So, I did a thing and bought my very first K-pop album…s.
I first listened to K-pop music back in 2010 with SHINee’s Hello and Lucifer. After one year, however, I paused on K-pop music and transitioned to YouTube musicians, completely stepping out of the world of K-pop.
Last year, I heard the news of Taemin from SHINee joining another group, and I started listening to K-pop music again. With SHINee being my first and all-time favorite K-pop group, I caught up with all of their music first and wondered why I ever stopped listening to them years ago. I indulged in tons of SHINee music, videos, and news and remembered why I supported them. I’ve also been catching up on the members’ solo careers, and I am so happy about everything they were able to accomplish.
Let's take a moment to appreciate Taemin's latest album, Never Gonna Dance Again: Act I - The 3rd Album. It is a criminal masterpiece.
I can’t wait for all SHINee members to reunite and release a comeback album. In the meantime, I’ll be supporting each member’s solo projects, beginning with Taemin.
As much as I wanted my first K-pop album to be SHINee’s, I wasn’t able to make that happen, although I do hope to someday collect all of their released albums.
As I’ve mentioned, my love for K-pop reignited just last year, when the then-new supergroup, SuperM, was set to debut.
Who is SuperM?
SuperM is a 7-member K-Pop group with each member coming from already existing groups under the same company, SM Entertainment.
The members include Taemin from SHINee; Baekhyun and Kai from EXO; and Taeyong, Mark, Ten, and Lucas from NCT.
They are coined as the “Avengers of K-Pop,” as each member mastered his talents and abilities in his respective group; and now coming together as one group, they form a powerful supernova.
My Favorite 'Super One' Album Tracks
I mentioned in my last monthly favorites that it actually took me a couple of listens to like SuperM’s first single, 100, off of their latest album, but it took only one listen to love their second single, Tiger Inside – which happens to be my favorite title track.
(Taeyong’s rap verse may be the main reason why I love it so much.)
My ultimate favorite track off of their entire discography is Better Days.
I appreciate that it is composed with English lyrics, but it was more so the message that left me in tears, and I knew that it was the song for me.
All of the lyrics of this song are meaningful and hold a special place in my heart, but the lyrics that struck me the hardest were:
“We lost our old lives
I swear you’ll find a brand new you.”
I have this constant struggle to forgive my past self, so whenever I listen to this part of the song, I’m reminded of connecting with a better me as I keep moving forward. And hopefully one day I’ll reach the point where I’m able to forgive and let go of my old self.
All of the songs on this album are interesting.
The vocals are beautifully soothing, the raps are energetically impactful, and the melodies are brilliantly diverse.
With You, Wish You Were Here, Big Chance, and Together at Home are also on repeat.
'Super One' Album Review
I’m extremely grateful to have gotten two versions of the album from Amazon. I got the regular “Super” and “One” versions, which were originally supposed to arrive six days after I had placed my order, but I surprisingly received them two days later, which I was very happy about.
As these two are my first tangible K-pop albums, I’m not too knowledgeable of other ones to properly compare these two with. Many of what I mention below, therefore, are solely based on my raw opinions on this single album packaging, illustration, and content.
The albums were heavier than I had expected, which I don’t mind. I quite liked the boxed packaging. They’re easy to store and keep all the content organized and secure. The texture is smooth but easy to damage. I scratched a bit on it, and a mark easily appeared. When I received them, parts of the edges were slightly worn as well. Other than that, I feel that the sizes of the albums are appropriate, and I like the overall feel of them.
I feel that the overall look of the regular album versions is okay. It’s simple and clean. However, based on their teaser photos, music, and general vibe of their songs, I was expecting something different – something dynamic.
The tracks are described as “highlighting the group’s energetically hopeful vibe, conveying the members’ collective message that we’re all ‘Super’ and we can overcome any hardship together as ‘One’.” I didn’t see this message being conveyed when it came to the album’s look.
Maybe some graphics behind the letters that are not in full opacity or an abstract illustration that defines the members’ collective message would work. It would also be amazing to see some of Ten’s artwork on an album cover someday.
The Photo Book
I wish they would’ve created a different design of the photo book cover. To me, the pasted photo at the front throws me off, and I’d prefer if it weren’t there or were done differently. Maybe the graphics of the box cover would connect to the graphics of the photo book, to illustrate the message of being “one”.
I do love the finish of the paper material, which are more matte than glossy, making flipping pages smoother and more enjoyable as it leaves little smudging and imprints on the photos. I love that they included song lyrics spread throughout the book and that there are the translated English lyrics at the back. I also love the photo concept on the Super (green) version better. I find them more aesthetically pleasing to look at.
The Goodie Box
I actually didn’t read the description as to what’s inside the goodie box (oops). I didn’t even know the additional mini box was a goodie box until I opened it. Previous unboxings had the photo cards and other goodies inside the photo book, so I was expecting that to be the same case for this album. I’m totally fine with it though. The only issue I have with the box is the holders, for both the CD and the I.D. card. The I.D. cards in both albums fell out of their holders, and the CDs feel as if they’re easily going to fall out.
On to the very exciting part of this unboxing – the pulls (I learned this term from all the unboxing videos). I’m incredibly happy, and lucky, with my pulls. For the One version, I got Baekhyun’s photo card, a group card with all of them wearing colorful outfits, aaannndddd Taemin’s I.D., and a postcard!!! With Taemin being my bias in SuperM, I was shocked but so flippin’ thankful to have gotten him. For the Super version, I got both Taeyong’s photo and I.D. card, a different group card, and a group postcard, which are all amazing pulls as well. I’m thankful that I had all different pulls and that I at least got two of Taemin’s cards.
If you are into collecting K-Pop photocards or just albums in general, I highly recommend adding 'Super One' to your collection.
Each album features 15 tracks and includes 1 booklet, 1 CD-R booklet, 1 ID card, 1 ID card holder, 1 postcard, 1 folded poster, and 2 photo cards.