Shinhwa [Brand New] (Seventh Album)

October 20, 2008

How Do I Say?
Shooting Star
U
Brand New
열 병 (Crazy)
Oh
Angel
All Of My…
Time Machine
나의 전부 PART II (My Everything)
놓아요 (Set Free)
Liar
위하여(Cheers!)
원 해 (I Want)
2gether 4ever

The album starts off with the mid-tempo pop number How Do I Say? I really do adore this song, even though its not really all that overtly interesting. I think the reason why I like this song is because of the chorus when Shinhwa are harmonizing together and they sing, ‘how do i say, i love you baby?’ its just so touching and heart-wrenching. I just always feel wistful when I listen to this, and I love how I can relate to it every time I hear it.

The next track is the up-tempo and aggressive Shooting Star. I’m actually quite surprised that I liked this song, when I’m sure I didn’t like it when I first listened to this album. The arrangement is pretty intriguing and reminds you of the night life, it brings forth an excitement or feeling of certain danger that makes your blood rush. The vocal performances were really good; assertive and I didn’t even mind Eric’s corny talking in the beginning. I enjoyed the chorus the most, since I didn’t really pay attention to the verses. This track is a lot darker than the previous one, and the change is pretty nice.

The next track on the album is the slightly up-tempo U. This song is really so typical but I still found myself enjoying it, which is crazy. It seemed sort of repetitive, but never in a way that it got annoying. The arrangement has this very carefree, Latino like vibe going for it that makes it appealing. The verses were nice, as well as the chorus which is so unoriginal but still rather catchy. This is generic pop in every form of the word, but I like it.

The next track is the up-tempo and infectious Brand New. I love this song, but mostly the chorus because it is so incredibly catchy. I love how it speeds up it really engages you into the song. I mean the harmonies and the vocal performances were top-notch, everything stayed consistent and its just one of those songs you never get tired of. The way the song went out was absolute love, plus I really liked the video as well.

The next track is the down-tempo 열 병 (Crazy). I believe this is one of those customary break-up songs, since Eric I believe basically says that in the beginning. I expected this to be a pretty lukewarm song of wangst, but it actually surprised me with a nice though basic beat, and good vocal performances from all involved.

The next track on the album is the up-tempo Oh!. Oh, goodness this song is so cheesy, but I like it! The beat is terribly unoriginal and I’ve heard it all before, but it has that infectious flow to it that makes you want to get up and dance, and probably make you excited if it came on in the club. The vocals are really nice, they all seem really into the song and sounded as if they were having a lot of fun, especially during the ‘oh!’ parts, which was so typical and cliche, but if I wasn’t in my right mind I would have probably started saying, ‘oh!’ right with them. Average at best, but its fun and I enjoyed it.

The next track is the down-tempo Angel. This is actually one of my favorite Shinhwa songs, and one that I really adore. It’s a slow-paced, ballad type song that isn’t really interesting in the verses department but is a song in which the chorus makes up for everything that the rest of the song is lacking. The chorus really moves through you, giving you this somber, yet hopeful feeling about love, and I’ve always loved that about this song. I didn’t too much care for Eric’s rop segment, but it did go nice with the song.

The next track is the slow-paced All of My…. This song has a nice sensual air going for it, that I really enjoyed. Its your typical down-tempo song of love, but I did like the arrangement which was nice though nothing impressive and the vocal performances. A lot of emotion went into this song and it really made it jump out at you, especially the note that was held towards the end. This is a nice track that doesn’t try to do more than what it should.

The next track is one of my all time favorite Shinhwa songs Time Machine. I can’t really remember the first time I heard this song, but I remember that I instantly fell in love, but it was due entirely to the hook and the chorus, especially when I don’t know either MinWoo or DongHae says ‘i really want you to come’ I just couldn’t get enough of it. This song just embodies friendship to me, and its the songs like that, that really touch my heart like nothing else. Shinhwa’s close bond as friends is one of the main reasons why I’m such a fan of them today.

The next track is the nearly absurd 나의 전부 PART II (My Everything). This song is just so bad, I don’t even know where to start. I mean every time I play this I think maybe I’m going to like it this time around, and then I realize that I will never like this song because its so pointless, it really is. I don’t know who they had singing in the beginning and throughout the song, but it was awful and it sounded like she was saying, ‘oh my god, i love you jesus’ so its all pretty weird. The arrangement is forgettable and amateurish and the song is just impossible. I really dislike this track and it never ends fast enough in my opinion.

The next track is the woeful 놓아요 (Set Free). This is a pretty simple ballad, that offers nothing but manages to still be somewhat listenable. I thought the arrangement was a bit pretty, and though not much was going on with it, it still managed to convey that somberness the song was aiming for. The vocal performances were pretty decent, the right amount of emotion and depth were conveyed to really make you connect with the song, though I did notice straining mostly during the chorus. I didn’t like this song too much when I first heard it, and I still don’t really like it, but with a couple more listens I could grow to actually enjoy it.

The next track is quite possibly this albums stand-out. Liar really surprised me because I did not expect it to be as deep or a good as it was. Throughout the whole song, I couldn’t shake the fact that the beat sounded like something, it was so strong and it really threw me through a loop. I wonder if its a sampled song, it would have to be because it sounded just so familiar. The vocal performances were great, I really loved them, especially during the chorus which is quite catchy. This is definitely one of my favorite Shinhwa songs. NOTE: I finally realize what this song reminds me of, I Pray by Amanda Perez, beautiful song.

The next track is the up-tempo Cheers. This song is all right in a sense, I love the energy and how it could be a pretty cool song to dance too, but at the same time its terribly generic. The beat is like a techno and rnb fusion, and it comes off as very cheesy, the vocal performances are pretty basic and none really jumped out at me and held my attention. This is a song that is pretty much forgotten as soon as it ends, most likely the only thing you’ll retain is the beat and tidbits of the chorus.

The next track is the lukewarm and really boring 원 해 (I Want). It’s just a really dull song and seems very wangsty to me for some reason. Nothing about this song is particularly memorable, I literally forgot it as soon as the song ended. I’m actually shocked that I liked this at one point.

The last track on the album is the heartwarming 2gether 4ever. God, this song is so cheesy, and just so cliche, but man if I didn’t fall in love with it. I loved how simple and smooth the beat was just flowing from one transition to the next like water pouring over your hands. The vocal performances were soft and really brought poignancy and meaning to the song. I really adored this track, and what a nice one it was to close the album with… ‘together, forever…’

-GRADE: B+
Rating: ** stars

Shinhwa’s seventh album Brand New is a good album, and I’m not as shocked as I originally thought I’d be to say that. I found it hard to review this album, because with Shinhwa I can more or less find myself saying the same thing about every track. I also never really too much care for Shinhwa albums, despite some of them having some real gems on them, they never really ‘wow’ me or makes me want to listen to them again and again. The first Shinhwa album to ever make me want to replay it right after a full listen was their eight studio album State of the Art. This album however, really surprised me in a good way and I’m glad I listened to it again and reviewed it, because it is not as bad as I originally thought it was. I mean, in all truth its your typical Shinhwa album, with a bit of up-tempo, mid-tempo and down-tempo, and there is really no variety to be found, however even though they still managed to come up with some good songs. Liar being the one that stood out the most, in which is really going to get worn out. I love Shinhwa, their friendship, their music, their longevity and I hope they continue to always do music together.

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