Hey y’all! This week I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, since the very first group to get me truly into K-pop was SHINee. Ring Ding Dong and Hello were my jams, back in the early days. This week, SHINee’s Jonghyun made his solo debut, making him the third member to promote without the group (Taemin has had a solo career, and Key formed a duo with Infinite’s Woohyun).
I have to admit, when I thought of SHINee having individual careers, I would have expected Jonghyun, the main vocal, to be one of the first to do it. Still, better late than never. Let’s take a look at Jonghyun’s debut single, Crazy (Guilty Pleasure).
Here’s the MV with English subs. Best seen in HD and full-screen.
The lyrics are exactly what you’d expect, given the title: a man going crazy over a woman. There’s a mention of danger, as if perhaps this relationship is not going to end well. The girl is also referred to as crazy. There’s definitely an intense attraction, despite whatever warning signs there may be. The guilty pleasure isn’t a sense embarrassment for liking something, but actual guilt, as if the pleasure is a crime.
The story being told in the lyrics isn’t anything new. In fact, it reminds me of Taemin’s solo single, Danger. The tone of the video and music are different, but the idea of a passionate and slightly dangerous romance are exactly the same. It’s a common trope in America as well as Korea and personally, I’m a bit tired of it. It always seems overdone unless done very well and I’m on the fence about how well it’s done in this particular song.
The video is a mishmash of different scenes and imagery that actually fit really well with the message of the song. There’s a scene with Jonghyun within the silhouette of a head, a confusing jumble of staircases in the background behind him. This can easily represent the woman’s mind, that Jonghyun is present in her thoughts but everything else is complicated. There’s a gas mask, which I can’t explain as well. There’s also a scene where Jonhgyun is held by chains and it’s later revealed to be a spider web of sorts.
Not only is the imagery interesting and thought-provoking, it’s also very artistic. It’s just pleasing to look at. The video plays with light and color, and possible a certain amount of special effects as well. It’s definitely better than some of SM’s other videos (dancing in a box, anyone?), and clear that effort was put into it.
The one thing I hate about SM and always will is the annoying pop-up ad on the video itself. You’d think after so much effort was put into making this a visually pleasing experience, you woudn’t want advertisements to mar the experience. It goes to show what SM Entertainment’s real priorities are. Money above all else.
You always know that K-pop is an industry, and that the bottom line is profit, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to see artistry in it. Deep down you know that making art may not be some people’s main goal, but as the person appreciating the final project, you like to think it’s a big one.
Permanent advertisements are just a glaring reminder that it’s only about the money. Your idols are interchangeable to the companies. If an artist has a problem, the entertainment company is not above totally dropping them. And SM is more guilty of this than others. It kind of taints the enjoyment of the product.
But to be honest, I didn’t enjoy this song much to begin with. The video was good, but the song doesn’t do it for me. You know how picky I am about slower tempo songs. It’s not a terrible song, it’s just not what I would have liked to hear from Jonghyun. I don’t think it does his voice justice, to be totally honest. He’s a power vocal, and this wasn’t a power vocal song. I wanted to hear him belt.
Iron’s rap was enjoyable though. He’s definitely doing a good job on all his features, making a name for himself. He was actually the one thing that really stuck with me. This song, rather than making me want to hear more of Jonghyun’s music, made me want to hear more from Iron. I don’t know when he’s going to debut, but it must be soon. It would be a crime to put it off after having him feature in so many other artist’s songs.
All and all, the video was a pleasant surprise while the song itself was a disappointment. That doesn’t reflect on Jonghyun himself- I know he can sing- I just didn’t hear it in this song. I might listen to the rest of his EP to see if there’s anything better, but I’m just not a fan of this song, which is a shame, since I loved Taemin’s solo debut. For those interested, you can find it with English subs here.
-Beautiful, interesting video.
-Good rap section
-Not a fan of the song itself.
-Song didn’t do Jonghyun justice.