SHINee have made yet another successful comeback onto the K-pop scene with their 3rd full-length album, Dream Girl. The new album made an all-kill on real time music charts within hours of its release, and offers a slight new musical direction. It flows smoothly and it’s no stranger to harmonies! A range of producers were used to create Dream Girl, Korean and foreign, so let’s break down the songs…
Track 1 – Spoiler
This song begins with the intro to Sherlock from 2012, which at first got me confused. I thought SM were recycling yet another song. However, I was pleasantly surprised when this broke down and led into a steady new beat. Spoiler gives off an intriguing sound in that it’s very atmospheric and combines interesting background sounds with melodic lyrics. Overall, a great song to open with since it doesn’t waste its title song as the first track.
Track 2 – Dream Girl
Dream Girl is the title track of the album and it is deserving of its position. The song builds up slowly and by the time the bridge comes around, you’ll already be tapping your feet. This is no doubt one of the catchiest songs the group has released; it is a great dance track and showcases all the members’ talents. It ends quickly without any fuss – clean and crisp.
Track 3 – Hitchhiking
The third song almost combines the first two tracks on the album. It’s upbeat and catchy with another striking chorus but as with Spoiler, seems atmospheric. The music in the verses and bridge really creates suspense. There is some dazzling ad-libbing from Jonghyun and fierce rapping from Minho and Key. The English lyrics in the song aren’t really a problem either; pronunciation is good and the lyrics make sense.
Track 4 – Punch Drunk Love
It’s clear that this song uses more instruments than fuzzy sounds created with synthesizers (although a synth re-appears later in the song) and the slower tempo is a nice change for the ear. Punch Drunk Love is a relaxing song with a real funky bass line and yet another catchy chorus. You might be wondering if they can keep this up for another five songs… Track 4 ends sharply with an a Capella round of the chorus.
Track 5 – Girls Girls Girls
This song is reminiscent of SHINee days gone by, particularly from the Lucifer album. Granted, there’s less auto-tune than Wowowow so SHINee get to showcase their vocals. Melodic and dreamy, Girls Girls Girls certainly has a mellow ring to it. The song closes with a unique rap which seems to be well thought out, rather than just sticking a rap in somewhere near the end of the song for the rappers’ sake.
Track 6 – Aside
We’re still in slow tempo territory by the sixth track after initially beginning with three dance tracks. Again, this song feels somewhat traditional and faithful to older SHINee songs but the bass from earlier is back and a lighter melody lulls us into thinking this is almost ballad-like. Aside is as close to a ballad as this album gets though, moving on swiftly to…
Track 7 – Beautiful
Relaxed? Sleepy? Maybe track 7 will bring you back to life. Although starting slowly, it feels like something wonderful is just around the corner… and the chorus does not disappoint. After the laid-back songs in the middle of the album, we are probably not ready for full-out dance track mode so Beautiful, being rather tame, is a good transition. This song would definitely have been better without the beats that gradually get faster before a chorus; the song could have easily built up suspense without them so they feel out of place here.
Track 8 – Dynamite
WAKE UP! This song is explosive (…sorry). The way the bass and synth work in sync here is impressive, as well as the powerful vocals in the chorus. This style of singing is new to SHINee songs and they seem to pull it off without a hitch. It’s like shining SHINee, but slightly more scruffy with an added kick of rebellion. Vocals are overlapped smoothly and an overall exciting party atmosphere is created.
Track 9 – Runaway
As the last song on the album, Runaway should really leave listeners with a lasting impression. Well… it tries. It’s another fun song with a fruity bass and even fruitier synth but it doesn’t feel like last song material. There is a distinct lack of punch and I don’t think I’d be wrong to say that it might have been better somewhere in the middle. But wait! Let us not look over that fact that this song one hell of a dance track. Is this the wrong album? Along with many of the previous songs, Runaway feels like it came from a Hard-Fi album but was slightly spruced-up before release.
Personally I feel this shift to effortless cool, as a cause of the new experimental instruments, is very refreshing and it’s nice to see SHINee try something new. Ultimately, it has created a host of undeniably catchy songs that are sure to be hanging around in your head long after the first listen. However – would Dream Girl be a success in the UK? I’d like to think so. If the language barrier was demolished and replaced with open minds, this album could possibly be a great success. The songs are accessible, even to the older generations due to the distinct nod in the direction of the 80’s.
(Note: any opinions delivered are those of the post’s author. Track rating are based on personal opinion only.)