What makes Taemin such an interesting solo artist is his unique aesthetic, androgynous appearances, and particular artistic sensibilities, hence there being three MVs for this single track: the artistic and avant-garde MV reviewed below, and the solo and duo performances (here) which are much more choreography focused. Released on 16th October 2017 with his second studio album, “Move”, the eponymous title track has been met with a critical acclaim amongst the Hallyu community. It’s MV #1 where the theatrical magic happens, so let’s consider what’s going on here first.
The MV opens with a 90’s camera feel before going into full high quality 1080pHD that is breathtaking to watch, and it’s these images—the images of Taemin in the rain on the street, in the dark and during the day, and amongst his all-female entourage—that persist throughout the MV. This makes the variety of sets feel much darker, melancholic, organic, and urban. The sets, for this MV, are incredibly important as they set the tone for the entirety of the MV.
Of course, the next major point that we need to address is one of the utmost importance: Taemin’s androgyny, expressed in various ways in this MV, such as an all-female company, choreography, and costume.
Whilst featuring all-female dance troupes is not by far uncommon, particularly by artists like Jay Park (and in reverse by artists like BoA with a full-male company)—with the overt masculinity is apparent in these instances—and whilst mixed troupes help to create a more inclusive setting, it’s incredibly unusual for a male solo artist to feature a female dance troupe in the way that Taemin has. This MV creates a completely different feeling—one that is neither masculine or feminine—and instead Taemin creates incredibly gender fluid and unclassifiable identity that has expresses typically (in Korean perspective anyway!) masculine features (scenes like the Taemin in the gold shirt and shirtless scene) and typically female traits (such as a much more flowing and fluid choreography and feminine outfits).
Of course, the choreography—which we only see a bit of in this MV—is incredibly important: both Taemin and his featured dance troupe execute the exact same choreography, making no distinction between them, whilst the outfits go between masculine and feminine. It’s an incredibly interesting dynamic and one that surprisingly does not feel as jarring as one might expect.
Of course, the MV itself has an interesting avant-garde feel to it, a few different cinematographic devices used at different times, with different effects to pepper the overall MV. There’s no distinct story, because to be honest, it doesn’t need it: it’s a theatrical performance and intentionally grabs the attention of us—the audience—to watch from beginning to end without blinking. It’s captivating and engaging, and leaves you craving more answers than the initial number of questions you might have had. Well done, Taemin: you’ve done it again!
Review by Tariq