Jonghyun – “Lonely” Review

(Music Video)

Jonghyun (SHINee) – Lonely (ft. Taeyeon)

Reviewed on December 19, 2017

image

For this review, while I will be giving numerical values as per usual, I will not
write the analytical section that elaborates and explains the assigned ratings.
This is, in my view, to respect one of Jonghyun’s musical works in of itself: I
wish to focus less on a critical breakdown of “Lonely” and instead, I desire
readers to simply listen to the song and admire his vocals (and Taeyeon’s) and
his role in also working on the song’s composition. There are, after all, times
where music works—ironically—not in a musical sense, but in an emotional sense. The latter is what I want everyone to focus on for this review.

Continue reading “Jonghyun – “Lonely” Review”

SHINee – “1 of 1″ Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Live
Performance)

SHINee – 1 of 1

Reviewed
on January 13, 2017

For
where I wish to take this review, I plan to extend “1 of 1” ‘s prior
conversations: I agree with many that “1 of 1” is an excellent song, but I
disagree with those who claim such because the song is merely reminiscent of
“old K-Pop.” Instead, I hold that “1 of 1” is a solidly composed and executed
song that gains a lot of appeal due to how well the vocals and instrumental
synergize.

Personal Message:
Given that this review has been
continually delayed, I have decided it is time to officially finish it. As I
have yet to review SHINee, though, this review will still work out as I am
trying my best to introduce artists that have yet to appear on the blog. Also,
I do have some technical updates regarding the blog that I will address here
and will do so now.

The first update is that this blog
is now “encrypted.” What does this mean for readers? Nothing necessarily, but
in short it simply means the blog is “safer” with readers’ information (not that
I actually collect readers’ information minus view counts) as it is now a
“https” versus just “http.” In truth I am not too knowledgeable with this realm
of technology and cannot explain beyond just this, but readers should
definitely feel at ease browsing this blog in regards to information safety.

Secondly, while there might have
been a few advertisements on the blog, I wish to clarify that they are not from
me; the ads placed—which are now removed—are due to Tumblr and I was curious as
to how their ads worked and thus enabled them for a bit. In the far future and
if readers are not bothered, if Tumblr allows this blog to receive
monetization, I do plan on having non-intrusive ads stay. That said, monetization
is not to serve as motivation nor to turn this blog into a source of money;
monetization—if, again, it occurs at all—is merely a bonus and would
essentially only be enough for me to get, say, a cup of coffee every month. Because
I value readers’ genuine interest in my reviews and that I sincerely write
reviews due to my passion for pop music (and chances to discuss ethics and
social topics), if monetization ads in the far future do end up ruining
readers’ reading experience, I will absolutely remove them from the blog. But,
nothing will likely come anytime soon so readers should not be too concerned,
and personally, I am very much reluctant to add monetization due to potential conflicts
with readers’ reading experiences and perhaps even myself as my biggest fear is
that I would end up writing for money and not for love of music.

Onto the review itself now, although
“1 of 1” is a song that was released many months ago—specifically, nearly four
months ago—I return to the song as it has many intriguing points to discuss. Many
fans praised the song for being able to capture an “old K-Pop” vibe, and while
I cannot confirm that, I understand where those fans are coming from and I
would equally agree. Of course, however, style does not dictate a song’s
individual quality and thus for our purposes, whether “1 of 1” accurately
captures that “old K-Pop” style is irrelevant. I will discuss this further in
the review. For where I wish to take this review, I plan to extend “1 of 1” ‘s
prior conversations: I agree with many that “1 of 1” is an excellent song, but
I disagree with those who claim such because the song is merely reminiscent of
“old K-Pop.” Instead, I hold that “1 of 1” is a solidly composed and executed
song that gains a lot of appeal due to how well the vocals and instrumental
synergize.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.00/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.29/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Rap, Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus,
Conclusion (Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Rap: 6/10

6.     Bridge: 4/10

7.     Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Woo

Just like how each minute and
each second are different
Day by day, you become new
You’re the first of the first
That means you’re the only one

