Seasons change, people change and relationships change too. So says Taeyeon in her latest release, “Four Seasons”, which comes almost a full nine months after her last solo outing with “Something New.” It also comes with a b-side release, an additional single without a music video entitled “Blue.” Once again, both songs switch things up a little for Taeyeon, proving she’s not one to put herself in boxes artistically. However, if this is seen as a risk, it’s one that she’s pulled off. “Four Seasons” has achieved an all-kill on the music charts since it dropped, and that’s why it’s our song of the week.
If Taeyeon’s previous singles have taught us anything, it’s that she’s not afraid of trying new styles. The Girls’ Generation leaders vocals have always been wonderfully adaptable, suited to woeful ballads and high octane pop songs alike. With 2013’s “Why”, she dabbled in the tropical house that was so popular at the time. “Rain”, another song that proved a hit with the Korean public, lent her voice to some jazz tones.
With “Four Seasons”, we see a subtle approach back towards this. In fact, the song leans into it even more, with a playful tone to its beat. Despite this playfulness, the little synth melody that comes in before the first verse and is repeated throughout the song lends a wistful feeling to piece. This is taken further by the lack of any real crescendo throughout the whole song. Taeyeon is capable of taking on high notes and her audience knows it. This song instead shows off Taeyeon’s vocals in her restraint and the emotions conveyed through her voice. It’s a nod to her skill that she pulls this off without so much as a stutter. Her vocals are fluid and as beautiful as ever.
Lyrically, “Four Seasons” is a reflection on a relationship. Using the changes from spring to summer to frame the evolving emotions between two people, from beginning to end, and perhaps a new beginning. It’s certainly nothing new, but the lyrics are unabashedly poetic, even referencing Shakespeare.
It’s a testament to the strength of the lyrics that they are a key feature of the music video. The way in which they’re implemented has echoes of some of SM’s previous designs, with F(x)’s “Pink Tape” album photobook coming to mind. This is certainly a good thing, as this time, the English lyrics shown on screen match the Korean lyrics.
Of course, with a title like “Four Seasons”, the visuals of the video reflect the moods of spring, winter, autumn and summer. These are not explicit, instead taking a more subtle approach. Scenes in white transition smoothly into rooms full of flowers, falling petals both a symbol of spring and of snow. In contrast, there are scenes so starkly different in lighting placed next to one another – the white scenes place right next to those in shadow – that every image feels different. It reflects the essence of the song in a way that doesn’t become too abstract, nor too defined. It allows Taeyeon the focus that the song also places on her vocals. And with that focus, in both video and song, she shines.