Calling Shinhwa a boy band should be a criminal offense by now. At this point the group has been together with the same members–through military service and a brief label change–for 19 years. And considering that the eldest of them are still a few years off 40, this essentially means that they have grown up together and have a relationship very much like brothers.
It also means that it’s pretty hard for them to make a bad album, at least on the vocal front. Listening to this will have loyal Changjo in a swirl of happiness as they listen to the great harmonies and well-divided but distinct solos. They come with energy and sound just as bright and vibrant as they did when they dropped Wild Eyes. What we’ve gotten of the lyrics so far shows a group that is grown up in its scope, but still has the young enthusiasm for subject like love and life.
The production on this album is a little hit-or-miss, however. It’s not that any of it is bad; on the contrary, it all flows together pretty well (with a couple of exceptions) and have enough diversity in sound to keep things interesting. The biggest thing is that many of them sound a little dated. And, unfortunately, not in the way that makes it sound like it’s a purposeful throwback as much as it is that the guys are still writing their own material and haven’t changed a lot since their peak days. While we might have been likely to believe that this a part of the them of them being Unchanging, the first four tracks show that they are able to switch things up and update while still maintaining their core style.
That knock doesn’t make this a bad listen, though. It just means that they are likely not to bring in a ton of new fans with this release. Still, considering some of the fancam I’ve seen of yet-to-be-released performances, the old fans are more than enough to keep them going.
Our favorite tracks are Touch, Super Power, Tonight and #Chocolat. The most skippable tracks are We and She Said primarily because they break up the flow of the tracks with their vastly different sound.
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