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Review of SHINee’s “The First”

Time for my overdue thoughts on SHINee’s debut Japanese album, “The First”. I’ll give a brief overview of my opinions twice – once before listening to the album in its entirety, and once after listening to all of the songs. I’m still an average fanboy with no formal music training (aka, SM’s target audience) so if you’re looking for a review from an established and intellectual individual I highly recommend this one.

The K-Pop craze has cooled down lately due to a myriad of the successful groups debuting in Japan. Admittedly, some have been better than others. I’m concerned for SHINee because despite their album being titled “The First” I feel that they should be growing as a group even if they’re promoting in another country – instead, they’re stagnating. The re-released songs for the most part are sub-par compared to the originals, and the album as a whole lacks the maturity I would’ve expected from SHINee at this stage of their careers. Maybe my opinion will change after listening to all of the songs again, we’ll see.

I like the album cover, but can someone please explain the random clown and rainbow and rabbit at the bottom? Seems a little immature.

1. Lucifer: So my reaction to this song wasn’t as bad as the first time I listened to it, but I wasn’t impressed either. The Japanese still sounded awkward to me and the song itself doesn’t possess the punch that the original does. Also, Minho’s frog voice rap was unbearably uncomfortable – especially while watching the video, because you could hear the mutilated, auto-toned voice coming out of his not-so abnormal mouth.

2. AMIGO: “You’re the hottest ice cream ninja.” HA HA HA HA HA. Like I told my blogging friend in a comment on her review I literally laughed out loud for five minutes after hearing that, told my friends about it and then laughed some more. Not in a mean way, because I doubt SHINee even knows what they’re saying, but just at the sheer ridiculousness of the English.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. I’m biased because I loved the original version and overall I find the song very catchy. Perhaps not the most well-produced re-release, but passable to the point where I would listen to it while working out.

Remember when the original song came out a million years ago? I really want a video for this Japanese verison, mainly because it would be... well... sexy. I suppose.

3. Juliette: Eh, still disappointed about Taemin taking Jonghyun’s lines. Not enamored or embittered by the song, it’s okay.

4. Better: I feel like this song is one of the mandatory ballads that the album must have, aka, filler. I’m not a ballad guy myself when it comes to K-Pop, so I’m not sure whether the fact that this song doesn’t leave a lasting impression on me should be attributed to its averageness or my own inability to appreciate male ballads.

5. To Your Heart: A slightly better ballad than “Better”, but still not splendid. The chorus is moderately catchy and the song as a whole has an undeniable cuteness factor.

6. Always Love: Another forgettable ballad. Its English leaves something to be desired… perhaps fixing the faulty phrase “thank you for your treating me.”

7. Replay: My opinion of this song is similar to that of “AMIGO” because I loved the original version of this song, and thus due to the minimal changes made to it I also like the Japanese version. “Replay” has such a beautiful sound to it – I’m not music-savvy enough to say why, but there’s something about the song that makes it stand out among all of SHINee’s other releases, even “Lucifer” and “Ring Ding Dong.” This is a song I would write to, regardless of the language it’s in.

“Replay” is also similar to “AMIGO” in that it has an awkward English phrase: “you don’t know what is love I will give it to you.” I wouldn’t mind Key carrying out this proposed action though… yeah…

8. START: A failed attempt at attracting fangirls – maybe some will find the whole “I want to start” line cute, yet the song itself is too forgettable and filler-like for me to consider it seriously.

9. Love Like Oxygen: Never got into the original version of this song, I think this version is okay. Once again not amazing but not abhorrent.

10. Hello: Woo for rehashed cuteness! My favorite part of this song is when Key says “baby girl” repeatedly at the end. I feel repetitive, but this song is also okay. Just okay.

11. The SHINee World: Did they say “I want to get you in this body” in the original version? Did they also say “make love right now?” That could be misinterpreted… anyway, I suppose this is their anthem song. It reminds me of f(x)’s My Style, except more developed. I actually like this song more than the majority of the album, it’s catchy, though not nearly as addictive as “AMIGO” or “Replay”.

12. Seesaw: My least favorite song of the album. I appreciate their attempt to incorporate metaphor into one of their songs, but a seesaw doesn’t really work and the song itself is unremarkable.

13. Stranger: A great song to end the album with. Its energetic and shows how auto-tune can be used to one’s advantage, and thankfully it’s not a remake of an original song either. Definitely one of the better songs of the album.

