#8: SM The Ballad - Hot Times

We break into the top 10 today, right on schedule! Once we reach the top five, the posts will come once a day only - to add an element of suspense, perhaps? The countdown is scheduled to end on the 30th with my #1 song of the year. On the 31st I have something planned, but that's all under wraps for now. On to the review. Sorry.

When I first heard of SM The Ballad, I wasn't really so excited, partially because no one from DBSK, or HoMin, is in it, and partially because I didn't really like the idea of Jonghyun murdering more ballads than he usually does. And who the hell was that Jino guy? However, the day I heard the teaser for Hot Times, all my doubts and frustrations disappeared. The day I heard the full version of Hot Times, in HQ (not that crappy MuCore leak), I nearly cried - THIS. SONG. IS. GORGEOUS.

Up until a few days ago, there was a part of me that had already gotten sick of the song - I really didn't want to listen to it because I felt like I was gonna throw up (I'm serious.), but listening to it again, I'm still in love with it. It's a good thing, I don't have the freedom to move this down the list if I stopped liking it!

I believe I said this last Sunday during the Inki year-end recap, but SM really did pick the right combination of the right people. You have Kyuhyun, who sounds fantastic anywhere you put him and is very consistent when he sings, you have that guy from TRAX, who has probably the most gorgeous voice in SM now that JYJ are gone and who knows how to flaunt it, you have Jonghyun, who, when restrained, can sing ballads like no other in SHINee now that Key's voice has gone down the drain, and you have the new guy, Jino, who, although a bit inexperienced, is clearly trying his best and is practically on the same level as the 3 - that's hard to do.

I think that had they put Yesung in instead of Kyuhyun, the vocals would've exploded - it would've been too much. Had they put Ryeowook, well, I would've gone after them with more than a torch, telling them to repent for their sins. I'm thankful that Onew clearly didn't make the cut and SM finally got the message that HE IS NOT A BALLAD SINGER GODDAMNIT, and Key was snubbed too, because yes he was my favorite ballad singer in SHINee before, but that was then and this is now.

So they work together brilliantly, I think you all get the picture, and now that SM has four of it's best vocalists together for promo, obviously you need a song worthy of both their ability and their "chemistry". In comes Hot Times. After all the sins SM has committed this year AHEMSuperJuniorSNSDf(x)BoAAHEM, the release of Hot Times has made me consider forgiving them for several of those mistakes.

The melody of this is WIN, one hundred percent WIN. From the verses to the chorus to the drop-dead gorgeous middle 8 I just wanna replay over and over and over again, this is not only a Yoo Young Jin creation, this is an A-grade YYJ masterpiece - I can hear the guy singing this in my dreams for heaven's sake! The high note parade can get a little too much at times, especially when Jonghyun does it live, but I think without it the song would've lost one dimension, so it's fine as it is.

The chorus, oh my heavens the chorus - when 4 voices of their calibre sing it with that kind of intensity and urgency but with so much finesse, I feel like crying - IT'S STUNNING, GORGEOUS, AMAZING, OUTSTANDING, BEAUTIFUL and every other positive adjective I can think of.

That, coupled with a simple yet stunningly apt instrumental and a cool arrangement, make for a song that is just waiting to blow my mind. The live performances are fine, but the recording gets me every single time.


  1. Yea I was like ??? another group?!But then the teaser came out and I couldn't stop listening to it. Yea, Hot Times does kinda almost start annoying me, but I just can't stop listening. I was so happy Jonghyun's voice was more controlled and Kyuhhyun rocked it as always.

  2. Gorgeous! I really love this song, it's so nice! <3


  3. um nikki? even if jyj were still apart of DBSK/SM noones voice in that groups would have fit in S.M. the ballad for ALL of the sings n the mini album, especially "Hot times"
    im sorry to say this, but noone in JYJ or Dbsk voices are heavy enough to fit in with the others. but i do get you on the yesung thing, i think it would have made it even more of a belting fest than it already is

  4. @most recent anonymous: I never said that JYJ should've been in SM the ballad, I said that the guy from TRAX is probably the best voice now that JYJ aren't with SM anymore. ;D

  5. Where did Key's voice go. I mean, he obviously is still good and quite useful, but like.... where has it gone? He sounded like his gorgeous old self in One, but the rest of it is just.......
    I blame SM because they're refusing to give SHINee songs that suit Key. >_<

  6. Onew is a darned good ballad singer. Just listen to his live radio performances. Ballads + that lovely voice + his emoting = total win. But I agree that (1) he's so much more than just a ballad singer; Rock of Ages proved that to himself & to others, and (2)SO HAPPY they did not put him in this group. I would rather he goes solo.

    The name of that guy from Trax is Jay and happy to hear you sing him praises. He's a darned good singer with a heavenly voice - deserves more popularity. SM should keep promoting Trax for sure.

    I like Jino a lot. I hope he debuts as a soloist soon. Pretty smart of SM to launch him in this project group filled with veterans before his actual debut.

  7. AH! This is surprisingly good. I know I can trust you with all kpop related :) but is it me or that melody is very familiar? Can't seem to put my head into it but I know I heard it somewhere before.

  8. Sorry, but, this group exists for Jonghyun anda Jino only.
    For me, was a failure. Why?
    Because jonghyun´s voice is epic annoying! and Jino only a Jonghyun´s copy-cat.
    But, for my surprise, I saw the song explode with Jay and Kyunhyun! I love this music, really that I can ignore the nasal and cracked jonghyun´s voice. Jino will ground up, but, i wonder how will do? It´s a project group, and Jino isn´t enough for stage for me...

  9. Regarding Key's voice, I feel like SM has put him in a more supporting Role in the songs, he doesn't have those moments to really showcase his voice like he did for songs like "Romantic" or "Graze."

    Now when you listen to ballads like "Quasimodo," you can hear his low to mid tenor range holding down the base of the harmony at the beginning of the song or when the group harmony chimes in for saranghe at 1:03 during the verse.

    During the SHINee World album, I feel like the majority of the verses are dominated by the stronger singers at the time, Jonghyun, Onew and Key. I feel like with the emmergence of a stronger and more powerful voice in Taemin, the verse parts are being divided up yet again...now with 4 singers. Don't get me wrong I'm not blamming Taemin for the Key's parts being reduced. We all wanted Taemin to develop as a singer and do well, but maybe with 4 singers and a new softer, higher voice with Taemin...SM wanted Key to take on a different singing role in the group.

    Again I could be completely wrong and song choice by SM could be the culprit, but I just wanted to shoot my opinion out there and see what you thought.


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