Content warning: There are mentions of s**cide in this article.
Every day until the end of March, we’ll highlight one of our favorite boy group singers.
Stepping in at #9 is the legend himself…
SHINee’s Kim Jonghyun.
Not to be a bummer on a post that is meant to celebrate him but I need to say it because I’ve never gotten to write about him before: one of the greatest tragedies of our lifetime is always going to be the day the world lost Kim Jonghyun.
It is a tragedy to die by suicide no matter who you are or where you come from, but it was especially tragic with him.
The world lost a jewel, a remarkable man, a one of a kind performer with a one of a kind voice. Shawols will forever feel the sting, and there will forever be a massive hole in the shape of Jonghyun in the heart of kpop, in the heart of the world.
But he will never fully be gone. Not when we have so much of his heart and spirit and mind waiting for us in his music. In his voice. He left that for us, and it is a gift we can unwrap each day.
I watch him perform or listen to his solos and my heart can’t decide if it is devastated or blown away. Probably both in equal measure. When he opens his mouth, a sound comes from him that will never be replicated. There will just never be another like it.
There is such a unique color to his voice. Even his vibrato sounds unique to only him. His voice is dreamy and ethereal, powerful and strong, sultry and moody, at times delicate and fragile.
It is unique in that listening to him in a studio recording is mind-blowing enough as it is, but listening to how he sounds live is an entire other story.
The man was born to perform. He pours so much of himself out into the microphone that it feels like you are getting a peek into his mind every time. He breaks your heart with performances of Tell Me What to Do and he makes you giggle with the playful vibe of She Is and I swear to god he makes you feel everything that love and passion is actually about on Moon.
Moon is my all-time favorite song that has ever come out of Korea. Period. Kpop, K-indie, K-RnB, K-Hip Hop–all that I listen to, nothing compares to Moon. And, look–I know it has That Lyric (TM) but at some point or another all kpop songs do, so just give me this.
While at it’s basic it is just another song about sex, how it’s delivered evokes a very specific image. Moon–not necessarily lyrically alone, but vocally and musically–feels like what everyone dreams about when it comes to having a romance.
It is tender and intimate, dreamy and soft, but it is bursting with passion. The quiet kind, the real kind, not the drama of Hollywood or the overblown agony in breakup songs. It is alluring and sensual, it is human and raw and real and all of that can be attributed to the way Jonghyun delivers the message.
I think that actual, genuine feeling of quiet passion you feel for a lover is difficult to express and the results are a lot of really overt songs about sex that cn make them sometimes lose the magic or love songs that fall just short.
Not this one. And it is Jonghyun’s voice that captures it, tells a story. I would have gotten the same exact vibe from this song had he just hummed his way through it.
In his voice is a story. One I wish we all had the chance to hear for longer than we did.
For everything that Jonghyun was, is and will continue to be, he is #9 on our list of favorite kpop singers.
You did well, Jonghyun.
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