Review

Song Review: Taeyeon – Dear Me

Taeyeon publicly stated that 2020 was going to be a year for her to focus on her mental health, so kicking it off with the release of Dear Me (내게 들려주고 싶은 말) seems fitting. The song leads a repackage of her October album, and is a hopeful wish for her own personal strength. It’s a powerful conceit, essentially a letter addressing herself.

Dear Me is co-produced by SM Entertainment mainstay Yoo Young-Jin (alongside K-pop newcomer William Wenaus), and arrives only a month after his Coming Home with NCT U. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard back-to-back Young-Jin ballads, and I wouldn’t mind this trend continuing. He has a gift for the format, casting a simple melody over a clean, evocative arrangement. Dear Me is not overly complex, nor should it be. A song like this needs a sense of rawness to resonate, and Taeyeon delivers an unguarded performance while still managing to imbue the track with a pop sheen.

For whatever reason, Taeyeon’s solo work has always recalled the late 90’s for me. Maybe it’s the timelessness of the melodies, or the warm, uncluttered production. Or maybe it’s her voice, which never opts for tricks or flourishes when it doesn’t have to. There’s a directness to her style, like she’s communicating specifically to the listener without putting on airs. That approach is a good match for Dear Me. Structurally and melodically, I wouldn’t call it a career highlight, but it feels like the right song for this time. Whatever the year might hold for her as an artist and a person, I hope the sentiment here can resonate long past the time Dear Me has left the charts.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

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6 thoughts on “Song Review: Taeyeon – Dear Me

  1. There isn’t anything wrong with this song, performance, production per se, except that it lacks personality. I listened to the whole repackage album this morning on youtube, and most of the songs are a very similar energy level, mid-tempo, well crafted well sung ballad.
    Also note that most of the songs are repackaged from the release last spring and the on in the autumn. My favorites are still Here I am, Wine, and Blue. I love those songs.

    Yes, it is all very 90’s style, especially the music, but the not very memorable part of 90’s style. Maybe more 70’s style. Like, Debbie Boone. Or Helen Reddy or Anne Murray. I mean, what did Debbie Boone sing? She was famous at the time, famous! She was probably on the muppets and the Donny & Marie show, or maybe even the Match Game with Gene Rayburn. Because for me the 90’s weren’t just the decade of Celine and Mariah, but also that female singer-songwriter movement – the Jewel Alanis and Sarah Macs who all had a very unique style and points of view, and I can’t think of any Debbie Boone’s of the 90’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First off, congrats for penning an SM Entertainment title track. That’s a huge deal!

      I’ve edited the review to include your name. Sorry for focusing solely on Young-Jin prior to this. I only bring up his name because he has a history of appearing in my reviews. He’s one of my all-time favorite producers, and whenever I see a new production credit, I feel compelled to mention him.

      If you feel comfortable publicly divulging this, I’m curious how this collaboration came about? Did you and Young-Jin sit down and write the song together, or did you provide a version that was then tweaked by him? I’m always curious how these behind-the-scenes creative processes work. No worries if you’re uncomfortable talking about it in the comments section of a K-pop review, but I thought I’d ask just in case. It’s not every day you get to talk to a K-pop producer!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Given the limited (horizontal) space in the comment section, perhaps you could create a full post with a complete interview; even if it is conducted back and forth through e-mail. I know I’d give it a read. Sorry.. ..not trying to hijack your tête-à-tête; just my 2p. Carry on…

        Like

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