If you didn’t know Kim Jonghyun before, you will now. He is a member of the Korean idol group SHINee [who have been together for 8 years can you believe it – remember when Noona You’re So Pretty came out?]
On Monday evening he released his first full length album ‘She Is’ and I have been listening to it non-stop, in absolute awe of his vocal abilities. Some people will know that I have admired Jonghyun (oppa – I won’t use honorifics) for his voice for a long time.
People are describing this album as the album to ‘save KPop’. I didn’t think KPop needed saving but I understand the sentiment. As a Brit, KPop (and for that matter, any other form of non-English language music) is not particularly popular and I often get laughed out the room when I try to play KPop to anyone, but this is an album that I think will make people think twice.
I really admire the change of direction he has taken on some of these tracks and it shows his versatility as an artist. These new styles he has adopted really fit him and I appreciate the maturity in his lyrics (even if they are slightly…. risqué) [Scroll to the bottom for a track by track personal review of the album]
To hear snippets of every song on the album, watch the showcase Jonghyun did on 23rd May 2016 where he sang the album live . Prepare to be blown away.
And to see the M/V for the single She Is – check the video below. Be prepared for pastels, a lot of yellow and a lot of bizarre goings on.
좋아 She is: The title track to the album and really such a show stopper. It showcases his vocal range without drowning it in the tempo of the music. This really sets the pace for the whole album and is the track to get you moving. 9/10
White T-Shirt: When he first starts singing, I actually thought it was somebody else because his vocal range is so massive he can fool me by singing deeper. I have mixed opinions about this song because I love it but it doesn’t sound like his song. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s the kind of song I would hear dancing on a beach in Ibiza (big EDM vibes) and is perfect for the summer so crank up the volume this summer on this track! 7/10
우주가 있어 Orbit: I really like the slightly jazz-centred style this song has, which explains the slightly jerky jumps in song structure. It is very Jonghyun- sultry – but it is quite instrumental heavy. 8/10
Moon: Are you ready to be taken to the moon? Because after listening to this song, you might need bringing back to earth. It’s one of those slow jams that transports you on the strength of his vocals and down-tempo beat. 10/10
Aurora: This is a slow album song, despite it still sporting a funky backing track. You can tell from this track that his vocals have stabilised so much over the years and he really blows us out of the water on those high notes! It’s not my favourite slow track on the album though 7/10
Dress Up: Not even a secret that I am in love with this song. I wasn’t expecting him to come out with something like this. The beat! This will have you dancing for days. Think of festivals in the summer and bouncing to that beat. 10/10
Cocktail: I won’t lie – I low-key hate the introduction, but as soon as he starts singing, my worries are over and I fall in love with this song. This is such a sensual song and, as with most things SHINee do, incredibly seductive (you ruin us). Jonghyun wrote this for Taemin but I’m slightly glad that Taemin didn’t use it because I think this song is completely Jonghyun through and through and one of my favourite songs on this album. 9/10
Red: I like the vibe of this song, in some areas it reminds me of a 90/00s R&B track. His voice suits this track really well. The chorus particularly stands out to me and the more I listen to it, the more I’m certain that I love this song. 8/10
Suit Up: I don’t want to tell you what this song is about – but all I can say is when I found out I started screaming. I adore Jonghyun’s voice on down-tempo tracks as he (and again, the rest of SHINee) manage to make everything so seductive – and this just completely fits with this track. 9/10
My verdict: Definitely give it a go, even if you aren’t a SHINee fan or if you didn’t like Jonghyun’s previous solo work – this is a change of style for him and there are tracks on there to appeal to everyone.