Feb 27, 2016

Taemin Takes It To The Next Level With "Press Your Number"


I am a huge SHINee fan, no question about that, but maknae Taemin has never been a favorite member of mine even though I obviously care for him. I'm in awe of his dancing skills, performance talent and continuously growing vocal abilities, but he's not my bias member and I have never really gone crazy about him at any point. When he first made his solo debut back in 2014 I was intrigued more than over the moon, and the actual debut song and MV were positively received by me but I didn't shamelessly love them. To conclude; Taemin's a talented kid and he's always improving, but I've never been more than a casual fan of him alone (rather than him being with his group). Now however he has made another comeback as a solo artist, and contrary to last time I'm actually having some genuine fangirl feelings over it. "Press Your Number" isn't just a enormous step up for Taemin, but quite frankly for the entire company.

What amazes me with this comeback are how all my concerns and disbelieves about his ability to pull off a solo stunt have completely vanished. Every single bit of skepticism has been proven wrong, and there's no way I can't acknowledge and praise that. When he debuted with "Danger" I thought the song was great, although a bit too SHINee-like, as well as the choreography and styling, but the video didn't quite impress me as much. I still thought it was a cool, well-made video where Taemin got to showcase another side of himself, but it left much to be desired in terms of fully going all out with the mature theme and concept. I could see the massive potential, but it seemed SM held back a bit and played it somewhat safe, perhaps to see how this other side of Taemin as a soloist would be received before releasing something more drastic. Personally I also wasn't entirely sold on Taemin as a solo artist as I thought he seemed a bit lost and awkward alone on the stage, and wasn't able to fully take command of it on his own.

10_2C9FD8AD787EI honestly didn't know at all what to expect from this comeback, because although the teasers looked interesting I know that with SM you don't always get what you expect off of the teasers alone. It could really be anything for all I know, but it seemed once again that he was heading towards a more mature image. What I didn't expect though was that with "Press Your Number" Taemin was taking on a role not seen practically anywhere before in K-pop. and that unlike the MV for "Danger" here the production team is going all out and not holding back one bit.

It's fair to say that this video has to be one of the more expensive ones SM has ever made, and I think it's great that after such a long period of dancing in boxes they're finally getting outside and get somewhat creative with their videos. SHINee has been getting great videos as of late as well as f(x) and Red Velvet, and it seems that SM is finally showing what a rich, influential and powerful company it is by stepping it up with their music videos. I'm inclined to say though that "Press Your Number" has to be one of the very best ones.

CPrvLsvThe MV is so captivating that the first, well even the second time I watched it I didn't even hear the song, which is a sign of a really complex and intriguing video. I will have to say though that I think the song is really good, and being produced by none other then Bruno Mars (!!) I would've expected it to be catchy considering his record of top selling hits. I also appreciate that it doesn't sound like a SHINee song but has an individual flavor that suits Taemin very well, and definitely prefer it to pre-release "Drip Drop" although that track is awesome as well. Anyhow, when I finally was able to actually listen to and take in the song while simultaneously taking in the video I couldn't keep myself away from it. This is honestly so much more than just a MV; this is an experience.


Naturally, the fact that this is such an expensive production and it shows in every single shot makes the MV worth appreciating, but I've seen high-budget videos that were nowhere as great as this one. It's hard for me to explain what exactly it is that sets this video apart and makes it that much better, but I think anyone who has watched it will agree with me that it's absolutely magnificent.

When "Danger" sort of briefly touched on this darker, more mature "bad boy" aesthetic "Press Your Number" not only dives head first into it but also adds a real plot, real locations and real actors. It honestly makes "Danger" feel incredibly tame in comparison. Although I don't fully understand the plot, and that's really the video's only major flaw, it's very exciting to see Taemin take on the role of an actual bad boy rather than just trying to look like one.

In this video he's part of a criminal gang, meaning him and his buddies are robbing convenience stores among other illegal activities, and they seem to be quite rich and influential. What happens though is that his friends get caught by the cops and he's left alone, and it's clear to see that it messes with his head. Not everything in the video happens in chronological order and I have problem making out an actual line of occurring events, but it ends in him alone setting a car on fire in the middle of nowhere after he has crashed it. The viewers are also made aware that perhaps everything's not exactly as it seems, as instead of the check-out girl that Taemin robbed and later captured we see Taemin himself in these positions, and then it's quite unclear as to what is actually real.

bFTKQJzAlthough the plot is somewhat confusing the confusion isn't, I think, unintentional because given the effort that has been put into this comeback I'm sure SM knows what they're doing, even if I don't fully get it. It's also not a confusion that makes the video feel incomplete or lacking, but it is the type of confusion that makes you impressed and intrigued, because you know there's a greater picture that you're perhaps not meant to understand. Sure, I would love to know what's actually going on, but it's also exciting that there's an element of mystery and that it is a bit more complex and complicated.

However what I appreciate the very most about the video is how gorgeous it is. All the locations are stunning and not to mention genuine places that exist (meaning no boxes), and are used both for the story and for dancing sequences. The fact that everything is so real makes this video almost feel like a short movie, and I definitely think that was SM's intent considering the credits both at the beginning and the end of the MV.

If not for the mysterious plot and seeing Taemin acting as a criminal (although a hot one) I'm basically only watching this video over and over again for it's impeccable aesthetic. I'm ridiculously impressed by how well-made the MV is and the gorgeous visuals definitely are a huge part of that. I could go on for days about the coloring of the video, which I would love for every MV I watch from this moment on to have, as well as the fact that all the sets and locations they've chosen to include are so naturally stunning in terms of color.

yHEHPBiIt also adds up really well with the styling of both Taemin, the other actors and his dancers, which I generally think is great although some outfits are a bit strange. He definitely pulls in it off though, whether he's wearing a purple suit or trashy jeans and a beanie.

Although those two styles are quite different they both fit the MV perfectly, and there's really nothing in that that stands out in a bad way. Not even him dancing in said purple suit looks off, and it says a lot about his ability to pull off anything just with his confidence and stage presence.

Speaking of which, the choreography must be praised as well before I end this very long review. I liked the choreo for "Danger", but I didn't think it truly showcased all his abilities as a dancer. This routine on the other hand is on a whole other level and I feel like he's actually being challenged with harder moves, and it's so amazing to see him doing a perfect job no matter how difficult the choreography looks. The way he moves is simply mesmerizing.

I do think it's time to round up this post because I realize now that I've been writing quite a lot on this comeback MV, but can you blame me? Everything about this comeback has genuinely impressed me and still continues to, because it has to be one of the biggest efforts SM has ever made for one of its artists. They know they've got a star in Taemin, and after the success of "Danger" they're putting in all they've got to make sure he shines above everyone else. Not only is it this video, but also the stunning performance video for "Drip Drop" as well as two performance videos for "Press Your Number".

With this comeback there's no holding back and no keeping it safe, and this is a huge investment and a huge improvement on SM's part as they show exactly what they're capable of. As for Taemin himself he's proving each day how brilliant he is as a performer and how far he's come since SHINee's debut days when no one thought he could hold a note. Although I'm not yet 100% Taemin biased this comeback has definitely improved my view of him and increased my respect, because now I genuinely believe in him as a solist who can hold his own on stage. The song is amazing, the MV is one of the best SM productions I've ever seen, the choreography is on fire and he looks hotter than ever. What a comeback, huh?

Song: 4/5
Video: 4,85/5

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