It’s been a long wait for new material from Taeyeon, and even longer since she’s actively promoted in Korea. With the release of digital single Four Seasons (사계), it doesn’t seem as if that promotional lull will end any time soon, but it’s nice to hear her voice again. The song arrives just over two years after the release of her first full album — a watershed moment in her career. In many ways, Four Seasons feels like it would have fit perfectly as part of that project… just maybe not as a title track.
As a soloist, Taeyeon’s had a relatively high level of freedom when it comes to exploring various styles, and Seasons flips things once more by marrying her traditionally ornate balladry with a mid-tempo reggae beat. Those hoping for a “throw down the gauntlet” type of comeback will likely be a bit disappointed, as the song plays more like a solid album track. Taeyeon’s personality-rich voice drives the laid-back verses, though no single element seems positioned to stand out within the instrumental’s amiable vibe.
Seasons’ chorus feels more robust, highlighted by a strings-heavy arrangement that adds a stately drama to the song. In an odd and unexpected way, this aesthetic actually reminds me of old James Bond themes. The song’s aim and ambition are very different, but the swell of the instrumental (and that wordless, post-chorus refrain) give off a similar sentiment. After all this time, I just wish Four Seasons left me with more punch — whether it be melodically, structurally or emotionally. As expected from Taeyeon, it’s a strong track. But compared to past singles, it doesn’t carve its own niche as strongly as I would have liked.