[Review] Sugar – Kim Woo Seok (UP10TION)

Kim Woo Seok made his solo debut with Red Moon back in May 2020. Since then, nothing much has been going on with Kim Woo Seok. It is still a shock to me to know that he (and fellow member and soloist Lee Jin Hyuk) have yet to return to the group for a full lineup promotion. There is so much opportunity to group both the group and the solo acts alongside one another, yet TOP Media has decided to promote the two singers seperately from the group. And must I say in a poor manner. While other soloists were enjoying two comebacks throughout 2020, Kim Woo Seok was only given the opportunity to promote Red Moon and that was it. Flashforward to 2021 (i.e. 8 and a half months), Kim Woo Seok is finally making his solo comeback with Sugar and the mini-album 2nd Desire [Tasty].

Sugar is a sweet pop track. Not overly sweet, thankfully. Despite that, Sugar is quite a change for Kim Woo Seok, given that it has been a while since I have heard anything quite fluffy from him. I am guessing an UP10TION track was when I last heard Kim Woo Seok approach that sound concept. After the sensual vibes that Red Moon carried, this is pretty much a polar contrast. But while Sugar is more upbeat and colourful in its musical approach (which can be my thing if it is done well), I am disappointed with the song. No matter how times I have played the song since the music video dropped this morning, it just doesn’t excite me. It felt plain and typical. I would have enjoyed the song more if it had more energy or more of a pop to it. Maybe something a bit more punchy or texturally captivating. This just feels like candy that tastes a bit flat. The most promising part of the song was the ‘Right/Ready, Tasty, Yum, Yum‘ deep whipser that we got after the first chorus. I guess what savours the song for me is Kim Woo Seok’s vocals, which were solid throughout Sugar. That high note at the end was quite good. I am tempted to say that I like the bounce that came along with the song’s melody. But I just cannot get over the fact that the song’s instrumental was dull as a whole, and that practically sours that comment. Overall, I feel like Sugar feel victim to UP10TION’s plainness. I don’t want to constantly make the link of the two acts, as they are meant to be different and standalone. But I feel like the plainness of both are on par with one another this time around.

The visuals of the music video faired a lot better than the song itself in my books. To match the song’s pop tone, the music video opted for colour. And it isn’t KPOP if all the colour is not in its pastel form. It is still quite bright and there is a noticeable innocent vibe that comes from the video. Alongside the colour and the youthful tinge, we have a pretty solid set design that ties the sweet aspect of the title and lyrics together nicely by moulding the sweets concept. If you have a sweet tooth, this might be the video to indulge in.

For some reason, his company made him promote prior to the offical release of the song and album. I guess it is to hype up the comeback before it actually drops. So naturally with this technique, we are treated to an early taster to the performance version. I find the choreography to be quite fitting for the pop sound of the song. The entire chorus routine seems pretty decent and showcases some skills. I was nervous that the song would hevaily impact appeal of the performance. The sliding chair moves while Wooseok is sitting on it does seem quite tacky, however.

Song – 5.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

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