Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
With The Story Of Light Ep.1, SHINee offer the opening salvo in a three-part, month long promotional cycle. It remains to be seen if the following albums will each spotlight a different aspect of the group’s ten year career, but this first collection definitely skews toward the club-friendly side of their discography.
Though SHINee makes it work, I’ve never been a fan of the inverted structure used by b-sides Undercover and All Day All Night, where the verses promise a dance track only to be undercut by a slower, more lumbering tempo for the chorus. Jump doesn’t pack the same vocal firepower as either of those songs, but its lithe electro-pop frame maintains its breezy energy from start to finish. The upbeat tempo initially seems at odds with the song’s moody, mysterious verses, but once the funky euphoria of the chorus rushes over, everything feels perfectly matched. Much of the instrumental drops out here, leaving a skeletal rhythm that cedes the spotlight to the guys’ layered vocals. There’s a heavy filtering effect used throughout the track, and it gives Jump an ambient lightness that contrasts with much of the group’s more bombastically produced catalog. It’s an interesting experiment for SHINee, and works wonders.