SHINee’s Vocal Analysis: Taemin

Vocal Range

G2 ~ B5 (3 octaves and 2 notes)

Supported Range

Eb3/E3 ~ G4/G#4

Voice Type

Tenor

Strengths/Achievements

  • Best developed mixed register amongst SHINee members (2012 ~ 2014)
  • Most consistent resonance and placement amongst SHINee members (2012 ~ 2014)
  • Able to keep a stable larynx and support up to G4/G#4 consistently
  • Achieved resonance very consistently up to A4 with a few Bb4’s and B4’s (2012 ~ 2014)
  • Good pitch and control of his instrument
  • Considerable vocal improvement amongst many idols, easily noticeable
  • Able to mix up to C#5/D5
  • Doesn’t try to do things he can’t with his voice musically i.e. messy runs and strained upper notes
  • He has the tendency to stay in a midlow to mid-high range, usually not only supporting his supported range, but singing songs that won’t go below/above that range.

Weaknesses

  • Loses consistency above Bb4/B4 and tends to strain notes above that
  • Considerably underdeveloped registers, only able to keep column of sound in his mix
  • Although resonant, his voice still lacks color and fullness
  • Occasional pitch issues with vocal runs mostly and falsetto
  • Notes below E3/Eb3 tend to be too quiet, breathy and weakly supported
  • Can occasionally push and squeeze some higher notes, not allowing throat to be fully open
  • Weak falsetto, not very good at switching and undeveloped in that register
  • Lacks creativity and musicality/musicianship in his vocal delivery

Registers

  • Lower register: Very underdeveloped as a register, anything below E3 can sound weakly supported, quiet, breathy and very hard to hear and understand.
  • Mixed register: Very consistent in his mix, able to keep good column of sound and resonance up to Bb4/B4 occasionally and consistently up to A4. Tends to have a stable larynx and a relaxed throat, with good projection. At times may push and squeeze the vocal cords together. (2012 ~ 2014) Shown a decline in technique from 2015 to present.
  • Upper register: Very underdeveloped, barely ever even explores that register and when done, even in studio, it can sound weak and sloppy or very pushed, like his B5 and Bb5 which were squeezed and pushed with a lot of air to get through.

Agility

Although having a very light voice, Taemin does not really show any vocal styling apart from a generic straight singing ability. He does not tend to use ornamentation to embellish his songs at all. Occasionally he is able to show vocal runs, in a very high range keeping resonance but not very quickly at all.

Overall analysis

Taemin possesses a very light and almost small voice. He’s a great example of a light tenor with a very bright youthful sound, a newly added member to the vocalist line in SHINee. He is a very good example of a hard working idol with a huge ability to prove and show improvement. Throughout the years he started out as a sub-vocalist member of SHINee, mainly concentrating on his dancing rather than singing. Throughout the years he’s learned to control his voice in an amazing manner, very impressive considering how he sounded when SHINee first debuted.

Taemin used to have a very small voice, very weakly supported, easily straining and getting a nasal sound, due to the squeezing of his swallowing muscles and his larynx raising. Back in 2010 that was the case, even on notes as low as G4 and F#4 , which might be the beginning of a more challenging range for a tenor, are not very high notes in his voice. Throughout the years he’s learned to support his voice, control his pitch and larynx position and keep a better column of sound and resonance. Impressively he’s been promoted in SHINee songs taking a lot of upper belts and big notes.

However so, Taemin’s weakness lies in the lack of amount of work he’s put into fully developing his voice overall throughout every register. Amongst SHINee members, he possesses the weakest and least supported lower register. Very weak projection and lacking greatly in color and sound. He takes full advantage, however, of the fact that his mixed register is a much better developed register and generally stays in a safe zone between E3 and A4 for every single song he performs, generally on Immortal Song 2. His lower register still lacks any true color and support anywhere below E3 and Eb3, sounding rather half-spoken and shallow.

Taemin’s mixed register is exactly where his voice shines, however. Impressively able to keep resonance consistently up to A4 and being able to effortlessly sing through high passages, he’s learned to truly use his mixed voice to its best ability through the years. He is able to stay resonant even at times on Bb4’s and B4’s, live and studio. He’s a smart vocalist in that department, able to fully grasp the use of belting and mix correctly according to his voice type as a tenor.

Although his improvement from being a vocalist with completely shallow to almost no support at all to being a vocalist with clean support and consistent resonance was one of the biggest jumps in technique for K-pop idols, there were still some issues to address. Most of his improvement happened in between 2010 and 2012. Comparing his G#4’s from “사랑해 ” in 2010 to his G#4’s in “잠깐만” in 2014, one can hear the change in his openness, support and placement. Going from very throaty and tense to a very clean and opened sound was one of the biggest improvements for any vocalist.

