In just a few short years, Taeyeon has gone from being the leader of Girls’ Generation to one of SM Entertainment’s most bankable solo stars. And with the recent arrival of her Japanese debut, she’s released just enough singles for a top ten list.
Now, my favorite Taeyeon song of all time happens to be an album track, but there’s no denying the strength of her singles run. It’s consistent but varied, drawing strength from her incredible skill as a performer.
10. Stay (2018)
As Taeyeon’s first Japanese solo single, the anthemic Stay streamlines the surging, feel-good balladry that has made her such a success in Korea. (full review)
9. Rain (2016)
Kicking off the first year of SM’s digital Station releases, Rain offered a subdued mid-tempo that bolstered its pop melody with gorgeous r&b turns. (full review)
8. Fine (2017)
Tackling an early 2000’s pop rock sound, the anthemic Fine put Taeyeon’s powerful vocals front and center. It’s not one of her most memorable singles, but there’s no denying the strong performance at its core. (full review)
7. Why (2016)
Taking influence from the popular tropical house trend of its era, Why is the only Taeyeon single that could be considered a dance track, even if its verses opt for more of an atmospheric, slow burn approach. (full review)
6. I (ft. Verbal Jint) (2015)
A rousing solo debut, as Taeyeon belts it out over an uplifting pop instrumental. I is arguably her most iconic song, buoyed by its soaring refrain and guitar-driven surge.
5. 11:11 (2016)
One of Taeyeon’s most stripped-back ballads, 11:11 succeeds on the strength of its melody and affecting performance. Its delicate chorus is a marvel of layered vocals and emotional restraint. (full review)
4. I Got Love (2017)
Dividing opinion with its unique song structure, I Got Love’s slinky groove captivates as Taeyeon delivers the most dynamic verse and pre-chorus of her singles run. The under-produced instrumental drop lets the song down slightly, even as it adds a beguiling atmosphere. (full review)
3. Something New (2018)
Transitioning to a funky sound inspired by late-90’s r&b, Something New shows off yet another style in Taeyeon’s versatile palette. Its throwback chorus is a rush of lush vocals and bass-heavy beats. (full review)
2. Starlight (ft. DEAN) (2016)
Pairing with r&b crooner DEAN turned out to be the perfect match, as Starlight delivered a perfectly breezy summertime duet. It’s not one of Taeyeon’s more vocally bombastic moments, but its laidback groove has had massive staying power. (full review)
1. Make Me Love You (2017)
Taking Taeyeon’s penchant for dramatic balladry and melding it to a thundering, synth-infused beat proved to be irresistible. Make Me Love You resounds with pop urgency and a compellingly straightforward hook that only grows more dynamic each time it’s repeated. (full review)
I wholeheartedly agree with the list, but as I was reading I was compelled to recall your past review of Why. Observe:
“[SM’s] focus on international house beats worked brilliantly on Shinee’s View last year, but I can’t help but think that the formula is beginning to wear a little thin. Though a fine song in its own right, Taeyeon’s Why may just be the track that pounds the final nail in the coffin.“
– Nick James, summer 2016
It’s 2018 and we still haven’t been delivered from Kpop House Trend Hell™️ and I’m starting to think this is just the new reality
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Haha it’s amazing to read this two years later and realize how little has changed. It really does feel like the new normal — especially with SM.
Sometimes I wonder if the sheer amount of K-pop I listen to causes me to tire of trends more quickly than a casual listener would. The fact that I was already sick of this style in 2016 is pretty telling!
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This is interesting.
I would probably place make me love you in the bottom part on the list due to it being super generic and lack of an interesting chorus, its a song I think I’ve heard 10 times before she did it.
I much prefer I, I Got Love and Why. Rain I even enjoy more than MMLY.
We agree on so much but then you throw one out of left field and turns out we have differing opinions on a lot too.
I am already dreading your review of my queen Chungha’s upcoming track due to it definitely sounding like tropical house from the teasers. I’m hoping its one of the better ones haha
It wouldn’t be fun if we agreed on everything 😉
I’m definitely hoping for the best when it comes to Chungha’s comeback. She’s got a good team of composers behind her on the title track, but we’ll see…
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Couldnt agree more. I was so happy to see 4 singles from My Voice in this list. It’s her best album so far.
PS: I was looking forward to Time Lapse, but then I realised it’s just a b-side track lol
Time Lapse deserves moreee
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One of my favorite songs from Taeyeon is CIRCUS.But it did not make the list.
Some taeyeon song maybe not good at the first listen but after listen many times her song is really good and not boring
Stay and Fine is the most my favorite (and weekend)