Let’s go back…….. to 2014 Taemin solo album ACE

Taemin has been a member of the super popular South Korean boyband “SHINee” since its inception (2008). As most boybands go SHINee’s catalog of works contained upbeat candy pop, dramatic anthems and R&B influenced pop songs. Being that Taemin is a member of this group one may typically expect his solo album to have similar influences. However this is not the case. As listeners will find out upon hearing the diverse tracks of Taemin’s first solo album ACE.

A very short video history of SHINee

   Taemin_Ace_EP

The following review is of tracks from the mini album that stood out to me as a listener.
Ace The album’s title track is a surprising intro to the album with its slight 80’s R&B ethereal vibe the airy chimes and keyboard notes creates a cool atmosphere that showcases Taemin’s lucent voice.

Danger Taemin’s debut song contains influences that is blaringly obvious from the first stanza: Michael Jackson. The song as a whole is an interesting mix of 90’s style euro-pop and Michael Jackson. MJ’s influence is heard in the details ranging from the song’s melodic rapping thru Taemin’s shouts of Danger! In case you are still not sure of  the Michael Jackson influence in threaded in Danger the video will clear that up.

Play Me brings us back to the flowy dream like sound that the opening  track Ace introduced. Taemin’s soft voice once again is complemented by lighter instrumentals and delicate melodies. Play me sounds like a homage to an older R&B song “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah with its cool airy vibe and its repetitive chorus.

Pretty Boy This track interrupts the cooler tone Ace was leading. Taemin voice takes on a hint of base as he sings/raps with confidence and bursts with energy in the chorus. In variance with the track’s title of ”Pretty boy” Taemin tries to come across more macho and “hard” as a stark contrast to the smooth R&B crooner he portrays on the other songs off his album.

For a solo debut Ace demonstrated Taemin’s vocal talent in a musically diverse collection of tracks . The album as a whole establishes Taemin as a possible contender in the R&B realm, giving him a more mature and suave image than his k-pop counterpart (image?).

So what do you think about Taemin’s solo album ACE a year later? Did it help establish him musically and image wise as an solo artist?

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