However since he’s always had issues with a slightly closed diction and oftentimes inconsistencies with openness, not addressing these issues got the best of him and caused a slight vocal decline over time. He’s stayed more or less stagnant, but from 2015 to the present, he’s shown more issues with openness and has become tighter in his throat when singing notes as high as A4 or higher. Although to an extent, there was always a certain degree of pushing when belting higher, he was able to keep a more or less opened sound with just enough support during his highest peak period in technique. In “몰라” and “잘못된 만남,” his sound is somewhat pushed on the G#4’s and higher belts, but enough support is kept. The same can be heard in “떠나지못해” when belting A4’s. More recently though, his sound is a lot thinner and tighter, as he squeezes his throat muscles more and lets his larynx raise on A4’s, as heard in “정말 고마웠어요,” “Tell Me What To Do” and “Love.” This can also be heard when comparing the Bb4’s from “마포종점” to the B4’s in “Love,” where there’s a drastic change in openness and placement. He’s not lost his ability to support as high as G4, as heard in “Tell Me What To Do” nor G#4, but has become less consistent with resonance and openness, as well as not showing support above G#4.

His upper register is a very weak and underdeveloped falsetto, much like his lower register, it feels sloppy, badly projected and colorless without any true care for development. At times able to produce notes in the C#5 and E5 range, Taemin’s highest notes ever were a Bb5 and a B5 he more than not, pushed rather than truly supporting and using the same principles he uses for his mixed register.

Taemin used to use a jaw vibrato with a lot of tension, but has overtime also learned to create a healthier vibrato through better support and control. His pitch is generally very good and on point for his supported range, not tending to lose control or connection. His weakest area is the fact that he possesses only one well developed register and two very underdeveloped ones. His voice lacks true musicality and musicianship, barely ever really playing with dynamics or changing melodies, Taemin tends to simply have a clean straight style of singing. In other words, he sings exactly what he’s told to, instead of truly letting his own musical personality be showcased through his singing. He’s also got very good stamina, able to dance and easily sing with proper technique in his supported range.

Taemin vocally is in a level close to Onew’s and Jonghyun’s. He’s a smart vocalist and generally delivers clean performances, without messing up and sounding uncontrolled. His mixed register was so consistent and developed that it created a false impression of a good vocalist. However due to his lack of vocal creativity and developed registers, Taemin possesses a very narrow range for his voice to really truly shine in due to the lack of attention to fully developing his voice into one even sound throughout every single one of his registers.

He possesses a very good spirit for improvement and should be able to improve even more in the future, but for now working on developing his sound to make his voice grow and mature should be the main focus, so that he’s able to use every color and register of his voice to fully create a vocal showcase in his vocal performances. Lastly truly developing his sound to grow bigger, opening his throat and letting his voice mature to find his best styles should help him grow as a vocalist and hopefully musician and performer. He has a very consistent mixed register and can learn to develop the musical side of his voice to understand all that he’s able to do with it. Although his main focus seems to be his dancing and artistry, he is completely capable of improving his technique even more as he’s already shown in the past.

Musicianship

Taemin doesn’t tend to show off much with his voice and tends to simply do what the melody of the song asks him to. He lacks any true understanding of creating vocally creative melodies and playing with music to fully deliver the essence of it.

Rating

Above Average Vocalist

(Highest rating to date: Above Average to Proficient Vocalist)

Vocal Range Video(s)

video by: Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

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About ahmin3

kitsunemale from YouTube, AhMin33 from Twitter and Ahmin from OneHallyu! https://www.youtube.com/user/KitsuneMale

389 thoughts on “SHINee’s Vocal Analysis: Taemin

  1. When Taemin first debuted. What rank would you have given him? Weak or average or something else? I just wanted to know how much he improved. Just to kind of have a sense of how hard he worked to improve his technique.
    Thanks!

    Like

    1. This isn’t an analysis of his voice but of his vocal technique. We only update analyses when there’s a change to their technique, be it improvement or regression. It is likely Taemin has regressed from what I’ve seen and I might make some changes to the analysis when I have time.

      Like

  2. Here are three very recent performances of Taemin:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkGcpFPRC_s (Taemin starts singing at 1:23)

    How do you think he did here?
    I’ve seen you mention a few times that you think he’s regressed since you wrote the analysis, but I don’t really hear any regression of any kind (nor improvement, he sounds about the same for me, technique wise), but then again you’re the expert, not me, so I was wondering to see what you’d make of this!
    Thank you!

