2013 was destined to be a big year for popular male quintet SHINee. They released the "Chapter 1" of their new album as nine new tracks in February with another nine set for "Chapter 2" coming in April. A lot of music and promo packed into a little amount of time--not an ideal time for any member to call in for a sick day or get an injury on the job.
Unfortunately, SHINee found some bad luck when prominent vocalist Jonghyun was involved in a car accident that injured his nose in early April. The accident left him him unable to partake in the start of promotions for their new album, "Chapter 2. 'Why So Serious?-The Misconceptions of Me.'"
SHINee have packed schedules--their latest Japanese single was released only a few weeks before their February Korean single--but it would seem this would call for a pushback. Despite being down for the count, SHINee and label SM Entertainment pushed forward with the group filming the music video to title track "Why So Serious?" without Jonghyun and recorded a new version without his vocals.
An all-too-common critique of K-pop groups is that the members are replacable. This new version of "Why So Serious?" shows just that Jonghyun is an irreplacable idol in K-pop.
The charming boy band seems awkward and incomplete without him--perhaps because of their five years together. Additionally, many of the impressive vocal sections are seemingly split between members Taemin and Onew. While talented singers themselves, Jonghyun was a major vocal asset to the group with the sections watered down in the music video version.
Despite down a member for the start of promo, SHINee's new single is undoubtedly strong and shows growth compared to the catchy, but very safe, "Dream Girl" from February. "Why So Serious?" combines energetic horn and guitar licks with a stomping, rock-pop edge. The boys' rapping and singing has never sounded better with lots of personality infused into the track clear from the opening belt/yelp.
The "Chapter 2" album also features much more risk-tasking from SHINee while still crafting scrumptious K-pop treats. Album opener "Nightmare" features creepy ghost noises and vocal effects while "Like A Fire" dabbles in a funky R&B sound. As always, the "Chapter 2" tracks showcase SHINee's Jackson 5-esque harmonies for another nine solid tracks which are sure to make a splash on next week's K-Pop Hot 100 (seven out of nine hit the chart in February). Plus, longtime SHINee fans will be happy to hear Jonghyun featured on the album version of "Why So Serious?"
While a comeback with Jonghyun may prove difficult at first--possibly even being overshadowed from the other strong idol groups coming back at this time. But, his return in May will be warmly welcomed and give a new burst of life to SHINee's promotions for an even more successful new single and promotional cycle.