From the visuals to the songs, Gasoline is an experience from start to finish.
By: Adriana Chavez
Few artists can mix art and music to make something unique. From the visuals to the music, SHINee’s KEY created a whole experience with his second full-length album Gasoline. Following up his EP Bad Love which was released in late 2021, Gasoline comes blazing with artistry and a sound that represents KEY’s individuality.
The title track “Gasoline” paints the picture for the album. The hip-hop dance song has KEY declaring that gasoline is the spark to pave a successful path. KEY and his group SHINee are regarded as the princes of Kpop and have already left their legendary mark often serving as an inspiration to others due to their strong vocals and choreography. A cinematic experience, the music video showcases just that as KEY delivers an electric dance performance along with costumes that bring out his fashion flair. As a whole, the visuals and the lyrical meaning set the tone for the album, as a seasoned all-rounder artist, KEY knows that being a champion takes a fire inside and confidence to make it far.
Flipping to a haunting atmosphere, the album continues with “Bound.” With low vocals and strong bass, KEY takes us down the rabbit hole of how far he is willing to go to push the limits. The tracklist seamlessly flows into “Villain.” Partnering up with NCT’s JENO, “Villain” continues the film soundtrack-like experience. Telling the story of a villain who wants to be the main character, the song mixes special FX sounds with subtle rapping.
Slowing down the pace is “Burn.” A pop track that meshes together piano riffs with a rhythmic guitar, he sings about being cautious in a relationship that doesn’t seem that it will end well. “Guilty Pleasure” brings back the synth, special FX vibe making it a fun listen.
Throughout the album, you can hear KEY’s influence, and “G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time)” brings a more personal approach compared to the others songs. Written by KEY, the dream-like song dives into his vulnerable thoughts about coping with adulthood. KEY also had his hand in writing “Gasoline,” “Proud,” and “I Can’t Sleep.” “I Can’t Sleep” brings the vibes back up providing a fun song to drive to.
“Ain’t Gonna Dance” continues with KEY finding his footing in a struggling relationship using dance as the imagery to describe the back and forth that can happen. “Another Life” continues an 80's-like sound that is woven throughout the album. The opposite of the previous song, the lyrics of “Another Life” talk about leaving for another life beyond the universe for eternal love.
The final two songs begin to tie up the audio experience listeners have taken throughout the album. A fun song to bop to, “Delight” is a lighter track that is an easy listen for a good time. While Gasoline was filled with synthesizers and fun guitars, “Proud” wraps up the album with the deeper meaning KEY wanted to tell. The slower R&B track has KEY realizing who he is, written in his own words.
Gasoline is an experience from start to finish. Through the 11 tracks, KEY manages to tell a story through each track ultimately wrapping up as he comes to terms with the person he is and the satisfaction with all he has achieved. While each song can stand as its own bop, the album has brought back the lost art of creating a full album where each song builds on the last to tell a cohesive story.
The album further comes to life with the physical copies that keep with the retro cinematic theme. With a VHS version, a retro floppy version, and a booklet version, the physical albums connect with the visuals from the music video and give the 80’s look which is heard throughout the album for a fun, collectible keepsake. Find all three versions at the SM Global Shop.
KEY released his first solo album Face back in 2018. Since then, he has participated in different variety shows and joined SHINee for their awaited comeback Don’t Call Me in 2021.