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  • Cy White

TAEMIN: Guilty – The 4th Mini Album


Just when I didn't think I could be any prouder of Taemin, he smacks me in the face with this?

First thing to note: Range! Taemin's high notes are impressive (“Guilty”). Not so much that he can hit them but that he’s got the confidence to go for them with his entire body and sustain it with zero lack of confidence.

Digging deeper into the content of the album, it really is a buffet of flavors. Some of them aren't my favorite, but overall the balance of flavors makes for an entertaining experience. For instance I’m not…mad with his attempt at rap with “The Rizzness.” (I’m not even going to dignify the title with a comment.) Do I believe him…absolutely not. But I do appreciate the sonics in the production. It’s cute, and it does speak to his utter confidence in the studio. (Fifteen years removed being less than praised for his vocal abilities, Taemin is a bona fide vocalist, with the steeze to back it up.)

It would seem just as his brother in Jonghyun with She Is, Taemin is having his janet. moment. He’s more openly sensual than he’s ever been, and it’s believable. There’s a breathiness in his vocal that belies the boldness in his vocal advances. It’s an incredible thing to witness, the blossoming of the youngest member of one of the most profound idol groups in Hallyu’s young history.

Guilty is a fun album---flirtatious, bold, playful, mature in vocal and production. It’s not at all outside his aesthetic, but it grips onto it with even more confidence, in his vocals, his expression. It’s not sensuality for the sake of riling people up…Well…yes, yes it is. But there’s a more focused intention behind it than I’ve heard from Taemin’s earlier work.

Penultimate track “Night Away” is a gorgeous piece of genuine R&B that speaks to his artistic growth, because, again, I believe him in this song. It’s tender, understated, nostalgic yet still has an obvious timelessness. While not musically revolutionary, it is another important step in Taemin’s artistic evolution. What more can you ask? Especially when it sounds this good.

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