“Poet | Artist”
Honestly, it wasn’t easy to go through Jonghyun’s posthumous album “Poet | Artist,” maybe because it was a bittersweet testament to the late music prodigy’s genius and his passion for music.
Peppered throughout the album, recorded before the SHINee vocalist’s passing last year, is Jonghyun’s outstanding musical artistry, particularly evident in his creative lyrics and sonic style which incorporate everything from electronic pop, edgy R&B and future bass to acoustic ballads.
The 12-track album, in which the talented singer-songwriter had a hand in writing and composing every song, opens with trap-meet-tropical “Shinin’,” the lead track that is about praising his lover. But it almost sounds like a tribute to fans, considering his close relationship with them during his career. “Everything about you is radiant,” hints the singer at his unwavering love for fans by promising “I will always be with you.”
The album is also steeped in poetry.
In “#Hashtag,” Jonghyun ups his creativity in crafting mind-boggling lyrics, likening the shape of a hashtag to a waffle and the act of being the target of groundless rumors to devouring those waffles. The singer then twists a message to social media haters by flatly reading out their comments as if he doesn’t care. The song’s upbeat rhythm tricks listeners into thinking that he is flaunting his casual disregard. The song doesn‘t sound so lively, however, considering the fact that Jonghyun had battled depression before taking his own life.
In “Sightseeing,” the K-pop star then detaches himself from the showbiz life and turns into an observer on the street, depicting the hustle and bustle of people’s life in his own unique and detailed language. In “Grease,” Jonghyun once again surprises listeners by using grease as a fresh metaphor for the memories of a past romance, while the singer offers a boundary-breaking sound by whispering to the off-kilter grooves of “Rewind.”
The singer, who never forgot to give a word of hope, rounds out the album with “Before Our Spring,” affirming fans that spring will come on its own no matter how cold winter is.
Jonghyun had always poured his heart and soul into his music, and his efforts come to life with “Poet | Artist.” It’s just heartbreaking that the late singer is no longer able to see how much people are rooting for him.