I like their pants. Image via allkpop.

So, as you can see from my gradually decreasing enthusiasm throughout this post, this album didn’t amaze me in any way. It’ll probably win over some (or a lot) of new fans from Japan, but as someone who’s been listening to SHINee for quite some time now I am not impressed. The decent re-releases and “Stranger” do not make up for the slog of boring ballads or the overall lack of growth in this album. I won’t denounce my liking or fanboy status of SHINee, but I hope they do better with their next album.

On a happier note, look at this adorable gif I found! Happy holidays to all you shawols out there!

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A Post About Key

I've missed this face.

So the other day I was thinking about my blog and realized that I haven’t posted about Key in a while. I feel guilty because I know that there are a bunch of crazy fangirls some of you out there who subscribed to receive updates about Key, and to put it bluntly it would kind of suck to subscribe to a blog wanting a specific and not obtaining that specific thing. Even if it that thing is a super sexy K-Pop idol.

I proceeded to brainstorm Key-related things to blog about – but then I stopped myself. When did I ever have to think before blogging about Key? All of my fanboying posts in the past have been spur of the moment, “oh my gosh he’s so hot” type posts. The fact that I had to force myself to come up with something to say about Key discomforted me and caused me to feel slightly strange, to be honest.

It’s not like I’m not a fan of Key anymore. It’s just that I’m not as obsessed with him as I once was. Maybe it’s due to the dearth of new songs or music videos from SHINee (December 7th, woo!), a lack of nailed-by-Key girl-group dances, or maybe the one-sided relationship I’ve always had with him has transformed into more of a friends with benefits just friends type thing.

I also experienced an epiphany that revealed to me that I’m truly a fair weather fan of Key and K-Pop overall. When Key and SHINee release a new music video or do something spectacular I’ll fanboy and possibly post about it, but when they’re just performing concerts and doing small stuff I’ll write about other things. It’s similar to the structure of the average K-Pop follower – when a group makes a comeback we all go crazy over them for a while, then they slowly fade into the background, and another group makes a comeback and we go crazy over them, then they die down a bit, etc.

I’d like to end this mini-update/ general notice/ whatever you want to call it  by saying that Key is still attractive. And that Jongkey still lives. And always will.

I wanted to save this for later, but I couldn't resist. Til next time!

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Priorities

So I missed Key's sex face*, I mean, performance with BoA for school. Thank goodness for the internet.

I’ve kind of gotten a life. Instead of reading and writing and stalking watching Key on the internet, I do homework all the time. Now that I think about it, I actually don’t have a life. I probably never will.

There are bloggers out there who care about how many people read their writing. I’m one of them. That’s not to say that views and subscribers are the only things I care about – no, I’m not that shallow – but it’s nice to receive feedback on the book reviews/thoughts on pop/deepest secrets of my life I’ve put on the internet. With my inactivity one can assume that the hits and comments have decreased due to not posting anything for a long time.

More importantly, blogging allows me to express my thoughts and ideas. I feel as if maintaining this blog has benefited me as a person overall. Totally cliche, yet totally true.

So why am I putting school before my blog? Besides not wanting to get kicked out of the house, I know that an education is what will get me where I want to be, whether it be living life as a professor/novelist or eventually going to law school and becoming a lawyer. Essentially, I think it would be nice to have some form of an income when I’m an adult so I can, you know, survive.

Reading this over I feel like I’ve given the vibe that I’m abandoning this blog. Well, I’m not, and hopefully I never will. This is just a “heads-up to all my readers sorry for being so busy and not posting if anyone even cares” post. In fact I have several ideas for potential posts floating around in my head, but because I’m slow I like taking the time and exerting the effort to make my posts the best that they can be, I cannot actually place my ideas onto online paper yet.

Look, a distraction!

I intended to post some Key pics so that people would forgive me. Then I realized a lot of people who read this blog don't know who Key is. Oh well.

How important is blogging to you? What would you place before it? If you don’t blog, how about school? If you don’t go to school, and you don’t blog, do you work? If you don’t work… okay, I have homework to do. Talk to you guys later!

*here’s his performance with BoA. 0:16-0:19… words fail me.

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SHINee’s Japanese “Lucifer” PV… Eh

Oh snap, splashing around in some ankle-length water. Getting pretty satanic there...

