While Taeyeon can pull at our heartstrings and emotions with her ballads, her non-ballads are the ones that are able to give us the vital energy we need before or after a stressful day at work or school. In fact, her non-ballads are arguably even better than her ballads since they show a side of her largely hidden from mainstream attention. Due to the fact that Koreans tend to listen to slow, emotional songs, her non-ballads often don’t get recognition they deserve. Therefore, I will do it for you. From EDM summer jams to energetic rock tracks, if you don’t like her sad and emotional facade, this list might just contain songs that are up your alley.
1. Stress (Album: I)
Stress is, personally, my favorite song from her. Traditional yet fun, it is a energetic rock track that we would never expect from her. Even the lyrics (“you got me smoking cigarettes” is personally my favorite one) are able to show the darker side of life that no one seems to want to talk about. The booming beat, which consists of rapid piano chords, impactful drums and punchy guitars, would sound absolutely great at concerts (and to my knowledge, this WAS one of the songs that was performed during her Persona tour across Asia). If you need a quick boost to your day, this fierce, fast-paced ditty might do just the trick.
2. Eraser (Album: My Voice)
Eraser, like Stress, has rock as the main influence in their backtracks, but with a key difference: Eraser is largely influenced by British rock, while Stress takes inspiration from its American counterpart. There is a certain anger to her voice over here that is not present in her other songs; it is able to express the emotions we feel when we are desperately trying to move on from a person. It sounds like Taeyeon is trying to tell a story about a traumatic experience, and warning us from committing the same mistakes she made. And yes, I have to admit that her unexpected rap here is really cool.
3. Good Thing (Album: Why)
Going down a totally different road, Good Thing makes things tropical and sultry with sensual horn riffs and an assortment of silvery synth sounds. This tastefully crafted track feels like a walk down memory lane to the music of the 80s, when music was made to be simple yet pleasurable. The title track’s retro complement, Good Thing is a total club banger that has the vibes of a party on a Californian beach.
4. Fashion (Album: Why)
Fashion is a feel-good dance track with deep bass and shrill tinkles juxtaposing each other. The lyrics are simple and cut straight to the chase: her lover is just her style of fashion and therefore, the right person for her. Also, the high notes she reaches in the bridge preceding the final chorus are a marvel to behold (and if I’m not wrong, it’s the highest notes she has ever reached in any of her songs!). Fashion is breezy and youthful, perfect for a summer drive.
(I did a little bit of research and yes, I’m right about the high notes.)
5. I’m OK (Album: My Voice)
I’m OK is nonchalant, in a good way. The fact that she released this song alone makes it clear that she releases whatever music she feels like releasing and does not care about the “cute” image she has built with Girls’ Generation throughout her career. The instrumentals scream “spectacular”, with furious guitar strums and desperate piano melodies on full display. This is the formidable, intimidating Taeyeon that I definitely want to hear more of!
6. Hands on Me (Album: Why)
Ending this playlist on a soft note is Hands on Me, a romantic song that sounds strangely American-ized. The chorus just feels like something you would chant out loud in your car, with your windows wide open. Constant hand clapping and rapidly progressing retro noises give this song the infectious energy for you to dance along to. I can imagine myself hearing this song as I am watching the sun set, which makes this the appropriate song to close this playlist, after the strong and powerful songs before it.