Last week, Taemin’s MVs for "Drip Drop" and "Press Your Number" were released on the SMTown YouTube channel, and those of us who have been waiting for a follow up to "ACE" fell over ourselves a little bit. As one of my favorite solo artists, Taemin’s tracks are something I have been waiting impatiently to enjoy for months now. You could say I’m biased, and honestly I couldn’t really argue with that.
So, my bias being what it is, my reactions to the music videos are somewhat surprising to me.
The MV for "Press Your Number" is, putting it lightly, a mess. What they were trying to do is easy to see; there are some beautiful shots, the dancing is great, and this song has been stuck in my head for three days so you know I like it. Obviously the aim was to cut some clips together and put them out of order so that we get the sense that Taemin has found himself in some mysterious circumstances that need unravelling. This hasn’t, however, panned out. What we’ve ended up with is a confusing video with some things that make sense on their own but not as a whole. It doesn’t make the statement it clearly wants to make, and it’s a shame.
The plot (if it counts as a linear plot) is thus: Taemin is in a car with some friends, makes his way into a grocery store, and pulls a gun on the cashier. Then he simultaneously finds himself in a crashed car, a hotel room, and the set of Amadeus with some guys who are throwing money at each other (with me so far?). Taemin then receives a phone call, and then the cashier from the store is tied up and lying underneath a table, spliced with flashes of Taemin tied up in her place. Then some dancing on a rooftop, some running, and Taemin’s friends get captured. Taemin himself gets away, although his jacket takes on some magical disappearing-reappearing powers. We then see Taemin drop a blue rose into the Los Angeles River, and trading a roll of cash for a briefcase full of roses, so either Taemin was tricked or he has really specific, really expensive floral tastes. Then we see Taemin in the car with another Taemin, Taemin walking through the desert, and then more dancing in the desert. The final image is of Taemin dousing the car with petrol and flicking a lighter on, followed by credits.
If that seems a little confusing, then it’s because it is. I have no idea what the plot of this music video is, and honestly I’m not completely convinced it even has one. But in case I’m being unfair, I do also have a list of things I like about it. For one, Taemin is wearing a normal outfit instead of looking like SM threw half an H&M store on him and let him loose, which is something they have done to their artists in the past. The shots are gorgeous, and I love those blue roses. So that’s at least three things.
More than anything, I love the dancing in "Press Your Number." So I feel completely spoiled that there are two performance videos to go along with the full MV for "Press Your Number," as well as the performance video for "Drip Drop." I’m very partial to dance videos – I love dance practices, and so to have three performance videos is, to me, a great thing. Taemin is an incredibly dancer, and that’s so clear that I might as well be saying that the sky is blue. But watching him dance is hypnotic in the way that watching anybody who does something incredibly well is. The video for "Drip Drop" is great, and so is the second version of the "Press Your Number" Performance Ver. The first one is very pretty, but I have a couple of issues with it – the first being that I have no idea why Taemin seems to have snuck into his dad’s closet and stolen his clothes from the seventies. The second is that Taemin dancing in water makes his precise movements less easy to follow, and ruins the effect somewhat.
All in all, Taemin’s current MVs are very enjoyable, and both songs are jams that I’m going to be listening to for weeks. They may have missed the mark in some ways, but they fit Taemin and his particular brand of oily-jointed dancing and mature pop songs. Plus, he has that sweet waistcoat.
Helen Edworthy is a Sociology undergrad from England who got lost in the K-Pop machine five years ago. When not talking about K-Pop, she's talking about video games and lipstick. Her biases are VIXX, Royal Pirates, NS YoonG and Taemin, but she loves Epik High most of all.