Compared to his SHINee bandmates, Minho’s solo career has always gotten short shrift. Fans have made do with a digital single here and there, rather than the mini and full albums that carved out niches for Taemin and Key. Because of this, I’m not totally sure how a full Minho comeback would sound. Would he go in a more rap-heavy direction or develop his underrated skills as a vocalist?
For new single Heartbreak, we’re treated to the latter. Over a Weeknd-esque, synth-fueled beat, Minho delivers a series of rhythmic refrains. It’s an understated affair, but that head-nodding production ensures the song never grows boring. I like the variety of phrasing throughout the track. The verses move at a clip, almost conversational in their rapid-fire release. Then, Minho stretches the melody for the pre-chorus before launching into a more tightly-structured hook. So while the energy remains consistent (even monotonous) throughout, Heartbreak isn’t stuck in the same gear.
Minho doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as a vocalist. Absent the other members, his voice adds plenty of emotion to this simple arrangement. The layering on the chorus is gorgeous and proves just how crucial he is in contributing to the mighty SHINee blend. I only wish such an evocative performance was matched by a slightly more daring song. Even so, this is a pleasant December surprise. In fact, I wouldn’t say no to an entire album in this style. It feels like a natural extension of SHINee’s 2021 work, yet gives Minho plenty of space to flex on his own.