[Review] Taemin shows why he’s “Famous” in new Japanese release

Since venturing out into solo territory, SHINee’s Taemin has split his discography equally between Korea and Japan, maintaining a consistent level of quality regardless of the language he performs in. This is good news for fans, as it means we get new Taemin music regularly. His effortless charisma draws attention no matter what sound he tackles, but Taemin has always been at his best when given a killer groove to work with. New J-pop single Famous does just that, taking the smooth, sultry vibe from his recent Korean material and upping the energy.

Right from the start, Famous unveils its slinky, cavernous bass. There are no moody, ponderous build-ups here. The song emerges fully formed, ready to tease you onto the dance floor. I’m not sure about that high-pitched chirp during the verses. It sounds more like cloying distortion than vital musical touch, but the overall arrangement is so propulsive and funky that its presence is easy to forgive. The instrumental grows even more formidable as the chorus drops, bringing in rhythm guitar and commanding, MJ-esque percussion for an irresistible groove.

In contrast, Famous’s chorus feels overly simple. The song scores extra points for varying its structure each time the hook rolls out, but I kept hoping that the melody would open up in the same vein as Taemin’s excellent Korean debut, Danger. Even without that added touch, I appreciate how Famous is constantly in flux. From an unexpected second-verse injection of rap to an atmospheric bridge, the track never feels stuck in one place. It has a natural flow similar to Taemin’s expressive choreography, and in that way acts as a perfect match between artist and song.

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IATFB: Sorry for being late on this but … well it’s me. Anyway, I think I preferred the darker/dirtier sounds of efforts like “Want” and “Move”, though “Famous” is a nice addition to his discography.

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