I’m putting the end-of-year countdowns on hold until tomorrow because it seems crass to post as normal today. In the meantime, I was struggling to decide what to write about SHINee’s Jonghyun that hasn’t already been written. SHINee were one of the groups that first got me into k-pop, and still one of my absolute favorites. Today’s news is absolutely devastating for the k-pop community as a whole.
Too often, k-pop’s glossy exterior makes it easy to forget the humanity lying underneath the choreographed performances and the idealized idol life. To imagine the pain Jonghyun must have been going through is heartbreaking, and a good reminder about the importance of mental health in an industry that doesn’t shine nearly enough focus on the topic.
Honestly, like so many other fans, I’m still in shock over this news. But being a blog primarily about the music side of k-pop, I wanted to celebrate Jonghyun’s incredible artistry with a few of my favorite tracks. In the coming days, we’ll miss his voice and effortless charisma. We’ll miss his empathy and open-mindedness. We’ll miss his music. My heart goes out to his friends and family, and of course the members of SHINee.