Many idol group members have gone solo, but few boast a singles run big enough for a top ten countdown. SHINee’s Taemin is one of those few, starting with his solo debut in 2014. His music borrows elements from SHINee’s repertoire, but draws on a different type of artistry. It’s at turns powerful, sexy, smooth and mysterious, and makes one hell of a top ten.
10. Day & Night (2017)
A surprisingly subdued single, the guitar sprinkled Day & Night lacks the punch or intrigue of his best work, but acts as a suitable winter-season comedown after more vigorous material. (full review)
9. Flame Of Love (2017)
Continuing along the lyrical path he’d established with his first Japanese single, Flame Of Love moves closer to straightforward balladry while bringing in traditional elements to beautiful effect. (full review)
8. Drip Drop (2016)
Letting the percussion do the talking, Drip Drop is one of Taemin’s most experimental tracks. Relentlessly complex, it’s a fitful blend of lithe vocals and intricate beat drops. (full review)
7. Under My Skin (2018)
Another stately Japanese ballad to add to his repertoire, Under My Skin draws on powerful vocals for its atmospheric chorus and cinematic arrangement. (full review)
6. Want (2019)
Pulsing on moody, mid-tempo “space disco,” Want’s sinuous instrumental and magnetic performance add layers of intrigue to an already ear-catching melody. (full review)
5. Ace (2014)
The first indication of the smooth, sultry sound Taemin’s music would take, Ace remains a high water mark of his softer material and an arresting showcase for his evocative vocals.
4. Sayonara Hitori (2016)
Though Sayonara Hitori was originally released in Japanese, its Korean version has also proven to be quite popular. That’s a testament to the song’s unbridled power and ability to evoke emotion in any language. (full review)
3. Move (2017)
Driven by a sinister synthwave groove, Move brought a nuanced touch to Taemin’s dance-pop sound. Its slow-burn verses impress, but the hypnotic chorus is the star of the show. (full review)
2. Press Your Number (2016)
Taking a Bruno Mars demo and reinventing it under his charismatic touch, Taemin delivered an iconic blast of glossy funk pop with Press Your Number. It’s his most melodically satisfying single, driven by polished pop hooks and gorgeous vocals. (full review)
1. Danger (2014)
Holding back nothing for his first release as a solo artist, Danger’s electro-funk throb mixes Michael Jackson groove with K-pop theatrics to thrilling effect. Its rugged, rhythmic verses contrast perfectly with the soaring chorus. And together, the two form an unbeatable sucker punch of a pop song, drawing on every aspect I love about Taemin as a performer.