Taeyeon - Something New
Taeyeon honestly shouldn't need an introduction, but if somehow you're unfamiliar with her, she's a solo artist under SM Entertainment. She was the leader and main vocalist of the legendary girl group Girls' Generation, and she's also one of the most popular solo acts in Korea. For the most part I've really enjoyed her solo works, and as a SONE, I always make sure to check out whatever she drops with high expectations. From the teasers, and even just from the title of the track, it seemed like once more Taeyeon would be trying out a different musical direction for herself.
The opening to this track was a serious surprise. The filters on top multiple layers of her vocals were reminiscent of Imogen Heap, an artist I'm really only familiar with on a basic level thanks to my best friend. Still, the opening element of this song definitely aligned with the title and concept of this new track as something new, and it was most certainly not the only part that did. This song is a lot funkier of a sound than we've heard out of Taeyeon in past releases. I really loved the progressions of this song from start to finish.
The song is branded with a kicking bass line, clapping percussion, accompanying brass horns, and tid bits of piano that bring a new and different vibe out of Taeyeon's vocals than we've heard previously. More importantly, even with all of those delicious instrumental pieces vying for your attention, Taeyeon masterfully takes charge and grabs it without even a hint of issue. The way that she commands her voice has always been impressive, but it's so apparent here that I can't help but fanboy over it a little. The bits of harmonization as well as the general use of her voice as a serious background instrumental were absolutely fantastic, too. I haven't loved everything that she's put out in the past, but I'll be damned if I don't say that this is easily one of my favorite releases ever from her.
The first thing that I need to say about this is video is that if you have not yet watched it, stop reading this review and watch it before continuing. Even if you don't find the song musically entertaining, this video is WELL worth your time. Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk.
Holy shit if this video was not something new and entertaining in terms of both Taeyeon's past releases and the general field of K-pop music videos as a whole. There have definitely been some violent and murderous ideas tossed around, but mostly on the side of boy groups. Some girl groups have done some darker stuff, but I don't think there's been a time where it has ever been this explicit and empowering of a female icon. Seriously, this video had me confused, screaming, cheering.. an entire range of emotions in less than a four-minute window. From start to finish this was an absolute thrill to watch, and I have no doubt in my mind that there will be some incredible reaction videos for this one.
Taeyeon looks fabulous throughout this entire video, which should be expected by everyone at this point. Whoever directed this video is almost certainly a master at their craft, though. The choreography for the action scenes was a lot better than one should honestly expect from a music video, especially one in the realm of K-pop. The choice to blanket the action scenes in black and white was obviously deliberate as a way to add even more impact and drama to them, but moreso to take away any distractions that color might add to these scenes. It's masterful and lovely to see such care taken with a music video.
Additionally there were some really cool effects like when the camera suddenly switched to a first-person perspective. It's not new by any means, but it was a very effective way to pull you even further into this incredible music video. The hints and clues leading up to the fairly dramatic reveal of this video being action-oriented were amazing as well, leaving you absolutely bewildered and mystified as to what the hell you are watching until the inevitable reveal and explanation. Every bit of this video was great. This is a masterpiece of a music video and I don't think anybody can watch this and be disappointed with the product.
When Taeyeon said she was going to be coming back with something new, I don't think anybody quite expected this radical of a change both musically and conceptually. This is a mind-blowing shift that I think works so incredibly well for Taeyeon. "Something New" is an apt, appropriate title for this track, and if you want to hear something that K-pop doesn't deliver often, you absolutely NEED to check out this triumphant return.