In honor of SHINee’s Key taking charge of his sound on new mini album Bad Love, I’ll be taking a look at each track throughout the week. Check back every day, and make sure to explore my other In-Depth Album Reviews if you’re interested!
1. Bad Love // 2. Yellow Tape // 3. Hate That… (ft. Taeyeon) // 4. Helium // 5. Saturday Night // 6. Eighteen (End Of My World)
Back in 2018, Key collaborated with British artist Years & Years on a remix. Of all the tracks on Bad Love, the English-language Helium (헬륨) reminds me most of that alternative electropop sound. It’s a niche not well-covered in K-pop, and Key feels like a natural fit.
Helium is more about texture and atmosphere than melody, and that’s okay. I like how the track plays with breathing as a musical theme. At times, the structure fills and ascends as if blowing up a balloon. It’s the same tension you get when that balloon is about to pop. But before that happens, a few rhythmic exhalations lead us to a moment of musical release. It’s a neat trick, and gives Helium plenty to work with.
Key breaks up the hooks with a fun spoken-word segment, and his English-language performance is something of a revelation. Elsewhere, his voice takes on a breezy tone, light and airy but somehow sinister. The instrumental is a bit more downbeat than expected – a steady creep rather than an ebullient bounce. But, I like the Daft Punk-esque synths that underline each chorus. As with the rest of Helium, there’s a ruggedness to this sound that sets it apart from most K-pop.
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I have been thinking about that Years&Years remix since this album came out (also the sound and concept of Bad Love remind me a lot of Y&Y’s Palo Santo album). I would love a cover/remix/tiktok video or whatever of Helium by Olly.
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Not crazy over this one, but it is a neat b-side to support the absolute legend that is the title track. Watch this one grow like crazy for me.
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When I heard the little bit of this song in Concept teaser, I’m so hype.
I’m surprised the part we heard before not the killing part by the end of this song.
Anyway, still want a fashion show use this song as catwalk music
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