On Jan. 31, 2019, SHINee‘s Taemin released the concept film for his latest solo project titled “WANT.”
Let me tell y’all something. WANT is exactly the right word to use in this situation.
Where do I even begin?
Let’s just start with the obvious. These visuals! Whomever at SM Entertainment had the brilliant idea to bathe Taemin in harsh red lights needs a raise … stat! The coloring, of course, suggests danger, a common theme in much of Taemin’s solo work since the single of the same name. Perhaps more enticing are the subtle hints to something a bit more, shall we say, passionate. Quite frankly, the use of reds, animal prints, pulsating background music gives viewers a peek into something quite more mature, even more so than anything he’s done thus far. It’s not a stretch to imagine this sort of imagery in some European Red Light District if I can be so bold. Though Taemin himself doesn’t do much more than give us sharp cuts of his profile, there’s something slightly … risqué about the nature of the imagery.
That all, of course, leads to the wardrobe. One word: LACE! I’m not a fashionista, by any stretch of the imagination. What I do know is that whoever dressed this boy deserves some sort of award for art direction! There’s nothing that really stands out about the clothes themselves. However, the way each garment fits on this man’s body … as if created from the sway in his step. The sparkling arm cast was a not-so-subtle-but-who-really-needs-subtle-anyway nod to his biggest influence, the incomparable Michael Jackson. Honestly, who would deny him that? After all, it’s become a whole new means of identifying him as Michael “Taemin” Jackson. With the way he slinks through each frame with the gait of a panther-like the legendary late phenomenon it’s no wonder. He’s earned the moniker, and he wears it a like a second skin in this teaser. (Tease is correct!)
Then, of course, there’s the implication inherent in his releasing this teaser in the first place. It won’t be long before these young men start enlisting. (I know, I know. It seems almost cruel to mention the “E” word around K-pop fans, but it’s a fact of life we just have to accept.) With first-time solos from Key and Onew and Minho‘s acting career flourishing, there’s an obvious flurry of activity before the boys start fulfilling their military duties (with Onew having already enlisted in December of last year, and both Key and Minho confirming they’ll be enlisting this spring). Taemin releasing work now seems bittersweet. On the one hand, this is a whole new set of songs, new music from an artist who continues to evolve musically and as a man. On the other hand, this deluge of work from the members points aggressively to a theory I’ve had for the past eight months or so: Our boys are working up to saying their goodbye as a group. While I have my reasons for believing this, the fact remains there’s a deep wound in SHINee, one that even their love of music won’t be able to heal over. They’ll continue to release music, I think, in 2019, both solo and as a unit. However, once Key and Minho enlist, Taemin won’t be far behind. Just in terms of K-pop’s history, it’s not necessarily easy to come back as a group, especially if the members go in separately. Again, this is all my opinion and conjecture based on observation.
All that being said, Taemin’s third solo EP will be a gift for every Shawol, and no doubt to fans of K-pop in general. With his continued artistic growth and his willingness to explore deeper, more sensual aspects of his personality, “WANT” is sure to be something truly special. Let me tell you, I’m all a-quiver with anticipation.
The mini album is set for release on February 11 at 6PM KST.