I’d like to think that I have quite flexible taste in music – I enjoy listening to a range: rock, jazz, ballad, instrumental, pop, hiphop, easy listening, R&B, etc. It is especially pleasant to the ears when you mix different genres together to bring unexpected results – SHINee‘s ‘In My Room‘, an R&B ballad, is one such examples.
SHINee debuted 7 years ago in 2008 with their ‘Replay‘ EP, which featured ‘In My Room’ as the second song out of five. The group has been widely considered as one of SM Entertainment’s most successful boybands, with some noting that they have almost filled the void left by the split of KPOP sensation 동방신기 (TVXQ). Personally, I have never been a religious follower of SHINee’s music – although I have found their many hits very catchy (Replay, Ring Ding Dong, Sherlock..), I prefer their ballads which allow their unique voices to really shine through.
Since ‘In My Room’ primarily depicts a man reminiscing about the woman he misses, a resigned sense of loneliness permeates the song, underscored by the frequent use of minor/diminished chords and emotional singing. This song attracts me in multiple ways: Firstly, it has an atypical melody and chordal progressions – it is not one of those songs that you can easily hum along to or guess what the next melodic line would be, yet the whole piece stitches well together and holds the listener’s attention. Secondly, I love the layers of harmonies used in the choruses – the way the vocal lines intertwine with each other accentuate the emotional element of the song really well. Thirdly, the R&B singing style adds a sense of soulful-ness to the song, which matches its theme. As vocally led by Onew and Jonghyun with Key shadowing, the song is not an easy one for male singers to challenge, as both are known to have wide vocal ranges. The highest note sung in chest voice is Bb at 3m26s mark.
The boys have performed this a couple of times, although nowhere near as many as I’d like: here they keep the subgroup formation, and here they re-distribute lines between all five members at an SM Town performance. I prefer the former performance as it is executed better and so full of emotions, not to mention that the singing is much clearer (the latter link is a fancam afterall).
They have also re-released an unplugged remix in their ‘The SHINee World‘ album, where guitars have been replaced by strings. While the feel of the song is still there despite the slight changes in chords, I am not a massive fan of the way they mixed in the drumset in this version, as it seems to have unnecessarily brightened up the mood of the track.
If you enjoyed listening to ‘In My Room’, I’d strongly recommend SHINee’s ‘Selene 6.23‘, which is another soulful ballad by the talented boys.