South Korean boy band Shinee were one of the country’s biggest pop acts of the late 2000s and 2010s. With their high-energy, bass-heavy, electronic dance-pop and complex, tightly choreographed dance moves, they regularly topped the charts at home, did very well in Japan, and started a youth fashion craze dubbed the “Shinee Trend.” Manufactured by the giant K-pop juggernaut SM Entertainment, the group launched in 2008, consisting of singer/dancers Lee “Onew” Jinki, Kim Jonghyun, Kim “Key” Kibum, Choi Minho, and Lee Taemin. Their first mini-album, Replay, went to number eight, and was swiftly followed up by the full-length The Shinee World, which charted at number three and hit number one a few months later when it was re-released in a repackaged edition entitled Amigo. The first single off the album was “Sanso Gateun Neo (Love Like Oxygen),” strangely a cover of a song originally recorded by Danish X Factor winner Martin Hoberg Hedegaard and entitled “Show the World.”
Every one of the group’s next five releases went to number one in Korea. Amigo, its 2010 follow-up Lucifer (later repackaged as Hello), and the 2009 EPs Romeo and 2009, Year of Us were also released in Japan, where they performed modestly, and finally in 2011 they performed the expected rite of passage and recorded a Japanese-language album, The First, which gave them a number four hit in that country. They also released a slew of singles there, making Oricon chart history as the first foreign band to have their first three singles enter the chart in the Top Three. That year they first tasted global success when they were invited to perform at the sixth London Korean Film Festival. They also performed a gala concert in London, becoming the first Korean band ever to do so; tickets for the event sold out within a minute of going on sale. Their 2012 “comeback” EP, Sherlock, was their first to be digitally released around the world.
In 2013, Shinee released their third Korean album, Dream Girl, Vol. 1: The Misconceptions of You. Its sibling, Why So Serious?: The Misconceptions of Me, arrived a few months later and topped the Billboard World Albums chart. The pair was later combined as The Misconceptions of Us. That same year, the group also sated Japanese fans with sophomore LP Boys Meet U. Before the year ended, Shinee fit in one last release, the fifth EP Everybody.
The year 2014 was relatively quiet by Shinee standards, with just one release: the third Japanese LP, I’m Your Boy. They returned to the Korean market with their fourth album, 2015’s ODD, which once again debuted atop the Korean and Billboard World Albums charts. The LP was repackaged months later as Married to the Music. A similar strategy was employed in 2016 as well, with the release of 1 of 1 and 1 and 1, which arrived just one month apart. Their fourth Japanese album, DxDxD, was also issued that year. ~ John D. Buchanan & Neil Z. Yeung