Time to kick off a new feature on this blog!
As the title suggests, this feature will consist of me ranking every single by my favourite Kpop groups. There are many sites which rank their top 10 songs, but few look at the groups entire promotional discography. I aim to change that by looking at every track that has either been given title track status, or promoted through an mv. To kick this feature off, I thought it would only be fitting to have SHINee be the inaugural group. They were the first K-pop group that really took interest in, and I can pretty much credit them for my current love of K-pop.
They are also one of the few groups that have a Japanese discography almost as consistently strong as their Korean, resulting in some of the most exhilarating singles K-pop has ever seen. So which single stands above the rest, read on to find out!
32. Your Number
A fun blast of RnB funk, Your Number is pleasant, but lacks the impact of their best work. It’s enjoyable in the moment, but pretty much fades from memory upon the tracks completion. Though it doesn’t really do anything bad, it easily stands as one the groups weakest single.
31. I Want You
The second single off their brilliant “Story of Light” project, I Want You saw the group tackle the oversaturated genre of tropical house. While it does retain some of the sparks that made the groups best material so great (the layered hook) it still comes off more genre than song.
The groups first foray into aggressive dance pop, AMIGO presents an unpolished template for some of the groups later hits. Its jerky verses are an absolute treat, but that call and response chorus falls abit flat. Probably tied with I Want You as the groups weakest Korean single.
This is the kind of pure dance floor pulse that SHINee pull off so well. Unfortunately, DxDxD isn’t one of the groups strongest examples of this style. But then again, it’s a ton of fun filled to the brim with unexpected moments that make sure the listener isn’t bored for a second.
A sharp right turn from their previous title track Lucifer, Hello is one of the most laid back and inconsequential singles in the groups discography. Though you may brush it off on first listen, that warm repetitive hook is bound to catch up with you eventually. Easily one of the groups best feel good songs.
The song that capped off SHINee’s incredible 2018, Countless provided both the group and their fans the required closure after Jonghyun’s untimely passing. It’s one of the groups most emotionally resonant tracks, absolutely soaring once it gets the hook. It isn’t one of the groups most unique tracks, but it doesn’t need to be.
26. Breaking News
This is where the real good stuff starts. Breaking News a propulsive piece of dance pop, pulsing forward on an extremely potent dance beat. There isn’t a moment where it lets up, powering towards its megawatt chorus with absolute conviction.
25. Get The Treasure
Though not the strongest song off the groups excellent 2017 Japanese album ‘Five’, Get The Treasure plays to some of the groups best strengths. The funk laced verses are fun as hell, but unlike AMIGO, the call and response chorus is where the track truly transcends. The blasts of brass are fantastic.
24. 1 of 1
Tackling the genre of 90’s new jack swing, SHINee proved that they could tackle almost any genre with stellar results. 1 of 1 is a near perfect recreation of the genre, carried almost entirely by that absolute ear worm of a hook. 90’s throwbacks in kpop are rarely as effortlessly fun as this
23. Our Page
The most emotionally powerful song within SHINee’s discography, Our Page was the song that directly addressed the passing of former member Jonghyun. It’s a song carried by the sheer strength of its performers and melancholic atmosphere, one that no group should ever have to tackle. It’s one of the groups most hefty singles, and one that will forever be etched within K-pop history.
22. Lucky Star
From emotionally devastating to over the top jubilance, Lucky Star is one of SHINee’s most fun singles. Though it plays out like your average J-pop song, it’s a style that I happen to adore. The soaring hook is anthemic in the best way possible.
21. Love Like Oxygen
One of the most catchy songs within SHINee’s discography, Love Like Oxygen pulses with a ridiculously addictive beat. That combined with a soaring refrain transforms what could be an otherwise boring track into an absolute classic.
20. 1,000 Years, Always By Your Side
Though SHINee rarely released ballads to lead their campaign in their homeland, their Japanese discography was full of them. 1,000 Years, Always By Your Side is one of the groups stronger ballads, cresting on a gorgeous refrain and brilliant production.
19. 3 2 1
A lightning in a bottle pop song, 3 2 1 is pure joy from its first second. It’s SHINee at their most over the top buoyancy, recalling Big Time rush in the best way possible. That chorus is pure pop perfection.
Featuring on the groups most resonant and instantly catchy hooks, the staccato funk of Julliete was the perfect sophomore effort. Few songs within any groups discography’s can be so effortless yet monumental.
17. Tell Me What To Do
The long overdue reunion between SHINee and legendary producer Yoo Young Jin, Tell Me What To Do is a near perfect distillation of the ‘dark ballad with a beat’ trope. The cathartic chorus is what dreams are made of, but Minho’s awkward rap break is the only thing preventing this track from a place in the top 10.
16. Dazzling Girl
SHINee’s best attempt at a ‘road trip’ track, Dazzling Girl is one of the groups most shout the skies songs. It’s almost tailor made for any kind of road trip pretty much all thanks to the tracks addictive hook and streamlined production.
15. Winter Wonderland
Probably the most generic single the group has ever released, Winter Wonderland is your run of the mill ballad, elevated by a strong hook and fantastic vocal performance from the group. But even though most of its composition is fairly typical of the genre, that soaring hook is nostalgic for me in the best way possible. This sense of nostalgia goes a long way for a song like this, and easily transforms this into one of my favourite SHINee ballads.
14. Ring Ding Dong
One of the most iconic and well known tracks in all of kpop, Ring Ding Dong was the track the broke SHINee into super stardom. It’s one of the groups most bonkers songs, and is all the better for it. Honestly, its kind of hard to imagine a kpop landscape without Ring Ding Dong. Sometimes you just gotta RING DING DONG RING DING DONG.
13. Boys Meet U
Basically a rewrite of One Directions What Makes You Beautiful, Boys Meet U is an absolute firecracker of a pop song. Though many might find this over the top jubilance and similarity a little off putting, Boys Meet U takes everything great about the tracks it takes inspiration from to create an absolute dynamite pop song. That sugar rush of a chorus is one of the best in their Japanese discography.
12. Married To The Music
A brilliant recreation of 70’s MJ inspired funk, the insanely addictive Married To The Music combined one of the groups most instant hooks with an incredibly smooth production. Combine that with one its years most memorable mv’s and you’ve got a stone cold classic that’s unfortunately one of the groups more underrated singles.
SHINee’s strongest promoted ballad, the majestic Fire is one of the most grandiose moments within their discography. Cresting with unexpected emotional heft, the tracks chorus is all at once bittersweet and powerful. But it’s the brilliant vocals and effortless performance that really make Fire one of the best original Japanese songs by a Kpop artist.
10. Why So Serious
The most criminally underrated single in SHINee’s Korean discography, the stadium rock ready Why So Serious is an absolute blast from start to finish. Though the chugging backing track paints a more grungy and aggressive image, SHINee subvert expectations by performing the track in a much more bright and upbeat style. It’s something that doesn’t sound like it would work on paper, but SHINee pull it off with ease. It’s one of the biggest sounding tracks in their discography.
9. Downtown Baby
A song that’s pretty much tailor made to suit my tastes, the propulsive dance funk of Downtown Baby incorporates a soaring anthemic melody to one of their most dynamic productions. It’s the true definition of a party track, powering forward with its unrelenting bombast and explosive hook. The guitar assisted rap break before the bridge is brilliant.
8. Good Evening
One of my absolute favourite songs of 2018, the brilliant Good Evening presents SHINee at their most vulnerable. Though most of the track pulses with the very best elements of deep house, every line is delivered with so much pathos and emotion, that it’s hard to not get caught up in tracks flawlessly produced brew. It’s easy to convey emotion through a soapy ballad, but Good Evening manages to carry much more emotional heft in its gorgeous harmony rich pre chorus than many songs can throughout their entire run time
7. Dream Girl
It’s harder to find a stronger collection of pitch perfect pop hooks than SHINee’s brilliant Dream Girl. It’s not their most melodically interesting or complex, but the sheer strength of its bombast is to be respected. There isn’t a single moment where Dream Girl lets up, shifting from one addictive moment to another, before culminating in that brilliant chorus. It may all seem a little too much at first, but once you get used to the tracks unrelenting bombast, there’s no turning back.
The best use of dubstep elements in any kpop song ever, the dynamic electro pulse of Everybody threatens to go off the rails multiple times during the songs 4 minute run time. It’s a testament to SHINee’s fantastic vocal performance and the excellent sing along chorus that this absolute monster of song manages to be such an enjoyable ride.
5. 君のせいで (Because Of You)
By far their best Japanese single, and one of best Japanese Kpop songs of all time, the bombastic Because Of You is probably the best use of exploding brass samples since Infinite’s The Chaser. The gargantuan chorus pulses with unexpected melancholic bliss, further exemplified by the tracks bittersweet music video. Many Kpop groups will never come close to a song this strong in their entire careers, let alone in Japan.
Few debuts are as iconic and universally loved as SHINee’s Replay. From inspiring other idols (TXT Taehyun to name one) to being endlessly covered, Replay was, and still is one of the K-pops most monumental moments. Its utter ubiquity isn’t unearned though, as that immortal synth loop is incredibly addictive almost 12 years later. It’s a stone cold classic and easily on the short list for best debuts of all time.
Though deep house has become one of the most overused and oversaturated genres in recent memory, it was all the way back in 2015 when SHINee released the very best example of the genre with the extremely addicting View. Not only is it one of the most refreshing summer songs ever made, but that insistent dance floor thump is also one of the group most memorable. It’s a song with absolutely no fat on its bones, coasting along on an unshakable, almost hypnotic groove that feels as though it’s pulling you back for further listens every time track comes to its end.
In a discography full of incredibly iconic tracks, Lucifer is easily the most ubiquitous. And for good reason too. Lucifer is a perfect distillation of SM entertainments patented “SMP” sound, and the song that single-handedly kickstarted my descent into the K-pop rabbit hole. It’s an exhilarating mix of frenzied electronic beats and hard hitting synths which imbue this Yoo Young Jin produced masterpiece with an almost otherworldly and futuristic atmosphere. Following a snowballing song structure, the minimalistic opening hook transforms into an absolutely mammoth double time refrain by the time the song reaches its frantic final bars. It was my first ever K-pop song, and still remains one of the best.
1. Sherlock (Clue + Note)
Not only SHINee’s best single, but also one of the best in all of K-pop, Sherlock (Clue + Note) is the perfect performance piece. Sherlock‘s opening moments are more exhilarating than many songs manage to be throughout their entire run time. The idea of “Frankenstein” songs have been long present in within the K-pop industry, but SHINee’s masterwork Sherlock takes this approach literally, fusing two less album tracks into one gargantuan piece of genre bending pop. However, nothing comes close to the tracks gargantuan shout to rafters chorus, which overwhelms in the best way. This is the kind of megawatt hook that can make or break a track, and the mighty Sherlock revels in this kind of over the top goosebump inducing bombast. This all culminates in victory lap climactic refrain that Sherlock (Clue + Note) earns with ease.
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