    Like

    1. I’d say he’s using too much air and not enunciating clearly in the beginning of Love. Actually let me explain why I feel he’s regressed. I feel like compared to around 2012 ~ 2014, when he’d go on IS2, he’d be a lot more opened and use much better diction and support. He started getting more throaty overtime and his diction lazy, so he often sounds like he’s mumbling and a bit nasal. 0:58 1:02 1:07 1:09 A4’s I hear strain up there for him, I haven’t heard Taemin support an A4 in a long time. 1:12 B4’s very squeezed in his throat. 3:10 in Off Sick, I hear too much pushing on his G#4’s and again compared to before, Taemin did not have these issues with tightness. I feel like he improved a lot and then he fell back into a few bad habits and has since stayed more or less stagnant technique-wise. Actually honestly this is enough for me to come down to my conclusions, I still need to look into Daehyun but I can use this and some other videos to show the difference in his technique and update this analysis right now. Thank you for the videos, even though I do apologize cause I know this wasn’t your intention. (to have him degrade.)

      Like

      1. Oh you’re welcome! After reading your updated analysis, I completely agree, even though it does make me a bit sad, as I love Taemins voice and was hopeful that he’d keep improving.
        Also, wow, I can’t believe I’ve never seen those IS2 performances before, they’re so good it almost doesn’t sound like Taemin to me lol. I can definitely hear the difference there.

        Like

      2. Hi I have a small question about this. It’s possible that he’s consciously making those decisions for stylistic reasons right? I think you’ve explain once that style isn’t necessarily bad if you can turn it on and off at will. But yeah, it is also possible that he simply regressed and fell back into bad habits. Thanks for explaining btw.

        Like

      3. The only way to determine whether or not he’s doing it on purpose is to hear him singing like he would with openness and a clean technique and being able to show that he can turn it on and off. It’s one thing to sound that one with one song or two, sometimes stylistic choices are done for specific songs but in his case, it’s become part of every song.

        Like

  3. I don’t know I have mixed feelings about this update. Don’t get me wrong I don’t doubt your update and I thought I was the only thinking he sounded kinda different during “Tell me what to do” but I wasn’t expecting him to become “Above Average” :/
    Has he hurt his vocal chords ? Why do you think his technique has regressed? Do you think it might be the same reason as Hyorin (schedule…) ?

    Like

  4. Hello it is kind of sad for me to see that his technique has regressed, but I do agree on what you said especially seeing the differences in the videos you listed. I’ve had the feeling that he is trying to find the color of himself that he goes for those thinner voice(sorry I’m not sure if I’m using the right term here haha) to be sexy?
    Being a long time fan of him, I do think that he tends to be more cautious over these years that he often skips high notes in some songs, especially everybody and picasso.

    He had a live on the rooftop live last night, would you mind to take a look at them when you have time and give us your thoughts on how he does?

    http://www.vlive.tv/video/45118
    http://www.vlive.tv/video/45144

    I really hope he can get rid of his bad habits and continue to improve himself on his vocals again. ;((

    Like

    1. I’m hearing some not too opened G4’s in the first song and some strained A4’s too. Yeah this falls in line with what I’ve been noticing. I think him trying to sound sexier and become less of a “child” in the public’s eye might have something to do with it indeed.

      Like

  5. Thought u might be interested to see this (has english subtitles)

    It’s an interview with Taemin where he talks about the process involved in his improvement (bleeding noses, screaming) –> I feel like his super fast improvement was done without consolidation and too quick to be healthy? And that’s why it was too easy for him to fall back and regress? Maybe there’s a trend of quick improvement and quick regression e.g. Hyorin.

    Like

      1. i said that the cause of his improvement from being weak to having Bb4 , in the interview he was talking about his struggle when he was trying to force it and improve on his own , 박선주 helped him a lot

        Like

  6. From A4/Bb4 down to G4/G#4, that is actually a big regress (to me) 😦 I hope he goes on Immortal Song again and slays B4s lol. at least A4s would do

    Like

  7. Hey just wanted to remind you that Taemin is still ranked as Above average to proficient. If you would like to change that or are you still waiting on other regressions/improvements?

    Like

  8. Minnie!!!!,

    I have had internet problems so I couldn’t post in a while. However, I’ve been watching your twitter and…what did I tell you honey? There will be always be more people who love you than those who hate you. There will always be people who truly support you so mwuah!!! I read the stuff you wrote about the rankings. I read in between the lines and know why you need to do it (no explanations required). Who needs them anyway? AA, Average, Weak, Proficient. The content will always be more important. When you leave the blog to ascend to the next level in your career and turn it into an encyclopedic source, remember to put the last updated date on it (like the last date of update is January 28 2018). Something like that anyway. Or to leave it in reliable hands. Either way works, those are my suggestions, you do whatever you want.

