Following the strong double punch of Don’t Call Me and Atlantis, SHINee refuse to release their grip on 2021. Prior to youngest member Taemin’s military enlistment, the guys shot a video for new Japanese single Superstar. The song itself has been available for weeks, but its promotional package is now complete. And while it may not be the biggest or most momentous SHINee single we’ve ever heard, it plays like a welcome (and well-deserved) victory lap.
Looking under the hood, Superstar was co-composed by LDN Noise, marking their first single with SHINee since 2015’s Married To The Music. Unsurprisingly, these two songs share a ton of connective tissue. They’re both upbeat, funk-inspired jams, bursting with brassy stabs and punchy rhythms. Superstar doesn’t ever approach Married To The Music levels of perfection (few songs do!), but its groovy chorus certainly harnesses similar energy.
Like Atlantis, Superstar feels quintessentially SHINee. It’s the sound of a group in their comfort zone, which could easily feel like diminished returns. Instead, the track harnesses SHINee’s engaging confidence to elevate its weaker moments. Superstar is a bit subdued at first, but quickly builds to an addictive chant-along climax that’s sure to raise your spirits. There aren’t any gimmicks here – just solid pop songcraft bolstered by an enthusiastic performance. This is particularly evident during the chorus, which traces the rhythm with its rapid-fire delivery. This blooms into an even more explosive post-chorus refrain. I still prefer some of SHINee’s 2021 b-sides (I Really Want You, Heart Attack), but Superstar more than gets its job done.