[Review] Bump Bump – WOODZ

I ended the song portion of my Love Me Harder with the statement that WOODZ’s debut song had popped him on my radar. And news of his new release was purely exciting for me. It is just unfortunate that my poor planning and tired state lately prevented me from getting to review his comeback song. WOODZ returned on Tuesday with his new single, BUMP BUMP. This new single is the lead from his second mini-album, WOOPS, which also dropped on the same day. WOODZ (otherwise known as Cha Seung Youn and former member of UNIQ/X1) made his solo debut earlier this year with .

My first impression of BUMP BUMP is that the song is quite bright and cheerful, unlike his debut track and mini-album. It is a completely different energy and dynamic that WOODZ completely nails. BUMP BUMP is a track that I thoroughly enjoy. It definitely shows me that he is capable of variety and versatile, which further excites me for future releases. I really like the alternative rock influences that are mixed into the pop song. And it is because of these influence that I cannot help but nod my head along to it every time the song has appeared on my playlist this past week. It helps makes the song more explosive and pop out when it comes to the catchy chorus. It also helps drive the relentless energy we get in the same section, which makes the sudden launch from bridge (which literally continues the same energy as the preceding chorus) into the third and final chorus even stronger. I may not not like sudden changes like so that often, but it done really well in BUMP BUMP. So much that it probably my favourite part of the song. The alternative rock energy also carries WOODZ’s vocals effortlessly. He sounds so good in this song, especially with the slight raspiness giving the song that extra bit of depth and character. His rapping is also as strong and powerful as the instrumentation. Overall, BUMP BUMP is an excellent addition to his discography and I really can’t wait to see what he has in store next for us.

Personally, I am not digging his curly hair style that is shown at the start of the video. I just don’t think it suits as well. I prefer the straighter hair style that he also dons in the video. I liked that the music video captured a carefree vibe that I didn’t initially register with the song. The video keeps it chill by showing WOODZ and his group of friends having fun. It may not fit the lyrics persay, but I think that is fine. Though I think the fighting scenes in this video (i.e. WOODZ smashing the red balloons, peering over his partner who had fallen down) were cleverly hidden throughout the video and blended very well with the fun and happier scenes of the video. But that might just be overthinking and overanalyzing the video. Otherwise, that carefree vibe would not be as strong and exciting if the video was to match the lyrics or those possible fight scenes were more upfront fight scenes.

Í really like how creative the start of the performance was with the passing of the microphone to WOODZ. Very unique. As for the rest of the choreography, it definitely looks like WOODZ is participating more than he did in his debut stage performances. But you can still tell that he isn’t going full on so that his can perform his new song live on stage with actual vocals and rapping. I would like more of a balance, but the direction we are going in is a good sign.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Album Review] Equal (1st Mini Album) – WOODZ

A month ago, WOODZ (aka. Cho Seung Youn) returned as a solo artist with his first mini-album, Equal. It featured the title track Love Me Harder (link for it down below). And now a month from its release, it is time for its album review. I hope this comeback has not been swept under a rug. Both the song and album (which I can say from today) is very underrated and needs more attention! But for those who may still be unfamiliar with WOODZ, here is a quick introduction. He is a member of UNIQ (the group currently on hiatus, and each member is focusing on solo activities) and was formerly apart of X1 (which has now disbanded). He has been active previously as a solo artist during the time between UNIQ and his appearance on Produce X 101, where he placed 5th overall. But the difference now is that his popularity has skyrocketed as a result to Produce X 101 and X1. And now, here is the review!

Equal Album Cover

1. Lift Up – For an opening track, Lift Up basically holds my attention hostage from whatever I was doing prior to listening to the song. I find that to be a very positive feature of the song, as that is what I want with the first track on the album. The start features a heavily autotuned deep voice, breathy sounds and dramatic strikes of instrumentation. We then move into the verses, which is probably what I want to describe as the ‘calm before the storm’, with the storm being the shouty chorus we get in Lift Up. It might be overwhelming the first time around for some, but I really like the thrilling nature. I liked the rough texture his voice brings to the song and the different textures we get in the background throughout the song, as well (such as the barking dogs and the flute in the second verse). It adds something different and captivating around each corner. I would have liked it if his pronunciation was a little clearer in the chorus. It didn’t occur to me that he was singing/shouting English lyrics until I searched up the lyrics. This was the only issue I had with Lift Up, otherwise it would have been deemed a 10/10 song. (9.5/10)

2. AccidentAccident is a smooth R&B track, placed cleverly after the intense and possibly overwhelming start to this album. It provides relief but does so in a way that continues the R&B momentum of the album. It starts off with a rock sound and it brews with that mindset. But it settles for the R&B as it progresses and loses that idea of going in a rock direction. Sure, this track may not be as powerful sounding song. But the lyrics are definitely quite heavy and may be as abrasive as how the preceding track sounds. Based on what I can understand, it seems like there is a toxic relationship, where pain is inflicted by one side and the other side accepts the pain as an ‘accident’. Not really a good message to put forward but it shows how willing one would go to get to know someone (but alas, in a twisted way). Aside from that, Accident show WOODZ’s vocals in a very memorable and epic manner. You can sense desperation and willingness in this voice, which would suit the twisted message that the song has. (9/10)

3. Love Me Harder (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for Love Me Harder. (9/10)

4. NOID – For some reason, the start of this song takes me back to Mamamoo’s HIP. Though, NOID is a lot darker and sinister. Once again, it delves into the R&B genre. But there is a groovy and subtle upbeat energy to the song. What the song does best is it shows off WOODZ’s vocals in an impressive manner. It compliments that subtle upbeat nature that I had mentioned just before as his vocals provide a slight kick to the song as well. And altogether, it is a good song. But in comparison to the rest of the album, I felt NOID was a little safe. This is more of an observation and I personally don’t mind this ‘safe’ connotation. It helps keeps the album grounded and doesn’t overload us with sounds or songs that could overwhelm us. (8/10)

