Retro meets horror in singer Key’s new solo album “Gasoline,” which dropped Tuesday.
The member of boy band SHINee is back with his latest music 11 months since his last EP “Bad Love.”
During an online press conference a few hours before its release, Key talked about the process of piecing together the new album.
“Initially I wanted to prepare ‘Bad Love’ as a full-length album, but I was afraid that it would postpone things too much,” Key said. “So I was also preparing ‘Gasoline’ on the side while I was working on ‘Bad Love,’ and I’m so glad that it’s finally out as an entire album. I wanted to put everything into it. From the photos to music video, I did my best to present the entire package.”
The title track “Gasoline” is a hip-hop dance number with brass and drum sounds. Key took part in writing the lyrics, which illustrate himself wanting to go straight toward his own road without a hitch.
“I try to participate as much as I can when producing my solo albums,” Key said. “I got inspiration from retro horror films like ‘Friday the 13th’ . I also wrote the lyrics to three other tracks ‘G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time),’ ‘I Can’t Sleep’ and ‘Proud.’”
Key says that he instantly knew he wanted “Gasoline” to be the lead track, despite most of his agency staff resisting the idea.
Key performed “Gasoline” before its release at “SMTown Live 2022: SMCU Express,” a series of joint concerts by SM Entertainment artists which were held in Suwon, Gyeonggi, and Tokyo earlier this month. Key said he was satisfied with fans’ reactions.
“I wanted to perform the song, but some of the staff members didn’t want me to,” he said. “I went through with it because I wanted to show a good performance when I had the chance. Fans were probably wondering if I was planning to do it, but they ended up knowing anyway, because the cue sheet got leaked on the internet. As soon as I got on stage, I knew that I had made the right decision because of how the fans were screaming and chanting.”
“Gasoline” has 11 songs in total: the aforementioned four along with “Bound,” “Villain (feat. Jeno of NCT),” “Burn,” “Guilty Pleasure,” “Ain’t Gonna Dance,” “Another Life” and “Delight.”
“Villain” is different from the typical musical style of SHINee, as it tells the story of how even a villain can become a hero, Key explained. He praised Jeno and his husky voice which he said was the perfect fit for the song.
Other songs reflect the singer’s personal life, like “Proud,” which was written about his own family, Key says, and “G.O.A.T” is based on the question of why adults have to be perfect all the time.
“I don’t have Peter Pan Syndrome. I just really wanted to contemplate on the matter,” Key said. “I tend to wonder if I really act and think like a 32-year-old. I wanted to be honest about whether I’m actually an adult.”
When Key isn’t busy making music as a solo artist or as a member of SHINee, he’s a regular on the tvN variety show “Amazing Saturday” (2018-). He says that he hopes his success as an entertainer can shine through his music as well.
“I hope ‘Gasoline’ achieves that,” Key said. “I think it’s the perfect time to fully show what I am doing with my music. I know there are people who haven’t heard ‘Bad Love’ — which is why I can’t move on from the retro genre. Retro is like soul food. It still amazes me so much, yet we let it go after the ‘90s. I want to express in its truest form, the most surprising and valuable experience through my music.
“I honestly don’t know, even right now, what really defines me,” Key continued. “I try not to obsess over whether or not my music represents Key. The only thing that keeps me going is my fans. It’s really reassuring how I have a lot of people who are out there to support me in any situation. I enjoy feeling happiness whenever I release music to fans. It really is my driving force.”
Key (Kim Ki-bum)
Date of Birth: Sept. 23, 1991
Zodiac sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suseong District, Daegu
Debut: May 2008 as a member of boy band SHINee
Agency: SM Entertainment
Key debuted as a member of boy band SHINee in 2008 with its debut EP “Replay” (2008). The band has released hit songs like “Lucifer” (2010), “Sherlock (Clue + Note)” (2012), “Why So Serious?” (2013), “View” (2015) and its most recent Korean song “Don’t Call Me” (2021). Key has also acted in musicals like “Bonnie & Clyde” (2013), “Zorro” (2014) and “Chess” (2015). He is active as a regular on tvN’s variety show “Amazing Saturday” (2018-). He started activities as a solo singer in 2018 with the single “Forever Yours” and has other songs “One of Those Nights” (2018), “Hologram” (2018), “Hate That…” (2021) and “Bad Love” (2021).
This information was confirmed by SM Entertainment on Aug. 31, 2022.
BY SHIN MIN-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]