    I also saw the Taemin update, you hit me hard but thanks for not holding the truth back.

    P.S.

    And I saw the video where you were discussing Korean slang because it was on your twitter.

    Honestly………..You need to STAPH!!!! You reminded me of VMIN. My heart has enough cuteness with Vmin. I don’t need an overload. SO STAY IN YOUR LANE. Lol joking, my heart’s fine but you really were precious. Please stay happy and positive. Life will never go easy on you, so you have to stay strong. By the way, when is the head voice area of your supported range changing to D5? Post you later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh honey! You’re literally one of the most genuinely loving and supportive people for me throughout all these years and I really don’t know how to thank you enough. I’m seriously so touched with every message you leave and I agree with you and am grateful for your understanding. Haha Thank you I’ll stay in my line haha and my D5 will change when I put in more work and get less busy haha

      Like

    1. Color is not exactly the same thing as timbre. Color is, in the context of this analysis, synonymous to tone production, so how he projects and how he connects his voice. Colorless means it lacks connection and development, therefore there’s barely any projection and barely any sound being produced.

      Like

  9. Hello! Here is a new live performance of Taemin of one of his new songs from his most recent comeback/ album repackage.

    Do you notice any improvement or any changes compared to before, or is he still about the same?

    Like

    1. 0:54 He is supporting all the way up to F#4 and he is supporting throughout, but his vowels are so narrow and I don’t understand how he picked up this habit when he used to be so good about dropping his jaw. His jaw is almost locked the whole way through, he’s barely allowing it to drop, which really limits the freedom of the sound he’s producing. 1:58 Again it’s not strained here up to G#4, but it’s tight. 2:31 This is more opened, but still not opened enough. His breathing isn’t deep enough into his diaphragm. 3:30 F#4 around this range, again he is supporting and he places the sound, but he’s just using his throat muscles more than he needs to. It’s kind of disappointing listening to this while keeping in mind how much more opened he was in 2014/2015. So no, no improvements and no changes to what’s already been established as the slight regression in his vocal habits.

      Like

  10. Apparently I missed something with Shinee. I just listened to Jonghyun’s own work during the past years and haven’t been interested in the other members. I used to think Taemin was a weak singer. And then I see everyone praising him to the skies since I got back into Kpop fandom (I backed out of the fandom for some years). And even you ranked him higher than Yesung, K.Will, Jaejoong or G.O. and I thought: “If even you ranked him higher, then I have missed his improvement because last time I’ve listened to him, he was still extremely weak and I was not impressed in the least”
    I guess I have to listen to him now.

    Like

      1. You’re so sweet, you know that? 🙂 Almost replying to all messages people leave on your blog – amazing! Happy new year!

        Yeah, I’m listening to a few songs right now. I’m still not THAT impressed…
        In the few songs I’ve heard: His pitch seemed really good. Definitely improved there.
        But he sounded breathless – even in this one song where he didn’t have to dance.
        His voice trembled in two songs. It seemed like he couldn’t hold the note until the end.

        I don’t know if I’m too strict to him. Of course, I’m used to listen to the best vocalists (Kyuhyun, Jonghyun, Hyorin etc.) so maybe I’m comparing him unconsciously, I’m not sure… I have to listen to more.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s important to acknowledge people, always, no matter how. I’m not sure what standards you’re using for the trembling aspect, but Taemin does limit his airflow but he has a very clear and round quality in his sound, his placement was very good at that point too. I mean you can’t compare him to better vocalists, because that defeats the purpose of listening to him as a stand alone vocalist. Perhaps just listening to him for him, or comparing him to vocalists around his level or lower.

        Like

      3. I think I AM too hard on him. Especially considering I have been listening to almost-perfect singers lately (I forgot to mention Lee Hongki…)
        I didn’t compare him on purpose, maybe I did it unconsciously.
        I do agree he improved, especially his pitch. Though I still can’t quite agree with his position in your ranking (I know K.Will, Yesung, Changmin (2PM)) and I think those three would be above Taemin. Not sure about Jaejoong though, as his breath control is not what it used to be (maybe the cigarettes are not doing his lungs any good…)

        I hope you don’t feel offended by my comment! I have a feeling I catch people on the wrong foot in the internet and that’s not my intention. You’re great and I enjoyed reading your analysis, especially since I agree with almost all your comments and analysis!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well Yesung has a lot of issues with tension, pushing and a closed throat and K.Will is very tight. At one point Taemin was a lot more relaxed and open than them but at this point, it’s not the case anymore. Oh no, you’re perfectly fine!

        Like

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