Despite working in the industry for almost twenty-five (!) years, Shinhwa have never promoted an official sub-unit. That changes with the launch of WDJ. Consisting of members Minwoo, Dongwan and Junjin, WDJ’s debut album offers the first new Shinhwa music since 2018. Alongside Kara and Girls’ Generation, 2022 has been a big year for K-pop’s old guard! I love when an industry honors its legacy, and it’s always nice to see more full-grown adults in K-pop.
Like many male groups who side-stepped the ever-popular shouty hype tracks this year, WDJ have gone groovy. Despite being flush with rhythmic showcases, a quality groove is hard to find in K-pop. Too often, the production feels pulled from some stock toolbox without the natural spontaneity and energy a live band can provide. Flash suffers from this same problem. It’s too lockstep and predictable for its own good. But, this is where the performance comes in. WDJ’s smooth vocals are a perfect match for this mood, wafting over the percussion with a natural ease that helps Flash stand out among a glut of like-minded 2022 tracks.
I also appreciate how Flash doesn’t try to do too much at once. Rather than swerve into beat drops and tempo changes, the track lays out its rhythm and sticks with it. That takes confidence, especially as younger acts throw more and more gimmicks at the market. Flash’s simplicity allows the beat to sink in and ingratiate itself with time. Taken as part of Shinhwa’s discography, the song is a relatively slight effort. But, it understands the mission and utilizes WDJ’s strengths well.
Never been this early to a review!
Anyways, it’s vibey, it’s nice, I can fuck with it, and that’s enough for me!
its a pretty nice groovy song, could definitely be better with a grand climax bit it’s nice
anyway, i decided not to do a fanfic for this year’s top 50 (i ran out of ideas and i dont think it’ll ever top the original one i made last year) and instead, im gonna do j-pop reviews under each countdown post. in fact, imma do one right now!
We Are – Hiroshi Kitadani (One Piece)
One Piece is one of the most popular anime of all time. Its impact since its 20+ year history is felt throughout the industry and the huge fandom it cultivated thanks to its quirky characters and wonderfully-written storylines, as well as its constant amounts of action. Yet, I never really got into it until this year. I definitely heard of characters such as Luffy and Nami, but I never really had any thought of actually watching the show. That is, until, Ado’s New Genesis (that Nick reviewed and gave a 9.25) was released, along with the recent One Piece Film: Red and I was smitten. I went to Netflix to watch the show and was floored to the ground. Most of this impact is thanks to one song; We Are!
We Are is a masterpiece, and an iconic song in the anime sphere. Its upbeat, fist-in-the-air sound is a welcoming energy to match the show’s offbeat style. From the opening drum beats and bursting synths, it doesn’t take long for the brass to kick in before I’m listening. It’s one of those songs that start with its chorus before transitioning to its verses, and boy is it a good one. Its sing-along melody and performance is highly reminiscent of some of my favorite Johnny’s groups such as early-SMAP and V6, along with soloists such as T.M Revolution. The best part is that it’s a huge rush of joy, guaranteed to make you wanna sing even if you don’t understand any Japanese at all.
I’m still trying to catch up with the show (I’m currently on the first few sagas), and though the show has changed its opening as it went on, We Are still holds a special place in my heart. That song’s impact is too humongous to miss.
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oh crap i forgot to put a video link
When I saw you tweet this, it was the fastest I’d ever clicked on a link LOL. I had no clue Shinhwa was having a (subunit) comeback!
I think Shinhwa knows their audience well now, they know their strengths and what works best for them and they utilize them well. It’s not particularly a standout in their discography but I’m enjoying the groove/vibe. Also that music video is 👩🍳💋
living for these vibes and groove, just what i needed this week. plus they look good good. 🙈