Weekends are probably one of the few luxuries in life that has the ability to fill us with a hamster-wheel of emotions: we’re excited before its arrival, ecstatic when it’s here, wistful when it’s about to pass, sad when it departs – only to feel these all over again when the week approaches its end. Most of all, it’s something that we greatly look forward to, which is also the premise highlighted in Taeyeon’s new digital single ‘Weekend’.
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Written by Hwang Yu-bin – whose extensive songwriting credits include title tracks by groups like SHINee, SuperM, NCT, A.C.E. and LOONA – the lyrics of ‘Weekend’, together with the song’s disco and city pop elements, accurately captures the lighthearted and carefree feel its namesake brings. It’s a refreshing genre switch-up compared to the vocalist’s most recent releases, such as the R&B-infused 2020 single ‘What Do I Call You’ and ‘Happy’, a modern-day interpretation of doo-wop.
‘Weekend’ kicks off with Taeyeon making reference to a simple pleasure that’s unafforded to us over most of the week: being able to sleep in. “I wake up without / Any wakeup call that used to rush me”, she tells us, before enjoying a lazy brunch of cheesecake and “a full glass of brewed coffee”, which she has iced, and “very relaxedly”, she adds. Before she knows it, the clock strikes noon, and she’s left wondering how to spend the rest of her day – but, as she reminds us, “There isn’t any rush” to do so.
Instead of grounding listeners with her powerful singing, the Girls’ Generation leader brings us on a (literal, in the music video) flight of fancy over the track’s leisurely pacing, alternating between her soothing mid-range (with a fun, catchy rap verse thrown into the mix), and dreamy, breathy vocals on her higher register. The latter brings a certain whimsy to the lines “I can do whatever I want” and “It’s okay to do whatever I feel like”. While certainly empowering, it’s also somewhat of an irony; the weekend is typically a busy time for celebrities such as herself, as they carry out their various promotions, or fulfil obligations such as being regulars on variety shows. Stretching the definition of ‘weekend’ a little further, this could probably encapsulate days off on a weekday, which would still be a welcome reprieve from busy schedules.
Akin to a blank canvas that’s ready to be filled, each individual’s weekend is very much up to one’s own interpretation, as Taeyeon points out in the post-chorus. “The closest beach, my own theatre / I’ll go on a drive, it’s okay to just walk around / I’ll just go wherever my feet end up”. She also prompts us to slow down and smell the flowers – or at least take the time to observe them: “The wild unknown small flower / Growing along the corner of the street / After looking at them for a while / To avoid the hot sunlight / I sit on a bench for a moment”.
Above all, they are precious pockets of time to savour life’s little pleasures, which she sings in a line that pays subtle tribute to the chorus of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Suit & Tie’ – “A coffee shop with nutty aroma / Pretty clothes catching my eyes / I don’t want to hesitate doing what I like anymore / It’s okay to do it when the weekend comes”.
The accompanying retro-themed music video, with its pastel hues and surprise appearances by the iMac and iBook G3 (the latter also known as the ‘Clamshell’) from the late ’90s, pretty much epitomises the anticipation, joy and sense of freedom that the weekend offers. Taeyeon also expresses these feelings naturally in the clip through her myriad of facial expressions: from a dreamy, faraway look as she imagines what’s to come, the glee on her face as she enjoys a home party, to the wonder in her eyes as she goes about exploring – all of which are very much relatable for the many of us who cherish our weekends.
Whether we choose to stay safe by staying home (“The perfect plan because there aren’t any plans”, as she puts it), or venture out of our comfort zones into our next adventure, ‘Weekend’ is an affirmation that it really doesn’t matter how we choose to spend it. Through this summery ode, Taeyeon reminds us to be in the moment, enjoy the now, and then look forward to the many exciting weekends to come.