Ahead of his upcoming Japanese tour, SHINee’s leader and vocal powerhouse ONEW released his Japanese album, Life goes on, with the title track of the same name. The songs were digitally pre-released on June 29, but the album was officially and physically released on July 6. The full-length album contains six new songs and four cover songs. His versatility as an artist is showcased in the mixture of emotional ballads such as “Lighthouse” to the R&B track “Beauty.”

Aiming to Spread Positivity

During his “Special Talk Event,” ONEW explained that he wants listeners of his music “to find happiness in their lives.” The title track of the album, “Life goes on,” creates positivity with the mixture of the bright melody, sweet vocals, and an uplifting message.

 The lyrics encourage listeners to find the beauty in mundane life, “Even if you don’t wanna accept it/ Look at the reality and raise your head.” Meaning that when people worry about things that have happened in the past, they are missing out on life’s current beauty. Ultimately, despite hardships, life goes on, so ONEW wants listeners to enjoy every day.

The music video encapsulates this optimistic message by following a woman’s (played by Japanese actress, Hinako Sakurai) daily life. She is able to find joy in situations, such as petting a dog and dancing whilst completing chores. To add smiles to the faces of viewers, the refreshing song is also matched by ONEW’s bright smile in the video as he sings on a beautiful beach.

ONEW is the leader of SM’s five-member boy group, SHINee. The group’s fans, Shawols, noticed the parallels between “Life goes on” and SHINee’s “Boys Meet U” music video as they were both filmed in Okinawa. ONEW also explained that member Taemin gave him advice for the songs on the album, highlighting the group’s supportive bond.


Positivity is also portrayed through the upbeat track, “夜明けの世界 (Yoake No Sekai).” Opening the album, it has a comforting vibe with a soft melody, feeling like a hug from ONEW. He sings the moving lyrics, “The trembling of your fingertips is a sign of life” with a bright vocal tone. This suggests that the worries people face when they begin to fall in love are merely natural emotions that everyone experiences.

ONEW’s Powerful Vocals

The second track on the album is “遅く起きた朝に (Osoku Okita Asani).” Despite being almost six minutes in length, the song remains dreamy with ONEW’s peaceful vocals that fill listeners’ hearts with warmth. The track contains the refreshing message that love can be simple, even if people talk of it as a “phantom that can’t be grasped.” Instead, for ONEW, love is natural as represented through the imagery of “waves” and “endless blue sea,” which is also fitting for the summer release.

Beginning with soft piano notes is the next track on the album, Life is…” The song elicits emotion with ONEW’s soothing adlibs. His impressive vocal control makes his musical theatre experience and 14 years as a member of SHINee clear. The writer of the track, Sayaka Inoue, said she was “spellbound by his truly beautiful voice.”

ONEW showcases his lower register in the fifth song on the album, “Lighthouse.”  Whilst the instrumental is mellow in the beginning, the emotion in his voice alone is strong enough to tell the story. The lyrics use the metaphor of a lighthouse to represent gratitude to a person that “illuminates the world.” An electric guitar kicks in during the climax of the song, but this does not overpower ONEW’s breathtaking ending vocals.

A Mature Charm

The fourth song on the album is the R&B track, “Beauty.” The song allows ONEW to present a more mature side of himself with his sultry vocals. His Korean title track “DICE” compared love to a game which was uncertain. However, “Beauty” represents ONEW’s confidence as he sings, “I want to meet the you nobody knows.” His fans, MVPs, took to Twitter to share their compliments for the track.

Bonus Cover Songs

Disc two of the physical album contains four cover songs that were also included in his album, Who Sings? Vol. 1 released on May 31. His passion for singing and appreciation for music is evident in the covers. The album debuted at number four on Billboard Japan Hot Albums Chart.

Onew chose to include the song “キラキラ (KiraKira)” due to his admiration for the original artist Oda Kazumasa. The other covers include “Everything,” “鱗(うろこ) (Uroko),” and “やさしいキスをして (Yasashii kisu o shite).” 

A Year Full of ONEW

2022 has proven to be a busy year for ONEW. On April 11, he released his second mini-album, DICE where he showed his maturity as an artist. Life goes on has equally been a success as it debuted at number one on Billboard’s Japan Download Albums chart. He is also set to begin his first Japanese solo tour on July 8 which will take place in four cities: Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Osaka. The tour quickly sold out, so two additional dates were added, highlighting his popularity. Additionally, he participated in the musical Midnight Sun which proved that he was born to perform on the stage.

To keep up with ONEW’s upcoming activities make sure to follow SHINee on Twitter and Instagram.

Want to read more about ONEW? Check out EnVi’s review of his album DICE here!