When I think of Taemin as a soloist, I often want to give him a “Korean Michael Jackson” sort of label. But, when it comes to title tracks his music has often been more subdued than that comparison warrants. This is especially true in Japan, where both of his previous singles were lyrical, mid-tempo works catered more strongly to interpretive dance than intense group choreography. Given this, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the evocative Under My Skin was chosen to lead his new album’s campaign.
When I first heard the album last week, Skin was actually my least favorite of the new tracks. That’s not a knock on the song. The album is super solid all the way through. It’s more an admission that I prefer uptempo material to ballads. But, pairing Skin with a gorgeous music video has really helped to reveal its charms.
Taemin has such a distinctive voice — sinuous and quietly commanding. He draws on these qualities to imbue Skin’s slow-burn verses with growing intensity. I would have preferred less snare and more lower end during this build, but that’s my personal, trap-averse bias. The chorus, on the other hand, is all kinds of majestic. It soars on an otherworldly melody line that’s supported by supple backing vocals. I love the haunting little hook that pops up after the first and last chorus, cramming more atmosphere into an already atmospheric track. The symphonic coda that brings Under My Skin to a close is wonderfully cinematic, matching the beauty on display throughout the music video. It may not be the aggressive dance track I’d hoped for, but there is still plenty to love here.
I also like Taemin and his uptempo songs “Move” and “Thirsty” are my recent favorites, but it’s always nice to slow the beat down. I don’t know how you’re staying up on all of the new comebacks, but more power to you. Looking forward to reading the next review.
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