Song Review: The Unit – Shine

After giving us its co-ed theme song and the boys’ group track, it’s time for The Unit to complete its trilogy of pre-releases before the series officially debuts tomorrow. This time the female contestants take center stage for the peppy Shine, and the song is a veritable case study for why I’m generally inclined towards the male side of k-pop releases.

Last week’s Last One wasn’t anything particularly special, but at least the producers allowed the guys to take on a powerful, modern concept. In contrast, Shine feels like some cutesy sing-song nursery rhyme you’d teach a kindergartner. I realize that this is a vast generalization, but the stark difference between the two tracks feels like a microcosm of the entire k-pop industry. These are grown women, after all. Do they really need to spell out S-H-I-N-E in such a babyish manner during the chorus? Sure, it’s catchy, but so is a commercial jingle. It doesn’t mean anyone actually wants to hear it again.

The odd thing is, Shine was co-composed by Kim Seung-Soo, one half of the duo who founded my favorite production team of all time, Sweetune. But on his own, Seung-Soo has been less than impressive this year. He gave us DIA’s ultra-generic tropical pop comeback earlier this month, which suffered from the same affected cuteness that utterly sabotages Shine. I’m not sure whether he’s being guided towards this sound by marketplace and agency demands, or if this is just another facet of his personal style. The fact that those exhausting “tropical” squiggles are awkwardly shoehorned into the song’s production makes me suspect the former. But either way, a juvenile track like Shine doesn’t do justice to anyone involved.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 5
 Bias 5



4 thoughts on “Song Review: The Unit – Shine

  1. Couldn’t agree more with this review.
    As a fan of some of the older idols it makes me a little annoyed that they are forced to perform this juvenile trash. Spica and Dal Shabet’s members are well into their 20s so it is awkward to see them sing this with such basic cutesy choreography (then randomly gets a bit sexy in the middle??the chorey is not great either IMO).
    The co-ed track went with a more mature look and feel which I thought was actually a nice way of differentiating between PD101 and The Unit as the idols have debuted and are therefore probably a bit more mature. Apparently that wasn’t what they were going for though, oh well hopefully there will be some more diverse music in the show….even though I hate this I’m totally going to watch


  2. Tbh comparing this nursery-rhyme melody sort of thing to the entirety of girl group kpop is a bit unfair.
    Also this is Kim Seung-Soo? What? ?????


    • It’s definitely an exaggerated version of the style for sure, and like I mentioned, a vast generalization… but over the past couple of years it seems like there’s been more and more of this kind of infantilization.

      It’s always been a part of k-pop, and exists within male groups as well, but I wish we were seeing a bigger resurgence of edgy girl groups (ie: 2NE1, miss A, f(x), Brown Eyed Girls, etc) to counter the fluff. Modern equivalents are out there, but not yet prominent enough to drive trends and influence what I would consider the “2017 generic girl group sound” in a meaningful way.

      Then again, maybe it’s just me. I’m kind of weird that way. I prefer my boy groups on the lighter/poppier side, and my girl groups a bit edgier and powerful.

      And yeah, the Kim Seung-Soo thing is a total wtf. I am basically pretending that this never happened and listening to Snuper for the umpteenth time instead 😉


  3. Pingback: Ranking all 18 Songs from KBS’ The Unit: Idol Rebooting Project | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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