[Review] Advice – Taemin (SHINee)

While I was on break last week, a number of comebacks occurred that I could not review. Now that I am back, I will try my best to get on top of the last week and this week’s comeback. First up is SHINee’s Taemin, who made his last comeback with Advice (the title of both the mini-album and its lead single) before his impending miltary enlistment at the end of the month. While his fellow group members have completed their miltary enlistment, Taemin pushed forward with his solo career, releasing massive hits like Want, Criminal and Idea. Luckily for all the Shawols out there, SHINee was fortuate enough to make a group comeback earlier this year just before Taemin enlisted with Don’t Call Me and Atlantis (Album Review Here!) in addition Taemin’s solo release.

What makes Advice sound stunning was the piano present in the instrumentation. It was definitely captivating for me to listen to, especially since it was incorporated really well into the electronic trap-centric instrumentation and made the otherwise standard electronic influence a bit more gripping than if it was packaged as a standalone. Furthermore, I really like the vocals throughout the song. Taemin slips into falesetto mode for some of the song, especially when it came to the chorus, giving the song a bit of dynamism to make it a little bit more exciting. I really like it how his vocals are backed up when it came to the chorus, adding some depth to the song. And I feel that the additional dynamism and depth were much needed. Without the much needed dynanism and depth that we got, Advice would have been a bit shallow and too ‘safe’ for my liking. As a whole picture, Advice is good. But I will admit that Advice isn’t as show-stopping as some of his previous hits. There is a couple of reasons for this, but I feel like this boils down to one of two reasons (or maybe a combination of both). Advice felt overly consistent and stuck in neutral gear for the three and a half minutes or so. Also, Taemin’s solo releases tend to explore unexplored territory for KPOP, or repurposes rare styles to be his own. I felt that Advice didn’t have that individualistic spark which always perks my interest. But nonetheless, Advice is still a listen and might be a good song if you want to ease into Taemin’s discography. But as someone who has reviewed all of his solo tracks, Advice lacks what it takes to be at the top end of Taemin’s discography.

While those are my thoughts about the song above, it doesn’t mean the same thoughts necessarily apply to the rest of the comeback. The music video for Advice, to me, is haunting. And this is all done without slipping into a dark or twisted theme. The initial scene with Taemin’s body marked with grease and covered only by a black mask with white stitching and web-like overlay (whilst playing the piano) was very impactful and made the video feel sinister and creepy. We are then shown Taemin in a choreography shot with long hair with grey-blue ends, which make him look chraismatic as a vampire. Very impactful imagery. The rest of the shots (I don’t have time to go through them one by one) follow a similar pattern. This is also complimentary to the atmopshere which the lyrics create. Based on what I understood of the lyrics and visuals aspects of the video, his lover is driving him insane and makes him a crazed person (“The more you trap me, the more I go off the rails“). Based on his lyrics, he warns this lover to stay away from him, but they don’t. This results in Taemin going insane completely, driving recklessly on the road and dying at the end of the video. A very interesting set of events.

Once again, Taemin pulls off an impressive routine for this comeback. There was a lot of footwork and I really like how he carried that haunting atmosphere from the music video over to the stage performance. I really like the dancers contributed to the start, setting the scene of the performance. I also really like how they were slowly brought in using small body rolls at the end of the bridge.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

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