It has been a while since I have done an album review, but honestly it has also been a while since an artist has come out and I’ve liked them enough to check out their entire album. Taeyeon is one of my favourite female solo artists – her first mini album ‘I’ was one of my favourite releases from last year and continues to be highly played on my music library to date.
I was so excited to see that Taeyeon was making a comeback, and particularly when I saw that her first release ‘Starlight’ was a collaboration with Dean who happens to be one of my favourite male vocalists. Much to my surprise, Taeyeon released two tracks from her mini album as she released the title track ‘Why’ a week after ‘Starlight’ – personally I feel like this was a really smart move from her as the two tracks are so different so not only does it show her versatility as an artist but also the variety within the album itself.
Why: The title track to the mini album and the second release on the album. I found this to be a slow burn but after a couple of listens I completely fell in love with it. This song sets the pace for the whole album and sets the genre and mood around the summer EDM vibes, with the chorus bearing slick up-tempo choreography (yes I learned it). The MV below will have you pining after blue skies and poolside holidays and to cross everything off your bucket list. There are some fantastic scenes of her holding smoke bombs too which are just so visually appealing. 9/10
Starlight (feat. Dean): As mentioned above, Dean is one of my favourite vocalists so I was always going to listen to this song, but I didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with it. Their voices mix together like chocolate in ice cream (is that a relatable statement?). Personally, my favourite part of this song is Dean’s final chorus, but Taeyeon gives him room to make the song his aswell as hers. It’s a medium-tempo R&B song to listen to in the summer sun. The MV below is linked to the ‘Why’ MV in a way that I didn’t understand at first, because this MV actually came out before ‘Why’ but its a really cute romantic accompaniment to the gentle vocals – I’m pretty sure we all crave a love story like this. 10/10
Fashion: Back to the type of up-tempo dance track that is filling our summer sound systems. This is one of my favourite dance KPop songs out at the moment – it is such an easy listen with Taeyeon’s vocal range on full display here – her upper register blows me away in this track. 8/10
Hands on Me: Low key my favourite song on this album. Something about the intro to this just gripped me from first listen. There is something really soulful about the harmonisation when she sings “Put your hands on me”. This track has a really 90s R&B/Gospel feel and reminds me of some of the girl groups out around that time, for example Eternal! It throws me back to my childhood and it just makes me feel like putting my hands in the air and singing soulfully along. 10/10
Up & Down (feat Hyoyeon): A big band influenced R&B song with hints of rap. This song has so many elements to it – some people may find it confusing but personally I feel like all of these aspects work so well together. The big band style backing is really very innovative in this album and is a switch up in genre from the rest of the tracks, however the song still manages to retain its R&B feel with Taeyeon’s vocal styling and the injection of Rap from Hyoyeon. 7/10
Good Thing: Another up-tempo dance track, with a saxophone solo that reminds me of the 80s. I feel like Taeyeon is transcending the generations with her album here. It is more of a club classic than a chill at home kind of song but will definitely get you dancing. It is one of my lesser loved songs on this album, personally because I feel that it stands out less than the other up-tempo songs on this album, but is still a fun track nevertheless. 6/10
Night: The perfect way to end the album – a medium-tempo winding down track heavily laced with the beat of a classic 90s R&B song. I find the chorus to be really catchy and memorable and one of those songs that you can’t help singing along to. 7/10
My verdict: I will always preach Taeyeon’s work wherever I go – to me, her solo stuff has never failed to impress me. I would definitely recommend listening to this mini album particularly if you are looking for some strong R&B tracks this summer. Even if you don’t listen to the whole album, I would definitely suggest listening to ‘Starlight’, ‘Why’ and ‘Hands On Me’.