SHINee’s ‘Sherlock’ Album Review (Digital Release)
After a year and a half, Korean pop band SHINee has (digitally) released their long-awaited fourth mini album Sherlock. If Sherlock is any indication of the band’s current status, it is clear that SHINee is officially back and their sound as a group is stronger than ever.
The album opens up with the main single Sherlock (Clue + Note) where SHINee once again proves their incredible versatility in music. As a dubstep fan I have been very surprised with the recent “dubstep” sounds leaking into Korean pop songs (Look up the band NU’EST for a good example of this). Sherlock (Clue + Note) is definitely not a full-blown dubstep song; in fact it’s anything but. However, I was able to get second opinions on the album since my ‘first listen’ of the album was with some of my fellow SHINee fans (Shawols). We were all very surprised at hearing a hint of dubstep during the beginning melody of the song, especially since it was mixed with many interesting alternative and ‘show tune’ sounds. SHINee has stated that this album is meant to be an ‘experimental genre’ and I am glad that they decided to take a risk and release something that does not sound like average Kpop music. The beat of this song is fantastic and it’s one of SHINee’s finest dance tracks. It’s rare that you hear a modern-day pop song incorporate ‘broadway/show tune’ sounds into the chorus. What this song shows is that SHINee has really improved overall as a group – their vocals, English and rapping have all improved – even though they were already such a talented group.
If you love Sherlock (Clue + Note) then you will most certainly enjoy the next two songs, Clue and Note. After getting the party started with Sherlock (Clue + Note), SHINee just heats up the dance floor with Clue and Note. As far as I can tell (without knowing Korean…yet), Sherlock (Clue + Note) is a song in direct relation to Clue and Note (hence the name of the first song!). There’s an ongoing theme between the three songs, which explains why they all sound so alike. Though if you listen to them one after the other, you will notice that the songs flow with one another very well, and that it ends up feeling like a continuous SHINee dance mix!
*Update* – Apparently Sherlock (Clue + Note) is a hybrid song, combining the verses of Clue and the chorus of Note.
After fist bumping to the first three party tracks, you’ll be happily swaying back and forth to the next song. Alarm Clock brings us back to SHINee’s early roots with it’s experimental Pop/R&B melody. SHINee has a knack for producing addictive choruses, and that is exactly what makes Alarm Clock a great song. SHINee’s signature harmonies dominate the chorus and you’ll be bobbing your head nonstop while listening to this catchy track.
The Reason is one of two ballads on the mini album, both of which are great. This song is very different from previous slow songs of SHINee’s. While their earlier ballads normally featured pianos and acoustic guitars, The Reason actually has a heavy bass and an electric guitar (as well as a piano and what sounds like a violin/orchestra). I was so glad to hear an electronic guitar in a SHINee song, as the only time I’ve really heard them sing with that instrument is during their live ‘rock remix’ performances.
Stranger (Korean Version) is the Korean-language version of a song they originally sang in Japanese for the East Asian Drama ‘Strangers 6’. This is a great dance track with the type of heavy bass that you can cruise in your car too. SHINee could infiltrate clubs everywhere with this song, along with all their previous dance hits – such as ‘Lucifer’.
The album ends with Honesty, a stripped down song with a single acoustic guitar playing the melody. Apparently, it was SHINee member Jonghyun who wrote this special song just for the fans. I would tell you the lyrics if I could, but since I have yet to find an English translation of the song (since album was only released midday today) I am unable to you what SHINee’s exact message to their fans is. Though, I can say that is a heartfelt song that Shawols (SHINee fans) everywhere will adore, and even if you can’t understand Korean, it is clear that SHINee values and appreciates their fans and that the emotion in this song is real.
With the release of Sherlock, SHINee has proven themselves to be one of the strongest Korean pop acts in music today. Their musical versatility and undeniable talent will take them far in today’s music industry, and the shining boys of SHINee have come a long way since their debut in 2008. I’m looking forward to how this new album from SHINee will affect their future releases and beyond.
Tell us what you think of Sherlock in the comments!
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