TAEYEON – 'PURPOSE'
1. Here I Am
2. Spark *Title
3. Find Me
4. Love You Like Crazy
6. Better Babe
8. Do You Love Me?
9. City Love
12. Four Seasons
Taeyeon of Girls' Generation fame has dropped her 2nd full album, 'Purpose.' The 12-track LP has garnered quite a bit of attention on iTunes, rocketing to number one in 21 countries. It nabbed the number 2 spot in the U.S., just behind Kanye West.
The album kicks off with "Here I Am." Kind of appropriate, you think? This song starts out slow and has a very grandiose, majestic feel to it. It's a pretty good tune, too, and a perfect way to start things off. "Spark" is the title track. This song continues the majestic feelz, and is a pretty satisfying pop tune, too. Taeyeon is nothing if not a great vocalist, and this tune showcases her talent. If I thought "Spark" was a showcase, then "Find Me" is even better. I like the galloping beat, and her use of vibrato. The minor chords in this piece make it even better, give it a nice edge. "Love You Like Crazy" is super-enjoyable. A pounding beat, an insistent piano chord, and the effective use of English make this one an absolute bop.
And we get away from pop tunes, here, as "LOL" is more R&B inspired. Her vocals are super-sexy here. The breaks are killer, and the synth horns in the chorus are simply awesome. "Better Babe" is more of a slow burn. I would have gotten a little bored with the minimalist instrumentation, but I like the driving beat. It takes a bit to pick up, but when it does it morphs into a low-key dance track. Her vocals are the real star here, and during the chorus, she goes off like a firework. "Wine" is easy-going and subtle, like a good vintage. It's midway between ballad and light pop. The piano here is a nice addition. I like the pre-chorus a lot. It's emotional and casual all at once. "Do You Love Me" is a jazzy ballad. She knows how to use her voice on this one, raising the pitch to tender whispery vocals on the chorus. And what a question! Does she really have to ask?
Appropriately, "City Love" has more of an urban sound. Funky guitars and a casual vocal style make this an excellent driving song. Even if it sounds like she's singing "seedy love" sometimes. It doesn't detract from the song at all. At times "Gravity" has kind of a space-age sound to it. I love her expressiveness here. She definitely knows how to sound emotional, and the effect is quite moving. "Four Seasons" was released earlier this year, along with its B-side "Blue." You've probably heard these by now.
One of the things I like about this album is that Taeyeon seems to have eschewed more nebulous, artsy compositions and come a little more down to earth. The tunes are not just as good, they're even better. This is a little closer to her debut solo album, only the songs are fuller and richer. There was a purpose to 'Purpose,' and that was to show how far she's come.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that the MV is objectively good.
Why? Because despite the cheapness shining through at times, there are some nice highlights that thrust this MV into the cool zone. There's not much actually going on that maps to a narrative, but that doesn't matter here.
We have warm colors. Almost universally, each scene is bathed in hues of red, orange, and yellow. There are only a couple of exceptions, but they are brief.
They gave us interesting backgrounds. Whether camera angles, CGI, or something else, at least we had something to look at. From oblong rooms to scaffolding, again buoyed by those warm colors. We also were treated to the sky as background, still in those gorgeous morning/evening colors.
And the fire. Lots and lots of fire. And when that wasn't enough, they showered us in CGI sparks.
Not to mention the dancing, the silhouettes, and the dramatically awesome visuals. And, of course, Taeyeon herself. She'd be interesting dancing in a parking lot, but they chose to give her the video that she, and the song, deserve.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.6