[Review] See You Again – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

The next review is for Han Seung Woo’s solo comeback from two weeks ago. VICTON’s lead vocalist, rapper and dancer returned with See You Again, a song fitting for his final comeback before his military enlistment later this month. It is featured on his second mini-album, Fade, which dropped on the same day as the music video release. This is the first time seeing Han Seung Woo since his promotions with the rest of his group for What I Said and Voice: The Future Is Now, and his solo debut back in August of last year (Sacrifice off his solo mini-album debut, Fame).

See You Again is a stunning ballad. Every time I have heard the song since its release two weeks ago, I am blown away with how captivating and riveting the ballad is. Now, I may be easily swayed by ballads. But this song didn’t need an ounce of convincing whatsoever. See You Again is beautifully instrumented with a one instrument, the humble piano. I was expecting strings to come in (which is my favourite type of instruments when it comes to classical instrumentation), but that never appeared. Instead, my expectation for strings lead me to listening to the entirety of See You Again. And from there, it was carried away by the gracefulness of the piano in this song. I really liked how prominent the piano was in the chorus. This prominence or boldness allowed for us to differentiate between verse and chorus, and also fill in the gaps where other instrumentation would usually have been used to help build the song’s momentum. On top of that, the piano also compliments the other half of the song, Han Seung Woo’s vocals. I could hear the heart-wrenching emotion behind his voice. And the powerful tone he uses for the chorus just makes the song stand out so well. In See You Again, he sings about the memories he has and the desire to reunite, which is fitting as both a song dedicated to a lover or his fans, to whom he will be saying good bye to for approximately two years. The melodies for the song are flowy but grounded at the same time to really allow Han Seung Woo to deliver a beautiful piece of music. Overall, See You Again shines because of its simplicity and Han Seung Woo’s effective delivery of vocals.

The music video for this release hits the brief. It is a rather muted music video, with a teal-grey colour palette being the main sources of colour for this video which also sets the tone of the video. I also like how the video was quite simple. The sets or locations were not overcrowded or overrun with props. Rather, they were empty, representing the departing and packed away memories. This is one of the common denominator of the three scenes (the emptying apartment, the grassy shots and the beach). The second common denominator is the piano, which was carried throughout each of the three scenes. It was the primary prop of the video. I liked how this complimented See You Again, given that piano was the only instrument in the song. And the third common denominator is Han Seung Woo himself, who was heartbroken and emotional throughout the video, helping to keep that theme and idea alive throughout the three locations the music video was set in.

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

[Album Review] Fame – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

Just under a month ago, Han Seung Woo made his solo debut with Sacrifice, which is the title track off his first solo mini-album, Fame. This mini-album is predominately R&B and each song is well crafted to show off the best of Han Seung Woo. In addition to this, the mini-album has won me over as a new fan and I cannot wait to hear more releases from him in the future. As you can tell, this is sounds like a very positive review. But do continue to read to see what I thought about each song!

Fame Album Cover

1. FeverFever starts off the album in a trendy fashion. It begins with a mellow introductory sequence, thanks to the acoustic guitars that opens the track. As the song progresses, we get more of a R&B dance track vibe. Traditional but still worth listening to. Personally, there is a strong sensual vibe in this dance track. On the instrumental front, there is a subtle level of grooviness that brings out the sensuality of the song. His vocals adds a sultry touch, as well. It is captivating to listen to (almost hypnotic in a way) and he knows when to add some vocal flair by amping his voice up for the chorus, yet maintaining that captivating vibe. An honestly great start. (8.5/10)

2. Sacrifice (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Sacrifice. (9/10)

3. Reply (답장해) – After a few serious and mature few tracks comes a lighthearted and playful Reply. Despite the change up in tone, Reply still sits within the realm of R&B, though its playful tone can pass the track off as a pop song as well. While the instrumental is straightforward, I really liked how the bass was used to bolster the beat, especially in the chorus. Han Seungwoo’s voice is commendable in this song. His singing and rapping vocals breathes life into the song and melodies, some of which came off as pretty catchy. (9/10)

4. I Just Want Love (원해) – We stay within the R&B genre for this track as well. But I Just Want Love starts off with a much bolder approach within its contemporary instrumental, which I really liked. The instrumental has a kick to it that really separate this song from the rest of its R&B counterparts on the album. For the chorus, I enjoyed how the background smoothed out, complimenting Seungwoo’s raspy vocals. While on the topic of his vocals, I Just Want Love showcases his silky vocals, whilst also giving some limelight to his rapping potential. I liked the edginess that his rapping brings to the second verse. To me, I Just Want Love manages to show all of his best sides and pairs it with an extremely likable instrumental. That is why I am calling it this album’s hidden gem. (10/10)

5. forest – The first thing that pops right out at me with forest is Seungwoo’s vocals. It is definitely hard not to notice the centerpiece and main driving force of the song. He sounds effortlessly good in this song, going from falsettos one moment and into a low tone the next. I liked how minimal the instrumental was, giving his voice that opportunity to shine. I also liked the message of this song as well, where he is asking his lover to rely on him for support during hard times, similar to a tree in a forest. In terms of its ranking relative to the other songs on the album, forest really lands itself on the high end. (9/10)

6. Child (철부지) – Surprisingly, Child is not a R&B song. It is more indie ballad than anything else. Once again, there are great vocals from the soloist itself. The instrumental is predominately acoustic guitars and a simple and paced drum beat. However, the song has some interesting effects as it went along, including a heavy (though barely audible) drum strike, some vocal filtering localized around one particular second of the song and additional filtering of the backing vocals to finish off the song alongside his ‘Oooohs’. Overall, it is a strong song, though I would have preferred some pleasant hooks to make the song more memorable. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Fame Teaser Image

[Review] Sacrifice – Han Seung Woo (VICTON)

It is the start of a new week in the KPOP industry and that brings new releases. The first new release on the reviewing block is Han Seung Woo’s solo debut, Sacrifice. There is a lot of anticipation for this solo debut, given that Han Seung Woo is one of the former members of the project group X1 (which was formed through Produce X 101). Upon confirmation of the group’s disbandment earlier this year, Han Seung Woo instantly returned to VICTON and particpated in their Howling and Mayday comebacks, further extending his popularity. Now, captialising on his new found popularity, Han Seung Woo debuts today as a solo artist with his new mini-album, Fame.

For some reason, I was going into Sacrifice with the mindset that it was going to a be a hard hitting song, full of drops and energetic energy. I don’t know why that is the case, but I had that feeling when I heard of his impending solo debut track. Unfortuately, none of my unexpected expectations were fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean Sacrifice is a bad song. In fact, it shows off the talent of Han Seung Woo in a very refined yet powerful way. The song is made up of a trap-based instrumental and delves into the R&B side of music. Pretty standard, but there is some bass in it that really give the song some life and some oomph. It is also the source of that powerfulness that I was talking about. The instrumental itself would not have been as strong if it wasn’t for the lacing of the bass throughout it. The chorus has some synths that add texture which prevents the song from going down a bland route (which is a minor concern when it comes to some R&B tracks). Han Seung Woo’s vocals are shown off in a spectacular manner. We also get to hear a very brief rapping delivery from the artist, which I would have liked more of. There is also some nice contrast between his high pictched vocals and the deep instrumentation that backs the track. Overall, Sacrifice nails the brief of a strong debut song.

The opening scene of Han Seung Woo kneeling in front of a car burning some rubber pretty much sets the tone of the music video. The mature sound of the song comes off quite visually in this music video. That is essentially how I would describe the concept of the video in a nutshell. In addition to that, he also brings an edgy image to the mix, which I really liked. Regarding a plotline, I am not sure if there is one explicitly in the music video. We do see a scene where he is grabbing the collar of a friend (or a fellow gang member) at the climax of the video, showing us that he is willing to sacrifice loyalty for a lover. We also see him mindless walking to somewhere afterwards, which might tell us something about this lover (i.e. he is addicted to them, plus it seems like everyone is mindlessly walking towards this lover at the start). It definitely hints at this lover having some effect on Han Seung Woo and co. I wished they delved into the plotline a little more, as it does sound interesting.

[Updated] We don’t get much choreography in the music video. But from what I can see based on the first and final chorus, it looks good. He has a really strong stage presence and this is definitely highlighted by the intensity of the performance. Nothing really stood out at me, but it was definitely thrilling to watch him perform Sarcifice.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10 [Updated]
Overall Rating – 8.4/10 [Updated]