If we’re to talk about Shinee members’ solo material in incredibly simplified terms, Jonghyun would be the Prince to Taemin’s Michael Jackson. His music tends to be fussier and more cerebral — just as concerned with a complex, meticulous arrangement as it is with a good groove. Personally, this has made it easier for me to appreciate than to fully enjoy, as it often lacks the primal melodic force that propels the greatest pop music. He has a preference for the mid tempo and freeform, wrapping his vocals around serpentine turns and jazz-influenced, improvisational structure.
I don’t mean this as a dig, but more an acknowledgement that I will probably never be drawn as strongly to his solo stuff than I am to his work with Shinee. It’s just a matter of personal preference. That said, She Is (좋아) does a nice job of melding his stylistic leanings with a more straightforward summertime r&b/funk arrangement. Kicking off with a herky-jerky rhythm spotlighted by slabs of electro-synth, the track quickly settles into a more consistent groove as the second chorus hits. From this point on, She Is feels like it’s on course, anchored by its nimble beat and palpable sense of funk.
The central hook is a simple one, but repeated enough times to sneakily work its way into your mind. Better yet are the wordless, post-chorus hooks that give an otherwise skeletal production some airy, melodic pop magic. Taken together, it makes for a more convincing solo release than last year’s more subdued Crazy. She Is definitely feels like Jonghyun through and through, allowing him to get a little weirder and looser than he can when he’s working as a member of Shinee.
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Rip Jonghyun 😪❤️
So, so sad 😦