As part of their 20th (!) anniversary celebration, the members of Shinhwa have re-recorded one of their earlier singles. But rather than totally modernize All Your Dreams with today’s trends in mind, the group has simply recreated the song and music video with an ear (and eye) for every detail. It’s an interesting concept, for sure, even if the end result is more or less a carbon copy of the original.
All Your Dreams was never one of my all-time favorite Shinhwa singles, but it does adhere to many of the musical conceits I appreciate from its era. Given that this re-imagining isn’t wholly different from its predecessor, it’s not easy to review it in any meaningful way. Instead, I’d like to focus on some of the elements I appreciate from both versions.
There was a certain level of ambition present in late 90’s/early 00’s k-pop. Both iterations of All Your Dreams play like a mini rock opera, merging heavy metal guitar and soaring vocals with more traditional pop and hip-hop influences. Though some of these aspects sound quite dated now (that garbled rap style, for example), modern k-pop could do with a resurgence of Dreams’ bombastic drama. Its chorus is an expansive, theatrical thrill that blends pathos with the melodic heft of a great ballad. All the familiar touchstones of a typical pop boyband are here, but twisted into a much more experimental structure that feels unique to k-pop. All Your Dreams is one of the few early Shinhwa singles not written by famed producer Yoo Young-Jin, but it strongly adheres to his dynamic SM Performance (SMP) style that can also be found in the work of legends like TVXQ, H.O.T and Super Junior.