Song Review: Key (SHINee) – Another Life

Key - Another LifeKey’s Another Life was first revealed almost a year ago during the live stream of his Groks in the Keyland concert. Now it’s finally found a home on his upcoming album, and although the video is taken straight from the concert interstitial, I’m going to call it a pre-release because I want to write about the song! Gasoline’s title track promises a more classic SM sound with hip-hop influences, but for those looking for a sequel to last year’s Bad Love, Another Life is your song.

Many K-pop acts have harnessing synthwave sounds over the past few years, but Key feels uniquely suited to the genre. He’s an avid fan himself and seems to have a high level of creative control. His prickly tone also compliments the synthetic nature of these instrumentals, offering a contrast that makes the music pop. Another Life brings the drama from its first moment, pulsing forward on aggressive electronics that forge an unyielding backdrop. It feels like you’re being sucked into some wonderful K-pop wormhole.

Another Life is probably too simplistic to be promoted as a title track in this day and age. But, its sense of melodic continuity makes for a great listen. I’m particularly taken with the chorus, which surges with anthemic energy to form a stirring, dynamic centerpiece. Key commands every moment of the track, from its melodic highlights to a cool rap break during verse two. He’s on top of his game, recording the music he wants to make with vision and scope. The K-pop industry is so lucky to have him.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.25


25 thoughts on “Song Review: Key (SHINee) – Another Life

  1. Along with IVE and their After Like, Key managed to save this incredibly underwhelming month of releases with this pre-release. I feel like I’m on the cloud nine because of this song! Rating is just about right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny that you say it’s been an underwhelming month because I think it’s been the strongest K-pop month in at least a year.

      Admittedly, there have been stretches of mediocrity, but these past few weeks have had more 9+ rated songs than I can remember for a very long time.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Well, I can say that I was genuinely blessed by Key, IVE and Girls’ Generation comebacks. CIX were okay, but not enough for me to consider the song a real standout. NewJeans debut, TRI.BE, BAE173, BLANK2Y and, unfortunately, Blackpink disappointed me a lot. The rest appeared to be just “meh”. I tried to love Golcha’s Replay more, but…something about the chorus felt undercooked for me, and I don’t even know the reason why I think so. Because of that, I find myself listening to Aura’s b-sides more often.


      • You know, these are just boy groups that have been infuriating me throughout the year so much with their noise. I’m a BG stan, and that’s why I consider 2022 to be a terrible year for k-pop. Thanks God, soloists have been treated better musically.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a quiet kpop month too. Most of the main releases have just not grabbed me. Darling daughter is playing Ateez’s Sector 1 + Cyberpunk from late July a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. God, I love Key so much. So glad he’s out here making music he’s clearly passionate about and ridiculously well-suited to! His and Taemin’s solo careers have been a joy to watch – two totally different styles, but both absolutely incredible. Performers through and through.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. We are truly lucky to have someone like Key sharing his art with us!!!
    I think we’ve known him to be an unparalleled performer and beacon of charisma, style and attitude…but what an underrated vocalist. I love that him and Taemin both have this little bit of venom in their voices.
    They Shinee home to two of the greatest voices to grace k-pop, I think Key and Taemin both have so much range.
    This song is awesome!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Key caps (ha) a couple of good months for me. So very excited about this full album. I’m not even going to add “guardedly” to that.


  5. I’m so glad that Key continues to put out music that he loves to perform. I’m enjoying every moment of it. This particular type of sound is one of my favorites, and as a result the entirety of Key’s solo discography rates pretty highly with me. This song was love at first listen. I’m very much looking forward to my drive in to work on the day his new album drops!


  6. I. Love. It.

    I wouldn’t call myself a Shawol, so if there’s a fandom for Key, I’m that. I’m so that! I’ve also heard Gasoline cause I watched his fancam from Smtwon(It’s alright, I’m gonna wait for the MV release to know my final thoughts); however, if I didn’t know what Gasoline sounded like, my anticipations for the song would be through the roof!


  7. Bad Love was my first time hearing Key’s music. The new songs are different and the concepts are unique. Looking forward to the album


  8. Hi! I have been reading for a while. I really enjoy both your reviews and the thoughtful and respectful discussions in the comment section. Not a lot of that around, so it is a pleasure to see.

    Like everyone else, I am feeling very blessed by Key’s solo career. I still listen to the whole Bad Love album every week, even Hate That which is for me the weakest entry but still functional.

    Another Life is definitely going to be a highlight for me. I love the retropop, synth sound and I agree that it fits his voice and style really well. It is also a great song for driving!

    Key thrives on dramatic, intense, piercing sound, and his personality is also well-suited to perform that, he has snappy moves and a snappy, witty, bickering sense of humour too, which shines through in his performances. He has built his persona carefully over the years, and he is now clearly thriving on the creative freedom his endurance and trajectory have earned him. It is always for the best when companies and idols work together to come up with a sound that is both marketable and fitting than when the companies box idols disregarding their personal taste.

    It has also been interesting to see so many younger fans get into SHINee and some of their solo work in the last few years, I truly thought it would be a bit of a struggle for them to get a new audience and that they would kinda have to stick to us old fans, but I am seeing more interest than I expected.

    Sorry the comment went a bit off topic! Since I have been reading for so long, I feel like I have poured my thoughts on multiple things I have been thinking about and reading through the site.

    Liked by 1 person

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