I am a sucker for the piano and the falsetto, so I was all a-tingle when I heard the beginning of Trap. Trap is a bit of an anomaly for SM– when SM debuts acts, they tend to go for upbeat and epic. Yet, Henry’s debut Korean single is a sad, midtempo dance; not quite memorable, but not quite forgettable. It sets up the rest of the album quite nicely, a little melancholy and plaintive, and definitely very Henry, using the synths that he favors (see 表白, the song he wrote and sang himself).
Henry’s voice still sounds preternaturally young; his opening few lines and falsetto are absolutely magical. Yet, as the song goes on, it begins to show strains and cracks as sings higher notes (without going into falsetto). The chorus is extremely boring, as he sings mostly straight without giving much inflection. That’s a problem with most of the song, actually. The first verse was so finely nuanced but it seems that he got progressively lazy in paying attention to the details.
Taemin, oh Taemin. When he enters in the second verse, he steals the show. He sounds even more beautiful and smoother than Henry in the first verse. This is the first time I’ve heard his voice fit so well with the song, the first time that I’ve felt Taemin’s emotions behind the song. However, Taemin’s vocalizations afterwards are weak and unnecessary. After the second verse, Taemin’s voice is added to the chorus.
Kyuhyun’s little falsetto interlude duet with Henry was not needed as Henry already has quite an adept falsetto. However, after that interlude, Kyuhyun’s voice is added to the chorus’ beginning. Thank the lord. Kyuhyun makes everything better– if only they stuck in his voice earlier and made it louder. In fact, if only they made Taemin sing the entire song with Kyuhyun falsetto-ing and doing the chorus. If only.
Taemin was the surprise in the cereal box. The way he sounds in this song– honeyed, full, smooth– is nothing I’ve heard from the other SHINee members. If he could sound like this all the time, Jonghyun and Onew would have serious competition. This then leads me to wonder why Taemin is so busy within SM; first SM The Performance, then BoA’s music video, We Got Married, and now featuring on Henry’s single. What’s happening to Onew nowadays? What about Jonghyun?
Just a few notes on Henry’s live– despite the open top, Henry’s piano in this performance is not live, which is quite sad since Henry is an okay pianist. The backing vocals are also very heavy, so Henry’s singing performance was not great, but it was passable. Like any other performance, Kyuhyun and Taemin sang like the pros they are. Yet, Henry does not have a good stage presence; this is Henry’s debut single, but in the end, my eyes are glued to Taemin and Kyuhyun.
My predictions are scarily becoming truth, 2013: Year of Taemin. Forget about Henry.