When it comes to my favourite Korean solo artists, I would have to toss it up between Sunmi and Taemin. Not only do both artists have some incredibly strong material but both manage to infuse each and every single one of their songs with a sense of individuality. More than just singers they’re performers and that really helps elevate the strength of their material. Taemin especially has been one of those artists who’s own musical tastes seem to closely mirror mine and this has resulted in some incredible tracks like his debut Danger and 2016’s incredible Press Your Number. New single 2 KIDS comes with great expectation but why does it feel so underwhelming?
Right from the start, it’s evident that 2 Kids is not going to be the next Press Your Number or Want. It carries a much more solemn vibe, more mid-tempo than blustering or sensual dance track we’ve come to expect from him. And while its billing as an electro-pop track doesn’t really seem to accurately reflect the final product I can at least see the electronic influences. The entire track coasts along on a rather downbeat electronic groove that doesn’t really stretch itself too far. I enjoy the melody but it does feel a little too faceless for someone like Taemin. I really wish it went just abit harder. I understand that wasnt the tracks intention but I think I would have really appreciated 2KIDS more if the instrumental had abit more punch. Especially during the chorus. While I still enjoy it, the song doesn’t really have any notable peaks so the overall listening experience really doesn’t feel as rewarding as it theoretically should.
But while there are many things I wish 2 KIDS did better, there are some things that I actually enjoy quite a bit. Taemin sounds great throughout although I wish they would tone down on the vocal effects during the chorus. He’s got one of the more unique vocal tones in the industry and boy is it satisfying to these ears. His emotive performance here is probably one of my favourites of his and while it doesn’t quite make up for the more restrained instrumental, it does help elevate the track over some of its more traditional competitors. The melody is also quite warm and inviting and I think this will help in the long run. Many will be thrilled but whether or not this is the kind of Taemin solo track I’m personally looking for is another story all together.
Final Rating: 7.75 / 10