[REVIEW] Shinhwa impresses with “The Return”

It is a well-known fact that Korean idol group Shinhwa is one of the most respected idol groups in K-Pop. Admired by the young and old, Shinhwa members Eric, Minwoo, Junjin, Dongwan, Andy, and Hyesung have been together for 14 years, the longest running idol group in Korea. Today, Shinhwa continues to entertain through their successful television show entitled “Shinhwa Broadcast” and their comeback album “The Return”.

“The Return”, released in Korea early this year and recently in the Philippines, marks the idols’ comeback after serving in the military. “The Return” is an important milestone in the history of Shinhwa as it is not just a comeback album but a promise fulfilled to their fans who waited for them.

Was the wait worth it?

Very much so. I believe that one of the best singing voices in all K-Pop belongs to a Shinhwa member–Hyesung. Even stars like Big Bang, SHINee, 2PM, and others express admiration for Shinhwa specially Hyesung. Hyesung’s voice is pitch perfect, pure, and melodious rendering every song he sings a pleasure to listen to. In “The Return”, Hyesung assumes the lead vocal role and combined with the also exceptional vocal and dance talents of other Shinhwa members, the resulting album delights loyal fans and wins new ones.

“The Return” starts with “On the Road”, an soft pop song with a strong forceful chorus symbolic of the group’s return after a long hiatus. This is followed by the ballad “Hurts”, a fan favorite written and arranged by leader Eric. In “Hurts”, the Shinhwa members sung with an authenticity that can only come from experience. This beautiful ballad also communicates to fans that they are no longer boys but are now men. “Venus”, their title track, is a unique electro-pop track that builds up to a fantastic climax. Those who saw Shinhwa perform “Venus” know that it comes with ultra-sexy choreography further securing their “manly hot” idol status. “Red Carpet” and “Move with Me” are good examples of how Shinhwa has retained their signature dance and pop sound. “Let It Go” is a special gift to Shinhwa by Aziatix member Eddie Shin and Solid member Jung Jae Yoon. Hyesung wrote the lyrics to this electro-club track with multiple rap elements. The resulting track is truly pleasing to the ears. The succeeding tracks “Stay” and “Welcome” did not appeal to me since I do not like too much synth and I feel these tracks lacked excitement. However, any disappointment I felt for “Stay” and “Welcome” were much forgotten after hearing the last three tracks. “Be My Love” is definitely my favorite track from “The Return”. It was the perfect Shinhwa track complete with an infectious melody and an unmistakable sexy vibe. Even my male friends liked this track. In “Re-love”, the voices of the Shinhwa members shine specially in the memorable chorus. I feel that “Re-love” is the best vocally performed track in the album. The final track “Breathin” is another beautiful mid-tempo ballad that highlights the strong voices of the Shinhwa members.

Shinhwa is indeed one of the top Korean stars of their generation. The quality of their album “The Return” ensures that they did not only return but are here to stay.
Shinhwa “Venus”

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