Before I start, I need to give full disclosure on my relationship to Taemin’s music. I’m an enormous fan, and I selfishly want him to be Korea’s answer to Michael Jackson. I think he’s that good. In my opinion, he’s the best dancer in all of kpop. All this praise means I also hold him to a higher standard than others, so it’s with much anticipation that I dive into his first full studio album. Drip Drop is the pre-release track from that album (title track Press Your Number review here).
Drip Drop comes paired with an extraordinary performance music video that’s almost impossible to separate from the song itself. In some ways, it feels like the song was an excuse to make the video, rather than the other way around. Luckily, its glitchy, experimental sound stands up pretty well on its own.
When the track first opens, it seems that we’re in for a smooth, midtempo r&b piece, but then the intricate beat drops and the song warps into something very different. The shear amount of sounds present in the beat itself feels somewhat off-putting the first time you hear it, but quickly ingratiates itself on further listens. It’s a jittery, restless sound without the anchor of a good baseline. For a pop singer like Taemin, it also feels quite experimental. The song may lack a truly memorable hook, but this is the rare example where I don’t think that matters too much. From the jagged verses to the extended dance break that closes the song, every piece is designed to create and maintain a certain aura. It constantly keeps the listener off balance, forcing your attention to draw deeper into the music. There will be poppier tracks on the album (thank goodness!), but this is a daring departure for both Taemin himself and SM Entertainment as a whole.