Yeah, this is old by internet standards but screw it: SHINee’s “Married to the Music” is one of the best releases of the year and deserves to be blasted at every opportunity for the rest of the summer.
The real strength of “Married to the Music” is the production which strikes a medium of horns, synths and funky bass. It’s not too sparse like SNSD’s “Party” but it’s not suffocatingly busy like way too many summer releases that confuse noise with energy. Granted, putting a funk spin on anything is pretty guaranteed to earn high marks around these parts but the beat knows when to step on the gas on the chorus and it knows when to let up while still providing support for SHINee’s vocalists. Of course, part of the reason that “Married to the Music” works so well is because SHINee has singers who can belt out a tune (shout out to Jonghyun, who can always be counted on to rock whatever is thrown his way) and match the strength of blaring horns with their own lungs. The beat never sounds like its trying to compensate for its singers and SHINee expertly pushes the funky production to its fullest potential. The chorus, equal parts instrumentals and vocals, is solid and surprisingly catchy given that “Married to the Music” doesn’t seem to try and force itself into a memorable hook. Minho’s call-and-response bridge is another pleasant surprise that fits within the seventies R&B/funk aesthetic that “Married to the Music” borrows heavily from while still being fairly novel within K-Pop itself. By the time that the final chorus rolls, it’s clear that SHINee knew exactly what they were aiming for with “Married to the Music” and that they definitely hit every single note.
The video manages to hold its own. While the beat and opener may seem part “Thriller,” the video errs on the humor of “The Addams Family,” even going as far as to include an homage to Thing. Beheadings, immolation and lost eyeballs are gleefully played for freakish laughs as the music adds an exhilaration that prevents the video from ever actually being grostesque. As much as SM Entertainment falls back on dance-in-a-box concepts, they often seem to put in a little extra work for SHINee’s videos and it always seems to pay off. The sets, while muted in lighting, are bursting with color. Camera angles are rarely flat and the versatility of the shots and camera pans helps mask the more boilerplate choreography shots. SHINee’s haunted house acid party may not seem like the most natural fit for a funk song but the video for “Married to the Music” propels itself along with such a giddy infectious energy that it is near impossible to resist.
Basically, SHINee has made yet another fantastic music video. I’m not sure if that’s shocking anymore as the group’s catalog is damn good and freakishly consistent but “Married to the Music” is a worthy addition to SHINee’s discography and it’s likely to go down as my K-Pop jam of the summer.
Thanks to charliexx for asking me to write this review. I apologize that it took me so long to get around to it.