When considering a review of Jonghyun’s posthumous single Shinin‘, I struggled with how to structure my thoughts. As his final comeback, it didn’t feel right to look at the song through a critical lens. I respect his craft so much, but there hasn’t always been a huge overlap between his musical sensibilities and mine. This difference in taste is largely why I’ve been critical of some of this tracks in the past. But today is not a day to nitpick and dissect. It’s a day to celebrate.
In the end, I’ve decided to forgo writing about Shinin’ at all. Instead, I want to focus on three of my favorite tracks from the new album Poet | Artist (which is pretty dang stellar, by the way). Though each is very different from the others, all three represent a facet of Jonghyun’s artistry that I will miss. He truly was one of a kind.
Only One You Need
One of the album’s greatest strengths is the lushness of its production. At times, the instrumental absolutely envelopes his voice, transforming a decent song into something spectacular. Such is the case with Only One You Need, which adheres to many of 2017’s overused trends but twists them into something that sounds absolutely vital. The percussion is amazing, with the drum-filled build an absolute stunner. Even the predictable drop incorporates enough musical layers to feel fresh. Then there’s Jonghyun’s commanding vocal, which resounds with incredible presence that
It’s slightly regretful that Jonghyun’s solo work didn’t dip into funk as often as his performances with SHINee, because it’s a genre that’s tailored perfectly to his nimble vocal style. Sightseeing is the album’s loosest moment, incorporating a number of unexpected samples into its beat heavy arrangement. The song has a wonderful slink to it, powered by a dynamic burst of electric guitar and Jonghyun’s playful performance. It’s absolutely jubilant stuff.
Just For A Day
As one of only two songs without a co-writing credit from Jonghyun himself, one might expect Just For A Day to feel out of place on the album. And in many ways, it’s much more straightforward than Poet’s experimental moments. But that was the thing about Jonghyun. He could tackle so many genres with utter ease, and his vocals completely transform this otherwise basic pop song. He sounds indescribably beautiful during the chorus, which packs a classic pop punch that is among the catchiest moments of his solo career.