Also making his comeback today is Nam Woohyun! Calm & Passion (the title track) and With (the fourth mini-album) is Woohyun’s first comeback since completing his military enlistment and the first time we have heard from him since Hold on Me in 2019.
It has been a while and I am definitely excited for a Woohyun comeback. But unfortunately, I am left disappointed with this release. Calm & Passion just doesn’t live up the standard that he had set himself through his previous comeback, Hold On Me, and the new song felt flat. Calm & Passion is a sleek R&B track that taps into the funky trend that KPOP has been riding lately. While it does sound great in writing, Calm & Passion isn’t as fleshed out as you expect. Take the chorus, for example. The song definitely picks up in the pre-choruses, and so I expected the song would approach a meatier drop. But instead, we are treated to an anti-drop that makes Calm & Passion remain in neutral gear. It does pick up slightly in the second half of the chorus, but I am still recovering from the disappointment from the first half. The second verse continues the momentum from the second half of the first chorus, so I expected that momentum to continue build and snowball from there. But the chorus just repeats its lackluster form which is a bigger disappointment. The song had a perfect sound platform to build momentum with, as rock elements clearly make themselves known in the instrumentation as the song progresses. But Calm & Passion doesn’t pick up on that hint, unfortunately. When it comes to the final chorus, this was the energy that I was after and it felt satisfying then, but I wished they had it happening earlier in the song. Aside from the instrumentation, it was great to hear Woohyun’s vocals after so long. This was not a disappointment like the music, as he sounds good in this sleek manner and I liked how his vocals pierced through when the instrumental was more relatively robust and dynamic. Overall, Calm & Passion had potential but failed to captialise on the mentioned potential.
The music video faired a bit better. Visually, it was okay. It isn’t the best, but at least the video was clear and you can see Woohyun well. For the plot, Woohyun is kind of stuck in this limbo when it comes to his relationships. Everything is slow paced and just doesn’t work out, contrary to the relationship that he seeks (which is calm and passionate, if you haven’t picked that up from the lyrics). It was kind of interesting piece and I liked how they purposefully made the video feel stagnant to reflect this story.
While I was disappointed with the song, it definitely enabled Woohyun to take on a sensual and mature vibe with his choreography, which he nailed. I really liked watching the shoulder movements, and I think the choreography made better use of the rock elements than how the song did.
Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10