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‘Guilty’ as charged


By Dorcas Abe

Staff Writer

Korean popstar, Lee Taemin, is back from his military service with his fourth EP - “Guilty.” His rise to fame started when he debuted as the youngest member of Korean pop group Shinee in 2008. In the 15 years since, Taemin has grown tremendously in skill - long-gone are the days when he was called tone-deaf.

His hard work first paid off when he released his first solo project in 2014. While his solo music does borrow from skills he gained as a part of Shinee, he has now found his own style separate from his work with the group.

“Guilty,” the title track of the six-song album, is a song about someone with a cavalier attitude toward the person they love. The song compares dating this person to taking a bite of a poison apple. The song and music video have the captivating energy of a siren leading you to your doom. This song's performance continues his practice of using a genderless charm to captivate his audience.

The second song on the album, “The Rizzness,” is actually one of my favorites. It is a hip-hop track that just talks about being a charismatic guy. The song uses strong beats and high tones to exude an untouchable kind of coolness. “You know I got the rizz, the rizzness” is an unforgettable beginning to the chorus. This is not a song for everyone, but it will get stuck in your head whether you like it or not.

“She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not” is structurally one of the best unrequited love songs I have ever heard. The song references the children’s game of picking petals off of flowers to determine whether the object of your affections likes you back. While the game is usually light hearted, the song is not.

It has a melancholy tone starting with the words “she loves me, she loves me not,” and continues to talk about the dead petals left in his hand after playing, and ends the verse with “she loves me not.” Every time he repeats the phrase in the song he ends on “she loves me not.” This is more moody because he’s already in a relationship with this girl, she just doesnt love him anymore. The love has just wilted, then dried up like the flower petals after this game.

“Not Over You” is more about what he does after the relationship is truly over. While this song takes a necessary place in the narrative of the album, I don’t really like it. It is the most generic song I have ever heard on one of his albums. That said, it’s not bad, it just could be better. It doesn’t have the richness of emotion present in the other songs, but perhaps that was a creative choice.

“Night Away” is an R&B track with all the vocal tricks to match. It really shows off the vocal control Taemin has gained over the years. The song is a more honest look at falling in love. After the previous songs it feels like he is coming to terms with who he actually is in a relationship, and it sounds beautiful. His love feels less like a performance and more grounded in who he is. The song is much more hopeful than the previous ones.

“Blue” wraps up the album with an airy dreamlike sound. The song is about two people who are a match made in heaven. This song rounds out the album wonderfully with the narrative going from a tortured relationship to a loving and grateful one.

It was overall a great album, and it reflects the maturing Taemin has done as well. Truly a perfect comeback.

Rating: A-

You know he’s got my biz, my business.



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