Song Review: Taemin (SHINee) – Guilty

Seeing Taemin at this year’s KCON reconfirmed his utter dominance as a performer. I’ve been lucky enough to watch him with SHINee a couple of times, but few artists can command a stage so completely on their own. He deserves all the hype he gets. With that said, I feel his music is beginning to move further from the elements I’ve loved about his solo discography.

I expect to be in the minority with Guilty, as many are sure to fawn over the song. Taemin’s work invites that kind of response. He puts so much of himself into it. The feeling just oozes out of the track. However — and this isn’t a problem unique to Taemin — I find Guilty to be quite dull as a song. Yes, it’s surrounded by all sorts of aural drama, including a theatrical strings arrangement that gives the track an artful grace. But the tempo plods and the melodies feel circuitous and aloof. It’s like a monologue put to music rather than a fantastic pop song filtered through Taemin’s worldview.

In other words, I adore the performer but don’t connect with the music. This is a frustrating conundrum, especially when we know what Taemin is capable of when tying his artistry to an equally dynamic track. I’m delighted to see him back as a soloist and pleased that he refuses to make concessions, but other than as a performance piece I’m not sure when I’d listen to Guilty.






Grade: C+

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