TITLE: Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 1
LABEL: SM Entertainment
RELEASED: September 7, 2020
Between all the fuckery that SM has been putting this man through, I’m just happy that this has finally been released. I wish he could have a rest but SUPERM exists and we know how people feel about that. Anyway, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his last album but he is a soloist I adore. Now I want to know what he’s given us for this crazy 2020 season.
Criminal – Title Track
Look at Mr. Lee Taemin upping his Korean Michael Jackson status by having a song titled after the man himself. Surprisingly enough, this song gives me similar vibes as MJ’s Criminal. Not in the sound so much but the staccato electronic beat feels very 80’s. The slowed down second verse is something I really like because it allows the song to build back up to the dance chorus. It’s a genre that really fits Taemin’s falsetto tone and makes me want to jam out. As for the MV… I need the holy water. Taemin up here really doing some bondage choreography. It’s sexy, dark and mysterious and I live for the color palette.
Black Rose ft. Kid Milli
Who would have thought Taemin would do a trap R&B track? Not I! But that is what we have with his collaboration with rapper Kid Milli. The melody kind of reminds me of his song Thirsty but the addition Kid Milli breaks up the repetitiveness. The song feels so unexpected that I think that’s why I’m constantly going back to listen, shocked that this came from my peanut Taemin.
This is the point that I knew I was falling in love with this album. Strangers isn’t a big theatrics of a song. It’s simple in its composition and the instrumental is haunting and fitting of a horror film score, in the best way. The chorus has a hook that is repetitive that gets stuck in your head and I’m here for it. If a song can be heavy and light at the same time, it’s Strangers.
Where is my red dress and a rose because me and Taemin about to tango. That is the vibe I get with this Latin tinged song with a heavy augmented chorus. It’s not my favorite off the album but it keeps with the dramatic flare that the rest of the songs bring.
Famous – Korean Version
Another classic Taemin track. This time a Korean remake of his last Japanese single. The song brings everything you like about Taemin, the build ups to a dance chorus with sharp verses. Part of me thinks this was almost added as an after thought. It makes me wonder what track could have taken its place.
I am hooked from the first cords struck on the piano. It takes the haunting vibe that Strangers introduced and turns it up to 11. The chills I had when I first heard this song was so strong, I was taken aback. Taemin’s voice weaves a perfect blanket with the instrumentals. And the faint ticking of the clock in the background really amp up that haunting vibe. I don’t think I’ve heard a song like this from him since listening to Goodbye.
Just Me and You
Another quick favorite off the album. This song is as dramatic as the rest but has a more modern twist on the classic R&B tone Taemin has. The pre-chorus and the chorus are probably my favorite parts of the song. The chorus has the right amount of bass and then the addition of electronic keyboard. Something about this song I just gravitate towards.
I don’t know if it was purposeful but the water drips in the background and the title being Nemo has me cracking up. Anyway, this is a classic R&B song a la Taemin. There is something about Taemin’s tone when he does songs that get you chilling out that sounds so good. This is a perfect song to get you in that romantic mood.
This was a pre-release and I have been absolutely obsessed. From the guitar riff and Taemin’s slightly augmented voice works. But its the chorus and the lyrics that get me in the feels. Pair that with his contemporary dancing in the MV, I can legit listen to this on repeat for hours.
I can’t believe this is only his 3rd full length album. Taemin has been so hard working for so many years, and even though this might be unpopular, I think this may be some of his best work. He stayed on brand but he also branched out and did some unexpected tracks. This is truly a no skip album for me and I can’t wait to add it to the shelves of my collection. Thank you sir, it was deliciously amazing to have my ears blessed this way.
PRODUCTION: 4/ 5
VOCALS / RAPPING: 3/ 5
VISUALS / CONCEPT: 4/ 5
OVERALL: 4/ 5
Least Favorite Track(s): Waiting For
Favorite Track(s): Clockwork, 2 KIDS