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.
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.