When I reviewed EXO’s Exodus repackage, I said that the group “delivered Chic SHINee-lite” with disco-pop songs like “Tender Love” and “Love Me Right.”
Now SHINee‘s back with their own repackage album, Married To The Music, which is SHINee doing what EXO did, only better because it’s SHINee (duh). Their title track is also noticeably dancier than “Love Me Right” thanks to co-production from “View” hitmakers LDN Noise (with help from Kenzie, The Stereotypes, and Deez — phew).
However, after “View” (arguably the song of the summer), SHINee’s title track does feel a tad safe and predictable since it’s yet another funky Korean disco single. Not to mention that Yunho’s “Champagne,” at least from a production standpoint, was more unconventional and therefore more interesting (not to mention catchier).
Technically, “Married To The Music” is probably a better song than track two, the Kenzie-produced “Savior,” but I like the latter more.
I just really enjoy SHINee doing house-y EDM pop right now, and “Savior” is so breathless and uncomplicated and to the point. It’s not as cool or gay as “View” was, but it’s not overstuffed or generic either. It’s just a great dance track, simple as that.
Everybody knows that you can’t go wrong when SHINee drops a baby making jam, which is why “Hold You” is the undeniable standout of Married To The Music. It’s an exquisite early ’90s sex jam laced with vintage synthesizers and slow waves of bass with Pitchfork‘s Best New Tracks potential. (Just imagine how many critics would’ve wet themselves if this was Usher produced by Dev Hynes instead of SHINee produced by The Stereotypes.)
SHINee’s vocal approach, which covers R&B harmonizing, gorgeous falsetto, and spoken raps is somewhere between the horny crooning of Keith Sweat and Jodeci and the more unconventional approach taken in “Odd Eye.” Actually, “Hold You” is really just the old-school “Odd Eye,” which is why it’s the best thing on here.
“Chocolate,” my second favourite, serves more vintage synths and sex with a big retro pop hook.
Penned by Jonghyun (with some help from Yankie) and cooked up by talented Swede Andreas Öberg, “Chocolate” is every bit as nuanced and delicious as all the great SHINee songs. Just listen to the flecks of guitars and drums after the chorus, or the way the song speeds up halfway through the verses.
SHINee’s a big band but it’s weird that they aren’t even bigger in Korea. I hope their career plays out in a slow and steady wins the race kind of way until they’re eventually seen as being as important to K-pop as BIGBANG and TVXQ.
Credible Korean critics have really started championing the group over the past year, but it’s a shame that influential America critics have yet to do the same. Where are all the hipster indie blogs and websites that are getting behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s excellent Emotion album? Doesn’t anybody realize that there’s this incredible boy band called SHINee over in Korea producing some of the best pop music in the world right now?