June 9, 2020

The Bookish Concepts of SHINee (KpopXBooks #3)

Hello, everyone! This is another instalment of the KpopXBooks series and... SHINee's Back (Shawols out there are going to love this 💖💎).

The KpopXBooks series consists of posts that are dedicated to Kpop music videos and songs that have some sort of bookish concept. So far, we've seen Book Recommendations from Kpop MVs, as well as a closer look at The Fairy Tales of IU. 

Today, I am more than happy as we are exploring the music of SHINee! They recently had their 12th anniversary as a group and as a fan, it was very emotional. SHINee is a group with unique sounds and concepts. With every comeback, they bring something new to Kpop. A few years ago, they went through a tragedy with the passing of their leader, Jonghyun. The rest of the group managed to stay strong and keep it together.

In this blog post, we are going to explore the MVs of SHINee that have a bookish concept. Moreover, I went through all of their back catalog and spotted a couple of songs that have been definitely inspired by books.

So, with further ado, let's begin!

Dream Girl

A bookish concept that is very common in Kpop music videos is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (one of the future instalments of this series is going to be about that). So, I wasn't surprised to find that Dream Girl had elements that indicated that this book inspired the MV. 

No, the members of SHINee aren't dressed as Mad Hatters and Red Queens. This MV focuses more on the scene where Alice becomes small and large and small again. In Dream Girl, this scene is reflected in dimension-bending sets and shots that make one member seem larger than the other. It's fun and rather whimsical! I wouldn't expect anything else!

Why So Serious?

Ok, I will admit it - including Why So Serious? in this list was rather a stress. However, I do believe that there must be a connection to Joker, the Batman villain. The music video's story is about a zombie who falls in love with a human. Maybe it has a Warm Bodies influence? 

Anyway, Why so serious is a super famous quote from the movie The Dark Knight. Even though Joker clearly says it there, I couldn't find any reference to any comic book. The closest lines come from The Killing Joke, where Joker says "Why don't you laugh" and "Why can't you see the funny side"

Another thing the makes me believe that there is a connection between this MV and Joker is the subtitle of this album, which is The Misconception of Me. I find that this subtitle is perfect for Joker.

Plus, there is a reference of Romeo and Juliet in the lyrics.

Sherlock (Clue + Note)

The title of this song is pretty explanatory - it is based on Sherlock Holmes. In the music video, the members are in the hunt of an elusive woman. Furthermore, all the video is sprinkled with Sherlock references. A great example is the above picture, where we can see the violin and even Toby. The lyrics of the song don't refer to Sherlock directly, even though they mention investigations, suspects, etc.

Fun fact: Sherlock is one of the most expensive MVs ever made.

Good Evening

The MV for Good Evening, as well as the following song, are both based on The Little Prince. The members of SHINee decided to do that to honor Jonghyun since this was his favourite book. Good Evening is a chill song. In the MV, we get the scene shown above where Onew has a moment with this fox. Of course, the fox is an important character in The Little Prince.

I Want You

I Want You comes from the second part of a trilogy of albums that SHINee released, after Good Evening. For this music video, they got inspired by The Little Prince. At the very beginning of the video, we see the fox once again, but this time all the members are chasing it in the woods. This video also features the interplanetary travel that we all know that The Little Prince did.  

Romeo + Juliette

It comes as no surprise that there is a song titled Romeo + Juliette. This is probably the most famous tragic love story. Therefore, if you want to make a sad love song, then this is the concept to try. As expected, the lyrics are super sad, filled with regret and lingering feelings. 


Juliette is included in the same mini album as Romeo + Juliette. The album itself is titled Romeo. Even though the latter is a sad love song, Juliette is upbeat and it expresses the feelings of love and admiration. In this song, we get some direct references to Romeo and Juliet. In more detail, the first verse is the following:

Song for my Juliette!
The moonlight, as if it’ll spill, is definitely dark
Including the almost exploding torchlight
I need to learn how to shine like she does
If I look at her, I’ll be blinded


It is so rare to get a pop song that is inspired so openly by The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo is, of course, named after the well-known character from this novel. Like the character, the lyrics of this song are about a man who is passionately in love, even though he cannot express his feelings. It's a beautiful song from the Lucifer album. 

Shine (Medusa I)

Shine (Medusa I) comes from the Why So Serious? - The Misconception of Me album. It is an album that deals with darker themes, compared to other albums. The lyrics of Shine (Medusa I) talk about someone who is in the dark and finds someone that shines for him. The reason why I have included this song on the list is because of the ancient Greek myth of Medusa. However, there is not a clear connection between the myth and the lyrics. I can only say that Medusa is herself a character that stays away from the light.

Dangerous (Medusa II)

Dangerous (Medusa II) is from the same album as the previous song. However, in this song I have found lyrics that refer clearly to the myth of Medusa. According to the myth, everyone who saw the face of Medusa turned into stone - so danger, danger, danger. The lyrics are the following:

They say the moment our eyes meet is the end,
To them you’re nothing but
Trouble, the rumors are double, they’re running wild
Danger, danger, danger
You’re someone that can’t be approached 

This was it for today! Which bookish concept was your favourite?
Which is your favourite SHINee song?
Stay tuned for more KpopXBook lists!


  1. A really interesting post- I'm a big fan of Greek myths so love the reference to Medusa!

    1. As a Greek myself, I always find it interesting when Greek myths are used in literature.music/arts :)

  2. I love this post so much! Sherlock will always be one of my all time fave kpop songs <3

    Katie @ The Queen of Teen Fiction

    1. I wonder, do SHINee even have a bad song??


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