You would think that at 27, Lee Taemin would be happy to slow down after 14 years in the biz. Besides earning his K-pop peers’ respect as a dancer, he is part of two idol groups (Shinee and SuperM), has a solo career and stars on TV shows. He’s been learning English too, at times showing off his new vocabulary (like “adorable”) on social media live streams.
His is a career any entertainer would envy in South Korea’s cutthroat music industry. But he’s far from done: Less than a month before his May 31 enlistment, he went all out with his own online concert. Named after his 2020 comeback album, “Never Gonna Dance Again” (“NGDA”) streamed last Sunday, May 2, on streaming service Beyond Live, and TBH I still haven’t been able to recover from all that *art*.
As expected, Taemin slayed hits like “Danger,” “Move” and “Idea” to some 90,000 fans from 119 countries who tuned in to “NGDA.” But there was more of his own creative vision in it too. Dancing with his hands tied in “Criminal,” for example, was his own idea, he told Forbes in October.
The concert could be summed up with a comment Taemin read aloud with a shy smile: “You are the genre Tae-pop.”
It’s not wrong: While Shinee has become world-famous for its high-energy bops, Solo Taemin™ has been more experimental, taking on themes like sexuality (yes, he’s all grown up) and gender-breaking music styles and choreography.
For those who missed the concert, or just want to relive it, here are moments that had me convinced I’d stan him for another 14 years. And if the concert isn’t enough of a going-away present, Taemints can look forward to his mini-album “Advice” out on May 18.
Bringing back the tilted stage
We knew Taemin did not come to play, but he still went ahead and brought the drama with the tilted stage concept first seen in his 2019 concert. He and his dancers defied gravity with the slanted stage as they danced without wires for “Heaven.”
For “Door,” he was both harnessed and blindfolded. The t in Taemin stands for theatrics.
Though Key is Shinee’s fashion maven, it’s interesting to see Taemin command the stage with his costume, hair and makeup choices. Before the concert, he revealed himself rocking gray hair extensions, enhancing his androgynous aesthetic.
In planning his costumes, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he took a cue from Michael Jackson, whom he has cited as an inspiration.
Besides fitted black-and-white suits, Taemin wore a cropped lace back military jacket with a messy ponytail that, really, only he could pull off.
A contemporary dance video
In going solo, Taemin has veered away from the mainstream, and it was extra refreshing to watch Taemin perform a contemporary dance for “Just Me and You.” The pre-recorded video featured him and a dancer (his “alter ego”) mirroring his actions, evoking an internal struggle.
Here’s hoping this music video gets released to the public so more can appreciate his expressive dancing.
A history of Taemin
Everyone loves a good throwback song, but Taemin being Taemin went ahead and recreated his performances through the years. And yes, he wore the bowl cut wig from his “Replay” debut, even if it constantly embarrasses him.
— ADVICE 5/18 | SHINee Month💎 (@sentimental4u) May 2, 2021
Other Shinee hits in the pre-recorded medley video were “Love Like Oxygen” and “Dream Girl,” spliced with his own singles like “Want” and “Press Your Number.” Concert viewers then got a first peek at “Advice,” which Taemin performed live after the memory-lane medley.
Bonus: Onew offering support
This wasn’t exactly part of the concert but it is a highlight for Shawols. Like a proud stage dad, Shinee’s leader Jinki skipped rehearsals for his musical “Midnight Sun” just to watch his maknae in person. Taemin has definitely made it on his own, but it’s a comfort to know he still has his hyungs to rely on.