When Shinhwa came back in 2012, their music was surprisingly basic, sort of fanservicey, and seemed perfunctory just so they could officially announce their return to the public, get back on variety shows, and hold nostalgic concerts. Then Andy got in trouble with gambling after their second release of the comeback and we hadn’t seen much of them in almost two years.
Well they’re back again with “Sniper“, and this time all the fans can scream “the kings are back” not just out of respect for what they’ve done in the past and as a default nostalgic chant, but they can actually mean it.
15 seconds into the thing, and I knew this was going to be promising.
As a concept, “Sniper” worked because it effectively utilized the maturity that comes with them being a dinosaur group. And I don’t mean that in the sense that they were doing stuff that’s “taboo” for younger idols, but just that they have a gravitas to their look and movements that no amount of eyeliner can give a group of kids who try similar “serious” concepts. I can buy Shinhwa sitting in what looks like a destroyed underground meth lab, I can buy Shinhwa smoking cigars and burning suits, and I can buy Shinhwa’s interactions with women as plausible. It’s hard to have the same feeling when you’re looking at an idol who could pass for 12 acting like he’s about to burn this muthafucka down, you know?
So it’s nice that Shinhwa have finally stopped trying to be “modern” with their concepts — their last two music videos could’ve been concepts/choreo for like EXO or whoever — and have embraced the benefits of old age.
While the beat for “Sniper” isn’t hard or explosive (and neither is the choreography), it all has a smooth, catchy feel to it, and the whistle effect added an especially nice touch. Vocally, I enjoyed the contrast in tone between the verses (rap or otherwise) and the falsetto portions of the chorus.
“Sniper” struck me as something that a five-member TVXQ would’ve absolutely killed with back in the day, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I shouldn’t be surprised that they managed to pull this off, but I am.