Jonghyun’s posthumous album, “Poet | Artist”, was released on January 23rd, following the singer and SHINee member’s untimely death in December last year. The album’s title track “Shinin’”, is an uplifting and groovy dance-pop track, accompanied by a colourful and ethereal music video shot and completed some time before his death.
The song is fun and catchy, displaying both retro dance pop and trendy modern trap influences, from the old-school opening synths – reminiscent of both SHINee and f(x)’s signature sounds – to the triplet-filled, half-time second verse. As is typical of Jonghyun’s composing style, the song is full of complex melodic and rhythmic content, skilfully and sensually performed in Jonghyun’s signature breathy voice. Slowing down only to provide a simple and easy-to-follow chorus, Jonghyun’s voice darts and flits about the track like an energetic bird, bouncing between syllables effortlessly and artfully creating points of rhythmic interest wherever it goes. Short and sweet, the song comes in at just 2 minutes and 58 seconds, but that’s more than enough for it to make an impact – like a splash of paint, “Shinin’” is colourful, wild and free.
The music video mirrors this, using saturated neon colours in contrast with a dark background to create a dreamy, club-like scene. Even more dream-like is the appearance of Jonghyun, looking literally angelic with a white, glowing effect that not only reflects the title of the song but adds a haunting feel to his presence in the video. Emphasising the retro dance vibes of the song are numerous references to 80’s visual aesthetics, including a disco and mirror ball, cassettes and boomboxes and an old-fashioned music studio, where most of the video is set. Coupled with some psychedelic visual effects, the video has a strong core aesthetic which both complements the song and establishes well the intended vibe and influences of Jonghyun’s artistic identity for this album.
Overall, the song is a welcome throwback to 80’s sounds, enhanced nicely with some subtle modern influences and topped off with a soft blanket of neatly woven vocal layers by Jonghyun. Both musically complex and accessible to the public, the song excellently displays Jonghyun’s ample composing abilities, and manages to strike us as both artistically genuine and rich in musical ideas and sheer passion for music. Complemented by an equally rich and somewhat poignant music video, this posthumous comeback succeeds as a respectful and heartfelt tribute to Jonghyun’s legacy.