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.
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.