K-Pop royalty Shinee released a new album yesterday, and of course I was super excited for it. The band had an awe-inspiringly massive 2013 musically, but have been focused on solo endeavors since. The album is solid, if not completely the version of Shinee that I love best. Their new single, View
, is an instantly catchy summer dance track. It's very good, and I like it very much, but it also feels kind of basic and... familiar? Actually, it's an example of a trend in k-pop that I'm not too thrilled about. Entertainment companies in Korea have always looked outward for songwriters, hiring many from Europe and the States. In the past, these songwriters have given k-pop artists their most experimental, genre-mashing singles. Of late, though, a lot of these imported songs are sounding like... well, imported songs. View
was written by UK songwriters, and it sounds very much like a UK dance track. I like it better than those UK singles, because I like Shinee better, but what drew me to k-pop in the first place were its differences from Western pop. It has its tropes and trends, but it also takes more risks than a lot of Western mainstream music. Take Woof Woof
, a track on the latter half of the new Shinee album, as an example. It's another European songwriter, but the entire sound and composition is... weirder. Somehow they take a genre I usually hate (big band/swing) and transform it into a modern dance production. The fact that I love this is a testament to just how awesomely and energetically it's been arranged. Oh yeah, and that mammoth chorus helps. It's not necessarily the specific sound I'd want from a group like Shinee, but I admire its adventurous spirit and balls-to-the-wall bombast.
(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here
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Labels: K-Pop, Shinee