[kpop/review] quick thoughts on Taemin’s (meh) debut on Immortal Song

Thanks to some prompting, I finally got around to watching Taemin’s Immortal Song debut.

I guess a lot of this blog’s readers would expect me totally pan Taemin, but my reaction was on the blah side. I did not have a strong ick reaction nor did I have a strong “noona’s-proud-of-you-Taebaby!” reaction.

Taemin is getting better at singing, everyone! I was pleasantly surprised that he has gotten over rookie mistakes like singing off-key (cough).

But he is still getting there.

Taemin’s tone is too thick for me, as I have mentioned before. I actually found something written by a professional singing coach on these “throaty” tones:

The throaty voice is characterized by too much pharyngeal resonance and/or excessive pharyngeal tension. This technique can produce a hollow sound within the voice. I like to describe the sound produced by “throaty singers”, which seems to have become popular in recent years amongst certain pop, Gospel and R&B singers, as something that you might hear from Kermit the Frog, Pee Wee Herman or the cartoon martian that Bugs Bunny encounters in space.

Some singers employ this technique of tone production because they are under the impression that it makes their voices sound ‘bigger’ and deeper. They tend to use it whenever they want to ‘belt’ out a note or add a ‘growl’, falsely darkening the timbre of their vowels and tone. Other singers produce a throaty tone in a misguided attempt to open the throat and increase resonating space.

I could not have put that better. My lame attempt at a metaphor on formspring was: when Super Junior’s Kyuhyun sings, I feel like he could take a deep breath and exhale and subsequently knock me over, while Taemin could not make one hair on my head move a centimeter. Taemin tries so hard to have a singer’s ‘voice’ but it is still coming through his throat and not properly supported by breathing from diaphragm. That is why the first minute seemed like Taemin was mumble-singing; I could not make out many syllables clearly, ironically defeating the purpose of sad ballad. In the end, Taemin’s voice, though ‘thick’, is still hollow and unsubstantial.

Jonghyun sounds a bit throaty, but that is how he sounds naturally, broad and airy, but Taemin’s natural voice does not sound that throaty or thick, especially when you listen to early Taemin debut singing. The same goes with Minho; the professional coach actually mentioned “Kermit the Frog” as an example of “throaty singers”. Well, I am glad I am not the only one who hears the frog in singers like Minho.

Just one last thing– this may just be a personal quibble, but I find Taemin terrible at conveying emotion while singing. He has this one poker-angel-face that he knows looks good with but he never really goes beyond that. I never really feel Taemin loses himself in the music, having just a bit of raw edge in his smooth singing. He plays it safe, and I suppose it is because Taemin is very much aware he is still getting there.

read review on Taemin’s second performance, third / fourth / fifth performancesixth / seventh performance on Immortal Song

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3 thoughts on “[kpop/review] quick thoughts on Taemin’s (meh) debut on Immortal Song

  1. Another honest, detailed review Michelle. Intelligent commentary about his actual singing, and I completely agree with what you’ve said regarding his inability to convey emotion – even I noticed that, and I don’t possess an ounce of musical talent in my body.

  2. Pingback: [kpop/review] Taemin’s (exciting / disappointing) third perf., Immortal Song 2 | the innocent lam

  3. Pingback: [kpop] SHINee: 2012 in review | the innocent lam

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