Review

Buried Treasure: Key (SHINee) – Imagine

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.


Key’s title track One Of Those Nights is totally solid, but it still left me underwhelmed because I knew he was capable of much more idiosyncratic sounds. And true to form, his entire album is full of dance music with a punky, charismatic edge. Many of the songs feature heavy retro influences, but not all. I think it was a total missed opportunity not to have the electric guitar-laced Good Good act as the album’s title track, but it’s the English-language Imagine that may be my favorite track.

Yes, you read that right. My favorite song is an English-language one. Longtime readers will know that I usually balk at K-pop tracks performed in English, but Imagine would have stood out in any language. The song is of the complextro genre, similar to SHINee’s 2013 hit Everybody. I happen to be a huge fan of this odd little sub-genre of electronic music, and Imagine‘s densely-packed instrumental breakdowns are a pure joy. But more importantly, the rest of the track is firing on all cylinders as well. The throwback electro groove borrows heavily from Daft Punk’s oeuvre, which will never be a bad thing. And though the instrumental is definitely the star here, Key’s confident performance ties everything together. I don’t even mind the lyrics. I love when pop stars sing about how transcendent pop music can be!

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

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2 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Key (SHINee) – Imagine

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