By: Claudia Siregar |

The long-awaited masterpiece by the leader of K-pop group SHINEE Lee Jinki who goes by the stage name “Onew” was finally out, released by SM Entertainment on December 5th, right before he headed for the military. The main vocalist has successfully packed seven melodic pop tracks highlighting his unique, velvety yet powerful voice into a mini album.

One unique thing about this mini album is that it’s ballad-centric and a bit experimental at the same time. The opening song “Blue” has orchestral elements in it, reminiscent of Onew’s operatic influences (check out his performance of Nessun Dorma on Youtube). Other songs have light jazz influences especially “Sign”, adding to the sentimental vibe of the mini album. All of these songs, however, fall under the easy listening category. No loud bass drops, no EDM beats, no disruptive guitar riffs. This mini album is definitely not something you’d want to dance to – nothing you’d expect from a Shinee member.

All of the songs in the mini album are piano-driven save for “Shine On You”, quite reminiscent of earlier SM male vocalists’ solo work such as Kyuhyun’s At Gwanghwamun. This is a perfect match for a voice made just for piano ballads – Onew’s. In this mini album, Onew goes all-out on his vocals. A light, stable voice (with a slightly deeper timbre than your usual tenor) that shines as he ascends into his mid-upper range could never go wrong with piano-driven ballads. Onew’s voice, though quite powerful, is not one made for loud high belting (the award for “best high belting” in Shinee still goes to his band mate Jonghyun), yet his resonant high notes in “Under The Starlight” and “Timepiece” will blow you away. If there’s one thing Onew excels at vocally, it’s resonance.

Other than showcasing his powerful, yet sweet vocals, the mini album shows us another side of Onew. This mini album presents us with soloist Onew instead of “Shinee leader Onew”. The ballads were meant to make listeners bawl over his voice for days, staying true to its title. However, like any other mini album, Voice has its own weaknesses as well, one of them being the mini album sounding a bit monotonous since all of the seven tracks present in the mini album are ballads (not to mention all of them except for “Shine On You” are heavily piano-based). It may not be your cup of tea if you are into variety, yet it’d be the kind of album you’d listen to when you’re in need of a break from all the noise.

Favourite track: Under The Starlight

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