Your voice that calls out to me
lightly comes and slips into my ear
Your touch that I can feel in my hands
brings me to the dazzling world that
I’ve never been in before

You’re 1 of 1, girl
Only one
You are my answer without a doubt
You’re 1 of 1, girl
It’s perfect
You’re already incomparable
You’re the only meaning of my world

A person like you has a name of “Only One”
As if you’ve put on the perfect color, yeah
Like a sweet song that passes my ear
You perfectly match, I keep singing about you

Like the feeling I felt for the first time,
always replay
(Replay)
Your love newly shines
Once again, I’m falling, falling for you
(Come here)
I could never get sick of saying, “I love you”
A sweet kiss
Footsteps that only match each other
Without any warning, our eyes met
Why are you so beautiful?
(Let’s go)
You’re my baby

You’re 1 of 1, girl
Only one
You are my answer without a doubt
You’re 1 of 1, girl
It’s perfect
You’re already incomparable
You’re the only meaning of my world

1 of 1, girl
Only one
You fill me up without any empty spots
You’re 1 of 1, girl
It’s perfect
You’re irreplaceable
You’re the only meaning of my world

I’m so deeply into you,
I’m changing
When my heart that is lit up
with your light rises up
I will shine on you

You’re 1 of 1, girl
Only one
You are my answer without a doubt
You’re 1 of 1, girl
It’s perfect
You’re already incomparable
You’re the only meaning of my world

1 of 1, girl
Only one
You fill me up without any empty spots
You’re 1 of 1, girl
It’s perfect
You’re irreplaceable
You’re the only meaning of my world

You’re 1 of 1, girl
You’re 1 of 1, girl
You are my answer without a doubt
You’re 1 of 1, girl
(1 of 1, girl, 1 of 1)
You can’t be compared with anyone else
One and only
I only want you

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
analyzing and moreover challenging the current perception of the song, first I
wish to take some time to thoroughly explain what the current perception to “1
of 1” is at all. In short, the perception
I refer to is that “1 of 1” is a good song mainly on the basis that it resembles older K-Pop songs. Even more
precisely if we critically deconstruct even that summary, we would come to a
“debate” I addressed before on the blog: whether a song’s style can serve as a factor to a song’s quality (whether the song is “good” or “bad,” etc.). Although I
already offered my answer in this review—that style cannot be a factor to
critique—and have even explained such in reviews of Red
Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”
and even Crayon
Pop’s “Doo Doom Chit,”
I still find this provoking
question relevant. Here, though, rather than explaining the “debate” once again
(I only quote it as I find it more of a thoughtful discussion as it is less about
convincing people than and more about having that complex, deeper engagement),
let us instead understand why many rightfully and reasonably find that style is
a factor worth critiquing.  

In
“1 of 1,” the song does very much emulate older pop music—and indeed, there are
strengths from doing so. With the vocals and instrumental, the pacing of both
are rather intriguing: both are nearly identical, and moreover, both focus more
on flow than necessarily hitting high notes and intense moments—all these
traits being that of older pop music. The benefit out of this, though, is that
it creates what I later wish to focus on: solid cohesion and synergy throughout
the song. Everything fits together, and that is definitely a desirable trait in
any song. Moreover, with how the sections function with choruses being numerous
due to following an older pop style—as noticed by six choruses in the song—and, more importantly, that the choruses
are based not on necessarily being climactic but instead creating a smooth,
consistent progression in the song and indeed, we come to understand why many
desire to praise the style of a song. In “1 of 1,” it truly would be erroneous
to claim that the song’s style does not influence the song’s quality.

However,
I wish to challenge that idea not by disproving it; rather, I wish to challenge
this stance by extending it. Why is it that a song’s style influences
its overall quality? Perhaps it is not due to “style”—something that can be
overly generalizing to songs and vulnerable to pure musical biases—but instead
if we inspect this concept more closely, we find that it might be the
composition in specific that is worth praising. In other words, while style can
sway whether one prefers a song, we
have to understand that each song—even within the same style or genre—utilizes
their own specific composition techniques. In “1 of 1,” while its style
contributes to specific compositions, it ultimately is still how those specific
decisions are made. After all, if style was truly important, I would not have
graded UP10TION’s
“White Night”
as highly as I did. Let us, then, take
a look at some interesting and impressive points in “1 of 1” and see how the
song is good not just due to it “sounding like older K-Pop.”  