You can watch the video here.

SM: We need to make SHINee more appealing to Japan.

SHINee’s Manager: But Taemin’s already gets 79% of the screen time.

SM: No, I mean the other members too.

SHINee’s Manager: So we should share the screen time equally among the members? That’s reason-

SM: I was thinking more of, well, how do I say this… think Siwon on the “Mr. Simple” cover.

SHINee’s Manager: Ah! So why don’t we have them frolic, I mean, dance, while getting each other wet*?

SM: I knew I hired you for a reason! Now only if we had someone to write lyrics for f(x)…

I swear, Key goes from the loosest pants of all time to the tightest... tights of all time in this video. Just look where his hand is.

I literally laughed out loud when I heard the Japanese version of “Lucifer” for the first time…

… and then I laughed out loud again when I saw the Japanese PV of “Lucifer” for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of SHINee. “Lucifer” in Japanese sounds awkward though. I’m not sure whether it’s its choppiness, or how alien-like it sounds, or maybe it’s simply the stress in my everyday life that made me react so strangely to it. It doesn’t possess that “bad—” factor that the Korean version holds, and without that aspect of the song, it kind of falls flat.

I wasn’t wowed by the video either. It felt really redone and the quality wasn’t astounding. I didn’t dislike it, but I am eagerly looking forward to SHINee’s comeback in Korea. Whenever that will be.

Cue Exhibit C, the only reason I even bothered watching this video. Just kidding! ... sort of.

I apologize for the lack of updates again! I have a lot of more serious (and less serious) things to write about, but, you know how it is… got some spiders to slay homework. Homework. Homework. This was a really spur of the moment post, so sorry if I come across as condescending – definitely not my intention!

What do you guys think of the Japanese version of “Lucifer”? I would appreciate your opinion, whether it be on the song or the video.

*the sad thing is, this didn’t occur. Key They didn’t even get wet! Disappointing.

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Pop/K-Pop Workout Playlist #1

Believe it or not, I do do things besides reading and pondering pointless subjects such as “gesturing” vs. “gesticulating” and Key’s hotness. One of those things is exercise.

I’m not a serious athlete, but I do like to play tennis or run every day to keep myself from becoming morbidly obese. While I’m running on my treadmill or utilizing other calorie-burning equipment at the gym, I always listen to pop music and sometimes study SAT vocab. As a result, I’ve decided to compile a list of ten songs that I’ve been working out to lately or songs that I find energizing and upbeat.

Half of the songs are English pop while the other half is K-Pop. For the sake of clarity the odd numbered songs are in English and the even numbered songs are in Korean. I’m considering making more than one of these but we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the list:
1. “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship (feat. Sabi)
2. “Good-bye Baby” by Miss A (skip to 1:35 for the music)
3. “Where Them Girls At” by David Guetta (feat. Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida)
4. “I Am The Best” by 2NE1
5. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj
6. “Banana” by G.NA
7. “Til The World Ends” by Britney Spears
8. “Mr. Simple” by Super Junior
9. “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (feat. Timbaland)
10. “Nu ABO” by f(x)

Overall the list is comprised of some songs with more than one contributing artist and songs by mostly female singers. You can’t blame me, the pop industry has been dominated by women lately… now for thoughts on each individual song and images!

1. “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship (feat. Sabi) – when I first heard this song on the radio I knew I would be running to it. It’s a catchy club song that actually doesn’t contain any curse words or overt dirty innuendos, how surprising (in a good way)!

I really liked Miss A's video for "Good-bye Baby"... and their awesome fish flop, leg flailing dance move.

2. “Good-bye Baby” by Miss A – As of this moment “Good-bye Baby” is number six on the top 25 most-played songs on my IPod. It has a strong rhythm and smooth transitions that make it easy to listen to. I ran to this song a lot while on my cruise this summer.

3. “Where Them Girls At” by David Guetta (feat. Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida) – Another club song with a male and female artist. Just like “Sexy Chick”, Guetta creates an irresistible song to dance and move to with “Where Them Girls At”. Also, you have to love Nicki Minaj’s unintelligible noises near the end of the song.

4. “I Am The Best” by 2NE1 – Bam ratatatata tatatata… Naega jeil jal naga, jeil jeil jeil jal naga. What a hook, need I say more?

5. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj – I admit that I’ve been harsh on Nicki Minaj on the past, but the censored version of “Super Bass” and “Fly” (feat. Rihanna) impress me. Maybe because they lean more toward pop/dance than rap.

I hope they're still releasing the video for "Banana" despite it being banned from live performance.

6. “Banana” by G.NA – “Banana” possesses a mellifluous melody coupled with an exotic feel. I’m looking forward to writing a post about the song and its music video so I can rant discuss the differences between Eastern and Western pop music censoring. Lipstick chicken butter roll.

"Til The World Ends" won Best Pop Video at the 2011 VMAs. Do you think the video deserves the award?

7. “Til The World Ends” by Britney Spears – Slick and sexy, this song and its remix are fantastic to run to.

Siwon's bulge, I mean abs, serve as good motivation to exercise. (image via mithunonthe.net)

8. “Mr. Simple” by Super Junior – Oh, how I love “Sorry Sorry 2.0” Mr. Simple. While not the perfect song on its own, it does offer a mix of catchy components that can satisfy one’s craving for K-Pop while working out.

9. “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (feat. Timbaland) – I rediscovered this song a few weeks ago at my friend’s house. I love the banter between the two, their allusions, and the overall feel of the song. Not to mention that I learned the meaning of “promiscuous” from it. Maybe I shouldn’t be so thankful for that…

I love the dance to this song... when I saw Key perform it I almost screamed. Anyway...

10. “Nu ABO” by f(x) – Introducing the number one most-played song on my IPod, “Nu ABO” packs a punch with its powerful chorus and charming chant of “na na na na na na na na na na na”. F(x) fighting!

What are your thoughts on this playlist? Any songs you workout to yourself or any songs you would like to add? Let me know!

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SHINee’s Japanese “Juliette” PV: Key Highlights and Screenshots

So I was actually disappointed with this video. I’m still a SHINee fan, but for some reason ever since their Japanese debut my dedication as a Shawol has slightly declined. Maybe it’s because they’re just re-releasing old songs or that their music video concept (five guys going after one girl) is getting overdone.

I’m not a Jonghyun bias or Taemin anti, but it seems unfair that Taemin has been receiving Jonghyun’s lines – it’s not like Taemin’s singing is bad, but the song just feels… off, without Jjong in his rightful position as lead vocalist. I understand that Taemin is popular in Japan and SM is trying to take advantage of that, but if you have one member that’s well-liked, why not make the other members favored as well? Besides, Taemin is already the central dancer during the chorus.

Well, now that that rant is done, I’ll move on to what I usually do when SHINee is concerned: Key fanboying! His voice was so hot like wow singing wasn’t that bad and he had his moments in the PV, like…

At 0:18 and 2:15 Key does this move I call the "Key Claw". It reminds me of Lady Gaga. One smart Youtube commenter said that what he does at 0:18 is what he'll do to Jonghyun if he gets another girlfriend. Win.

At 1:19 you are a given a glimpse of Key's sexy yellow boxers and his flat stomach. If only the entire video was like this...

And at 3:20 you can view a nice profile of Key, including an interesting ear piercing.

What do you think of “Juliette”? Hit or miss? Is it better or worse than the original? Let me hear your opinions!

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SHINee’s “AMIGO”: Key Says Sexy

So I’m kind of conflicted on SHINee’s music video for their song “AMIGO”.

The overall outdated feeling of the video makes it humorous, in a good way. Looking back, it’s funny to see Taemin’s old haircut and SHINee dancing like beasts in funky sweaters. Another amusing aspect of this MV is that SHINee (five strong and capable guys) chases the backstabbing beast who stole their heart (a lone girl). And they don’t catch her until she’s cornered on the top of a building. Hm.

Funky sweaters for the win! (image via kojaproductions)

The song isn’t  bad either. It’s something I can listen to while I workout. If you didn’t already know this, they’re not referring to the Spanish “Amigo”, (as in, friend) but utilizing “AMIGO” as an acronym for the Korean phrase “Areumdaun Minyeorueljoahamyeon Gosaenghanda” (meaning: Heart Aches When You Fall In Love With a Beauty).

But the best part of this video (and the hottest part) is, in my opinion, Key. It may be just be my inner-fanboy speaking, but he exudes a charisma and confidence that isn’t shown by the other members. All of them are attractive, actually, despite how old this video is – possibly because they look more natural?

