Review: Why by Taeyeon

Why by TaeyeonS.M. Entertainment’s released a bunch of solo records from their groups this year, but this one has to be the most anticipated. I mean, it’s Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon. Her name’s got to be up there, has always been up there. Her first mini-album, I, scored for its accessibility, moving away from the mother group’s bubblegum pop leanings towards something more mature. Why follows the same direction, albeit with a definite summer sheen: all seven tracks are bathed in sunshine, perhaps one collected from a beach in the 1990s. (There’s your parallel with two other releases in the past month: I Just Wanna Dance from SNSD stablemate Tiffany, and Free Somebody from f(x)‘s Luna.) Now, I like the songs, but I’m bothered by the lack of shade. I don’t know. I must be looking for a good old ballad. Or something close to it. Maybe it’s how there’s not much of an arc to the record, how everything keeps on the up and up, without making me feel like the final up is the ultimate up. I know I am demanding too much from a summer album – Why is not, after all, the statement of artistic intent that I is – but I feel it’s a bit of a missed opportunity. Or maybe I need sunblock. [NB]3/5

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