It was after all, a matter of time. But somehow it hit a little harder than I expected. Maybe it because I feel as if I have only just begun learning about and appreciating him and now, SHINee’s indelible, cheeky and ever so talented maknae Lee Taemin will soon be heading off on an 18 month military hiatus. In a 45 minute VLive broadcast Monday, April 19, an emotional and tearful Taemin announced that he would be heading to military training camp on May 31. 😢ㅠㅠㅠ…
One afternoon about two years ago, I walked into my meditation room (yeah, I am new-agey like that) and was overcome with an intense floral aroma. It kind of freaked me out because there were no fresh flowers in the room, nor was I burning incense or any candles. I immediately jumped online and called upon the university of Google to ask what the cause of this phenomenon could be. Was I having some kind of existential or out of body experience? Why were the aromatics so intense and so beautiful? One of the reasons the new age professors at Google offered was the presence of an angel or angels in the room. I was completely on board with that and surmised that was the reason. It was brief, intense and to date, has not happened again. But, I kind of have a similar experience when I listen to Taemin’s gentle pop songs and ballads. They offer a fragrance of their very own. Case in point: the winsome and angelic Be Your Enemy.
While it is easy to focus on all that went awry and continues to be wrong with 2020, I choose instead to focus on the one thing that single-handedly has saved this difficult year for me: Lee Taemin. Even though the world was pretty much in complete ruin when I woke up to his art and music in August, I think I happened upon Taemin at just the right time. I showed up on the verge of him releasing not one, but three albums (if you count his involvement with SuperM, and I do) which ended up being remedies I never knew I needed. That is, loneliness and isolation in need of comfort, and troubling times in need of a hero. Yes, in many ways, Taemin landed in my realm at the right time; and by way of music, art and his indelible smile, rescued 2020.
At precisely 3AM (6PM KST) on Monday, November 9th, I woke up from a deep sleep, my inner alarm clock sounding its bell alerting me to the fact that Taemin released the second part of his third album, Never Gonna Dance Again: Act Two and with it, the MV for the title track, IDEA. I had planned to rise early to watch a 6AM (9PM KST) V-Live broadcast with Taemin in connection with that new release. However, it seems my fangirl-mired subconscious felt it a duty to disregard my normal circadian rhythms; and although I was awake to experience the album/song release real time, I cannot say I was necessarily ready. In fact, I wasn’t.
During promotions for his second studio album, Move, Taemin said that he chose the title track of the same name because he felt it represented his true identity. Eschewing gender stereotypes often delineated in K-pop dances where the men dance with great physical and aggressive power, and the women more soft and whimsical, Taemin stated in an October 2017 Billboard article:
My aim was to find a middle ground, mixing both masculine and feminine movements into the choreography together. My body shape is like that of a dancer’s, it’s not too masculine or overly muscular and I wanted to take advantage of that. I thought I could show the soft lines like the dance movements of a ballet dancer by adding subtlety to my choreography. I wanted to break the idea of what male performers are supposed to show, what performances girl groups are supposed to show. I really wanted to break those labels, showing that dance is a form of art.
Indeed, Taemin was already on that path three months prior with the release of his second Japanese EP, Flame of Love, wherein he regaled fans with an ethereal dance version of the EP’s title track of the same name.
The beauty of being a baby fan is that every song, MV and performance feel new even when they are several years old. Right now, everything also feels like a prologue as I await the release of Taemin’s Never Gonna Dance Again: Part Two. In this post I am going to fawn over B-side, Love, from Taemin’s second studio album, Move.
In anticipation of the release of Taemin’s next album, Never Gonna Dance Again: Part Two, I find I am unable to curb my enthusiasm while I wait. The album will be released on November 9th, and although that is rapidly approaching, it is going to seem like 15 years. Ok, I am exaggerating of course, but I can’t help it, I am excited. To help move time a little quicker as I wait for teasers, the MV and ultimate album release, I am going to appreciate some of Taemin’s past performance videos. Because, why not? Lately, Black Rose from Never Gonna Dance Again: Part One has been demanding my attention, so I will start there.
I woke up this morning feeling a bit melancholic. I suppose it is not so unlikely an emotion given the current state of the world at large. It’s been a difficult year on so many levels for so many. Yet at the same time I also felt upon waking a sort of winsomeness. You see, often when I dream I rarely remember. True also is the fact that many, if not most of my dreams, fall in the anxiety interpretation column if analyzed. Last night, I dreamt about Taemin.
I generally follow the rules when it comes to comebacks. That is, I jump all over the title tracks and want to shout their brilliance into the stratosphere. With SuperM’s latest release Super One which is their first full studio album since the group’s inception last year, I feel more compelled to talk about a B-side which happens to be my personal favorite on the album, Wish You Were Here.
Truth be told, every song on Taemin’s Act One: Never Gonna Dance Again is in shuffle mode looping endlessly as I pass these quarantine days in this current work from home environment. It has been my constant companion since its September 7th release. At this point, I should simply succumb to the desire to gush over every track and am considering it because as far as I’m concerned, each deserves its moment in the spotlight. However for now, I choose to honor Nemo because in a recent commentary, Taemin intimated that it is his favorite track on the album.