After taking a trip to the ‘90s with their last single “1 of 1,” SHINee returned to the present with “Tell Me What To Do” on Tuesday (Nov. 15). The sleek track was one of five new songs off of the group’s newly released 1 and 1 album, the extended follow-up to October’s 1 of 1.
Vibrant in its nuanced styling, “Tell Me What To Do” combines the soulfulness of R&B, a genre that SHINee’s drawn on since their debut single “Replay,” with the ingenuity of electronic music. The song plays up SHINee’s layered vocals, alternating between gentle harmonies and soaring choruses. The hypnotic track utilizes steady percussion and toned-down EDM elements to straddle the line between ballad and mid-tempo dance track, both of which are frequent styles found throughout SHINee’s lengthy discography.
“Tell Me What To Do” alternates between soaring builds, rhythmic raps, and a soft-spoken, pleading chorus. Acoustic guitar strumming accompanies much of the song, as SHINee joins in on a growing trend many other popular K-pop acts, including BlackPink and Taeyeon, have also utilized as of late. And while the lyrics succeed in conveying desperation and confusion amidst a tumultuous relationship, it is the strong vocal performances from the members, particularly Onew and Taemin’s sonorous belts, that makes “Tell Me What To Do” SHINee’s most emotive single of the past few years.
The track is the first SHINee single produced by Yoo Young Jin since the group worked with him on their 2010 megahit “Lucifer.” Proving Jin and SHINee are a great combination, the sleek, modernistic sound of “Tell Me What To Do” propelled SHINee to the top of iTunes’ K-pop chart; the other songs on the reissued album also appeared in the top 10. Like the single, the rest of the songs on 1 of 1 take a step back from SHINee’s dance sound and instead focus on vocals and slowed down rhythms, ranging between the romantic “Wish Upon A Star,” the sultry “Rescue,” the Onew co-written ballad “Beautiful Life.”
Take a listen to the single: