[MINI-ALBUM] SHINee – Sherlock

While I’m sure some people will defend Sherlock as genius it strikes me as being painfully lazy.

I gave up expecting anything of SM Entertainment a while ago but a momentary lapse in concentration allowed me to form some degree of anticipation for SHINee’s new mini-album. Maybe it was due to the nineteen month break between Korean releases; or perhaps it was spawned from my indecent love of Jonghyun. Whatever the case I found myself sitting up at 2am AEST just to listen to Sherlock the moment it hit midnight on the 19th in Korea. Should I have done that? I’m starting to think no.

SHINee - Sherlock

Many internet dwellers are familiar with 2am—I myself am no stranger to it having been (in addition to an internet junkie) a University student for the past four years. Still, I find it a horrid hour when your eyes start to burn and a sort of nausea develops in your gut from sleep deprivation. But I endured just to get my hands on a copy of Sherlock as soon as humanly possible. With SM Entertainment having declared Sherlock an ‘experimental pop’ creation featuring the hybridization of many genres, I couldn’t help but be excited. Could it be? SM is actually going to attempt something new instead of following up with a carbon-copy of a previously successful single? Evidently only Super Junior is reserved for that level of management.

But Sherlock does not seem to be any form of ground-breaking production; the only abnormality I can detect is the haphazard fusion of Clue and Note in order to create Sherlock. The title track is perhaps the only song on the mini-album that fits the parameters SM established for itself: the overall sound is somewhere between a bass-heavy dance track and an upbeat climatic chorus from some overly spirited stage production. In this regards, SM Entertainment have definitely succeeded in creating a musical hybrid; however the concept is all downhill from there.

I can’t bring myself to appreciate Clue and Note as, following on from Sherlock, I feel as though I’m listening to the same song three times and can’t actually distinguish between them. When it was announced Sherlock was to be comprised of tracks Clue and Note I didn’t expect it to be such a blatant melding of the two. It really sounds as if Note has been slapped over the top of Clue and relabelled Sherlock. While I’m sure some people will defend this as genius—SM of course and presumably many Shawols—it strikes me as being painfully lazy. Did they honestly think it a good idea to include three tracks which are essentially the same on a mini-album? Unsurprisingly, there is no reason to listen to all three songs—just pick the one you like best and be satisfied with that.

Brace yourselves: I’m about to give praise to a ballad. Two, in fact. Mellow tracks The Reason and그자리에 (Honesty) are perhaps the greatest indication of SHINee’s growth during their time away. Maknae Taemin’s voice has matured dramatically—most notable in그자리에 (Honesty)—and as always Jonghyun and Onew are a pleasure to listen to. The Reason is delightfully haunting and the chilled guitar backing of그자리에 (Honesty) makes it easy to appreciate the talents of their vocals and this in itself renders the track a success. As rare as it is for me to say this, these are two very emotional and solid ballads and SHINee and SM deserve some praise.

I love 낯선자 (Stranger); so much so I wish it were the title track instead of Sherlock. It’s poppy, edgy and decisively SHINee—and would have had some killer choreography, too. But it’s such a shame it’s just a Korean remake of a track with the same name from their Japanese album The First. I really am puzzled as to why SM did this especially considering The First gained its own Korean release back on February 29. This really just adds to the overwhelming lazy vibe resonating from the majority of the album and this is not the impression you want give listeners after a hiatus in excess of twelve months.

This leaves 알람시계 (Alarm Clock), with which I’m not overly taken. This was one of a couple of songs composed by the members with this particular number being the handiwork of Jonghyun and Minho. Jonghyun also wrote the lyrics to 그자리에 (Honesty)—know in English as Always There (Honesty)—especially for their fans. In the case of 알람시계 (Alarm Clock) the music itself never climaxes and the pinnacle of the song is only highlighted by Jonghyun’s usual wailing in the background. For me, 알람시계 (Alarm Clock) is the most boring track on the album, even taking into account the two ballads. How the hell did that happen?

Now all tracks have been released in full all we can do is await the unveiling of the MV (which I assume to be the 21st alongside the album hardcopy) and judge the stage comeback. The choreography in the teaser looks amazing—to be expected of Tony Testa—and stylistically looks quite dark, which is a step away from the usual rainbow-vomit SHINee we’re all used to. I still have a little excitement left in me for the MV but given the overall laziness of which the album reeks I will be legitimately surprised if the full video is filmed outside SM Entertainment’s trademark box.

