TAEMIN – MOVE
3. Crazy 4 U
4. Heart Stop (Feat. SEULGI of Red Velvet)
7. Stone Heart
8. Back To You
9. Flame of Love (Korean Ver.) (Bonus Track)
Taemin wants to 'Move' you with his eagerly anticipated 2nd album! From the teasers, it seems like the SHINee vocalist is putting out a performance-based album, and I can't wait to see what his flair for drama brings out in this new 9-track release.
We start off with "MOVE," the title track. Let me begin by saying I love the tension building elements here. But I'm not a fan of the low-key dance elements and the barely-there chorus. There are some neat sounding chords, and I like the bass synths that set up some of the R&B grooves here, but I was left wanting more. "Love" is almost the opposite. It's a ballad, but the chorus is beautifully powerful and has that "wow" factor that the previous track lacked.
"Crazy 4 U" has that modern R&B feel, and it's where Taemin seems most comfortable. It's pretty funky, catchy tune, and is synth-heavy where it needs to be. I was worried "Heart Stop" was going to be a ballad, but instead it's a low-key dance track, and Seulgi has a tone to her voice that complements Taemin's tenor perfectly. "Rise" is a dramatic power ballad that gradually increases in intensity, and plays to more synth-inspired strengths than orchestral. And it works so well, particularly because of Taemin's powerful lungs.
"Thirsty" has some more R&B stylings, but I like the mysterious vibe we have here. Taemin almost comes off as sinister, and the track is better for it. "Stone Heart" is an interesting track. It has a soft pop/R&B groove, but during the chorus, the tempo increases drastically, and a piping synth joins them -- before going back to the dreamy, slow pace of the main verses. The effect is that it makes this one of the more unique and interesting songs, showing off Taemin's particular sensibilities. "Back To You" is an expansive theatrical piece, buoyed by an insistent single chord from a guitar. On this track his voice is on full display; he sings for all he's worth. "Flame of Love" is the Korean version of the song from the Japanese EP of the same title, and it sounds largely the same.
I really like the experimental nature of some of the songs. Taemin's reputation as a performance artist is not for nothing, and the album really has a kind of dramatic, theatrical bent in some of the songs. Taemin is back, bringing his unique charms with him.
There are actually three MVs for "MOVE." One of them is the main video. One of them is a solo MV, and the other one features Japanese choreographer Sugawara Koharu dancing with him.
The main MV is far more concerned with theatrics than with actual dancing. While there is some, the scenes are scattered here and there, and there's much more the suggestion of dancing than anything else. That's not to say it's bad, it's just different, and it definitely represents the avant-garde style we saw in the teasers. And then some. This MV is intended as a feast for the eyes and ears -- it's far heavier than a simple repast.
The second MV is a focused dance MV and highlights Taemin and his backup dancers. The dancing here during the first verse did not impress me. It seemed as low-key as the song, and seemingly very undemanding like he was phoning in the performance. It wasn't until about 1:30 that it picked up and that's when things started to get real. I knew he could dance -- I was just waiting for him to show it. I also like the scene transitions, where one minute it was rainy, and the next not. That being said, we still got a couple minutes of solid performance from Taemin.
The third MV is much more concerned with style. Sugawara Koharu is his dance partner in this one, and the MV concerns itself with interesting shots and effects, and even different color schemes, alternating between black and white and color sometimes in the same shot. It's about as theatrical as the original, and while the dance number is the same as in the second, it's still intense and suspenseful in this one. In addition to Taemin's previous solo release, Ms. Sugawara has also worked with Rihanna and been featured in several ad campaigns, so her bona fides are well-established. It's just here we get a closer look at the masterful choreographer. Though she could have well stolen the show, Taemin holds his own here. This is one dynamic MV!
All three of these have a very different feel to them. I've seen previous dance releases where it was very stripped down and bland, lacking the life that the main video had. These MVs are not only very different, they're also very lit.
SOLO & DUO MV
MV SCORE: 9
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3