Today we’re going to take a look at SHINee’s comeback song, ‘Sherlock’, because in case you haven’t heard…SHINee’s back!



As the name would suggest there is a very obvious Sherlock theme throughout this song; with it being titled after the detective himself and the video follows a mystery plotline.

Sherlock is a very British theme and with the recent success of the TV show depicting the modern day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, I think that this concept would probably be attention grabbing for British people. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and with the whole world turning its eyes to our nation this year with the Olympics and the Jubilee, anything British-themed is massively popular right now. This could be a great opportunity for SHINee to break into the UK market.

The video for ‘Sherlock’ has a slightly mysterious and vintage feel to it with the visual colours being toned down slightly; everything is within a greyish-brown spectrum, almost like sepia, which evokes an old fashioned feel and fits in well with the Sherlock concept. The MV follows the boys searching for clues and looking for what seems to be some lost relics and artefacts, but throughout their search they each come across a mysterious and beautiful girl who keeps on vanishing. This girl is played by Jessica from Girls Generation and she fits her role well.

The style and outfits worn by the members matches well with the concept as for part of the video they rock contemporised versions of old fashioned English style; shirts and waistcoats, plaid patterns, ties and top hats. This style is worn during the story part of the video, so when they are exploring and searching for clues. But they also wear outfits that are what I like to class as ‘typical SHINee’, which was a nice, more colourful break from the toned down style. They wear these outfits mostly during the dance sections of the video and we see a much more unique and characteristic side to the members; colourful hair extensions, American flag prints, tassels and a lot of necklaces. Both styles are mostly pretty acceptable in the UK as there is nothing too garish, and as such are pretty universal. It should be noted that Taemin’s hair extensions and Key’s pink hair and nail polish won’t be as accepted in the UK as men’s fashion, but I think it’s safe to say that this concept is more UK-friendly than ‘Lucifer’.

The song also has another concept and is pretty unique as it is a combination of two different songs. SM Entertainment has labeled ‘Sherlock’ as a ‘Hybrid Remix’, and the titles of the two songs combined to make the ‘Sherlock’ hybrid even fit in nicely with the mystery theme as they are called ‘Clue’ and ‘Note’. This hybrid concept may be appealing to UK listeners if they are interested in unusual musical structures/arrangements, but to the general market it probably won’t mean much to them.

Score – 4/5



The choreography for this song was created by the world-renowned choreographer Tony Testa. Tony Testa was the choreographer for what would have been Michael Jackson’s final tour, This Is It’. He has also worked with other big names, such as Britney Spears and Janet Jackson. This routine is impressive and visually striking, and SHINee pull it off remarkably well. The choreography is well suited to the song and uses each member’s strengths to their advantage as each member gets a fairly equal chance to be in the focal point of the dance formation. The more equal distribution of parts is again quite obvious during the dance and definitely refreshing to watch, as it is often done that the ‘dancers’ of the group are put centre stage.

The main points of the choreography are what I like to call the ‘rich man walk’ during the chorus, Minho jumping over Key to deliver his rap, the line-ups at the beginning and when they create a wave of movement. These parts of the dance really highlight how well the members work together and how in sync they are as a band; even during the live performances of ‘Sherlock’ they are well synchronised. This gives them credibility and a kind of professionalism that may help some UK listeners to look past the language barrier and give Korean music a try.

The dance is very energetic which does unfortunately mean that they can’t sing the song live when they perform. Despite that fact, the performances are powerful and fierce and to be honest, I can imagine that most boy or girl bands that promote in the UK lip sync at some point, so that probably won’t be much of an issue for British people watching performances.

The choreography is intense and also pretty masculine, and I can’t see much in the routine that would look strange to non-K-pop fans. The ‘rich man walk’ might get a few giggles (I’m guilty of laughing the first time I saw it) but there is nothing glaringly obvious that would be considered as weird.

Score – 4/5



It’s pretty established that if Korean bands were to promote in the UK, the English lyrics in their songs would need to be perfect. I’ve always found with SHINee that their pronunciation of English words is pretty much always dead-on, but at times their sentences may not have been totally correct or made much sense. This isn’t just SHINee, but SM artists in general…okay, I’m looking at Super Junior, ‘Because I naughty naughty’ is just one example. This isn’t the fault of the artists themselves, but the song writers and their management, but to conquer the UK market they really need to step their game up.

But if we look at Sherlock, I was happy to find that the English is flawless throughout the song. Even Jonghyun, whose English skills are a little sketchy, pronounced his English lines formidably, and it was refreshing that the majority of the English lyrics weren’t automatically given to Key who is arguably the best English speaker in SHINee.

The song begins and ends with English phrases, ‘SHINee’s back’ and ‘Tonight, SHINee’s in the house, so give it up for SHINee’ respectively, which creates a real tone of anticipation at the beginning of the song and then lets the song end on a high note like they are receiving an ovation at the end of a concert. When you throw in the infectious chorus which also includes the memorable English line ‘I’m so curious, yeah’, it all combines into an impressive party tune that is a highly unforgettable comeback track.

As mentioned earlier, ‘Sherlock’ is a ‘hybrid remix’ of two songs which I found to be an interesting concept. It seems a little unusual to choose a song to promote that is effectively a mash-up as these are normally the songs found as bonus tracks on albums, but for this comeback they promoted this as the unique selling point of ‘Sherlock’. This isn’t something that I can liken to any songs that I have heard of off the top of my head, and it may not be a wise selling point to the UK market as it isn’t a mainstream concept.

‘Note’ is one of the songs that comprises ‘Sherlock’ and the notable English from ‘Sherlock’ comes from this song– ‘I’m so curious’ and ‘Tonight, SHINee’s in the house. So give it up for SHINee’. Personally, I found this song to be heavily and slightly over synthesised for my taste. I also couldn’t determine whether I was just accustomed to the flow of ‘Sherlock’ or whether ‘Note’ really did sound a little stilted in places. Some parts of the song sound quite rough as lyrics don’t flow very well, but again, this could just be because I am used to how ‘Sherlock’ sounds.

‘Clue’ is the other parent-song of ‘Sherlock’, and this song provides the parts for the hybrid version that I like the most and definitely flows better than ‘Note’..  ‘Clue’ contains the very beginning of ‘Sherlock’ and for the first almost minute and a half of the song you forget that you’re listening to one half of ‘Sherlock’ until the ‘I’m so curious’ chorus doesn’t kick in. I don’t know about everyone else, but I found it to be quite an odd experience to listen to the original songs after hearing the hybrid, and I think it’s fair to say that the two songs have real synergy. I like both songs, but I think that combined they create a song that is audibly interesting and refreshing that is even better. I think that despite not understanding the lyrics or immediately knowing that this is a hybrid, UK listeners would appreciate the different beats that flow together well and create an undeniably appealing listen.

Score – 4/5


Overall score: 12/15 – This is a pretty high score but I honestly think that a lot of factors add up in SHINee’s favour of doing well in the UK with this song. The choreography is powerful and was devised by someone well respected within the Western music scene, this may not be something that means a lot to many people but it definitely gives SHINee an edge. The song practically demands attention and has highly memorable English phrases. With our nation going British-crazy this year, a song that at face value pays homage to something quintessentially British would probably have a fighting chance of doing well.

 Click here to check out Sherlock on YesAsia

 Thanks for reading! Post your thoughts and votes for next week below!



About Author

UnitedKpop's resident film connoisseur.