SM’s golden girl Taeyeon is back with new music but this time it’s a full album. Full albums are becoming less common in the world of K-Pop, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you. After the huge success with her 2 mini albums ‘I’ and ‘Why’, Taeyeon has a lot to live up to with her first LP. Titled ‘My Voice’, the album contains 13 brand new songs that traverse a wide range of genres and sounds. Has Taeyeon not only found her voice with this album but also her place as a credible solo artist?
With her two mini albums, Taeyeon delved into two very different genres – singer/songwriter and electro pop. ‘My Voice’ builds on the former with much of the tracks being mid-tempos and ballads. There are a handful of upbeat tracks but it’s definitely the least represented genre on the album. The album opens with lead single ‘Fine’ which sounds like a natural follow up to debut single ‘I’. The production is incredibly simple yet effective – just a guitar and Taeyeons stunning voice. And then the chorus kicks in and you’re suddenly uplifted. It’s a gorgeous, uplifting and incredibly catchy chorus. It’s been stuck in my head all day. While ‘I’ had a rockier vibe, ‘Fine’ is much more mellow and chilled, it suits Taeyeon a lot more.
There are 5 tracks on the album that fall into the ‘upbeat’ category – ‘Cover Up’, ‘I Got Love’, ‘I’m OK’, ‘Feel So Fine’ and ‘Eraser’. I Got Love is the strongest of them with it’s sultry, sexy production. Taeyeons voice purrs over the production which also greatly compliments her lower register. I maybe would have liked a chorus that had actual singing in it but I’m splitting hairs here. ‘Cover Up’ sounds like a track that could have easily been on Tae’s last EP ‘Why’. It’s an upbeat dance pop track with caribbean vibes. It’s a great pop song and very commercial. I could see it working in Western markets if they ever released it in English. I’m not a big fan of ‘I’m OK’ unfortunately, it’s a little too dated production wise for my tastes. It reminds me of budget 2004 pop music. ‘Feel So Fine’ is different from the rest of the upbeat tracks, falling into he same lane as the lead single, just much more uptempo. I actually think this would have been a stronger lead single.
The remaining tracks fall either into the mid-tempo or ballad categories. ‘Time Lapse’ is the standout track for me. Taeyeons higher register with the almost euphoric production is just stunning. ‘Sweet Love’ is the R&B track of the album and harks back to her debut EP material. K-Pop has been experimenting with R&B for a little while now and I’m really digging it. It does remind me a little bit of ‘Cool Hot Sweet Love’ by Red Velvet. ‘Love In Colour’ is probably my favourite of the ballad songs. I simply love the piano and the melody is very catchy.
‘My Voice’ is an eclectic mix of genres and each song shows us a different side of Taeyeon. My issue is that it feels a little disconnected at places. I Got Love is a red herring on this album, sticking out like a sore thumb amongst pure pop bops. I would have liked a couple of more songs like I Got Love/Why to replace a couple of the dreary ballads to balance the album more. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy this album but I think after the brilliance that is ‘Why’, I was expecting more genre pushing pop. I do have faith that Taeyeon will deliver this in future though so consider me perched for more.