Hey you, fellow Kpop listener! Did you hear that Taeyeon (yes, the girl from SNSD) just dropped a solo mini album? If you didn’t, well now you have no excuse for immersing yourself fully into that album because wow. I’m listening through it now and I’m extremely impressed.
*update: literally right after I posted this I checked Facebook and bam there was the music video, which is beautifully shot and perfectly compliments the song. And, there’s hints of a plot and the rapper is actually part of it (his face shows up). Excellent, excellent, excellent!-
Click here to be impressed :)*
Isn’t it interesting, though, the large difference between an artist by themselves or in a group? With this album, Taeyeon shows as an extremely mature side of her, the part that is freer to move around, with less restrictions and it’s so much more real and honest that it’s forcing me to just listen. It’s such a stark contrast from the Girl’s Generation concepts. In fact, I don’t think that it would be appropriate for the group, because this album, this sound is Taeyeon, it is her. It is by her, made for her voice, and stemming from her.
But then, that begs the question…isn’t this how music should be in the first place?
Let’s be real, here: Girls’ Generation wasn’t invented to express deep emotions, it was created to entertain and they do it very well. They have fleets of fans and dances made to be learned and fan chants. But Taeyeon, by herself with this album is not here to entertain. When I listen to this music and I hear her soaring voice, I can almost see her soul smiling because now it can be stretched and moved as it longs to be. This is no show for others; it feels like it’s a show for herself and now we have the privilege to be invited to listen.
And it’s not just Taeyeon; across the Kpop sphere, every time singers have branched off to do their own music, it’s so much more soulful and real. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re singing songs about changing the world; rather, they’re singing to us, the lucky audience, a piece of their life. There’s more artistic freedom and usually singers participate in the concept and lyrics. And when they sing, since they get more than just a slice of a song, they really savour their notes and it shows.
I think that every Kpop singer should strive to release their own material. But then again, there might be some people who are in it just to entertain. For example, HyunA and Hyosung have solo material, but still with the concept companies gave them. I’m talking about singers using solo activities to share their life, and to be honest. Personally, when a Kpop singer releases a solo album, then they transition from just being a singer to being an artist.
And I think this is where I’m trying to get at; solo releases show artistry and authenticity, something that is lacking in Kpop. With companies prescribing concepts for groups, using them to milk money, there isn’t as much of a voice from artists. A group can debut as a cute group then do a 180 change to sexy vixens to get attention (AoA, anyone?). Which, okay, yes music has gotten to the point where a branch of it exists purely to entertain. But still, music at its core is to express. Or at least, that’s what I believe. The entertainment came after the expression. And of course, in between comes the magic, the connection when someone listens to a song and realizes that they aren’t alone. But nowadays, music has split.
Solo activities in Kpop are restoring my faith in the singers. It’s refreshing to hear them, really hear them: Taeyeon, Taeyang, Taemin, Jonghyun, Niel, Rap Monster and others. Just by focusing in on one person rather than several, talents get to shine and we get to rediscover the magic of music and the joy of it. It’s refreshing and much needed. I’m excited to see who will be next to release a solo piece and surprise us with their honesty~