The album review for this weekend fits in with my focus on solo artists. Taeyeon (from SNSD) needs no introduction, as she is currently one of the most famous solo artists in KPOP at this moment. Since her solo debut back in 2015, Taeyeon has been delivering hit after hit, proving herself to be a momentous artists in the KPOP landscape. In February of this year, she returned with her third studio album, INVU, which features the title track of the same name, two pre-release tracks (Can’t Control Myself and Weekend) and ten other singles on the album.
INVU (the album) is another great release for Taeyeon. And this comes as no surprise to me, as I have already mentioned that she has many hits under her belt. A lot of the songs on INVU steals my attention, and Taeyeon’s vocals are shone in its best light yet. If I had to choose one word to describe the release, it would have to be ‘captivating’. Sure, the album has its strong and weak songs (find out which songs fit in which category below). But as a big picture, INVU does not disappoint.
1. INVU (Title Track) – Click here for the full review for INVU. (7.5/10)
2. Some Nights (그럼 밤) – If you are after a stunning pop ballad, then Some Nights is the song for you. It is hard for me to even write just a few comments about this song whilst listening to it, as I have to drop whatever I am doing to take it all in properly. Taeyeon’s vocals captivates and leaves me in awe, especially when she soars. The instrumental, which takes on a bit of a R&B profile, was heavenly and soothing. And together, they create an emotionally loaded atmosphere that is hard to ignore. (10/10)
3. Can’t Control Myself – Click here to read the full review for Can’t Control Myself. (9/10)
4. Set Myself On Fire – Set Myself On Fire is another song in which Taeyeon’s vocals just steals the show. The balladry instrumental we get acts as a blank canvas, whereas her vocals act like the paint strokes that paint an intense image. The harmonies, ad-libs and high notes she brings to the Set Myself On Fire act as noticeable details in image that adds depth and so much meaning to the song. Another 10/10 song in my opinion. (10/10)
5. Toddler (어른아이) – We enter more upbeat territory after a string of ballads with Toddler. But we aren’t talking anything overly upbeat. I actually find Toddler to be in the middle ground between what I would consider fully ‘upbeat territory’ and the songs that came before it. The funky instrumental does add colour and a much-needed kick to the album, while her vocals and melodies added an aesthetic touch that also makes Toddler a great piece. (8.5/10)
6. Siren – Like many of the other songs on the album, Siren is quite captivating and consistent. What impresses me about Siren is the chorus. It is impactful without being explosive or doing much. The synth backing differentiates it from the rest, and the presence of the barely audible sirens in the background was a nice addition. Taeyeon’s vocals are riveting (as always), and I quite enjoyed the spoken rap-like delivery that subtly changes things up in the second verse. (9/10)
7. Cold as Hell – Cold as Hell is probably the most relatable song on this album at this moment in my life. Winter has started (not formally, but it definitely feels like it), and it is Cold as Hell. Anyhow, back to the song. I like how the instrumental embodies strength and power, opting for an instrumental that features splashes of trap, haunted house music and rock. It was sinister and creepy, but also has that empowerment tone to it. And the EDM drops give it a cool effect. I liked how Taeyeon’s vocals build in this, though I think her vocal delivery could have been more memorable in this song. (8/10)
8. Timeless – I like the upbeat pop energy that Timeless has. It is vibrant and colourful, which is much appreciated following two songs that were on the serious side of the spectrum. The instrumental was more on the ordinary side, however. I liked how Taeyeon’s vocals soared in Timeless, and how simple the melody was. But unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to make Timeless the most memorable or strongest song on this album, but it has its merits. (7/10)
9. Heart (품) – Another track that undoubtedly highlights Taeyeon’s vocals. I just like how her vocals inclines in the chorus, making it a memorable aspect/sequence of the song. This is different to her vocals in the verses which were a lot quieter and more grounded, and so I didn’t get much out of those verses. The instrumental takes on a pop ballad profile, driven by guitar riffs in the verses and constant piano tapping in the chorus. Again, a bit ordinary. But there were some good elements in Heart. (8/10)
10. No Love Again – The beat to No Love Again is quite addictive and definitely foot-tapping worthy. In addition to the beat, the guitar work and Taeyeon’s vocals come off as quite striking. While these elements should have been enough to make No Love Again stick for me, it interestingly did not. I guess it is a matter that the album had better songs, that ended up shoving No Love Again out of the spotlight. (7.5/10)
11. You Better Not – You Better Not is my absolute favourite from this album. The song doesn’t shy from its rock roots, with the constant strumming guitar strongly indicating the direction in which You Better Not goes in. But the chorus still manages to surprise with its textured approach. It adds that head banging potential that I mentioned in my last song review. Also, the way Taeyeon’s deliver the pre-chorus was also a positive sign that I was going to enjoy the song. Taeyeon’s vocals were soft in that part (and for the rest of the song, as well), but was jammed packed into a tight timeframe to appear fast tempo. The falsetto at the end of each line at the start of the chorus was also a really nice touch. (10/10)
12. Weekend – Click here for the full review of Weekend. (7/10)
13. Ending Credits – Taeyeon wraps up the album with a song appropriately titled as Ending Credits. Taeyeon’s tone and the music did a great job with closing out the album, conveying the right level of each to signal the end of the album. The synths brought an ethereal-like atmosphere to the song (though I might argue that they are slightly overpowering), and the actual ending of the song faded out so satisfyingly. It is lovely, overall. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10