Every day until the end of March, we’ll highlight one of our favorite kpop boy group vocalists on a countdown to #1.
Saluting his way in at the number 29 spot isssss…
Taehyun of TXT!
When they first debuted, it took me a lot longer to tell the voices of TxT’s members apart than it did with a lot of the other kpop groups that I stan because of they style of their music. Much of TxT’s discography is heavily produced. Vocal distortions and filtering is a part of their overall sound. This takes the individual members’ voices and turns them into a harmonic sort of mesh. You can tell that the lines have shifted to someone new but it can be difficult to pick out the stylistic features that typically separate one singer from another.
Watching a couple of stages cleared it up for me but it also let me fully appreciate Taehyun’s vocals for the first time. When the boys perform live and don’t use their backtrack much, you can really get a taste for how they sound without all the technological flourishes.
That was especially the case with a live performance of their song Drama from last year. MNET made a mess of the audio, and the mics were way way louder than the music. Their mistake ended up being a blessing for me as I really got to enjoy all of the improvisations that Taehyun puts into his performances. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to appreciate just how stable he is.
Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think stability is the end-all sign of a talented vocalist. Dancing and singing is hard. Idols may look like gods but they’re only humans. They are going to get winded and their voices may quiver from time to time.
That said–Taehyun is amazing in that he is able to not just continue to belt out clear notes during a high-energy dance like Drama but he is also able to keep the audio pleasant. He doesn’t shout out the notes or strain. It just comes effortlessly.
The same can be said of songs when he sings in his upper register like Fairy of Shampoo. Falsetto singing has become more and more popular in kpop of late, and usually it’s not my thing. Taehyun bucks the trend, though. His high notes are just as well supported as the rest of his vocals, and he maintains his same characteristic style.
And about that style–listen to one of his covers like Over and Over Again, and you can really get a feel for how pretty and one-of-a-kind it is. There is a breathiness to Taehyun’s singing voice that makes his delivery delicate and tender.
His stylistic qualities benefit TxT in different ways, depending on the song. In their quieter offerings, he helps to reinforce the mood while bringing a brightness to the track. A great example of this is Nap of a Star. In Can’t You See Me, his part in the chorus adds a raw desperation. It’s like he’s crying out and begging to be seen. Switch to Can’t We Just Leave the Monster Alive? it becomes hopeful and warm, a perfect match for the beachy instrumentals.
For all that he is and all that he gives to TxT, Taehyun has staked out his spot on our countdown. Check out my YouTube playlist to hear all of the songs I mentioned and come back tomorrow night when we unveil number 28 on our list.
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