Three years ago this month, SHINee released their masterful View, which would go on to become one of 2015’s most enduring songs of summer and jump-start k-pop’s fascination with 90’s deep house. Now, three years later, the group finds themselves at an altogether different crossroads. After the loss of member Jonghyun last December, their tenth year anniversary is tinged with sadness. But what better way to celebrate a life and a legacy than to pump up the tempo and dance?
Comeback single Good Evening (데리러 가) feels like a full circle move, bringing SHINee back to the deep house sound while retaining the group’s effortless vocal blend. Its hooks aren’t quite as sharp as View, but the feeling is similar. Opening with a classic, synthesized 90’s loop, Good Evening quickly segues into its smooth, subdued verses. Framed by an elastic dance beat, this segment is only a set-up for the gorgeous layering of the pre-chorus. I’m not sure we’ve heard a more refreshing harmony this year, and it’s amazing how galvanizing it feels even as the guys opt for a more ethereal aesthetic.
The first time through, I was afraid that Good Evening would become yet another song ruined by its use of an instrumental drop in place of a chorus. Luckily, the track’s 90’s club hook is framed by a repetition of the pre-chorus melody line and a new, secondary refrain. This results in a strong sense of consistency that makes Good Evening a full-realized, immaculately produced distillation of SHINee’s power — even if they’ve now been reduced to a quartet. The spoken-word bridge is also a nice, novel touch — supported by an evocative playground of electro ornamentation. As the first in a planned trilogy of title tracks, this will be hard to beat.