This song is so, so, so good. I was trying to think about what my ideal combination voices would be for a song like this is — Jonghyun, Onew, Donghae, DO, Yoochun?! — because I rarely think an SM song fits any SM group’s entire range of vocals perfectly. But I think this is the rare song in which each person’s vocal role in the song matches neatly with each singer’s strengths and weaknesses, and never dips outside of that territory, however wide or narrow the net may be. So no ideal combination necessary!
First, the song itself is incredibly sexy, relaxed, and strong without being aggressive. So many of Shinee’s songs are noisy for the sake of being noisy, and try to attempt attitude with sheer volume, but this song is an attempt gone right.
Second, there is very little harmonization in the song, which I really like because I don’t think Shinee is a group that harmonizes well. Not like they can’t do it technique-wise, but a mash of all five of their voices is not the smooth gravy that I’ve wanted it to be (mash? gravy? GEDDIT???): Taemin’s voice is thin, Key’s can be sharp and flat, Jonghyun’s can be high and rough, Onew is SO far on the opposite spectrum in terms of pitch that when the four of them sing together it’s like you’ve got three kids on one side of a seesaw with Onew himself planted on the other side.
I like that for the most part, each person sings solo, and occasionally two people would pair up. The vocal line throughout the entire song is so, so clean, without extraneous and frilly harmonizing that listening to the song with great headphones is such a fantastic experience. Jonghyun and Minho pair really well together when Minho has to act as his backup bass. (His bass is shaping up nicely through these years, btw.)
Over the promotion cycles I’ve liked listening to Jonghyun sing less and less and Taemin I’ve never liked listening to, but I never really hated it before until they started making him A Vocalist. In this song, though, their voices are relaxed and loose, completely opposite of the effect that SM makes them go for in vocal killers like Lucifer and Sherlock, which makes for much more pleasant listening. I really like the whisper-singing effect all throughout.
As for Onew, I think Shinee’s songs either have him going to the extremes (Ring Ding Dong, Lucifer), or they make him completely stay completely flat with his pitch like in “The Name That I Loved,” which is I think probably one of the most boring uses of Onew’s beautiful voice. (I really hate “The Name That I Loved.”) His singing in “Excuse Me Miss” has some ups, downs, some soft sense of urgency, which makes it so much more enticing to listen to. I don’t think I’ve ever liked the way Onew sang more than I have in this song.
When Shinee debuted I was a big advocate of the belief that Minho had a lot of potential with his rapping. I was very, very wrong and very, very dumb, because Minho is not a Rapper. But! That totally works in this song, where the raps are not really designed to be raps, and are actually better as slightly rhythmic talks. In that sense, it’s completely like what Infinite-H did in “Special Girl.” Hoya and Dongwoo are not Rappers but the song works because the beat doesn’t require Tablo-level rapping and wouldn’t work with that kind of rapping either. It’s more like a punctuated narration of a short story within a song, and in “Excuse Me Miss,” this style works with Minho’s brand of, um, rapping.
TL;DR in four words: I love this song.