This is the album that everyone has been waiting for: Taemin’s second full studio album, “Move”. After the success of SHINee member’s first album, “Press It”, “Move” comes as an album that people just know will fulfil their Hallyu needs. Released on 16th October 2017, the album features nine new tracks with an R&B, Hip-Hop, and Dance influence and completely focus on his highly performative style, androgynous traits, and of course his aggressive and experimental sound.
Intended to be the B-side of this album, ‘Move’ is the title track of Taemin’s album, and definitely the right choice of title track. A track with a heavy underlying bass synth that support its mixed R&B/synthopop sound, ‘Move’ is all Taemin’s vocals and really gives us a sense of an introduction into the album. As a standalone track, an MV of course would make this track what it is: a powerful banner for the rest of the album.
‘Love’ on the other hand, which had originally meant to be the title track, is a piano-heavy ballad, with a cosmic feel through the use of the synths. The chorus is a great demonstration of Taemin’s vocal power and really showcases his unique sound. It’s a definite contrast to the previous track and leaves us wondering how Taemin will continue.
- Crazy 4 U
Whilst this track opens as a jazz salon-style blues song with a sexy and sensual vocal entry, it transforms into a synth-heavy track with a fast ballad feel. It’s really hard to categorise this track as it brings so many elements together, but it’s definitely a track that features highly on my list and one that will stay in your mind for its unique sound.
- Heart Stop (Feat. SEULGI of Red Velvet)
‘Heart Stop’ is definitely one of the best tracks on this album: a mid-tempo R&B-synthopop with a funky beat and engaging melody, it fits with the rest of the album and yet definitely stands out for its club feel on the one hand and also being an easy track to listen to. Seulgi’s vocals are perfect in this track and definitely adds to its appeal. Overall, one of the best tracks here.
Things slow down with power ballad ‘Rise’ and showcases one very important thing: Taemin only needs a piano to make a statement. It’s a beautiful ballad and really tugs at your heartstrings. The cymbal brush throughout the track is an amazing effect, easing us into the growing orchestral conclusion of strings, piano, and drums that peacefully dies, leaving us overwhelmed. It is one of the most powerful tracks here and a ballad that we have definitely needed in the midst of the recent pop releases.
Things move from the sacred—the melodic orchestral sounds of ‘Rise’—to the R&B/Hip-Hop sounds of ‘Thirsty’. Whilst the verses are definitely modern R&B sounds, the sound moves into highly reminiscent pop sounds of 90’s and 2000’s pop bands. It’s a very interesting mix but definitely works harmonious. It’s a heavier and darker feature in the album but definitely works.
- Stone Heart
The introduction into ‘Stone Heart’ won me over: again, another R&B track with a much softer pop feeling, fast paced drum beat, and great use of synths that make it feel like a track that belongs in a club for sure. It’s a beautifully executed track and one that will definitely win you over from the get-go.
- Back To You
‘Back To You’ is a great conclusion to the conclusion: an electronic guitar-heavy track which sounds like a live concert recording, this is all vocals and really plays around with the fabulous range and control of Taemin’s voice. It’s a beautiful track and really sets a contrast with the rest of the R&B-based album. It’s of course a ballad but one that differs dramatically from ‘Rise’ in its feeling and sentiment. What an ending!
- Flame of Love (Korean Ver.) (Bonus Track)
‘Flame of Love’ was originally released in Japanese as the title track for an eponymous EP released on 18th July 2017. The track has a folk Chinese tone, much like other tracks of a similar vein like Kris Wu’s ‘Time Boils the Rain’, and despite the J-Pop feel of the track, in Korean it still sounds beautiful, but definitely does not fit with the tone of the rest of the album. It’s still a great track though.
Overall, this is an amazingly well-executed album: it showcases important elements of Taemin’s style, from his vocals and musicality, as well as his unique sound. It’s heavy R&B focus might be jarring for some listeners but it definitely does its job of showcasing Taemin’s talents as a solo artist and distinct traits despite being a member of SHINEE, which makes this an all-the-more important release. Overall, this album is a winner and hopefully will feature in many of your libraries!
Review by Tariq