Marking their fourth anniversary, boy group SF9 have released one of those “for the fans” ballads, though this time it’s anchoring a special single album. The guys are right to take a victory lap, as years of hard work have really paid off for them. Their success in 2020 has been a little surprising, and is proof that sometimes the long game is more important than out-of-the-gate hype.
Shine Together (손잡아 줄게), like most songs of its nature, is hard to review. It’s less a song than it is a moment, designed to appeal to a loyal fan base. There’s nothing wrong with that approach. Every idol group releases this kind of sappy material, and there isn’t much room for experimentation within its tropes. With that said, Shine Together is firmly middle-of-the-road. It’s a pleasant hands-in-the-air swayer, and once K-pop is doing in-person concerts again I’m sure it will make for a fine show closer. This is especially true during the song’s climax, which lifts with the kind of softly anthemic ad-libs that beg for singalongs.
However, Shine Together misses the opportunity to become more than the sum of its parts. Its melody is rather forgettable and one-note, failing to take full advantage of the guys’ vocal power. Surprisingly, the track only delivers brief rap verses during its bridge and final chorus, though parts of its pre-chorus are more rhythmic in nature. I think the whole thing could do with more shifts in sound and texture. It’s sentimental to a fault, which limits its overall appeal. But again, Shine Together was designed for a very specific purpose, so it’s hard to judge it with any other lens.