태연 (Taeyeon) – I [The 1st Mini Album]
Release Date: 2015.10.07
Genre: Ballad, R&B / Soul, Rock
01. I [Feat. 버벌진트 (Verbal Jint)] *Title
02. U R *Title
03. 쌍둥이자리 (Gemini)
04. 스트레스 (Stress)
05. 먼저 말해줘 (Farewell)
06. I (Inst.)
Girls’ Generation’s main vocalist & leader, Kim Taeyeon, is famous for her strong and heartfelt vocals. Having sung many Korean dramas’ Original Soundtracks (OST), it is not an exaggeration to say that Taeyeon is a household name in Korea, even to people who don’t really follow the Hallyu wave, and an extremely familiar voice to many K-pop fans.
I [The 1st Mini Album] is Taeyeon’s first solo EP, and a highly-anticipated one at that. All 5 songs in the album range from pop rock to balladic musical styles. Chester Chin from The Star labelled the album as “a collection of dynamic K-pop confections” with “refreshing” elements of soft rock as opposed to Girls’ Generation’s signature bubblegum and electronic sound. Indeed, while it is very different from GG’s usual bubblegum tunes, Taeyeon still delivers and does not disappoint at all.
Personally, the best part of this album, apart from Taeyeon’s skilful mastery of all genres, is the track arrangement. The album starts with her strong declaration of self empowerment & discovery in I, followed by a ballad, U R (as expected from the OST queen). This is followed by a soulful R&B number Gemini, and a fun twist in pop rock song Stress that gets the listener bopping along, even though the lyrics are not as light-hearted as the tune suggests. The album tastefully wraps up with a wistful ballad Farewell, hinting that it is not truly goodbye even as the instrumental for I plays on.
The album puts the listener on an emotional rollercoaster, and that’s not a bad thing. It is perfect for listening while you study, or even on a rainy day when you need some soulful music to indulge in. It would have been perfect, however, if more R&B tracks had been added in. But I guess that’s what her second EP, Why, is for.
Listen to the album here.