So far in 2017, SM Entertainment has released ten title tracks. About a third of those have belonged to Girls’ Generation leader Taeyeon. The agency has worked hard to foster her solo career, and her sales numbers certainly back that up. But unlike other listeners, I wasn’t 100% sold on this idea until February’s My Voice album release. I’m not sure what it was about that album, but it marked the first time that Taeyeon as a solo artist really clicked with me. New single Make Me Love You cements that feeling.
SM has a long history of employing European producers for their artists, and Taeyeon’s work has been crafted almost exclusively by international hands. This gives her music a very western feel, and Make Me Love You is the most obvious example of this so far. The song sounds ripped from American airwaves. Its English chorus could have been recorded by any number of western stars, though its layered pop stomp most closely recalls the work of the UK’s Ellie Goulding.
The song’s verses float over a near-constant wall of atmospheric synths, giving Taeyeon’s vocals plenty of space to shine. But Make Me Love You is really about its chorus. The track’s arrangement sees to this, filtering out the noise before that hook crashes in with cinematic grandeur. The melody itself isn’t too exciting — it’s almost too one-note for its own good — but the dynamite production imbues the chorus with enough drama to make it feel bigger than it is. The song has a great build, as more instrumental elements and background vocals join the fray each time the chorus is repeated. This keeps the track from feeling overly repetitive, even though the melody itself is… well… repetitive. It’s a smart trick, and results in another world-conquering hit for Taeyeon.