Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon has been all over the k-pop map this past year. Few artists have embarked on such a sprawling solo career, covering the spectrum from acoustic pop balladry to tropical house-influenced dance. Most recently, she teased us with the hypnotic I Got Love, which seemed to polarize opinion. For me, it was one of her most interesting, effective tracks to date. But now that her full album has been released, she’s gone back to the well for a song that recalls the massive success of I, her solo debut back in October 2015.
Fine begins with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, drawing listeners in with an intimate sound. This continues throughout the first verse before the chorus crashes in with a prominent beat and Taeyeon’s soaring vocals. It’s a bit more restrained than I was, but otherwise follows the same template. In doing so, Fine feels as if it could have been recorded and released at almost any time within the past twenty years. This is a double-edged sword. It gives the track a classic, accomplished sound, but also feels a little “been there, done that.”
Luckily, a strong pop melody rules the day. Though it may not be particularly inventive, Fine‘s chorus certainly gets the job done. Its first half is standard, soaring pop music, but is quickly overshadowed as the melody lifts to a rousing crescendo for the song’s titular refrain. It’s a perfect match for Taeyeon’s emotive tone and allows her to really let loose without a lot of bells and whistles to get in the way. But as strong as the song is, there are much more compelling tracks on the full album. I would have loved for her to lead this promotional campaign with something a little more outside-the-box.