Most of the time, a kpop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-side tracks deserve recognition, too. In the singles-oriented world of kpop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I’m sad to admit that much of Shinee’s latest album (long anticipated by yours truly) feels a bit disappointing. I’m just not a big fan of this 90’s dance throwback sound that seems to be SM’s latest obsession, and I realize this is very much my own personal preference getting in the way. But all it’s really doing for most of the album’s tracks is preventing us from some truly awesome choruses in favor of stuttering beats and repetitive, one-phrase hooks.
U Need Me may not have a dynamite chorus, but apart from the title track, it’s my favorite offering from the album. It arrives late in the running order and, bookended by Shift and So Amazing, represents the most uptempo burst of energy we get from the group this time around. U Need Me is the best example of the 90’s new jack swing beat totally working in Shinee’s favor. It’s got an aggressive kick and an arrangement that takes full advantage of the genre’s potential, splicing live band elements into something that feels incredibly funky and alive. Most importantly, it comes across as an update of this sound rather than a retread, pulling in Shinee’s classic style as much as it explores new territory. I absolutely love the work done on the vocals, layered and cut so that they feel like another central part of the beat. It’s songs like this that will keep me coming back.