SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – CØDE

Enough of you asked for it, and who am I to deny? It’s time to dive deep into SHINee’s long-awaited comeback album Don’t Call Me, track-by-track.

1. Don’t Call Me // 2. Heart Attack // 3. Marry You // 4. CØDE // 5. I Really Want You // 6. Kiss Kiss // 7. Body Rhythm // 8. Attention // 9. Kind


SHINee are one of those groups who have their own signature sound. In fact, they’ve got several. One such sound involves powerful, synth-laden choruses with thick vocal layering and a funk backbone. If that sounds like pop nirvana to you, they’re a group well worth checking out. CØDE tackles this template, though it feels a bit hesitant to go full bore. Unsurprisingly, it’s best moments are also its most dramatic. And when the song’s good, it’s almost unstoppable.

This is a fussy production – a bit too fussy in places, if I’m being honest. But taken as a whole, it still feels like a definitive album highlight. You might not get that sense from the introduction, which creeps forward on a rap verse with a flow that feels too trendy for SHINee. But soon after, the track’s electro stomp kicks in, offering a thomping beat reminiscent of Taemin’s 2020 standout Criminal. An atmospheric pre-chorus builds tension and lays the groundwork for CØDE’s killer shot – the commanding chorus.

Here’s where we have that classic SHINee sound on full display. The instrumental becomes more immense, matching the powerful vocal blend. Others have compared this moment to the group’s immortal Sherlock. The chorus isn’t even half as strong, but the energy is certainly there. An explosive synth drop caps off the hook with a sense of widescreen grandeur. It’s icy cool, and bursting with texture.

But, let’s not forget CØDE’s about second verse, which pulses with a spontaneous energy that sees Minho filling the empty space with spoken ad-libs as wisps of falsetto add a new lens from which to hear the nimble melody. This is exciting stuff.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.25


26 thoughts on “SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – CØDE

  1. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Marry You | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Heart Attack | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. You’re right about the intro being trendy! I could easily imagine Mark and Taeyong performing it.

    I adore how the chorus is structured, going back and forth between the whole group singing and solo lines. It creates this call and response effect I love. “Married to the Music” did this as well, except that chorus starts with the solo line and is followed by the group.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit I’ve already come around to liking Don’t Call Me a little more than I did at release (it’s a fine song, just not for my taste) but Code!!! Code should have been the title track IMO, it straddles the trendy and classic SHINee sound with such aplomb. It’s intriguing, this chorus packs such a huge punch, and imagine what they could have done with a song like this and an MV like the alternate reality thing we got in the concept photos?

    There are some other songs I love a little more from this album but Code is definitely a highlight for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Something about this song makes it feel like a more upbeat less introspective cousin to their Japanese song Password. Maybe it’s the spacey synths, maybe I’m crazy and off base. CØDE is easily in the top 3 tracks from this album.


  6. WHAT THE HECK, I LOVE THIS. This feels extremely futuristic and groovy at the same time and it’s so well balanced the whole way through. IMO, it sounds like the perfect SuperM song.


  7. I’m not very articulate today but I want to say that I thoroughly enjoy reading the reviews and comments and just celebrating SHINee being back.

    The intro to this song compels me to skip it – I flat out don’t like it, I don’t know what it’s there for. It feels like part of a different song. Once the beat kicks in though, I’m with it.
    I feel like this song takes so much advantage of their vocal skill and the dynamics they can deliver. The belted, layered vocals in the chorus contrasted with the soft falsetto lines is an amazing listening experience.

    Onew’s singing in the second verse gives me chills all over. It’s so fragile-sounding, so gorgeous – a kind of delivery that makes me feel things (did I mention I’m not good with words today..). When the harmonies join him, it sounds beautifully haunting. This is not my favourite song on the album (or even the second) but man, is it ever amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To me, there are at least three songs on Don’t Call Me which feel like they could be incredible singles, CØDE is absolutely one of them, It’s brisk and exciting, with an absolutely massive instrumental supporting the song’s immense arrangement. I have a particular bias to these type of bombastic dance tracks. It’s an instant highlight on the album, and a definite experience not to be missed out on.

    The Song begins with a too-trendy introduction, It sounds absolutely jarring, but the unique instrumental acts as a good enough cover up. We are taken on with a stomping percussion as Taemin’s nimble voice leads the whole thing with confidence. The Pre-chorus offers an atmospheric, dramatic build to the song’s centerpiece. The Song conjures up a great soundscape with it’s exciting instrumental, I am thinking about a sci-fi dystopian world with the heroes acting as spies. It’s all extremely fun stuff!

    You know what else is extremely fun? That gigantic chorus. SHINee activate their mighty vocal blend, delivering two mammoth refrains which build to a heart-pounding synth drop. It’s all goosebump-inducing in the best way possible, with enough textures fused to craft an almost-apocalyptic track which sees SHINee at their most wild. CØDE most certainly isn’t the best track on the album, but it’s perfectly-calibrated by performers who are ready for the challenge in heralding a track as bold as this.

    My Rating would be a 9.25!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m loving the Breathe MV. Haikyu!! vibes all through – the character story and friendship between Joochan and Y that’s acted out is so reminiscent of that series. Also love to actually see them practice and play volleyball – not just dancing in the gym. Committed to the concept!


  9. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – I Really Want You | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  10. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Kiss Kiss | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  11. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Body Rhythm | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  12. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Attention | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  13. Pingback: SHINee DON’T CALL ME: In-Depth Album Review – Kind | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  14. Pingback: SHINee ATLANTIS: In-Depth Album Review – Area | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  15. Pingback: SHINee ATLANTIS: In-Depth Album Review – Days and Years | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  16. Pingback: Top K-Pop Albums of 2021 (So Far) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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