Shinhwa [Only One] (Third Album)

April 27, 2009

I Wanna Be
Only One
All Your Dreams
First Love
Jam #1
Never Come to Me
White Night
Cyber Love
나의 가족들에게 (To My Family)
너의 곁에서 (Wedding March)

The album starts off with the Intro. I don’t really know what to say about it, but rest assured it made no sense and played rather pointlessly.

The next track on the album is the confused I Wanna Be. I say that because the song doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, it shifts so freaking much. I mean there’s talk singing in which it sounds like they’re debating, then there’s Hyesung I believe singing what sounds like the hook, then rapping. The arrangement isn’t spared either, because one minute its hard-hitting and the next its soft and rather romantic. I like the dynamic’s, though the song can become a bit tiring.

The next track on the album is the somewhat mid-tempo Only One. This song is all right, but its not a song I would listen to. The arrangement sounds pretty grungy and dark, which kind a suits the atmosphere of the song. The vocals were decent, though like the previous track they switched up a bit and though it wasn’t hard to follow up with this time around, I still found myself disinterested.

The next track on the album is the dark All Your Dreams. This song has always confused me, mostly because the first time I heard it, it was through the video, which yeah, made no sense to me. The arrangement is pretty dramatic for a song like this, but its fitting. The vocal performances were nice. I mean there was a lot of emotion and feeling in the singing parts and then a lot of edge and depth in the non singing parts. I’d call this track a guilty pleasure of mine.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo First Love. This is a rather sweet song from them that I never listen to. The arrangement is appropriately mood-setting and angst-y. There vocal performances were good as well, definitely loved the harmonization during the chorus’ and when, I don’t know Eric…Andy? One of them would start softly talking really quickly, I honestly love when they do that. I also think this is one of those songs by them I use to hear when I’d go an look them up on youtube and I’d always wonder what the title was.

The next track on the album brings the pace back up with Jam #1. I’m going to go half in half with this, because I like it, but its not a song I would voluntarily listen to. The arrangement is pretty edgy and seemed like a cross between rnb and rock. The vocal performances were relegated to chorus’, but I heard a bit of aggressive talk-singing and rapping and well Shinhwa pulls such things off like nobody else. I always love how genuinely energetic and engaging there up-tempo’s are.

The next track on the album brings things to around mid-tempo with Never Come to Me. The title is rather interesting. I’m on the fence with this song, because I don’t really like how short it is, but I do like the flow and the vocal performances, even the non-singing performances, because like I said before Shinhwa just does those so well. The arrangement isn’t anything to write home about, but its fitting. This song was all right, I just wish they would have stretched it out a bit more, maybe four minutes instead of three. It just seemed to end.

The next track on the album ups the pace just a tad with Change. This seemed a lot longer than it actually is. The arrangement seemed very airy pop to me, it was pretty forgettable. Shinhwa sounded way to boyband-ish for my taste, even if I did like the chorus. I didn’t too much go for the talk/rap segment either. This song is OK in its own right, but I wouldn’t listen to it again.

The next track on the album is the wonky Vortex. I’ll admit this song does give off an vortex type of feeling, but it seems to be so many uninteresting things going on I hardly really care for that aspect. The arrangement is pretty much a whole bunch of sound effects swishing around or whatever and then Shinhwa are talking, singing, rapping whatever I don’t know, I long stopped paying attention to this track. Its a mess. This is the result of trying to do too much, just because you think it’ll sound cool.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo White Night. I don’t too much like this song, but its all right. The arrangement is pretty watered down and simple, made me think of N’Sync’s ‘this i promise you’ and speaking of boy bands, Shinhwa just dripped them in this track, I kept thinking of the Backstreet Boys, minus the oddly off-key and sloppy harmonization that made them sound a lot more annoying than they should of. The saxophone solo was pretty out of nowhere, but I kind a liked it. This is probably one of their weakest ballads, but I like the flow.

The next track on the album is the up-tempo Cyber Love. The title was forewarning enough, I knew I was in for a ride. The arrangement is pretty tech influenced and gave me such a gay club vibe it was almost amazing. I mean I kept picturing half naked guys dancing sensually up against each other underneath the strobe lights and just to kick that vision up a notch I also kept thinking of Queer As Folk: ‘this is definitely something they’d play in that club they frequent’. The vocal performances were mostly the guys scream-singing, which was appropriate, but quite annoying at the same time. This song isn’t bad, its actually pretty entertaining, but I can’t see myself ever fully enjoying this enough to just listen to it.

The next track on the album is the mix between down and mid-tempo Soul. I’m not sure where Shinwha was going with this track, but something definitely got lost in translation. The arrangement is pretty fitting, though stagnant and definitely typical. I actually had to listen to it again, because I had completely forgotten it once the song ended. The vocal performances were pretty off-key and I didn’t really like the talk/rap part that was thrown in there. This is a pretty forgettable and borderline bad song.

The next track on the album is the cute-sy 나의 가족들에게 (To My Family). I guess this is suppose to be a joyful track, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. I’m not sure who it was who was talking in English in the beginning, but whomever sounded so falsely cheery that it was scary. The arrangement is like a more tame version of ‘eusha eusha’ because it just seems so kidz bop and elementary and their vocal performances certainly reflect that. I was expecting this song to be a lot more serious and emotionally felt, especially for a track entitled ‘to my family’, instead I got something a bit too contrived and immature for my taste.

The last track on the album is the dull 너의 곁에서 (Wedding March). Its strange that they have a song called ‘wedding march’ as later they title one of their albums ‘wedding’. This song is flat and boring and one of the most forgettable tracks to leave an album on I have ever heard. The arrangement is weak and the traditional wedding song they cliche-ly threw in there was tacky. The vocal performances were decent I guess, but I hardly cared for them, since I was too busy not paying attention to this track. This song was just boring and a very weak album closer.

Rating: * star

Shinhwa’s third album Only One was a pretty forgettable and somewhat messy album, which is crazy seeing as how I enjoyed their fourth album a whole lot more. The only songs on here that I really care to remember are ‘all your dreams’ and ‘first love’ the others I liked are only good for listens in passing and the rest are forgettable. I also didn’t too much like their vocals this time around, or the average hastily slapped together beats. It just seemed like a rush job to me. I don’t know, I give them credit for trying to be different, by incorporating a lot of experimental and futuristic sounds into this album, but I think they could have done so much better than this, because if I wasn’t confused I was bored and that’s no good. Only One is one of those albums that you listen to once and only once.


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