5. Waikiki (ft. Colde) – With R&B being the main genre on this album, I was wondering when the sensual R&B vibes would kick in. Well, Waikiki answers that question. There isn’t much to the instrumental other than the clapping percussion and that very low humming we get in the background. We get more instrumentals added to the song as its progresses, but it isn’t really a massive difference. Despite its minimalist sounds, it is the artists that give the song its sensual vibes. Waikiki is driven by the melody that both WOODZ and Colde brings to the song via their delivery of their lines. I also found the contrast between the two artists to be very intriguing. WOODZ was at a somewhat higher pitch, while Colde stayed relatively low with his autotuned voice. It gives the song stability and really compliments the minimalist vibes. It isn’t my personal cup of tea, but it was very well executed. (8/10)

6. Buck (ft. Punchnello)Buck is very different to what we have heard so far on this album. It is very energetic and packs a subtle punch. It also feels quite experimental. It takes more of a hip-hop profile rather than the R&B we heard on this album. It feels playful and carefree, in a way. The beat also seems very jabby. Nothing feels elongated or lasts for a substantial amount of time (relative to the length of the track). And I quite like this effect. Buck also features Punchnello and he brings a fast tempo to the song with his delivery, whereas WOODZ sounded mid-tempo. I also like it when they reach the back end of their verses, which featured a little more energy and urgency in their delivery. It adds more energy to the song in a way that compliments their rapping delivery. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find Buck to be a hidden gem on this album. (10/10)

7. Memories – WOODZ continues the divergence from the heavy R&B nature of the album with Memories. It is a ballad, as I had somehow expected from the title. I just had a feeling with such a sentimental title. What Memories (and this album, at large) has proven to me is how versatile WOODZ is. And this isn’t an observation of the songs. Even his voices have changed in each song, showing that he is fitting for many styles. In Memories, he sounds very blissful and his harmonies are breathtaking. Especially since he is rapper in both his previous groups. The instrumental is a little typical, going with a piano and drum set up. What I also enjoyed is the use of electric guitar throughout. It doesn’t make Memories unique, but I find it as a centerpiece to be quite refreshing. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Equal Teaser Image

[Review] Love Me Harder – WOODZ

The fourth release from Monday that I will be reviewing is Love Me Harder, which is the solo comeback by soloist WOODZ, who may be more familiar now as Cho Seung Youn. Fans started to know of Cho Seung Youn through his participation in Produce X 101, where he placed 5th and debuted as part of the now-defunct X1. But the solo artist has quite an extensive connection to the KPOP industry including being a former member of UNIQ (a South Korean and Chinese idol group), participated in Show Me The Money 5 and went on to debut as a solo artist under the name Luizy and WOODZ, with the latter being his currently used name in the industry at the moment. So with a history like that, it seems like WOODZ is an act to look out for. Let’s have a listen to his return to mainstream KPOP through his new single.

Kicking off Love Me Harder is this addictive whistling melody in the instrumental. It is short at first, but its repetition really drives it into your memory. It also adds a classy yet fun element to the song. The rest of the instrumental is made of a deep bass beat, which really drives the song along. When the two would merge together for the final chorus, you would have a very strong and exciting instrumental combination. And all these elements seem to quite trendy, which helps the song fit in neatly with the current era. WOODZ, for a sub-vocalist and main-rapper during his time in UNIQ, has a very strong and versatile set of vocals which he shows off really nicely in this song. There is a breathy nature to the vocals that adds colour to the song. I really liked the bridge of the song, where it sounds like he far away. Interesting texture there. He has a strong rap in the second verse and I would definitely like to hear more of it in the future. In addition to all of this, Love Me Harder has great rhythm, catchy hooks and appealing energy that will have me returning for many more listens. For someone who was practically unknown to me, WOODZ has proven to be worthy of my radar and I will definitely be checking in with his future releases. And you can attribute Love Me Harder to this.

We see two alter egos of WOODZ in the music video. Let’s say one of them is the Edgy one (i.e. leather jacket) and the other is the ‘Boy Next Door’ type of guy. The video starts off with WOODZ’s ‘Boy Next Door’ version getting into an argument with his girlfriend, who leaves him. Edgy WOODZ gets on top of the car that they were in and this forced ‘Boy next door’ WOODZ to get out and exit a crime scene (i.e. his car). We presume that the girlfriend is dead. Confused, ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ searches for Edgy WOODZ thinking that Edgy WOODZ had something to do with the crime. This leads ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ to a hideout full of illegitimate bills. Edgy WOODZ sends the ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ back to the car and we see the start play out all over again. ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ gets angry and has a go at Edgy WOODZ, but then it dawns on him. WOODZ’s girlfriend had shot him and stole the money that ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ had printed. The crime scene that he stepped out of was his own (which allowed him to leave the scene unnoticed, as he is dead) and Edgy WOODZ was basically taunting ‘Boy Next Door’ WOODZ the entire time for his naivety and stupidity. It is a bit confusing in words, but I thought this was a great music video with an awesome storyline.

Not only do the dancers help fill up the stage, but they also give WOODZ an opportunity to focus on the live element of the performance. During the verses, they do all of the choreography while WOODZ sings and rap. A prime example of this is the entire second verse when they form a circle on the floor around him. When WOODZ does participate in the choreography, those moves actually looked quite good. WOODZ puts a lot of effort in to make up for the lack of choreography on his part during the verse for those sections and I liked the hand gun action. I would like to see a version where he does more dancing, but overall a good stage.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 9/10