This will likely be my last Perfect Album Series post of the year before I move into year-in-review posts, but I wanted to get this one out because–not to sound like a broken record–I’m still mourning. In any case, this album is absolutely one of my all-time favorites. There isn’t a song on the album that isn’t not only incredible but also perfectly blended to the 90s aesthetic. There was a running joke when this album came out on Twitter and Tumblr that Shinee invented the 90s with this album, and once you give this a listen, you’ll believe it too.
Every single song on this album is cohesive with one another. They sound like the soundtrack to a movie in that they all have their own unique mood but feel very much a part of something bigger. Unlike the other albums in this series, this one doesn’t quite follow a chronological story. Instead, it creates a vibe.
The majority of the songs rest in that fun space where R&B meets psychedelic electronic jazz. As bizarre as it sounds, it works. The title track, 1 of 1, is quintessential 90s, but the beauty of the album is that virtually any of the songs could’ve taken its place. They all have such incredible power that even a slower song like Don’t Let Me Go has the magnitude of a single.
It’s also one of those rare albums that manages to stay hype without being tiring. I always think of the episode of How I Met Your Mother when Barney insists that playlists do not have to rise and fall, only rise. This album would make you believe he was right. It keeps you excited without making you feel exhausted. With the exception of Don’t Let Me Go and perhaps Lipstick, you constantly have a reason to move.
This album is amazing enough that I could imagine a million different versions of list ranking the songs from best to last and each one would be valid. That said, for me, Prism is the standout. It’s difficult to pick favorites, but this song has such vibrancy. For a song that speaks about someone being a spectrum of light, the song itself is like brilliant assortment of colors.
The other song I can’t help but love is SHIFT. It’s similar to Prism in energy but the feeling is different. It makes me want to dance in ways I know my body cannot move. It also vaguely sounds like something you’d hear in a Forever 21 or an H&M, yet I love it. Strangely and also entirely unsurprisingly, Shinee makes it work.
Last, I have to give a shout-out again to Don’t Let Me Go. This has been on my mourning playlist for the past week. As someone who firmly believes you can either have a bop or you can have a sad song but not a sad bop, this track proved me wrong. It’s a little more sorrowful than the rest on the album, but it isn’t a complete ballad. The rain at the end is also so beautiful.
This was the last album recorded together as a quintet (excluding the repackage) and it did them such justice. I want to treasure this moment in Shinee history forever and while I don’t know what’s to come with Shinee or any of its members, I’m so thankful for all they gave us with this album.
Have you listened to 1 of 1? (Do it.) If so, what’s your favorite song off it? Do you have any other Shinee albums you love?