“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun” – Picasso
Lee Tae-min debuted in 2008 with SHINee and began his idol career at the age of 14. He spent almost half of his life as an artist, growing up amongst busy schedules, flashy cameras and fame which must have been overwhelming but for Taemin, those years brewed him as fine as wine.
He may have started off his idol journey as the youngest member of a prominent second generation boy group but over the years he has grown as one of the most prominent artists in the K-POP industry. Whether you’re a K-POP fan for a decade or a day, it is inevitable to come across his name, as one of your favourite idols will either be calling Taemin as their role model, covering his songs in multiple stages or fondly playing his songs in one of their V Lives. In other words, the 28-year-old artist is a paragon to other artists and a fortune to art itself. His participation as part of SHINee, as a solo artist and with SuperM also gained him the name “the three generation artist” who got to debut thrice in the industry. And, when we think he has reached the maximum, he finds a new way to prove us wrong.
Going down the memory lane, the group’s debut single, ‘Replay’ had no individual lines for Taemin which might be a news to many but what is surprising is him becoming the first member from SHINee to have a solo debut to now, performing some of the powerful tracks as ‘Heaven’, ‘Shadow’ and ‘Soldier’ effortlessly.
Although Taemin has proved himself over and over again as part of SHINee and SuperM, Taemin as a solo artist also has one of the best discographies, reinventing art and style in every release. And so, on his birthday, we decided to hand pick five outstanding title tracks of Taemin that brought about a huge impact for K-POP fans as well as K-POP idols.
In 2014, Taemin officially made his debut as a solo artist with the mini album ACE accompanied with the lead single ‘Danger.’ While embarking a new journey, first impression greatly matters and with ‘Danger’, Taemin declared his strong presence as an artist and performer by exploring more with dark and bolder concepts as a solo artist. The electro pop track sounds daring with heavy synths and bass sounds complimenting his low rap-talking verses. Being a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Taemin embraces the pop icon’s style and still succeeds in bringing out his originality. The repetitive chorus keeps our spirits pumped up and is extremely catchy even in the first listen. Adding to the bold track, the music video uses more dark colours with black being dominant in every scene. From being a sweet boy of SHINee, Taemin transforms himself as a daring artist with thick eyeliner, nose ring chains and deadly stares that give a bit of a gothic vibe.
The single is still one of the most notable releases in the industry with multiple artists still performing on different platforms.
“There is no must in art because art is free.” – Wassily Kandinsky
‘Move’ is undeniably a game changer and was a huge highlight in Taemin’s career. In 2017, Taemin released his second full-length album MOVE along with a title track of the same name. The song sings about being physically attracted towards a lover and becoming defenceless by her captivating looks. With ‘MOVE’, the artist got to reintroduce the meaning of artistry and proved the world that art can never be defined and is fathomless. Breaking the sexual stereotypes, Taemin performs a seductive choreography with smooth hip sways and elegant gestures. In the music video, we get to spot Taemin in his iced grey hair and a little muscled up in his sleeveless wear. The artist focuses on his choreography while performing them on streets and later, confidently flaunts his moves while getting drenched in the rain.
The signature move had huge reception among fans around the world and had a great impact on the artists, letting them start a trend of covering the song on every occasion.
After the ever praised ‘Move’ era, anybody would have had high expectations on what the artist is planning to bring next and fans were definitely not disappointed . After a long wait, Taemin once again surpassed his own standards with the release of ‘Want’ along with an EP of the same name in 2019. With ‘Want’ , Taemin portrayed himself as an embodiment of temptation as the lyrics sing, “…will leave you wanting more, thirsting for more.”
The music video also brings in the symbolism of temptation with the presence of snakes around him and magnifying glasses emphasizing his smoky gazes and curvy moves representing the serpents of temptation. Amidst the crawling snakes, the artist spreads his arms wide, proclaiming himself as the ultimate symbol of temptation. Taemin’s signature style with groovy moves and smooth gestures continues in the choreography. The entire music video is a visual treat capturing some of the best angles and a mature side of Lee Taemin.
‘Criminal’ is one of the latest releases of Taemin in the year of 2020 along with 3rd studio album Never Gonna Dance Again : Act 1. The album name got a huge attention as it read “Never Gonna Dance Again” when Taemin at this time had already established himself as one of the superior performers.
Contrary to the album’s name, the artist released another hit single with intricate dance making every artist dance to ‘Criminal’ as a new trend. The song sings about being the protagonist voluntarily submitting to an unhealthy relationship. Though it torments him, the love is too addictive to avoid. “So elegant, a criminal who hurts me/ It’s okay, you soothe me just to torture me again/ Ooh I’m on a leash called you/ It’s painful as much as I can’t breathe but also magnificent,” goes the lyrics with heavy synths and addictive beats making it an irresistible track to skip.
On the whole, the music video is visually grand with rich colours and posh settings complementing the artist’s powerful choreography.
The choreography begins with Taemin’s hands being tied up with a black ribbon signifying how he is tangled under the lover’s spell. Later, the step became a signature step during cover performances. One of the best things about Taemin’s choreography is the little details he gives in every move of his. Needless to say, after this release, many K-POP artists covered ‘Criminal’.
‘Advice’ was one of the most anticipated releases of Taemin following his announcement of military enlistment. Being the final comeback before his departure, fans were more curious to know what their favourite artist had to give as an impactful farewell present. The single brings out a striking persona of Taemin. “Yeah, no matter what anyone says, my way,” begins the song as the singer resonates his unique sound as an artist. The choice of blending soft piano notes and synths gives a unique tune to the track and makes it interesting during the listen.
The music video’s palette is dominant with white and black with a touch of aqua blue making it visually pleasing. Taemin also pushes boundaries in regard to fashion being creative in every outfit notably the chessboard inspired suit and sporty cropped tee. The choreography is on point with powerful and sharp moves. Taemin undoubtedly gave eternal ‘Advice’ to hold on while his fans wait for his return.
With Taemin, he doesn’t intentionally try to prove anybody as an artist. He invested everything to do what he loves and his work ultimately testifies to why he is an icon today. More than an artist, Taemin with his passion and dedication to art inspires fans and artists alike. In other words, he is indeed a boon to us and shawols definitely cherish him with all our hearts.
Taemin may currently be in the army but his members and fans made sure to let him know that he is loved and remembered. Fans also took over twitter as #Everyday_TAEMINDAY #TAEMIN along with other hashtags began to trend worldwide.
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Taemin enlisted earlier in May this year and will be discharged on November 2022. In the meanwhile, here’s Taemin’s gift for his fans, a special video performance of ‘Just Me and You’!
Which is your most favourite music video of Taemin? What is the one thing you love so much about him? Let us know in the comments.
Written by Anthea Isaac