Don’t you let me down now, SM.


13 responses

  1. I absolutely agree with you. When I first heard Clue and Note, I was wondering why they put three identical tracks on the mini, but I realized that they combined them together…weird. And I feel like Key’s voice has been worsening lately, while Taemin’s has been improving <__<

    • You know, looking at the comments around the internet I was starting to think I was alone in being disappointed with Sherlock. I’m glad someone agress with me afterall, haha.

      Taemin’s voice is utterly amazing. I was so shocked the first time I saw him on Immortal Song. Prior to that, I felt he didn’t get a chance to show off his voice as he was overlooked by Jonghyun and Onew. I’m glad he’s getting his chance now because it is well deserved.

      And thanks for the follow, too :)

      • Haha, I actually don’t like Taemin, but I have to admit that his voice has definitely prospered. And yes, I feel like people are just saying ‘OMG oppas are back, I love this’ to actually listen to the songs and form their own opinion :X and I have to say I’m really disappointed with Key, he sounds awful :/

  2. You know….I was really wondering what it meant by [Note + Clue], and now I understand. That’s a waste of space in my opinion. I’m in the middle of listening to the album but I think I’ll skip those tracks lol. Seems like SM just wanted to make the album contain more tracks.

    I’ve always been really fond of Taemin’s voice and I know he’s improved lately, so I can’t wait to hear what he sounds like on the album ^.^

    • Haha, definitely. Unless you like Sherlock so much you feel the need to listen to it three times.

      Taemin is a delightful little bundle of talent and the best part of this mini-album was seeing the side of his gifts not related to dancing.

  3. Pingback: My candid thoughts on ‘Sherlock’. « ~Stay a while~

  4. “I can’t bring myself to appreciate Clue and Note as, following on from Sherlock, I feel as though I’m listening to the same song three times and can’t actually distinguish between them.” – This. I actually think Sherlock is a pretty tight song. The chorus kinda sounds like Love Like Oxygen for me. But yeah, the idea of following Sherlock with Clue and Note is just fail. It’s like the song is on repeat for three times. I was like, what’s the difference between Clue and Note? What good does it make to combine the two? What could’ve been genius is if they combined two different sounding songs, but both melded nicely.

    The ballads were pretty nice. I just found the two kinda boring. Haha. Will try to listen to both later again. Ironically, I found Stranger bad and Alarm Clock good. Haha.

    The MV. It’ll be a great surprise if they won’t be in the infamous SM dancing box.

    • If only elements of Note and Clue were used to create Sherlock then it would have been something interesting but slapping the two together is just so freakin’ lazy I can not do anything but shake my head. Nineteen months and this is what they produce? Oh SM.

      I do like Sherlock–the song, not the mini-album–I just can’t get over how pathetically lazy it is: ‘Let’s create The title track by slapping two other songs together! Brilliant!’ NO.

      But yes, it does have a Love Like Oxygen vibe to it, doesn’t it? This just makes SM’s statement about the mini-album being experimental and groundbreaking all the more ridiculous. Hah.

      • I haven’t read this but I’ll give it a squizz. Thanks for the tip :)

        Oh so SM have attempted this manner of remix before? They really are just digging themselves a grave with that bold ‘ground-breaking’ statement they flopped around in regards to Sherlock. Oh dear, SM. Oh dear.

  5. wow, right at the moment i was looking for the album and i found this interesting review!
    come to think of it, i’m a bit confused as the track was changing from track 1 to track 2 in my music player since it has the same intro. i thought i put the wrong files coz it’s being replayed, ha-ha.. i found myself smirking after i read the title track and your review.. LOL

    then as you said, i did surprised when i watched taemin in Immortal Song. at first i was like, “What? Taemin in Immortal Song? Seriously?!” but then it changed to “Ah yes, i didn’t know he has this kind of voice.. He’s quite good…”

    i guess i like the previous album better. i can’t feel the euphoria as when i heard Hello or Lucifer for the first time and every time after~!! >_<
    i hope the MV and choreography can make up for this..

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