[Review] “Want” doesn’t stray far from foundation, but Taemin makes the most of it

Nowadays, K-pop song descriptions often lead with genre classification. Track A is a “cheerful song of the tropical house genre,” or Track B is a “dance song based on elements of trap and future house.” It’s as if the actual melodic construction and performance are secondary to the buzzword a title track can hitch itself to. With that said, it was extremely refreshing to read that Taemin’s “Want” would be of the “space disco” genre. We don’t see a lot of artists promoting their music as “disco,” and the style seems especially well-suited to a performer like Taemin.

In reality, the instrumental of “Want” borrows heavily from space disco’s synthy brew, but its general vibe feels more like a sequel to 2017’s “Move“. This is a moody track, but not in the same format that most boy group releases tend to follow. There’s a steady pulse to the instrumental, and that’s where we hear the disco influence. Right from the start, “Want” vibes on its sinuous groove. Unlike so many songs of the past few years, it rarely strays from this arrangement. Additional elements are brought in during the chorus to give the hook more punch, but overall the production has an uncluttered, old-school appeal.

The melody of “Want” is just as straightforward. From verse to chorus, the entire song hinges on one single refrain, run through just enough variations to distinguish between sections. I can’t quite decide if I like this approach or not. Part of me longs for more melodic variety, or at the very least a standout bridge that might offer a disruptive climax and bring the song to a new level. But, Taemin unveils each segment with such magnetism and smooth precision. He manages to make the most simple of arrangements compelling through the sheer force of his charisma. I’m hedging my bets when it comes to “Want”, but I think this will prove to be a pretty big grower.

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