[Review] Like Water – Wendy (Red Velvet)

Next up on the list of solo releases that I am reviewing this weekend is Wendy’s solo debut title track. Like Water is the title of her debut single and it was released on the Monday that just past, alongside her debut mini-album (which shares the same name). Wendy is also the first member of Red Velvet to officially begin a solo career in the music industry. She has done some solo work before through collaborations and OSTs previously, but has not been given the opportunity to promote a mini-album under just her name. This official start is also a return to music promotions for Wendy. For those who missed the news back in 2019, she was badly injured at after a stage fall while performing Psycho, which left her in hospital for a while. She was notably absent in 2020, so that she could rest and recover from her injuries. She did release some music, but nothing substantial. Early 2021, she returned as a member of Red Velvet for a SM Concert. But things have been quiet on that front since that major performance milestone for Wendy and Red Velvet.

I was not surprised when I realised that Like Water was going to be a ballad. Firstly, the title felt like a name you would give to a ballad. Secondly, as Wendy is the main vocalist of her group, it is typically the expectation that she would go down that route as many main vocalists have done before. But don’t get me wrong. I am not saying Like Water is like any other typical comeback. Like Water wowed me when I first heard the song. And that is solely due to the captivation spell that Wendy had me under with her vocals. Her high notes were flawless, enabling the song to soar to new heights. Another positive about the vocal department in this song is how clear and straightforward her vocals were. While it may sound like I am referring to that ‘typical’ description again, I actually in fact appreciate this direction. It is always nice to hear a release that is not complicated or overdone once in a while. And so Wendy’s Like Water comes at a perfect time for me. I also find that Wendy’s vocals in this song remind me of labelmate’s Taeyeon’s vocals (and that is a high compliment to give someone, given Taeyeon’s power and influence in the industry). The melodies in this song are so flowy, feeling like a natural water stream you would hear in a forest. What makes Like Water unique is the folksy instrumentation we get. It may sound like another typical contemporary ballad with its instrumentation if you simply take a glance at it. But when you pay close attention, you find that there is a fair bit of a folk influence to its makeup. And if you still question it, then the instrumental break we get about half way through the song should be enough to prove you otherwise. Altogether, Like Water is a stunning ballad that shows off Wendy’s vocals and marks the return of the Red Velvet member to the KPOP music scene.

The song Like Water isn’t an emotional one. Rather, it has a happy tone to it that makes you want to smile. (For those who don’t know, Wendy likens her love to her partner to the need and feeling of water in the lyrics). That smile feeling is shown throughout the video, with Wendy smiling whilst delivering her lines. One thing I liked about the video is how the video captured Wendy from afar. In many of those scenes where you can tell there is some distance between Wendy and the camera, you will notice they are pretty wide shots and there is a lot of space above her. To me, I think it shows how there is no clouds above her (which would commonly be synonymous with breakup ballads and emotional songs). There is imagery of rain throughout the video which make sense given the song is about water. But I find it smart to not include grey clouds (i.e. the source of that rain), which can be heavy and loaded at the same time, and this would not be a good fit for the video.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

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