As
already mentioned, the cohesion and synergy from the vocals and instrumental
are the key strengths to the song. Besides sonically sounding well and aiding
in the song’s progression, it is this formula—if we can call it such—that each
section builds upon. For example, the choruses use the vocal and instrumental
pairing to create its iconic sound: a consistent instrumental with vocals that
become dynamic by switching between singular and unison singing—all while
retaining the pacing set forth earlier by the two aspects. The result from such
are choruses that are diverse in sound yet suitable in an overall hearing. Even
the rapping that occurs towards the middle of the song follows suit: the rap,
while sonically mundane at times, still holds decently due to the vocals
matching with the instrumental and thus granting an organized flow to the rap.

For
another point worth noting, because the vocals and instrumental are incredibly
synergized, “1 of 1” is the exclusion to many other songs: sounding sonically fantastic
without being strenuous. Oftentimes “solid” vocals are associated with powerful
note holds and frequent, difficult vocal beltings, and likewise a “solid”
instrumental is assumed to be complex. “1 of 1,” though, disproves both: due to
the synergy involved, the sound created from such is already appealing—even if,
overall, neither vocals nor instrumental are individually strong. It is
cohesion that provides the appeal. Tightness and being able to hear the clear
connections between each section, and furthermore, to be able to hear how both
instrumental and vocals play off one another’s sound is what comes as the sonic
appeal.

Finally
for the last praise and on a similar note of the last paragraph, it is that
very cohesion in sound that strengthens the sections. With being connected
seamlessly and having each part build off one another—such as the verse
becoming more intense for the pre-choruses of which then climaxes at the
choruses not through major vocal beltings but through alternating of singing
styles—and “1 of 1” truly stands out as an incredibly organized song. And
indeed, organization plays a large role in songs, and to reference the review
of UP10TION’s “White Night,” it is why I feared “White Night” would be a weaker
song as it appeared to be overly powerful to channel appropriately. But on
topic, this is why the bridge scores at a four: it is the only section to break
away from the smooth, cohesive flow established as it adopts a passive form
that is far too slow. And of course, there is one additional issue: the lyrics
tend to be repetitive—though this might be due to the choruses occurring six
times. But to be fair and consistent across reviews, the lyrics are penalized
for such.

Overall,
“1 of 1” is definitely a strong song if ignoring the somewhat tedious lyrics. Its
strength is in the synergized vocals and instrumental, of which then grant the
song much cohesion. And as I have argued, it is more than just “1 of 1”
sounding like older pop that makes it a stronger song; it is that the
composition involved—in this case, being able to compose the vocals and
instrumental in their specific manners—that brings the song’s delightfulness. Most
impressive to me about “1 of 1” is once again how sonically and structurally
solid it is despite never resorting to strenuous techniques—powerful note
holds, complex instrumental, and so forth. Instead, organization is what is
most valuable.

_______________________________________________________

One
more review should be coming out with this review: AOA’s “Excuse Me.” After I
finish that review, I will then focus on the many requests I received. For this
review, I do feel that I did a poor job of actually analyzing more closely
certain details—for example I never did actually discuss a section in of itself
and how all its intricacies worked to its benefits. But, given that the main
argument I had for “1 of 1” is not tied to its fine details, I hope it is
understandable on why I did not do so. As said, I wish to make reviews focus
more on the main point I wish to argue and not on merely putting songs through
an input-output machine. In cases where I need to focus on fine details—such as
in one upcoming request—I will definitely do so, but unless if it is essential
I find it more convenient to spare readers that. After all, a review could
easily become too lengthy if I did that level of analysis.

Thank
you to readers for being patient and understanding, and “You are my answer
without a doubt”—though this makes no sense at all. Just look forward to AOA’s
“Excuse Me,” though I may actually go ahead and temporarily skip it and instead
begin working on the three requests I have received.