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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Wednesday, December 13, 2017

[MV & Album Review] Taeyeon – 'This Christmas – Winter is Coming'



Track List:

1. The Magic of Christmas Time
2. This Christmas *Title
3. Let It Snow
4. Candy Cane
5. Christmas without You
6. Shhhh
7. I'm all ears
8. This Christmas (Inst.)

Girls' Generation leader Taeyeon has dropped her newest holiday release, 'This Christmas – Winter is Coming.' When I first saw the tracklist, I thought of traditional Christmas. "Let It Snow" has been a classic for more than 72 years, "Christmas Without You" is an 80's tune, etc. However, the songs are all original here, only the titles have been lifted. Without further ado, let's find out how it really sounds. 

The first one on here is "The Magic of Christmas Time." This particular tune is completely an American conceit, even done in English. So rather than a song of how the holiday is traditionally celebrated in South Korea, this is much more in line with the Christmas tunes I grew up with. It's a pretty tune, and Taeyeon's vocals are definitely magic. "This Christmas" is a slower ballad, like the ones that this talented singer has mastered. The music threatens to drown her out at the end, but she handles herself well. It's a full-feeling production, as she stretches her vocals chords. I like how she can go from high notes to more mid-range ones effortlessly. And this tune is an exemplary beauty, "Let It Snow" is an older-style jazz tune. It has a certain urgency to it, and not all of it works as well as it might. It's a good effort at pastiche, but the melody didn't flow and was jarring to my ears.

"Candy Cane" is a more traditional tune, very familiar sounding, even if the lyrics are new. It hits all the right Christmas notes. It's an upbeat tune, and works a lot better than "Let It Snow." 

"Christmas Without You" is a soft pop number, unlike its namesake. It's got R&B elements (like the snaps) and is a fairly pleasant listen. She does sound like she's missing you. "Shhhh" sets Taeyeon up as a Marilyn-Monroe-esque torch singer. She wraps her vocals around this tune like she was born to sing it. It's seductive and familiar all at the same time. She definitely has a wonderful set of pipes, and it's most evident on this tune. "I'm all ears" is when she slows it down for a ballad finisher. Sometimes her vocals sound the best in middle-range, and this one is a definite gem, smooth and tender at the same time.

Since the Christmas music cavalcade has made its way to the stores and restaurants I frequent, it's nice to have a little counter-balance -- a Christmas album K-pop fans can appreciate. It won't be the last, but it might be one of the best you hear this holiday season.


This particular one is almost pure drama, except for individual shots where she's singing. But even in those shots, she's surrounded by falling snow and it's all very dramatic.

The MV shows Taeyeon as a child (well, not really, but we'll pretend here). We see heartwarming scenes of her with her dad, getting a new bike, being in his arms, safe and warm. As she grows older and more independent, they have a falling out, and she is homeless, wrapped in a blanket. At the end, of course, they reconcile, because what kind of messed up would it be to have it otherwise?

The whole scene is wreathed in the snow and it's all done so well, you want to reach out to the actors. The problem I have is that it's so obviously Taeyeon in the MV that the big reveal at the end -- that the male figure is her MV dad, is not as big a surprise or as heartwarming as it could be. Still, her smile at the end is disarming.

Ultimately, though, it's gorgeous. I don't know the budget, but I never said to myself one "fake set" or anything like that. I was fairly caught up in every scene, lit just right, framed just right, even the scenes of Taeyeon singing as flakes rain all around. This is definitely an MV to watch if you need something else to warm you up besides apple cider.


MV Relevance...........8
MV Production..........8
MV Concept..............8

Album Production.....10
Album Concept.........9
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