My name is Hels and I’m Taemin trash.
This will not be a shock to anyone who follows me on Twitter, or anyone who knows me in real life. Taemin, musically, rarely ever disappoints me and I love his brand of sultry, Halloween-tinged, sacrilege-used-for-aesthetic-purposes, overdramatic style more than a LOT of things in life. On the rare occasion he has disappointed me with a title track, he has brought me back with b-sides or a slightly later single, because he’s brilliant and consistent. I could sit here and wail about what a talented performer I think he is all day, but I don’t need to do that; the evidence is all there.
So, here we are, and here are my favourite Taemin tracks for you to read at your leisure. This is my no means a comprehensive playlist of every track he has, and they aren’t even really ranked – while I have one or two Ultimate Favourites, mostly I just let my personal Taemin playlist run because listening to him is, for me, a truly joyful experience.
“Drip Drop” (from: Press It)
So I JUST said that these tracks aren’t ranked, but in my defence, this song holds a very special place in my heart. Is “Drip Drop” Taemin’s best song ever, objectively? No, probably not, and not least because personal taste doesn’t really work like that. But this song is probably my most listened to song of his. It came out during my final year of undergrad, and I used to listen to it every day on the bus with my best friend and housemate. I once had to stay late at my university job and put this on the projector so I could watch the MV taking up the size of a whole wall. The first time I watched this MV was the first time I truly realised how mesmerising he is as a dancer. Drip Drop is fun, it’s easy, it’s a fuckin bop. I love it. This is my favourite Taemin track.
“Heart Stop” ft. SEULGI (from: MOVE)
Heart Stop is the only other Taemin track I have a definitive ranking for. It’s my most listened to after Drip Drop, and while I don’t have several personal stories attached to it – other than how in my first year at my job I listened to it every morning on the way to work – it holds another special place in my heart. I really, genuinely wish there were more collaboration tracks between Taemina and Seulgi, because I think their voices match each other really well and compliment each other perfectly. This song even makes me not mind synthetic string instrument sounds, which is a feat and a half.
“Flame of Love” (from: Flame of Love)
Something about this MV and song makes me think of it as the essence of everything I like about Taemin’s style distilled. There’s drama, there’s outfits that a lesser performer would struggle to move in but which Taemin makes look like athleisure. There’s fire. The song is angsty as hell. There’s a car for no discernable reason because SM cannot help themselves. It’s everything.
“Ace” (from: Ace)
So, back before Taemin had a solo career, I did like SHINee a lot. I have become much more of a SHINee fan over the years, but back in 2014 I wasn’t as familiar with their music as a whole. This song, as soon as I listened to it, managed to drag me in headfirst to being such an absurd Taemin fan that I listened to this mini every s i n g l e day, and led me to take in a much larger variety of SHINee tracks beyond my usual rotation of “Lucifer”, “Juliette”, and “Ring Ding Dong”. I love this song a lot, and I really think that Changmin’s backing vocals really round out Taemin’s nicely. Is it as polished as things he’s released since his first? No, of course not: but it’s all there, and it’s such a good intro to him.
“Strangers” (from: Never Gonna Dance Again Act 1)
Strangers is my most recent, most beloved Taemin song. Obviously, being from the first half of his most recent album, it hasn’t been with us for very long – but for me it’s made a huge impression in that time. I love the stripped-down instrumentals in the choruses that build, and I love how there’s such a good use of his falsetto as well. For a track that’s not overly complex in any way, it is hugely effective in its sparsity. God I wish it had an MV.
“Heaven” (from: Never Gonna Dance Again Act 2)
“Heaven” is another recent track that I immediately fell in love with. Mostly everything I have to say about it is just gushing praise (like…a lot of the other tracks on this list), but for me this is PEAK Taemin melodrama – which, as you know, is the shit I like. 10/10, would sad bop to it, have sad bopped to it.
“MOVE” (from: Move)
Now, I know everyone loves this song and at certain points since its release people have called this song “overplayed”. That might be true, but for me this song can never be overplayed because it’s so good. The MV is every “crying in bisexual” meme condensed into one place. If “Drip Drop” was the first MV that made me realise what a truly mesmerising performer Taemin is, “Move” is the MV that made me realise that if I never had the opportunity to see him live I would absolutely be missing out. (And for the record – I have seen him, now).
“Play Me” (from: ACE)
I’ve already said that ACE is a very special mini album to me personally, but “Play Me” is my favourite song off of it. There’s something very sad and desperate about this song, even though the lyrics are extremely obvious in their intent.
“HOLY WATER” (from: TAEMIN)
Holy Water is one of those songs that, at first, didn’t really hit me in the right way. Somehow, despite it being a lot of things that I really like about Taemin (read: melodrama), it wasn’t until I watched a few performances of this song that I realised actually how good and effective it is. Now, whenever I listen to my Taemin playlist I repeat this one several times before I’m done with it.
“Famous” (from: Famous)
Do I need to go into why I love this song? He’s so famous. He’s so fabulous.
So, while this concludes my list of Taemin songs that I love and can also go on about forever, there are plenty of other tracks I love and have in my playlist. Once again they are not ranked, but I recommend checking all of them out in your own time:
“Press Your Number”
This MV is still utterly incomprehensible to me, but the performance ones are hypnotic.
This is my favourite Taemin MV to just watch, actually.
I would give anything for an MV for this song.
I would love this song a lot more without the shooting sounds at the beginning.
Yee – and I cannot stress this enough – haw.
Release the MV officially, you cowards!!
The boy has R A N G E!
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: it BAFFLES me that somehow SuperM exists and yet we have not had an updated performance of this song. The people want “Pretty Boy” and we want it several months ago.
“Just Me And You”
Lovely verses ever so let by down by a fairly generic chorus, but a nice song all the same.
If you haven’t listened to this song and found yourself dramatically lip-syncing “FOREVER! EVER! EVER NEVERRRRRR” you are lying.
Really just a great performance piece.
Taemin said “I am going to create an aesthetic that is so horny-” and that is exactly what he did.
And the award for King of Halloween goes to: Lee Taemin.
It’s been an amazing year for Taemin bops (thanks @ SuperM), and IDEA continues that trend.
So, here we are at the end of my possibly-too-long thoughts about Taemin and the how and why of why I like his music and his general performance demeanour so much. Thank you for sticking with me this far, and let me know any Taemin songs you think I’ve missed out if you want! Happy listening.