December 18, 2017 marked a day that came as a shock to many. It was a day that shook the K-pop industry as it lost a respected and talented artist. Even if you weren’t an ardent fan of SHINee or Jonghyun, everyone was well aware of his abilities as a singer and songwriter. He had a natural ability to express his life experiences and emotions so effortlessly through his music, and his presence will be greatly missed. To remember him, we are left with a legacy of incredible songs that people will always appreciate and, hopefully, gain strength from.
Here’s a look at 10 of Jonghyun’s songs that we will always remember.
(In no particular order).
1. 하루의 끝 – End of a Day
This is the title song of Jonghyun’s fully self-composed album, “Story Op 1.” It’s a song that seems to perfectly connect his fans with the kinds of thoughts he had. Jonghyun had a way of making his lyrics sound like a journal, and it gave us such deep insight into his feelings. The lyrics of the song now seem even more befitting.
“You did a good job today. You worked so hard.”
2. Lonely (feat. Taeyeon)
This is the title song of Jonghyun’s latest album, “Story Op. 2.” Jonghyun said that he composed this song specifically with Taeyeon in mind. People commented saying that it was a duet comprised of SM’s two best vocalists, and their voices complemented each other perfectly. We also can’t fail to mention the melancholic lyrics and sadness that the song so beautifully gives off. It’s definitely a song that will never be forgotten.
This is the very rare live performance of Jonghyun and Taeyeon together:
3. 한숨 – Breathe (Lee Hi)
Probably one of the most popular songs written by Jonghyun, “Breathe” came as a surprise to many, since Jonghyun and Lee Hi are from different agencies. Tablo (from YG), who had been working closely with Jonghyun at the time, presented the song to Lee Hi, and despite being from a competing agency, Lee Hi was happy to feature the song on her album “Seoulite” as the title song. The lyrics and melody of “Breathe” are so heart-wrenchingly relatable; it really does showcase Jonghyun’s depth of emotions. We’re glad he was able to gift us with such a beautiful song.
Here is a rare performance of Jonghyun singing the song.
4. 우울시계 – A Gloomy Clock (IU)
IU and Jonghyun had a special friendship that revolved around their love and understanding for music; she even stated in an interview that he was one of her best friends. Jonghyun sent her this song (that he had written in one day), and IU immediately fell in love with it. When she pressed him further about buying the song from him, Jonghyun replied that she wouldn’t have to pay him, but she insisted. She was that in love with the song, and we can totally see why.
Jonghyun’s rendition of the song:
5. 줄리엣 – Juliette
Although Jonghyun didn’t write this song, he did have a hand in writing the lyrics (along with Minho). This particular song was special to Jonghyun because it was the first time he was credited as a lyricist, and it was the title song for SHINee’s EP album “Romeo.” “Juliette” was the first song of many that he wrote the lyrics for, which eventually led to him showcasing his talents as a producer.
6. 벌써 – Already (Taemin)
This song is on Taemin’s solo album, “Press It.” Although Jonghyun was close with all of the SHINee members, he repeatedly mentioned that he talked with Taemin the most, and they even shared rooms when all the members were living together. This was the first song that Jonghyun fully wrote and composed for his group member and friend, which made it all the more special. Taemin appeared as a guest on Jonghyun’s radio station at the time, claiming that he had practically begged Jonghyun for the song. It was Taemin’s favorite song on the album.
7. 시간이 늦었어 – Beautiful Tonight
This song is from Jonghyun’s EP titled “Base.” It was the first song that he ever wrote, which made it special for him. He had waited awhile until featuring it on his album. In an interview, he said that every time he listened to it, it gave him a feeling of warmth and he liked that it was a song that could be enjoyed specifically at night time.
8. 놓아줘 – Let Me Out
When asked what his favorite song on his newest album “Story Op. 2” was, Jonghyun responded with “Let Me Out.” He felt that he related to it most out of the other songs. He also stated that he connected to it whenever he sang it live.
9. 데자-부 – Deja-Boo (feat. Zion.T)
This song is featured on Jonghyun’s first EP album, “Base.” It was an important album and stepping stone for him, as he was able to show his true colors and abilities as a singer/songwriter to the world. In an interview, Jonghyun said that people had the impression that he was more of a ballad singer, but it was important for him to show his fans the type of music he really enjoyed making. He collaborated with Zion.T for this specific song, and you can really see Jonghyun’s funk and soul persona shine through in his performances of this song. Upon the release of this title track, Jonghyun got first place on various charts and music programs, proving his potential as a successful producer.
10. 엘리베이터 – Elevator
This song was written and produced by Jonghyun during his appearance on Mnet’s “Monthly Live Connection” in 2015. His appearance left fans with feelings of sadness for the idol, as it gave us a deeper insight into his childhood and upbringing, and the tears and emotions he showed in relation to how he wanted to forget his early years had fans sympathizing. This particular song was written with the image of himself as being someone who is having a difficult and tiring life. He mentioned on the show that this was the first time he cried while writing a song.
You did well. You worked hard.
Hey Soompiers, what is your favorite Jonghyun song? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer who can be most often seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in dessert. Her ultimate biases include Song Joong Ki, BIGBANG and BTOB. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!