Wrapping up the third season of SM Entertainment’s “SM Station,” NCT U’s leader Taeyong has released his first solo track “Long Flight.” Released on Thursday, July 18, “Long Flight” delivers Taeyong’s multiple talents – his vocals, rapping, and dichotomy in charisma and cute charms – all in tow. Overall, the song is a dreamy and mellow track that invites the viewer into his imagination while on a long flight. Composed and written by Taeyong himself, he has also partnered up with producing team Royal Dive to execute a polished product.

As seen in the MV, the song is entirely focused on how it would be to enjoy a long flight with Taeyong. The MV approaches this idea with a number of aesthetics — dreamy backdrops of a fluffy blue sky or a night sky filled with dancing northern lights; bright, enjoyable colors such as sky blue, yellow, and even a shred of rainbow; and lastly, the various facets of Taeyong himself. From dropping an ice cream bowl to enjoying random dance breaks, he adds bits of wit here and there amidst a mellow romantic track.

Otherwise, he dances seamlessly with the melody, if not easily alternating between rapping and singing — the latter which was a pleasant surprise for those newer to the group. From showing something minimal as facial expressions or more detailed as sensual dancing, viewers witness sides of Taeyong that haven’t been seen as frequently in previous works. This then fulfills the freedom a solo track and MV can offer for its artist.

Whether he is in a sprawling indoors garden or by a lone airplane window, the sole presence of Taeyong in these settings earns him the total focus of the audience. The outcome is him smoothly merging with the simple but alluring aesthetics within one shot. Other techniques such as color and lighting further support this effort, as well. For instance, the notion of time passing is highlighted by the presence or absence of shadows. The viewer can follow through Taeyong’s long flight as he bounces from nature to yellow to a beautiful aurora borealis sky.

This pleasant sync in aesthetics — color, lighting, backdrop creativity, and Taeyong’s own diverse charms — bring the MV alive to enhance his song, portraying his message in a diversity of ways. The MV then wraps up by bringing Taeyong back to the lone flight seat, staring out at the sky with a dreamy, faraway look. The first assumption is that he has left his flight – though it further enables viewers to wonder long after the video is over.

Throughout the MV, Taeyong effectively utilizes the open space differently per background in order to show the various colors of the track. This plays a dual effect in both expanding the imagination one may have after listening, and interpreting the dreamy track in more ways than one. He easily goes from serious to light, witty to thoughtful – subtly shifting the mood alongside his environment. Taeyong also hardly stays still, bobbing up and down in the yellow room to dancing among the greens, or dancing to his heart’s content underneath the night sky. His visual, physical interpretations of the song come out naturally in the video, maintaining viewers’ interest until the end.

As it should be, this debut is very Taeyong-esque, considering he has written the lyrics and co-composed the track. The lyrics, as befitting its composition, are also quite dreamy, evident of his creative imagination as merely a passenger in a long flight. The target is referred to as a love interest, though in a subtle manner to highlight on the imagination involved. Upon reading, it is further clear that the MV directly collaborates with the lyrics to ultimately bring Taeyong’s vision alive.

Through a crack in the window,

The light that poured down through the crack

My eyes split into a prism.

That’s enough, but I’m still starving baby

Wanna go up much higher, hey

So that you can reach the sky, hmm

So that you can capture the world with one breath.

Moreover, the genre itself presents a newer style of Taeyong that stands apart from NCT’s current palette of hip-hop. As explained by an SM representative, “Taeyong has directly participated through writing and composing this song, which stands out as a hip-hop song with an analog pluck sound. [In it], he has fully expressed his sentiments when on a long flight.” Similarly, Taeyong himself has explained, “I enjoy long flights since I like the sky, but some people don’t like long ones,” adding that, “this song expresses the notion that if one were to join a long flight with me, I wouldn’t have them bored. As much as I’ve shown this [through the song], I hope [fans] can listen to this cozily.” The song is mellow enough to listen to day or night, while easy and smooth on the ears with Taeyong’s honey vocals. His rapping further contributes to the song through his adaptation to the song’s overall mood and rhythm.

As a result, this solo track has managed to present the entirety of what Taeyong can offer as an artist. In short, “Long Flight” was innovative, creative, and highly alluring, befitting the season and moods of summer. What do our readers think of his solo release?

Sources: (iMBC, MyDaily, Star News, YouTube; Images via SM Entertainment)