It’s been a long time coming but after almost 2 years away from the scene, industry legends and personal favourites SHINee are back. During their mandatory military enlistment, we’ve gotten a few solo releases here and there and some great projects by maknae Taemin but this is the first time in a long time that the group have returned as a quartet with new music. This instantly makes it one of the biggest and most anticipated events of the year. So does Don’t Call Me live up to the hype or does it crumble under the pressure of expectation?
We’ll to be honest, it’s a mixed bag. Described as a hip hop dance track by SM, much of Don’t Call Me draws heavy parallels from the sound currently explored by the likes of EXO, NCT and Super M. And as such it fails to really differentiate itself from the general SM sound of today. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the general strength of this sound, I was personally hoping for a song that would better encapsulate the “SHINee” sound that most of us fell in love with in the first place. Something like the futuristic staccato dance of Lucifer or maybe the rousing anthemic Sherlock, a song that the members even stated that Don’t Call Me reminds them of. But Don’t Call Me is no Sherlock, not even close really, but that’s not to say that Don’t Call Me is completely faceless or devoid of SHINee’s distinct touch. The track harbours the rousing vocal harmonies and magnetic performance style that the group have built much of their image around and their voices alone are enough to make Don’t Call Me an enjoyable listen.
The verses aren’t the strongest but their pounding percussive groove are great placeholders between the layered militaristic chorus that sees Yoo Young Jin at his best. Out of all the moments on the track, this is where I feel like it succeeds the most, perfectly channelling the groups one in a million vocal blend to a centrepiece that reaches the kind of energy that was expected of any early 2010 SM tracks. It’s not the most original of melodies but the ascending melody and synth line are enough to compensate. As a song, despite its rather soundalike nature, Don’t Call Me is another super solid effort from SHINee that could have been even better with some slight tweaking. It might not live up to the absolute best of their efforts but the supporting album is home to some absolute stunners.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10