May 27, 2021
Day 27 of 100 Days to Offload
I am not a big SHINee fan. In fact, I’ve never been one for boy bands, the only exceptions I can think of are BIGBANG and KAT-TUN (and N-SYNC when I was like four). The coordinated dancing and switching off of lines between members can be too much for me. A little too much polish. I really like more aggressive or passionate performances instead of something tame. SHINee has never been on my radar for being the kind of boy group that I like. I knew the song Lucifer, mostly as a meme at that.
Taemin, one of SHINee’s members, has had their ADVICE music video lingering on my YouTube subscriptions ever since it came out. By chance, I stumbled upon Taemin and Minho reacting to the music video (I think the rabbit hole went like this: MAMAMOO video compilations -> Hwasa on I Live Alone videos -> Jessi interviews -> Jessi on a kids reaction show -> the same kids reacting to SHINee’s 13 year career) and I was instantly struck by how pretty Taemin was. I know, I know. It got me curious enough to see what was up with the music video.
The beginning I was not that enthusiastic. Okay, shirtless dude playing at a piano with blackened hands, Yes, yes, I get it, very artistic.
Then the vocals come in. Taemin starts sing-rapping, manipulating his voice to sound like a tape rewinding. His head shoots up and he’s staring very intensely at the camera as he goes through the choreo.
What I notice immediately, other than his serious expression, is his shoulder length hair, the ends dyed a bluish-gray, matching the colour of the set behind him. His hair whips around his face as he dances. There is something extremely delicate about the way his hair moves, but the way his body moves is extremely sharp and aggressive. This contradiction is even more exaggerated since there is something very androgynous about Taemin. He moves very gracefully and he has a soft face. This contrast is present throughout the etnire music video.
Another cool detail is his suit in the first scene. The front is black while the back is white. This is matched in his outfit down to his shoes: the front is black and the back is white, exactly where the pants split colours too. Half of his back up dancers are dressed in white suits while the other half is dressed in black suits.
At this point, I’m overwhelmed with details and it’s barely 30 seconds into the song. Taemin’s choreography is hard hitting and powerful. He sings, “ay you!” and I’m struck by the timbre of his voice in this line. It’s high and clear. Then he goes immediately into a breathy rap line. slurring a little. The. Contrast. Again.
Then he ends the first section with a bit of English. “Do you never get the keys to my lock.” Again, it’s pretty breathy, and it’s very sensual.
It transitions to the chorus and he switches to a falsetto. It’s not something I hear a lot in K-Pop and it works extremely well. The choreography during the chorus is amazing. He goes hard of course, but there are some moments with very little movement. Taemin just kinda shuffles or swings his torso in small movements and it just works.
The bit after the chorus is also one of my favourite parts. I have no idea what Taemin is singing, it’s pitched up, maybe even sped up? But it’s strangely catchy and feels a little devillish. This part of the chorus is my favourite. It’s a bit odd, most of it is just hand movement but it sticks out in my mind.
In the next scene, Taemin is wearing some Vivienne Westwood-esque pieces. It’s very grunge. Plaid shorts, jacket, and beret, with spikes. It’s such a very cool punk look. He’s in a small hotel room and it feels like Alice in Wonderland-esque. I love this look. He looks like he stepped out of a SHOXX magazine (a Japanese visual kei magazine).
Again, the pitched up section occurs after the chorus and there’s a scene of Taemin crashing his car. Only then did I realize the piano line from the beginning of the song has been playing throughout the majority of the song.
The next shot is a bit jarring. Taemin is floating, mid-air. The piano is in the foreground of the track and Taemin sings. Then the suited Taemin walks in between his backup dancers, the black suited dancers on one side and the white suited dancers on the other. It’s a great shot.
After that, the breakdown starts. There is a great shot of Taemin dressed in a mask and some sort of veil and a tank top.
THEN. The iconic outfit reveal. White hat, sweats, shoes, crop top, and cropped sweatshirt. I love this outfit so much. The stylists take full advantage of Taemin’s androgyny and he looks absolute FIRE. I usually don’t care for visuals this much but I was BLOWN AWAY by this outfit. It fit him so well. He absolutely exudes masculinity and his confidence is radiating out of him.
The transitions between the scenes are also GOLDEN. It’s almost perfect.
Then it ends with Taemin standing outside the car wreck, arms outstretched, bleeding white. I don’t know what it means but damn it’s good visuals.
ADVICE is a great music video on top of a great song. The production is top notch. I love the different timbres of Taemin’s voice, the sing-rapping, the piano, the vocal effects, and the breakdowns. The stylist did a fantastic job with Taemin’s outfits, hair, and makeup. He’s extremely masculine while still rocking his androgynous look. This song and music video is addictive. I might have listened to it a dozen times after the first time. So. Good. Taemin, I don’t know if I can take you leaving on military leave for like two years.