Okay SM Station season two, are you going to turn out to be nothing more than a bunch of ballads? Apart from Ten’s performance video and the total red herring that was the Stanley Clarke Band, nearly every high profile Station release so far has been slow and — quite frankly — kind of bland. This is only made more frustrating when you realize that SM hasn’t released a proper uptempo single since the beginning of February. They better have a slam dunk summer in store, because their spring has been pretty underwhelming.
Shinee are one of my top three favorite k-pop groups. Onew is an amazing vocalist, and long overdue for a full-fledged solo debut. But Lullaby (수면제) as a song is so slight and so soothing that it begins to feel like one sustained note repeated over and over. It’s obviously not the type of track meant to showcase vocal firepower, but I can’t help but feel that it drains both him and Rocoberry of the opportunity to do anything interesting with the melody. I guess the hint is in the title itself. Lullabies aren’t designed to be interesting or engaging. They’re designed to put you to sleep.
On the plus side, the duo’s vocals compliment each other well, effortlessly blending together for some beautiful, touching moments. I would love to see them paired again within a more dynamic context where those voices could be used to more memorable effect. Instead, Lullaby is like the sound of waves gently crashing on the shore. It’s pleasant to listen to in the moment, and may even elicit a nice, warm feeling afterward. But it’s going to be awfully hard to distinguish from any other ballad of this nature.