Back to Key. Although the way he enunciates “sexy” and his body language as he says it in the video seems more like a “oh no you didn’t girlfriend” type of thing, it’s still… sexy. And his rap is smoking too. This song exemplifies why SM should let Key rap more, as he packs quite a punch and would offer more variety alongside Minho.

Now that I think of it, why would anyone sane run away from SHINee? No wonder that girl had the impetuousness to steal Minho’s heart. She’s crazy.

His new hairstyle. There's a big difference between Key of 2008 and Key of 2011... both are cute, though. (image via allkpop)

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SHINee’s “Replay” PV is Out! Time for Key Screenshots… and Some Others

Not only was I dismissed from school two hours early today, but I got to come home to this:

I love this video a lot, but I don’t think I could write heaping paragraphs about it. Therefore, here are screenshots with random captions including my thoughts!

So within the first twenty seconds of the video I'm blinded... by Key's smile!

Key leading the group. His pants and shoes are pink, while his necklace is purple. Hm.

Key appearing intellectual, examining his artwork in unusually large glasses...

Key in glasses singing and tapping his head... *fanboy scream*

So Key is just taking pictures of her in a red dress while smiling because it's his job, right? Not because he has any emotion for her or anything, right? Right?

Key with a Macbook, how trendy.

Now for some non-Key photos.

Minho's face is like :O... HAHA

Jonghyun rocking out. That little section of the PV endeared him to me. (:

Does Yoona really read? If so, maybe I'll forgive her for stealing the hearts of SHINee in this video. Just maybe.

What are your thoughts on the PV? (: Have a good weekend, everyone!

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SHINee’s Jap “Replay” Teaser/ Key’s New Hair… *fanboy scream*

Image via allkpop.com

So my mundane Monday continued after coming home from school until I saw this. What does that hyperlink lead to, you ask? No, not a new video from Natalie Tran, but if you took the time to read the title of this post, you would know that it is nothing other than SHINee’s teaser for their Japanese re-release of “Replay”! That I happened to watch thirty times.

My thoughts on the teaser:
– They seem to be utilizing their cute boy image. Skinny jeans, bright clothes, you name it. I guess this is a good move because they can maintain the seriousness of the song through other sections of the video while attracting fangirls (who I’ll have to dispose of if they come after Key. Just kidding. Sort of).
– Yoona from SNSD is featured. I don’t actually have a thought regarding this, but since a lot of people are either going “omg i hate yoona so much she’s so over-rated ew” or “i love yoona! she’ll help shinee become popular in japan! yay!” I included it.
– This isn’t related to the teaser, but I think the Japanese version of “Replay” will get stuck in a lot of peoples’ heads, regardless of whether they’ve already heard the Korean version. Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear re-releases of songs in a different language I feel like I’m listening to an entirely different song. Even SNSD Japanese songs. Yeah…
– Key is hot. Speaking of Key…

His new hair! Here’s a photo he uploaded on his me2day account:

Image via me2day.net/shineeshinee

I can’t even describe how  happy I felt after seeing Key in action again, so I’ll just show it through a screenshot that I got of him from the teaser:

His smile... his hair... what have I been reduced to!? (answer: a crazy fanboy)

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I’m back!/ 5000 Views/ Key Photo Splurge #2

Alas, I have returned from my testing-induced hiatus. I’ll try to post regularly from this point on, so expect complete and utter nonsense some awesome posts. Or at least average posts. I blame my continuously copious amount of homework.

Image via Cyanide and Happiness

That picture somewhat symbolizes my relationship with homework. Except that I’m not addicted to it. Although by looking at the time I spend completing it, one would assume that I am…

Also, this blog received its 5000th hit yesterday! Thanks to all of my subscribers and commenters – you guys keep me going, and I’ll try my best to update this site with various pop related articles/ book reviews/ personal things to keep you entertained. Because we all know that who I am as a person is no fun, which is why I have no friends in real life. ):

I’m kidding. Sort of. On that note, here are some photos of Key (whose name I wrote on my friend’s eraser today, so HA, I do have friends! yeah…)

So this proves you can be hot with glasses...

Tall, dark, and... Key!

HAHAHAHA... wait.

Interesting hairstyle. (Jongkey woo!)

Sometimes, you have to love fangirls.

See you guys later, have a great weekend. (:

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