This year Taemin released two albums that show his growth and transition into a new image and style. His albums Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 1 and Act 2 broadens Taemin’s music style, concepts, and even his performances. The title Never Gonna Dance Again is definitely attention grabbing – considering Taemin is Kpop’s dance king.
Because everyone expects Taemin to dance, the title Never Gonna Dance Again, is his way of rebelling against everyone’s expectations. However, he further explained the title means he won’t be dancing like he used to.
Throughout the years Taemin’s dance style has developed and it continues to flourish and grow with each comeback. That is why you can’t expect him to dance the same way he did from years ago. – All in all I think the title is clever.
In terms of concept for the album, Taemin explained in a behind the scenes video, that this album shows his transition as an artist. In Act 1 the concept represented a past form, like he was in hell. In Act 2 it is his transition into someone holy, a new Taemin.
When I first listened and watched Taemin’s music video for the title track “Idea”, I was desperate to find the meaning of it. It is a very conceptual video. Each scene serves its purpose. Not only the video, but the song as well.
Before I dive into his album, Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 2, let me explain a bit more about the title track, “Idea”.
The song “Idea” is based on Plato’s theory on Forms.
To make it short: The theory on Forms (or Ideas) is when we have an idea on what something perfect would look like, an ideal thing. This could be friendship, a system, it could be about anything, even ourselves. In a way it is a blueprint on what we expect those things to be. I found a short video that explains it in a very simple way, you can watch it here.
So in “Idea”, Taemin struggles to achieve his perfect self. The idea of a perfect Taemin is something he is trying to achieve but in doing so it is also harming him. It’s a back and forth struggle of wanting to achieve this idea of yourself but knowing very well you can never reach it.
In his previous music video for “Criminal”, we saw a darker side to him, this can be viewed as the hell version, or as I call it the sinner version. In the music video for “Idea” we see the contrast of sinner Taemin transitioning into holy Taemin. His outfits vary from black to white and even light blue. The subtle elements of feathers in his outfits and accessories add to the angelic image without being too over the top. I thought that was a smart idea.
Overall this whole concept is intriguing and Taemin really went to another level as an artist in this comeback. ALSO the legendary BoA is featured on the song, you can hear her voice in the part “Killing me softly”.
Now let’s move on to the other songs on Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 2.
The second song on his album is “Heaven”. It’s a sultry and sexy song. The ambient choir makes this track sound grand. It feels like a sort of religious experience. Out of all the songs on Act 2, I believe “Heaven” and “Impressionable” are the sauciest songs (in terms of lyrics).
“Impressionable” is another great song. It has a sweet dark sound to it. “Impressionable” is about having a deep attraction towards someone. Taemin’s voice draws listeners in and it’s almost impossible to pull away from this song. It’s like he is luring whoever listens to it to fall in love with his music.
“Be Your Enemy” is a softer song that features Wendy from the group Red Velvet. The song is about genuinely being there for someone who is hurting. I believe the phrase Taemin sings “I’ll be your enemy.” is him allowing the person he is singing to – to throw all their anger and frustrations on him. Because it’s better to release all that anger than to keep it inside and suffer.
He accepts this person no matter what. The message of this song is extraordinary. It was Taemin’s idea to add a woman’s voice onto the song so he reached out to Wendy. Wendy is definitely a perfect addition to the track. Her angelic voice matches perfectly with Taemin’s, and they were both able to carry the emotion and the message of the song very well.
Some of my favorite lyrics from the song:
“I’ll be your enemy enemy
쉽게 상처받는 너의 마음이 마음이
아물어질 수 있다면 아무리 아무리
아픈 말도 전부 난 괜찮아 다 말해 봐
I’ll be your enemy
무관심한 시선 차가워져 가도
너만은 따스히 널 바라봐주길
괜찮아 애써 널 바꾸지 않아도
너만큼은 널 사랑해주기를”
*Rough English translation.
“I’ll be your enemy enemy
Your heart, heart that is easily hurt
If you’re healing, no matter how, no matter how,
I’m okay, even with the painful words, tell me everything
I’ll be your enemy
Though your indifferent gaze became cold
I will only look at you warmly
It’s okay, you did your best to change even if you can’t
I will give you love as big as you”
While the song “Be Your Enemy” Taemin is comforting someone, in the next song “Think of You” he is in need of comforting. He explains how he feels exhausted, when he pretends to be okay when he really isn’t. He needs someone to lean on and someone that he can be completely honest with. I believe “Think of You” is a song Taemin wrote thinking of his fans. It is a beautiful track with an honest message that all of us can relate to.
The following song on the album is the Korean version of his song “Exclusive”. This is an EDM track, it strays away from the previous songs in the album. But it’s still a fun song nonetheless. The chorus is addicting and it’ll be stuck in your head all day.
“Pansy” is a very special song. It is another song Taemin wrote with his fans in mind. The song is almost like a lullaby. The soft acoustics and Taemin’s smooth vocals feels comforting and peaceful. The title to this track has two meanings. The flower, pansy, represents love and admiration towards someone. While the flower also represents May 25th, which is SHINee’s debut date. This is another song on the album that I absolutely adore. Taemin sings about feeling lucky for being loved.
The peaceful flow of “Pansy” continues to the next song “I Think It’s Love”. This song is about falling for someone who you think is the only one for you. It is a lovely song. Taemin sings with so much affection it’ll make you fall in love.
In Taemin’s 2nd mini album Want (from 2019), the last song on that album was just an instrumental track. However we hear the exact same track in the last song on Act 2 album in “Identity”. I believe this song has multiple meanings. But I think it represents this new era Taemin is entering in his music. I also believe the lyrics “Base to Ace” is a reference to Jonghyun. Taemin’s debut solo album is called Ace and Jonghyun’s debut solo album is called Base. It could be a coincidence…but I think the word choices were definitely intentional. The song itself (and of course Taemin’s vocals) feel ethereal. This is a beautiful track to close this album.
Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 2 is an album full of deep messages and multiple meanings. This is a very well thought out album. Everything served a purpose even the smallest detail in a song.
I love how the album opens and closes with Taemin’s search for his perfect self, this ideal identity of his.
My favorite tracks from this album are the more heartfelt songs: “Be Your Enemy”, “Think of You”, “Pansy”, and “I Think It’s Love”.
Good job to Taemin and his team who put together this incredible album. It is simply a masterpiece.
You can hear Taemin’s album here on multiple streaming platforms: https://smarturl.it/TAEMIN_NGDA_Act2
I talk more about KPOP on my channel YouTube.com/elimariereacts
*The translated lyrics are from Color Coded Lyrics.
I do not own any of the pictures of Taemin, they are from SM.