In addition to a fantastic full album, SHINee’s 2018 has seen new Japanese work from Taemin and a posthumous release from Jonghyun. One member we don’t hear from as often when it comes to solo music is Key. Four years ago, he formed the project duo Toheart with Infinite’s Woohyun, but beyond that he’s only released new material in drips and drabs. Thankfully, that’s about to change. A full album is on the way, heralded by pre-release track Forever Yours. If this song is anything to go by, I can’t wait to hear what else Key has up his sleeve.
Prior to its release, Forever Yours was described as “tropical.” My claws instantly came out upon hearing that, but although the familiar tropical blips and bloops are omnipresent throughout the track, the end product feels more like good old-fashioned synthpop than today’s trend-littered top 40. Producers LDN Noise imbue the melody with their trademark retro influence, providing a slick (though repetitive) hook and an even stronger post-chorus. Its verses are less memorable, largely coasting on the instrumental’s amiable groove.
The choice to add Soyou as a duet partner is an odd one, made even more disorienting by having her vocals kick off the track. I’ve always loved Soyou’s voice, but I think a song like this works better with a slightly grittier tone. The vibe is perfectly suited to Key though, and the two blend well as Forever Yours reaches its effervescent climax. In the world of K-pop, pre-releases aren’t always promoted. Forever Yours doesn’t feel like a knock-down, drag-out title track, but it doesn’t have to. As a taster for what’s to come, it’s definitely piqued my interest. Now bring on the album!