The last fandom standing

There have been way too many things going on in my life lately for me to maintain a decent handle on what’s been happening in K-pop. I tried to watch last week’s MuCore and ended up fast forwarding through the whole thing because I recognized n-o-b-o-d-y except for like, Dal Shabet, B1A4, and Boyfriend. You know K-pop’s starting to get weird when freaking Boyfriend is the most recognizable group out of an entire hour-long music show.

Luckily, SHINee’s been doing practically nothing lately, so it hasn’t been difficult to keep up with those guys. Plus, they haven’t done anything embarrassing enough (see: DBSK) for me to abandon them yet. (On a related note: I guess this is what K-pop fans with actual lives must feel like — spending their energy on following the artists that they actually like instead of trying to keep track of everything that happens in the K-pop scene at large. Can’t say I prefer it, but it is a lot less exhausting.)

On the agenda: “1000 Years” PV, SMTown Singapore/Bangkok perfs, 11/25 Inkigayo, and Strong Heart recap — all under the cut.

This did not disappoint. The storyline is nice (heck, I’m impressed that it had a storyline!), the song is great, and the video is so, so nice to look at. Japan never fails with their video work. Ever. It baffles me why Korean companies insist on shooting and editing their Japanese PVs on their own turf. I wonder how many people had to be bribed in order for an SM artist to have a music video that didn’t consist of recycled sets, matrix camera sequences, and close-ups shots of each member. Lee Soo-man is probably crying in his sleep somewhere.

(This PV was so gorgeous it was actually making me nostalgic. For what, you ask? Oh, you know, just the Tohoshinki PVs of ages past. LOUD, DISGRUNTLED SIGH.)

The one issue I had with the PV was that all of the shots with the members seemed really choppy and awkwardly edited, as if they wrote and filmed the storyline months before and then added in SHINee as an afterthought. I loved the idea of casting SHINee as shinigami, but I think part of the appeal of having a fantasy element like shinigami in a modern-day setting is having the fantastical elements blend smoothly with the modern-day elements. The thing with the five black cat “avatars” was nice, but considering how roughly the actual members were edited into the video, it just seemed like a device to hide the disjointedness between the storyline segments and the segments with the SHINee members. Like I said, I really wouldn’t be surprised if they filmed the storyline and the parts with the members weeks apart, and then just hashed it all together in the editing room. In the end, it works out all right…but the K-pop Tiger Mom in me can’t help but wish for what could’ve been.

This perf features more of Chen and Baekhyun than it does Onew (or Ryeowook, for that matter), but it’s worth a mention simply because a) WOW, um, best SMTown concert ballad collab or what? and b) Onew is just such a great harmonizer. SM keeps giving him collabs and duets where he takes the secondary lead and sings most of the harmonies (see: “One Year Later,” “Please Don’t Go,” even “The Name I Loved,” which was technically his “solo”) because he handles harmonies so well. I’m glad and somewhat surprised that an idol-centric company like SM is so in-tune with this, considering the fact that lead singers in idol groups are not engineered to be team players. Most lead singers don’t harmonize well, no matter how good of a singer they might be. Onew’s voice is an irregularity in the idol world — it’s softer and lower and doesn’t fit electro-dance-pop music very well — but it blends well with other voices, and it’s not the type of voice that needs high notes or complicated riffs in order to display its full potential. It’s unfortunate that Onew hasn’t had many opportunities to show off this part of his voice with SHINee, mostly because there aren’t enough strong singers in SHINee for Onew to work with. (Remember when Onew and Jonghyun used to duet on every single radio show during their rookie days? Good shit, man.)

Also: Minho’s cameo in “Just the Way You Are” (still busting a gut over this) and Key in “Like A G6” (a performance that requires more swag than Key will probably ever possess. DNW you “Bad Girl Good Girl”-ing all over this song, Key.)

“Sherlock” is a ridiculous song no matter how you look at it, but there’s something irresistibly eye-catching about the live performances that distract from the fact that it sounds like something from a bad Marc Shaiman musical. It goes without saying that SHINee are great performers and I really think a song like “Sherlock” shows them at the top of their ability. The biggest downside to having idols promote the same song four times a week for months at a time is that the performances turn stale quick. It makes a huge difference when the group performs the song in front of a camera for the first time in months. Ridiculous amount of energy on that stage during this performance — which is really saying a lot, with a group like SHINee.

I think Jonghyun loves his sister a liiiiiitle too much. Get a girlfriend, please.

All of the SHINee members have now made at least one appearance on Strong Heart by now, and I think it’s safe to say that all of them are equally bad at talking. :( Makes me wish that they were still rookies and didn’t have to do all the big-kid variety shows that actually require some storytelling skills. Yunhanam 2.0, anyone? Kidding.


Sometimes, when you’re at a women’s college and you spend every waking hour surrounded by women…sometimes, this is what you need. Sigh.

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  • interesting observation about shinee as of late i love the bonus in the end of the behind the scene of minho’s behind the scene photoshoot (i can’t help myself be drawn to conventionally attractive people i’m aware of my shallowness i do this all the time anyway to hot guys and ogle them when I want to as well)

  • lae

    Welcome to my world aka. ‘I have no idea what’s going on with new K-Pop groups past 2010’ (but somehow still spend way too much time on it). At the same time, SHINee and DBSK/JYJ are not easy groups to be a fan of, at the moment.

    Loving the SHINee PV (the styling!) and adore shinigami concepts in general. It may be one of my favourite PVs of the year, though I’ve realised a MV really only needs some sort of storyline and no boxes/indoor manufactured sets for it to be in the running (especially by a SM artist). I agree with you about the messy editing.

    Re: Strong Heart. Taemin barely spoke, so idk. I found Jonghyun cute, if a little too enthusiastic in the ‘bursting to speak’ kind of way. Yes, he seems like he needs a girlfriend, but I found it more charming than creepy. Maybe it’s because I wish my little brother adored me even half as much LMAO.

    I have many exasperated and angry opinions about Humanoids…but I will save that for my own blog. sigh.

  • Apparently I need to visit here more often. I love some Shinee but am not blind to their short comings & tend to rib them in a big sister-ly type of way.

  • ky

    Sometimes I feel bad that it’s almost too easy to poke fun how hard Minho works at fitting into that template of an ‘idol’ means and the awkward results (like that Usher OMG cover…), especially in the company of 4 other talented performers for group members. If there’s one thing though that he has a natural affinity for though, it’s modelling and I wish there was a way to incorporate that more into his image. Hideous performance attire aside (dancing in a trench coat is beyond stupid), Minho’s fresh faced look and his physique is meant for fashion editorials when he’s dressed by people who know what they’re doing. He’s got that ‘low-key, athletic guy on the track team’ vibe that’s kind of understated, which is actually pretty refreshing, and I wish i saw it more often. But SHINee needs someone to take care of variety show appearances and obviously nobody else (save Key?) are up to the task at this point. Onew is a forever awkward turtle but that’s ok because THAT VOICE.

  • Chris

    Aww Humanoids is my jam! I thought it was going to be horrible like that Japanese robot song. Catch me was, eh, alright – not as bad as I thought (I despise dub-step for the most part).

    Maybe I like Humanoids because it exceeded my expectations. But it also had a groovy Micheal Jackson-esque feel…mixed with a little bit of overplayed SuJu elements. DBSK looked beautiful, the vocals were lower range and pretty, ugly jackets weren’t THAT distracting, and the dance was simple yet complex and slick. It’s not an earth shattering song/MV befitting this group. Stand alone, apart from their track record and name, it’s a good way to get pumped.