The Korea Herald


Taeyeon says third solo LP ‘INVU’ shows her ‘now’

Taeyeon draws the different colors of love through her new album

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Feb. 14, 2022 - 21:48

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Taeyeon poses for picture during her third LP Taeyeon poses for picture during her third LP "INVU" media showcase event on Feb. 14. (S.M. Entertainment)

Taeyeon hopes to prove that she is an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind character with her third full-length album “INVU.”

The soloist and member of K-pop group Girls’ Generation conducted a media showcase event on Monday afternoon ahead of dropping her new LP later that day to discuss the album and its production.

The singer’s latest, “INVU,” read as “I envy you” is an attempt to show who she is “now.”

“It’s a return after two years and three months, and although I didn’t cling onto it the whole time, it’s definitely taken the longest to make,” she said.

“I wanted to show who I am now, how I was and am in the years 2021 and 2022. I wanted to talk about where my passions are currently headed and what I think about and share it with people.”

Capping off the 32-year-old’s recent years is “INVU,” a 13-track set-list drawing the various shapes of love.

“I previously made songs to talk about ego, just like my song ‘I,’ but the main theme that makes up this album is love. I tried to express the mixed emotions of love in many different ways,” she said.

Fitting, then, that the album was released on Valentine’s Day.

Leading the album is the title track “INVU,” a house-based pop-dance tune of a soft, ethereal vibe that sings about an envious emotion felt in love, but not in the obvious way.

“While the word ‘envy’ translates into being jealous, the song delivers the message that ‘I envy you for being loved by me,’ ‘I envy you for the love I give you,’ or ‘I envy that you’re not as hurt as I am,’” she explained, adding the song message could be received differently by listeners according to their situations.

Taeyeon said she made an extra effort with the vocals, especially in the high-pitch notes, to make the sound deeper and more soulful.

“It tells a story, and to deliver this story more dramatically, I sang as if I was acting when I recorded the song. If there had been a camera recording me in the studio booth, you’d actually be able to see me acting.”

The title song takes on the emotional flow from a pre-released single from the album, “Can’t Control Myself,” which dropped last month.

“The message expounded in the two songs are the same in that the they speak about a heart hurt by love. If ‘Can’t Control Myself’ had depicted a heart still struggling in agony, ‘INVU’ shows a more mature, stable emotion of a person who has overcome the pain to now face it properly,” Taeyeon explained.

Taeyeon poses for picture during her third LP Taeyeon poses for picture during her third LP "INVU" media showcase event on Feb. 14. (S.M. Entertainment)

Taeyeon said she instinctively knew that “INVU” was the title song when she first heard it, but she was among the few people who thought so in the beginning.

“Not many people at the company picked the song as the lead, so it was somewhat a risk for me. But I was confident and was pushed by an urge to persuade people,” she said.

To prove that she was right, Taeyeon actively took part in making the music video and the choreography as well.

“As the song sings of a person who is hurt by love yet not discouraged, I wanted to portray a strong, aggressive attitude through the visuals. Hurt on the inside, but maintaining a resolute and calm face. And the music video is very conceptual, making use of different images, such as the Ancient Greek temple-like setting, a desert background, or other elements -- such as the reflection of a moon in the pond -- that give off a mystic vibe.”

With many point moves in the choreography, including the finger moves depicting alphabets “I,” “N,” “V,” and “U,” Taeyeon said there will be a dance practice video, which she added will be “worth looking forward to.”

During Monday’s showcase, Taeyeon also introduced other B-side tracks on the album, including “Some Night,” an R&B ballad written by star K-pop lyricist Kim Eana; “Toddler,” a disco pop tune about a grown-up still holding onto her childhood dream of a happy ending; “Siren,” a fast-paced synth sound of an ethereal vibe; and “You Better Not,” a sad yet up-tempo pop tune about the loss felt after love ends.

As for her favorite track besides the title song from the album, Taeyeon picked “Heart,” a fan song which describes her affectionate heart and gratitude towards her fans.

A veteran artist now experienced in a broad spectrum of music, Taeyeon said she has no preferences to what kind of genres she performs and thinks is best at, but only focuses on what dominates her mind and taste at the moment.

“Right now, I’m all into my third LP. I don’t even know what genre I’m most capable of because I have so many different sides to me. It changes all the time. Although it may sound vague, I’m always different according to the environment and situation I’m in and am open to everything really.”

Taeyeon's third solo LP Taeyeon's third solo LP "INVU" concept image (S.M. Entertainment)

Taeyeon was recently named the most popular K-pop female soloist, marking the highest album sales among all female Korean artists according to Gaon chart data of the past decade.

“Although it might sound cheesy, I honestly think that it was possible because everyone made their best effort and those efforts made the right synergy. I couldn’t have done it alone. We just discuss, suggest, persuade, be persuaded by each other to make an album. I don’t try to push through with just my opinions, but at the same time, I don’t try to hide my colors.”

She went on to say, “My driving forces are my fans and myself. I continuously stimulate myself. There’s a different side of myself popping up every time, and that’s what keeps me going.”

Taeyeon also showed delight at having more opportunities to communicate with fellow female artists in the industry recently. She recently debuted as part of S.M. Entertainment’s seven-piece girl group GOT the beat, the first unit of the label’s Girls On Top project. The act includes BoA, Hyo of Girls’ Generation, Karina and Winter of Aespa and Wendy and Seulgi of Red Velvet.

“It was so much fun. The way how we formed was so weird and I kept thinking ‘what are we’ as we practiced,” adding she felt like they were Avengers.

“As we were short on time, we didn’t have much time to get to know each other so I tried to approach them more, making conversations first, which is a huge effort considering my introverted personality.”

Maintaining a consistent and successful career for 15 years now, and showing progress with every release, Taeyeone is often picked as a role model by many younger K-pop idols striving to follow her steps.

“It feels nice (to be called a role model). But at the same time, it makes me think more about how I would seem in their eyes. I hope that they are able to express what they want. It’s important to be able to express one’s thoughts and wishes clearly these days, and I hope that they’re able to grab their opportunities. Also, I hope that they don’t get hurt along the way.”

The new album is about love, not just a romantic love but all sorts of love that people go through in life, and Taeyeon hoped that her album could resonate with people all in different moments in different shapes.

“I hope people can find a song in the album that they can come to at some time,” she said. “We can’t live without love. I hope that the album makes people think differently about love.”

While many honorable titles tag along the songstress’ name, this time, she hoped to shine as “just Taeyeon.”

“I love all the titles. But this time, I hope to be remembered as the one and only, the irreplaceable Taeyeon.”