kpop fav of the day: boy group vocalist #4, taeil of nct

Every day until the end of March, we’ll highlight some of our favorite kpop boygroup vocalists on the way to #1.

Spreading his wings at the #4 spot is…

Taeil of NCT.

I would venture to say that it’s impossible to watch videos of NCT just being NCT and not fall in love with Taeil. As the oldest member of the group, you’d expect him to be super serious but he’s just the opposite. Taeil is absolutely adorable and warm. He seems to have genuinely won the love of his hyungs. Taeil strikes me as the sort of the person that is easy to be around, the kind of guy who has a big beautiful heart.


Of course, this is meant to be a post about his voice, but much like the man, Taeil’s voice is all of those things. When I listen to cover songs like Baby Baby, I can’t help but smile. There’s so much warmth to his performance, and the genuine emotion that he packs into his expression is so moving. His singing is big, beautiful and a true pleasure to listen to.

And damn, is he talented.

Taeil has hit some of the highest notes in kpop. Even in live performances after dancing just as hard as his hyungs, he lands them perfectly. And he makes it look so easy.

A perfect example comes in the live recording of the MBC radio performance of Without U. Throughout the performance, Taeil is busy adjusting the sound. You’d think with that distraction, he’d be off his game. But nope. And when it comes time for his big note, he just opens his mouth and it happens. Zero effort required.

Lucy and I have both talked about how experimental NCT is. A lot of their music is just plain weird–and I mean that in the best possible way. Their sound takes big risks, and it always pays off.

Taeil’s incredible voice goes a long way toward defining that sound. Those tremendous, powerful high notes serve as the climax for many songs.

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Simon Says is one example. He comes in, soars up to that note and you think holy shit but then–he goes even higher. It’s like the exclamation point on the most important line of avant garde poem. I could point out countless other songs where he does the same thing–gives that last bit of drama that makes the track whole.

In other songs, Taeil’s voice helps to set the mood. The first example that comes to mind is Mad Dog. After aggressive rap from Mark and Taeyong, the song shifts gears with those spooky vocals.

And can we talk about how Taeil often has to sing some of the weirdest NCT lyrics in the most dramatic of ways?


Like in Mad Dog it’s “WELCOME TO THE PARTY.” In Cherry Bomb, he has to sing “IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW CLAP YOUR HANDS” with the boldest of a diva like Christina or Mariah. No matter what insanity is coming out of his mouth, Taeil delivers his lines from the chest and really sells it.

There’s no way NCT’s biggest songs would be the same without his vocals, and from what I’ve seen of the group dynamic, I don’t think the boys would be the same without his spirit. For that, Taeil has found his way onto our list of favorite kpop vocalists.

You can stream the playlist of the songs I mentioned below. Be sure to stop back tomorrow as we move on to the top three idols on our list.

ab6ix astro ATEEZ baekhyun blackpink bts chung ha cix cravity dreamcatcher DRIPPIN exo gidle golden child got7 hoppipolla ikon itzy iu Kang Daniel mamamoo MCND mirae MONSTA x nct Oh My Girl Oneus ONF OnlyOneOf Pentagon PIXY Purple Kiss Red Velvet Seventeen SHINEE stray kids Super Junior T1419 TRI.BE Twice Up10TION Verivery Victon WEi WJSN

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