By Shannie Brown
When talking about K-pop, there is one staple boy group everyone has to know and that is SHINee. Debuting in 2oo8 under SM Entertainment with the song “누난 너무 예뻐(Replay),” the five member group instantly became a household name.
The label they are signed to, SM Entertainment, is infamous for being in scandals regarding their groups. In 2014, three of their artists left the company and their respected groups (Girls’ Generation and EXO). Another artist, Sulli, is taking a hiatus from her activities in her band, f(x). This worried Shawols, the name of SHINee fans, all over the world. They were hoping that SHINee wouldn’t be the next group to have a member leave. SHINee reassured their fans by re-signing their contract as five members and releasing their album, Odd, on May 20th.
Odd starts off with Key (vocalist/rapper) narrating in English, which sets up the scene and the whole tone for the album. The song has a theatrical build up that will leave listeners intrigued. “Odd Eye” is one of many songs on the album that is different from their previous work because it follows the American trend in music, a repetitive chorus over a heavy bass beat. “Love sick” is an R&B/Pop track that was produced by The Underdogs, who worked with artists like Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Lionel Richie and more. The producers have created an attention grabbing record. “View”, the title track, is a 90’s dance inspired song. What stood out about this track was that the lyrics, written by fellow member Jonghyun (lead vocalist), didn’t make sense. For example, “…beyond fourth dimensional, a miraculous view. Sweetly dip it in and eat the fondue of light; you can start seeing the color of the music.” Once the chorus kicks in, one can forget about the lyrics because the song becomes so catchy. The next song is “Romance,” and it is reminiscent of their previous EP, Everybody.
SHINee isn’t well versed in the Hip-Hop genre, but that didn’t stop them from trying it. “Trigger” is an ambitious Hip-Hop influenced song. It sounds like three different songs put into one, but since this is K-pop, it works. The placement of the song is off-putting because it was followed by “Farewell My Love,” which is a slow tempo R&B song.
The seventh song on the album is a ballad called “An Ode to you.” It’s a simple song with a sorrowful melody and lyrics to match. This song easily has the best arrangement on the album. “An Ode to you” transitions into an upbeat song. Crooning out their signature “SHINee’s back”, “Alive” is like the track “Trigger” but more organized and clear with what they’re trying to accomplish with the song. “Woof Woof,” is an interesting title with an interesting concept. This new jack swing type record talks about how they follow their love interest around like a dog. “Black Hole” would be the classic SHINee song that fans are familiar with. The last song, “Encore,” closed out the album perfectly. A cross between a Ballad and R&B, the boys sang this heartfelt song dedicated to their fans.
Odd is definitely a solid album overall. It lost its way halfway, but it wrapped up all together at the end. With this body of work, SHINee has solidified their position in the Korean music industry.
Header photo and music video property of SM Entertainment.