Over time, the K-Pop Review community has grown from a few individuals into a full subset of the internet. Now, TheBiasList, Kbopped, 10/10 - Music, Hallyureviews, Jei’s Kulture Notes, Deforested Music, A Floating Realm in the Corner, 8.5 Music, and Kpopreviewed are working together, to create a series, where we review our favorite K-Pop summer song.
Be sure to check out everyone’s posts in the links below!
Before I start the review, I like to thank 10/10 - Music for inviting me to be a part of this collaboration. I think this community of K-Pop bloggers is essential to K-Pop, as it serves the purpose of critiquing the genre we love, hoping that people from the industry can somehow stumble across one of our blogs and read the reviews. At least, that's what I hope.
In any case, this community is a haven for us to voice our own opinions without putting each other down. Sure, we can disagree on some opinions about a song, but we're not conforming to any stereotypical trait of a toxic K-Pop fan. It's a healthy environment that offers constructive inputs about the genre/industry.
With all of that said, let's move on to my review!
When I first read that we're doing a summer-theme K-Pop collaboration, I was honestly stuck on which song to review. I don't have a K-Pop summer favorite yet!
There are a lot of candidates I could've picked for my review. There's BTS' Dope, Super Junior's Devil, Red Velvet's Red Flavor, etc. I could've been obvious and chose one of SISTAR'S summer hits. I also contemplated featuring a group I haven't yet covered. The list of songs to review is just endless! I also realize that there are a lot of great K-Pop songs for the summer season.
That's when SHINee's View came into play.
Comparing View to some of the songs I mentioned above makes View a unique summer track. When thinking about what makes a song perfect for summer, I imagine hearing a lively vocal performance over a lively instrumental (brass in particular) blasting through loudspeakers for the crowd to hear on a hot summer day at the beach. That's my imagination of what a summer song evokes.
View is anything but that. Instead, it offers a different approach for the season.
When hearing View, I imagine walking outside on a hot summer evening. I stumble across a crowded bar where the song starts to play. It doesn't dominate the mass, but it comes naturally to an individual. You immerse yourself in the music, either dancing by yourself or with friends. Even when you're not dancing, you start to throw away all your worries and lose yourself in the moment.
That's the scenario that comes to mind when listening to View.
What makes View so irresistible? It doesn't bring the same intensity as some of the other K-Pop summer songs. Well, to understand its value, let's go in-depth with its production and place in time.
View came out in May 2015, which technically doesn't make it a summer song, considering summer starts in June in Korea. Nonetheless, you can still count it for the season. I like to think of it as a warm-up for summer.
Anyway, the sound View brought to the table was relatively new in K-Pop.
The song incorporates deep house, and at the time, deep house wasn't in a lot of K-Pop songs. As Jonghyun stated, "... deep house is a genre that's been developing internationally for a long time, but I think our song 'View' is the first song within K-pop to weave in that sound...".
That's an eye-catching statement to me. I figured there would've been some K-Pop songs that already incorporated the genre. Looks like I have to do some more digging!
In any case, View was a breath of fresh air once it got released. Even after six years, it remains one of SHINee's and K-Pop's best singles. Let's examine the song to see why it's so well-produced!
The track opens up with an infectious synthesizer that does nothing more than setting the tone. Taemin follows that up with a breathy vocal performance to get us engaged, right before Onew offers a tighter vocal performance.
Once we get to the pre-chorus with Key and Jonghyun, the instrumental slowly builds up with a rising synth effect over cohesive songwriting. I especially love the part when Key sings "Tonight is the night."
We then arrive at View's most surprising element. Well, to me it's the most surprising.
Before this release, SHINee was churning out high-energy pop tracks like Everybody, Dream Girl, and Sherlock. It's not since Hello that they would release a more laid-back single. View is a callback to that sound, offering a more "subdued" tempo. Despite not opting for another stadium-like sound, View still impresses with its combination of songwriting and instrumentation.
The repetition of "daun daun daun daun view" is the song's ultimate trump card. I think it's one of the best songwriting for choruses that K-Pop has to offer, presenting itself as a total earworm.
The phrase I took is part of this whole sentence that starts the chorus- "Neomu areumdaun daun daun daun view." Looking at Color Coded Lyrics, it translates to "Such a beautiful view." Imagine hearing the song in English instead of its original language. It might work depending on the person that sings the translation, but I suspect it won't bring the same impact. The structure of the Korean language is part of the reason why I listen to K-Pop; it sounds infectious!
After that experience, we get treated to more songwriting and synthesizer goodness! The melody between vocals and instruments creates a natural groove. Everyone that was involved in the production knew how to blend the lyrics and instrumentation. Props to the people involved!
The second verse arrives, and it feels more lively than the first verse. Even though it only lasts 15 seconds, Jonghyun made sure that it doesn't go to waste by offering a stout vocal performance before singing a duet with Taemin to close out the section.
The second pre-chorus comes with a far more adventurous tone than the first one. Onew and Key provides determined vocal performances to go along with the rising synth effect and low bass drum (to add more "meat" the second time around). After hearing those two, we finally get to listen to Minho!
It has been 1 minute and 30 seconds, yet we haven't heard him get a solo vocal performance until now! Even though his presentation might not be as "impressive" as his members showcased, he still gets the job done by playing to the instrumental's strength. He knows the second chorus is going to be more intense than the first, so he decides to pull back and let the instrumental do its thing. A smart move if you ask me. While this is playing, Onew dispenses some backup vocals to add more flavor to the pre-chorus.
Alas, the second chorus arrives, and as I mentioned in the last paragraph, it's more intense than the first one. Compare the two, and you'll notice that the second chorus starts with extra percussion. It's the same type of percussion we heard in the post-chorus. I guess the track wants to surprise us whenever a new section begins.
View, so far, relies on its simplicity. However, each section that comes up offers a new element. It has been the case of "build, then release. Build, then release" while presenting different sounds in each piece. It's a strategic song-making process!
The bridge, as always, offers us a chance to take a quick breather. Still, it's hard not to get swept up by the vocal performances from Taemin, Onew, and Jonghyun. All three sang in their color. Taemin opens up with a controlling voice, laying the path for Onew to sing with a tight vocal presentation. To end the bridge, we hear none other than Jonghyun delivering an intoxicating high-voice melody. It's the perfect 'relay race' the trio completed, successfully passing the baton to one another.
We then arrive at the song's final moment. While I would've love to hear the chorus one last time, the ending doesn't disappoint at all. I love that the focus here is on the instrumental while SHINee adds in extra vocals here and there. It's another element the song displays, yet still an infectious listen! The final 38 seconds of View is all killer, displaying gorgeous vocal melodies and contagious instrumentation that SHINee can tackle.
As the song ends, View leaves with an impressive production to showcase. It's not as experimental as Sherlock, nor is it powerful like Lucifer. Yet, it realizes its strength based on the phrase "simple, yet effective!" The vocals, songwriting, synthesizers, and percussions combine to make a K-Pop song that victoriously replicated the deep house genre. Not only that, but View is the perfect song to play when wanting to dance on a hot summer night!
Next up is Kpopreviewed. If you are reading this and aren't a part of this collaboration, I won't give you any hints about what song he's reviewing. It's hard for me to come up with a good hint, so I'll say this- it came before this song.