as it's probably one of the most modern-sounding singles SHINee have put out in their career. Along with "View" it's one of the most contemporary western-sounding pop songs, and I mean this as a good thing. While I love K-pop as a genre because it's mostly different from western pop music I also love it when K-pop groups try out sounds that are more prominently heard in other parts of the world. I'm not necessarily talking about mainstream radio music, because that's not really my thing, but more so other kinds of pop music within the trap, house or electronica genre for example. This song is more on the R&B side while still being pretty obvious electro-pop, and I love it. I love the underlying darkness, the moodiness and the sadness of it. I love these kind of songs where the emotional depth is present but not overbearing, and of course the members' stunning vocals add to the heartbreaking lyrics.
Onew sounds like heaven here and Jonghyun and Taemin are consistent as always, with Key pulling off both an impressive rap part and crystal clear vocals. My only complaint is Minho's rap, which breaks the flow completely as it rhythmically doesn't match the tempo of the song at all. This probably has less to do with Minho and more to do with the arrangement of the song, but it's still a shame on such an otherwise flawfree song.
This is a song of despair, desperation and heartbreak, as the members are brokenly asking their loved one what to do and how to make things right. Seemingly taking place during a break-up, it deals with the conflicting feelings of anger and sorrow as well as confusion. The lyrics might be simple but they're clear and straight-forward, getting right to the point and leaving no one untouched. I do however feel like the MV confuses things slightly as it seems to be more about a love triangle and a friendship gone south rather than a full-blown breakup between two lovers.
Taemin and Minho are the main characters as they are caught in a love triangle with a female lead, and the plot is quite vague as much is left to interpretation but the story does involve a physical fight, an almost-kiss and a car on fire. Like the song itself the video isn't too complex and you can tell that this isn't one of SM's most budgeted projects this year, but it does the job well. What I like about it is the feeling it conveys rather than the story itself, as I enjoy the dark and gritty theme that is portrayed through the shooting locations, cinematography and editing.
The mood of the song flows very well with the angst of the video and although it objectively isn't SHINee's most impressive videos it left quite a big impression on me. I quite enjoy the simplicity of it and the way it conveys the message of the song without being to complex or over the top. It's a good MV with great visuals and the song definitely enriches it as well. I sadly can't say the same thing about the repackaged album which comes with five new songs (the title track included), and it's mostly ballads. I generally like SHINee's ballads but none of these sit well with me, apart from perhaps "Beautiful Life", which means I enjoy the original version of their fifth album "1 of 1" much better than this one. I do, however, like "Tell Me What To Do" better than "1 of 1".