Monday, 18 January 2016

Taemin: The First Solo Mini Album: ACE

An nyeoung
Ni hao

Ready for another dose of K-pop Monday? I've introduced you to this Maknae before but it was part of the group SHINee so now I'm going to share with you Taemin's solo debut, you ready?

Let me take you back to the year 2014 to the month August when on the 11th SM Entertainment announced that Shinee's youngest member would be the first member to make his solo debut and with that announcement his lead track was teased with an MV teaser, announcing the track would be called 괴도(Danger), the teaser revealed the concept for the MV as well as teasing the music and some of the vocals, personally for me it seems to be a light vs dark side and showing that Taemin maybe the youngest from shine but is also a weapon for SM, showing that Taemin isn't just the baby of the group he's a strong individual in his solo work, check out the teaser:
Owned by SM Entertainment

On August 13th SM then released a short video with a medley of all 6 tracks on the album, revealing snippets of each song as well as showing some of the imagery used within the mini album.
Owned by SM Entertainment

Taemin made his solo debut on the 15th of August when SM released the MV to 괴도(Danger). Personally for me the only way I can describe both the song and the MV is that it's every Michael Jackson fans dream, to me the video, styling, music, dancing and vocals are very Michael Jackson and being a big MJ fan is what drew me to this song. I'd not been into Shinee for long when I decided to give Taemin's solo a try and was hooked from the start. What I love about this track is that not only does it appeal to MJ fans, it has Shinee's trademark styling as well as showing of Taemin's dancing skills that he's well known for but also his vocals that he worked hard to achieve and thus creating his position within Shinee, so in summary 괴도(Danger) is a mixture of Michael Jackson and Shinee with Taemin's own personal touch. Check out the MV below:
Owned by SM Entertainment

On August 18th SM Entertainment dropped ACE Taemin's solo mini album which created another hit for the company. ACE reached number 1 on both Gaon's Weekly Album Chart and Monthly Album Chart and reached number 2 on the Billboard's World Album's Chart, with 괴도(Danger) reaching number 5 on the Gaon Weekly Digital Chart, via Gaon the physical sales of ACE is 88,179+. Taemin's solo also saw him winning a few awards with ACE winning the High1/Mobile Popularity Award at the 24th Seoul Music Awards, also winning him both a Bonsang and Popularity Award at the 29th Golden Disk Awards.

Even though Taemin didn't participate in any of the music or lyrics, it's very much his album, Shinee member Jonghyun wrote the lyrics to a track on the mini album titled Pretty Boy which also saw Taemin's close friend and label mate Kai from EXO lend his vocals to. Both Taemin and Kai trained together before Taemin was placed into a debuted with Shinee with Kai feeling he needed to work harder to make Taemin proud of him, I guess they look at each other more as brothers than friends and it was no surprise to me that Kai appeared on Taemin's first mini album, I wouldn't be surprised if they continued to have tracks together in other future solo projects (they also appear together in SM & Hyundai's collaberation creating a dance group for Veloster's theme song Maxstep naming them the Younique Unit).
Taemin, Kai, Eunhyuk, Henry, HyoYeon & Luhan
Owned by SM Entertainment

ACE is set out as a hardback book style case with options of either a white version or a black version when purchasing, I have the white version and the only differences with each version is that one has a white cover and one has a black cover, the layout of both versions as well as the booklet are both the same. The concept of the album seems to follow the Danger concept of Black and White. Many fans have noticed similarities to both Taemin's & Jonghyun's mini albums with even Taemin himself joking that Jognhyun had copied the style of his album with the layout as well as the names, making Shinee fans debate whether the rest of Shinee would all have similar layouts when revealing their solo debuts. The imagery for Taemin's mini album I would say is aimed more at both his and Shinee's female fans with their being lots of topless and beauty style shots of him. The main thing I LOVE about this album is on the cover of the case it says: THERE WERE DREAMS AND GOALS THAT I HAD IN MY MIND FROM THE DAY I DREAMT OF BECOMING AN ARTIST. ALTHOUGH I HAD TO GO THROUGH MANY OBSTACLES, I LEARNED THAT I SHOULD ALWAYS BELIEVE IN MYSELF. STRONG FAITH HAS BEEN THE MOTIVATION OF ENERGY THAT KEEPS ME GOING. AS MY EFFORT FOR THE DREAMS HAS MADE ME BECOME WHO I AM TODAY, I WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR HIGHER GOALS WITH FAITH. I've seen many posts that during Taemin's trainee days he often sung off key and had trouble keeping in note and all round struggled with his singing, something he worked extremely hard with and something that surprised me after listening to both his solo music as well as Shinee's music as he has an amazing voice. I just love that his input for his album is telling people not to give up on their dreams no matter the hardship and to always believe in yourself and work hard to achieve what you want, so to me he wrote it (I may be wrong), it may surprise some people that Taemin was still a young teenager when he hit the spotlight with Shinee (he was 14/15), and to this day he still works hard and raises his goals.

Track List:
괴도 (Danger)
Pretty Boy (feat. KAI of EXO)
거절할게 (Wicked)
소나타 (Play Me)

I think the album from start to finish is an amazing album and what I love about solo releases from members of groups is that you couldn't imagine the group performing the types of tracks on the albums but it fits the member as a solo artist really well.
Check out his album NOW!

Ace Live
(By MBCKpop)

괴도 (Danger) Live
(By MBCKpop)

Experience Live (acoustic)

Pretty Boy (feat. KAI of EXO) Live
(By MBCentertainment)

거절할게 (Wicked)
(By AcrossTheOceaniWillFindYou)

소나타 (Play Me)
(By AcrossTheOceaniWillFindYou)

Is Taemin your Shinee Bias?
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Comment below and let me know.

See you soon!

An nyeoung
Zai Jian

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