[Review] SHINee manage to breathe some life into a well-worn sound on “I Want You”

As SHINee move into the second part of their ‘Story Of Light‘ promotions, they’ve set a high bar for themselves. I’m still reeling from last month’s awesome Good Evening, which means new single “I Want You” arrives with some unfair expectations. The fact that the song adheres to K-pop’s seemingly unending tropical trend makes things even more daunting. Still, SHINee manage to inject enough of their unique musical identity to salvage this derivative style.

“I Want You” opens with the same kind of tropical synth we’ve heard over and over these past few years, framing a slow-burn verse that begins to grow more dynamic as catchy “oh na na na” vocal hooks are added. As usual, the group’s powerful vocal blend elevates this overly familiar arrangement, and this continues into the song’s strong chorus. Importantly, “I Want You” is not built solely around its instrumental loops. Its chorus feels fully realized, with a melody that picks up just at the right moment. It’s not quite as hard-hitting as I would have hoped, but the relaxed vibe matches well with the summery production.

And then there’s those vocals. I love how layered the vocal production has been on this ‘Story Of Light’ project so far. Even if the songs haven’t always matched the quality of the group’s best work, they’ve been performed with a ferocity that lends them a larger-than-life sound. In lesser hands, a song like “I Want You” could be easily forgotten. SHINee doesn’t let that happen.

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