Review

Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Helium

Key - Bad LoveIn 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)


Helium

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


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9 thoughts on “Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Helium

  1. Pingback: Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Yellow Tape | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Yellow Tape – Claim dream

  3. 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.

    Like

  4. I love this one. Yeah the sound reminds me of some classic 2000s electro pop …really getting a Gorillaz vibe in the verses (and the cheeky vocal arrangments) and the chorus reminds me of both Daft Punk and groups like MGMT.

    I love this style and have been definitely giving this song a lot of repeated listens.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Helium | Beatsway

  6. 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

    Like

  7. Pingback: Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Saturday Night | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  8. Pingback: Key BAD LOVE: In-Depth Album Review – Eighteen (End Of My World) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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