Taemin’s Press It was my favorite album of last year, so this comeback arrives with much anticipation (especially since it was originally confirmed for an August release). One of the reasons I gravitate to his solo music is that he pulls influence from the kind of classic, larger-than-life performers who simply don’t exist any more. Press It was a thrilling hodgepodge of Michael Jackson and Prince, as filtered through a k-pop prism. New single Move retains many of those 80’s elements, but casts them in a grimy, synth-driven soundscape.
Like the best Taemin tracks, Move is driven by groove. This time around, the track’s rhythmic elements are more restrained, propelled by a robotic synth bass that impresses even as it feels less approachable than earlier work. The template is similar to the icy funk of last year’s Sexuality, but with Move Taemin has taken the sound and pulled it deeper underground. The first verse roils with slow-burn bass and the echo of electric guitar before launching into a more accessible chorus. Move isn’t melodically complex, hinging its success on two relatively concise refrains. Luckily, each of these is a winner and, when taken in tandem, quite striking. The main hook has a slinky sense of funk, perfectly balanced by the airy vocal laid over the top.
But given this melodic simplicity, Move feels like it still has room to grow. The song never delivers that one knockout moment, relying on its overall vibe and the sensuality of Taemin’s performance to cover areas where it could have absolutely exploded. This is likely intentional, as the track’s appeal largely rides on its sense of tension and mystery. So while it earns high marks for execution, Move feels less versatile than his best work. Still, there are few performers in k-pop that can captivate as fully as Taemin, no matter the style he tackles.