Taeyeon’s “I” lives up to expectations, proves a skeptic wrong

Taeyeon‘s “I” has been years in the making, and the only surprising thing about her getting a solo is how long it took to get to this point. Long considered one of the best, if not the best idol vocalist, the hype for this release has been understandably high. Still, Taeyeon managed to fight through that fog of expectation and dropped an impressive solo effort.

“I” was as sort of what I initially feared it would be, but she managed to make it work. Remember when I wondered how the hell Verbal Jint would fit into this potential hippie-fest? Well, they added a strong beat to the track that served as a foundation, and while Verbal Jint was the featuring artist, I honestly wanted to hear more of him combining with Taeyeon’s powerful vocal.

Speaking of Taeyeon and her vocal, for somebody who entered very skeptical, this single assuaged any worries about the direction a Taeyeon solo would go. Not ballad-y and boring at all, the mid-tempo worked in large part because Taeyeon’s vocal lived up to the majestic nature of the instrumental and music video. For a song like this, it was very important that the vocal filled the empty space and pushed the track into the epic territory it was aiming for, and Taeyeon managed to do exactly that.

The chorus is probably the biggest point of contention with this track, but I don’t mind that it isn’t really melodic or catchy. I do, however, think that it was the one area where the song could’ve been improved. For as subtle and subdued as a lot of the track was, it seemed to me like the volume for the hook was just too high, too soon. The fact that it was immediately loud and piercing left little room for it to build at the end of the track, where the volume of the chorus gave a much more appropriate feeling.

Speaking of volume, to Taeyeon’s credit, she resisted the temptation to show her vocal prowess across the entire song, and by doing that I was even more impressed with her vocals. After multiple listens, I ended up feeling like the softer, more nuanced requirements of the verses actually ended up as a strength of the song. Taeyeon’s ability to handle the softer aspects was much more impressive and pleasant than any constant belting could’ve been.


As far as the music video goes, as I said about the teaser, it looked amazing and so did she. The music video sort of had a plot, but that didn’t really matter.

All that mattered was the National Geographic shit going down.
















Look at that shit.

Get on her level, ‘Planet Earth‘.

I still don’t think anything beats the combination of cinematography and thematic consistency that “Gondry” achieved, but this is certainly gonna be up there, and it’s especially shocking coming from SM Entertainment.


Honestly, I never really got the Taeyeon hype. Sure, she was always cute and could sing, but I never felt the superstar intangibles with her and I was especially concerned about how she would carry her own solo because I just couldn’t picture it. So it’s impressive that Taeyeon managed to reverse my feelings on a lot of those fronts with one release in “I”, as she carved out an image and a sound that was both surprisingly mature and unique.


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