Don't Call Me

  • I. Introduction


    Don't Call Me is the seventh Korean studio album by South Korean boy group Shinee. The album was released on February 22, 2021 through SM Entertainment. It is the group's first release since three of the members completed their military service with the exception of member Taemin and also the group's first album not to feature late member Jonghyun in any capacity. Working with producers such as Dem Jointz, Yoo Young-jin, Kenzie, and Ryan S. Jhun, the album spans several genres such as pop, hip hop, EDM, R&B, and reggae. Shinee forwent an overarching theme for the album, instead opting for songs that marked the group's return after almost three years and presenting the record as a gift to fans. A repackage of the album, Atlantis, is expected to be released on April 12, 2021. Don't Call Me peaked at number one on the Gaon Album Chart. The title track was released as the album's lead single. To promote the album, Shinee performed on music programs, and guested on various variety, reality, and radio programs.



    II. Background and Composition


    On January 6, 2021, SM Entertainment announced Shinee would return with a new album after two and a half years as three of the members completed their military duties - members Onew, Key and Minho were discharged from the military in July, September and November, respectively. In an online conference the members said the transition from soldiers to K-pop singers was not the easiest. Onew stated, "While I was adjusting, I felt that my body was dancing separately under my neck," and added "it's the members who helped me out a lot. They kept me going and elaborately went into the details for the choreography." Fellow member Minho, who served in the Marine Corps, said it took him "about two months to completely adjust." Key talked about the pressure to match up to expectations with so much excitement for their new album but promised they would stay true to themselves and be diligent as they always have been. He also explained they choose "Don't Call Me" as the title track because they wanted a dramatic change from what they have been doing so far. Compared to previous releases, Don't Call Me features no overarching theme, and instead features songs that felt right for them, with Minho saying, "Some songs are quintessential Shinee songs, but there are also other songs that are things we've never tried before. They fit today's genres and musical mood." The album spans several genres, including pop, hip hop, EDM, R&B, and reggae, and was in the works for around one and a half years. SM Entertainment founder and executive producer Lee Soo-man worked closely with the group for the album's production and promotional appearances. Key viewed the album as a gift for fans for waiting for a long time for the group's return. Member Taemin felt the album's songs had a "connection" between Shinee's previous releases, sharing, "On this album there are a lot of different colours, which is what you expect from Shinee, but it’s also a connected stream of content, with each member and style coming together at the end. You can see the connection between previous releases and now. And it will continue as our career does."


    The title track, "Don't Call Me" is a hip hop-based dance song that combines a signature vocoder sound with an intense 808 bass, synth sound, and sampled vocal source. Written by Kenzie and produced by Kenzie, Dem Jointz, Yoo Young-jin, Robbin, and Ryan S. Jhun, the song is described as "a thrilling dance song that captures complex emotions after a love betrayal" and a "straightforward expression of the pain of being thoroughly betrayed by love." The members' vocals "expressing hysterical feelings...increase the immersion of the song." The group was looking for an impactful and strong song to emphasize their return from their hiatus. According to Taemin, there were a lot of potential title tracks including Heart Attack and I Really Want You, but the group leaned towards Don't Call Me as a standout track. The group did not want to just showcase the group's usual style, but instead emphasize the performance aspect with the release. The song was cherished by Lee Soo-man, and was initially intended for BoA for her tenth studio album. Taemin noted that it was their most hip hop-inspired track, which was something the group had not attempted before. Rather than focusing too much on being experimental, the group wanted to emphasise the message that Shinee's back. Heart Attack is a dance pop song with an impactful bass loop and a funky electric guitar melody. It expresses the "feelings of overwhelming love for a lover who turns even pain into joy". Marry You is a mid-tempo R&B song about proposing a marriage to a long-time lover. It is the final part of a trilogy that began with "Replay" in 2008 and was continued with "Love Sick" in 2015. In addition, Code, co-written by Kenzie and produced by Moonshine, is a futuristic dance song with a galloping bass; in the lyrics, the process of approaching a stranger with a dominating presence is likened to deciphering a code. The song is Taemin's favorite on the album. The album also contains the energetic pop song "I Really Want You" and "Kiss Kiss", which combines lyrics describing kisses between lovers with a kiss sound effect. In addition, the reggae genre dance song "Body Rhythm", co-written by Jam Factory's Shin Jin-hye and H1ghr Music's Woodie Gochild, expresses "dancing with sensous expressions." The R&B/pop song "Attention" depicts a romantic date in the middle of the night. The final song, "Kind", is an emotional pop ballad, which according to member Minho "represents the relationship between our members but it's also a song expressing our relationship with our fans; really any person we love or that we care about basically." Key felt the song could be open to different interpretations, saying, "It could be about our relationship with our fans, for loved ones, for anyone. But I think the most important thing about this track is that we wanted to express our thankfulness for those we care about."


    III. Tracklisting


    Number Name Length
    1 Don't Call Me 3:40
    2 Heart Attack 2:59
    3 Marry You 3:00
    4 CØDE 3:14
    5 I Really Want You 3:17
    6 Kiss Kiss 3:35
    7 Body Rhythm 3:12
    8 Attention 3:44
    9 Kind 3:20


    IV. Packaging


    V. Important Videos From The Era


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