Music Fair, September 2nd, 2011: “Juliette” – SHINee
Key speaks impressive Japanese, Minho wears a tail, and all is right in the SHINee World.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not 100% happy with how SHINee’s promotions in Japan are being managed. Everything they’ve done since their debut Japanese single has been an obvious rehash of their Korean work, and I mean, who’s gonna pay extra just to see SHINee don those silly safety-goggle masks for the second time?
But it seems that the one good thing that’s resulted from this whole Japan shindig is the fact that the members seem to have regained their ability to perform live without going into the voice-cracking, off-key downhill explosions that plagued many of their late-2010/early-2011 perfs in Korea. Three months have passed since the start of SHINee’s Japanese promotions, and it seems that even the unmerciful mic systems on Japanese music shows prove to be little challenge to SHINee’s performance quality. Unlike music shows in Korea, most Japanese shows provide little more than the bare instrumentals on a vocal backing track, so even the slightest pitch error becomes glaringly obvious. It’s a tricky system to work with, but SHINee has an unusually sturdy handle on it. (Case in point: here’s an MR removed version of the same Music Fair performance. Impressive stuff.)
Prior to leaving for Japan, SHINee gave out some pretty sorry and blog rant-worthy live performances. The group’s performance integrity had deteriorated largely because the members were being pulled to do a bajillion other things all at the same time – variety show gigs, drama appearances, modeling for this, that, and the other thing…the list goes on. But in Japan, SHINee’s main focus was on music and dance and performing – things that pop artists are supposed to be focusing on. And they done good.
It just goes to show that there are still K-pop stars out there who are actually good at what they’re supposed to be doing. But it’s kind of ludicrous that the current K-pop climate caters to the ‘all-around entertainers’ that, ultimately, aren’t really good at anything, and it’s even more ludicrous that the legitimately talented stars have to play the ‘variety show game’ in order to stay in the competition. Despite whatever ill feelings I have towards SHINee’s Japanese promotions, I’m glad that SHINee now has the opportunity to step away from the variety scene and focus on what they’re actually good at. It’s painfully apparent that SHINee’s spending a lot of time and energy on their promotions in Japan, but at least they’re doing something worthwhile.