Today we’ll be taking a look at SHINee’s new song, Why So Serious.
Straight off the bat, Why So Serious has a very fun concept; bright coloured clothes and sets, cute and energetic dancing, and a really lively overall sound that just makes you want to jump along with it.
The title of the track will be memorable to anyone who knows of the Joker from Batman, seeing as this is his iconic phrase. When I first saw that this was the title of the song, I couldn’t help but think of the Joker, and as such, I presumed that Why So Serious might be a dark and sinister song to be in-keeping with the infamous phrase. Obviously, this really wasn’t the case, as this song is full of brightness and mischief. Also, kpop fans will probably link Why So Serious to one of G Dragon’s recent tracks as he also used that phrase in Crayon.
There doesn’t seem to be too much of a storyline, and most of the MV consists of the members dancing and having a good time. But in some scenes there is a girl that they all clamour around and attempt to get her attention by one-upping each other. The boys trying to get her attention seems to be the only mini-storyline, and it’s quite entertaining to see, but there is also a guard outside of the room they are in who seems to have come to investigate what’s going on, but when he looks inside the room only the girl is by herself, as if SHINee had never even been there. Nothing about this is explained, so you kind of have to wonder why it was really in the video. Another thing to note is that the identity of the girl is never revealed, as at no point in the video do you actually see her face, which is very odd. Again, we are offered no reasoning behind this, and it left me a little confused; am I missing something?
The style and outfits worn for this concept actually seem fairly hipster-ish considering the use of top hats, unusual suits (that remind me sometimes of 1950’s salesmen), and creepers among other things. They also don awesomely coiffed hair, obvious circle lenses, and my personal favourite outfits are a kind of bright punk-rock style. This outlandish style is really nothing unusual for a kpop fan, but guys wearing such unusual clothes is still something we don’t see all that much in the music that’s popular here, and as such it’s probably not something that most UK viewers will appreciate. If they wanted to promote this song in the UK, they might have to think about toning down the clothes a little, unless they wanted to be written off as a quirky Asian boy band, but this would be a shame seeing as everything in this video is SHINee style to a T!
Actually, I must admit that the entire concept reminds me quite a lot of another one of SHINee’s songs – Sherlock. The styling of the outfits worn is fairly similar except this time around everything’s brighter, the dancing is very energetic, and where SHINee seem to vanish in this MV, the female lead in Sherlock (SNSD’s Jessica) also vanishes.
Another very important note to make is that currently SHINee is a member down, with lead singer Jonghyun unable to promote with them due to being in a car accident last month. As a fan of SHINee, it was very strange not seeing him in the MV and also not being able to promote with them this time around. It seems odd that they did not wait for him to recover before promoting this song, or even at least have him present in the parts of the video that weren’t choreography shots. This is something they have done in the past for Super Junior when member Siwon was too busy filming a show to be able to fully learn the dance, so they just showed shots of him at different times. And even during SHINee’s Lucifer promotions a few years ago, Minho was injured at that time and yet he was still part of the promotions and just sat on a chair during the live performances.
In fact, it seems like more work must have gone into changing Why So Serious to be performed only by four people, seeing as they have had Taemin rerecord Jonghyun’s parts so the MV and performances flow better, and the dance must have had to have been altered to accommodate the loss of a member.
It seems like it would have been simpler to wait for him to recover.
UK Potential: 3.5/5
Why So Serious boasts some of the most interesting and quirky choreography that I’ve seen for a while. The dance moves are quite amusing and highly energetic, but at times they either seem quite reminiscent of other kpop dances or even just a little feminine, which might not be received that well in the UK.
The key choreography point is the zombie dance, which is visually very cool and entertaining to watch. Plus I really can’t lie, but at times they pull a few dance moves that make me think they’ve been taking lessons from my dad, such as the little walk Minho does at the beginning of the song. Somehow though, they totally rock these dad-inspired dance moves!
Seeing as SHINee is temporarily down a member, it feels at times that you can see where he should fit into the dance formation and that’s a little jarring. But this is from the perspective of someone who knows them as a 5-member band, and I doubt it’s something potential listeners will pick up on.
UK Potential: 3.5/5
Why So Serious is an incredibly fun, unrelenting funk-rock track, which has a bouncy beat and is nothing if not memorable. It’s the kind of song that takes a few times of listening to it before you can decide whether you like it or not, as it’s quite full on with an insistent sound, but it’s most definitely catchy. It doesn’t even matter that you can’t understand most of the song as it has a feel-good sound that makes you want to smile, and as such I think it will make a great summer track.
The vocals are very interesting and unique, and with SHINee being a band that always brings us something new and different with each comeback, they have managed to make these experimental vocals work well for them.
If you read the translation of the lyrics, this song probably isn’t about what you were expecting it to be about; it’s actually the perspective of a zombie rising from the grave to find the girl he loves. It carries on telling his story of how he feels like he’s coming back to life due to her love, and that their differences don’t mean much to him. It’s a very strange type of relationship to sing about, but that ties in very nicely with the title, and the zombie dance makes a fair bit more sense.
I assume that they only rerecorded this song for promotion purposes, and that there is still the original version on the album with Jonghyun singing his own lines. The fact that Jonghyun was cut out of the song is something that existing SHINee fans probably don’t like very much, but if this song were to be released here in the UK with the MV as it is, I can imagine this will be an advantageous move seeing as it would probably get confusing for potential listeners if there is an extra voice in the song while no one is signing along onscreen. Well, I say this, but chances are that people who don’t know SHINee won’t be able to tell their voices apart anyway, so it’s all probably a moot point.
There is English dotted throughout the lyrics, such as ‘so shocked’, ‘colour rouge’, ‘(engine) renew’, and the most notable ‘Why so serious’. Some of this English really doesn’t make much sense out of context and is a little unusual, but it’s all well pronounced and sounds pretty cool.
UK Potential: 4.5/5
Highlight:- Key covering Onew’s face with a book to try and get the girls attention. Brilliant! And, despite being a Blinger, it was really nice seeing how well Taemin’s voice suited this song with how much he sang, even though it’s because Jonghyun is absent.
Overall UK Potential: 11.5/5
As awesome as everything about Why So Serious is, this wouldn’t be the best song to promote here in the UK as a debut because, like I mentioned above, the styling is more unusual than we’re mostly used to, but mostly I think because they are one member down. I say this because if they were to ever follow up with more promotions here in the UK, there would suddenly be another member in the group that hadn’t been there before. A little confusing. Obviously, this is nothing that SHINee can change themselves, as promoting without their lead singer would not have been their personal choice but must have been a management decision, but if they were to release this song in the UK, it would be better to wait until they could promote as a whole group again.
Putting that aside, I think this song is just so fun and energetic in so many ways, that it would appeal to a large variety of people. It’s not your average pop song that you hear on the radio every day, and as such, would be very memorable.
What do you guys think? Let us know!