I do not throw the word ‘masterpiece’ around lightly, or even often. But I think SHINee fans, and specifically, Taemin stans, would agree that while Taemin repeatedly creates artistic masterpieces, he himself is one as well. Since 2 Kids, the pre-release from this third album, Never Gonna Dance Again, I have been entranced, enthralled and captivated by this brilliant young artist. The title track, Criminal, is a metaphoric masterpiece of being a willing victim of a criminal whose crime is an intense, painful yet magnificent love.
The moment I fall for you, is the end of my innocence
Taemin’s Criminal can easily be one of the best of all comebacks I have ever experienced as a K-pop fan. Woah. This is big. Even for me. And yes, I have not experienced a ton of comebacks over the course of my K-pop fan career, so some of you may tell me I need to get out more. Heh. Also, this is my first comeback with Taemin so his long-time fans may even argue there are previous comebacks that best this one. Respect. I understand. Still, this one is pretty darn incredible.
Every element of the song and how it was brought to the music video screen screams art. The way Taemin interprets music with his voice and his body is like watching a poem come to life. Even though he may not be the writer or composer of this song, he is nevertheless the poet who delivers each verse as if he were its author.
My heart with an open wound
Is already full of your fingerprints . . .
* * *
So elegant, a criminal who hurts me
It’s okay, you soothe me just to torture me again
Ooh I’m on a leash called you
It’s painful as much as I can’t breath but also magnificent
Usually on my first watch of a music video, I keep the captions off and just feel the experience and drink in the visuals. This time, however, the captions we defaulted on so I did not pause and continued my watch. I was so distracted by the lyrics that I was literally unable to focus on both words and content simultaneously, and I generally have no issues with subtitles! But everything about this track and the MV took me off guard. In fact, about mid-way through the MV, I realized I was crying. Why???!
Perhaps this is what art does to me. Or maybe, this is what Taemin does to me.
The entirety of Taemin’s Never Gonna Dance Again is brilliant. Yes. There. I said it. I am finding it difficult choosing a favorite track at this point because each is an intricate stroke on the lush music rich canvas Taemin has beautifully painted.
Please indulge yourself, close your eyes, and have a listen to Never Gonna Dance Again: