Sixth performance; “Be Strong, Geumsoon-ah” by Hyeon In
This song has got the “heavy emote” warning written all over it; it concerns refugees fleeing to Busan during the Korean War, and is accompanied by a litter of string players. I’ve often criticized Taemin on his lack of emotion while singing, so this type of song certainly is a challenge.
I was half impressed, half indifferent. When Taemin slides into his middle and high register, the tones are dulcet and quite lovely, as compared to the relatively shakier, low register he uses in the beginning. During the chorus, he was overwhelmed by the background singers, and though his vocal runs definitely deserve praise (2.35s and 3.39s) in their exactness, they feel extremely rounded, just too a tad too precise. Too precise for a song that is supposed to stir up raw emotions. War is never pretty, and the emotions that come with it are not calm. They are turbulent, and Taemin has yet to exude real conflict on stage.
He may be a perfect ‘angel’ (as some Taemints love to say), but for this song, which addresses the overpowering sadness and the conflict within a lonely soul, an angelic, safe performance is boring.
Seventh performance; “After April Goes By” by Kil Ogyoon
This was Taemin’s second-to-last performance in Immortal Song, which like his previous performance, included a bevy of backup singers and a litter of string players. He also used his lower register, which I highly dislike, since it is more like speaking than it is singing at this point. During an instrumental break, Taemin also popped and locked in his usual style, recycling moves I have seen on a bajillion variety shows. That was highly unsatisfactory.
I was very impressed by his techical ability this time, especially his vocal runs at 5.24s and 5.54s. Just judging aurally, I believe they are the times Taemin has let himself go the most out of all his performances in Immortal Song. I get so excited when I hear something like that, and then when he returns to his safe and steady crooning, my heart falls. Nonetheless, as before, for most of the time, his expression and emoting were flat and on autopilot.
Eighth performance; “Ecstatic Confession”
With this song, I feel like the audience was happy with the performance, because it was rather flashy, especially with continuous choreography. However, out of the three performances this time around, I liked this one the least. It definitely is the safest choice as there is not as much vocal exercising, and Taemin is still a very closed-off vocalist, taking no risks. Nonetheless, this piece is still a fast-paced song, enabling Taemin to be more of a ‘performer’ than a ‘singer’, quite evident at his 3.12s dance break. This dance break was unnecessary and not even during the bridge. Theoretically, the song could have ended at 3.12s, but they added some extra dubstep. I wonder why. Ridiculous. By now, you all probably know my loathing of a popping-and-locking Taemin during Immortal Song, which is a show focusing on the singing, not Taemin’s tried-and-true dance moves.
Though I do agree Taemin is a talented dancer, he really only has one style, and that severely limits him to how good of a dancer he can really be. Therefore, Taemin as a dancer is a one-trick pony at this point, and to exploit this trick almost every time he performs, I really want to go cry in the corner.
I am satisfied. Taemin’s participation in Immortal Song was not as I originally feared– that it would be deeply embarrassing because let’s face it, Taemin is not SHINee’s strongest singer. However, though Taemin was never the best or even could compete with the best singers in the program, he has improved greatly. His first performances were less confident, and he often wavered on pitch. He was also largely emotionless and mechanical.
He is less emotionless and mechanical now. Sometimes Taemin-the-singer breaks through rather than Taemin-the-dancer-slash-noob-singer. He is more confident, and he can deliver a more-or-less accurate performance. Of course, these past two statements are not very complimentary, but he is really starting to gain the feel of a strong individual performer, and he is beginning to understand what it is to be a singer, and not just an idol.
For live performance, the only way to get better at them is to perform live frequently. We may make public mistakes along the way, but sadly, that is the only way we can truly learn the best and the quickest. Personally, I played through five concerts before I sat for my final assessment for piano. I rocked that assessment, even though I am a terrible performer and lack technical ability that most serious amateur pianists my age have. I suspect it is the same with Taemin, he lacks singing technique. Though it may be painful at first to expose ourselves so much, but in the end, we can show the strongest performances we have ever given in our entire lives.
For that, brava, Taemin. I look forward to your improving even more, so I will never have another reason to seethe at you singing a line that should have been handled by Jonghyun.