[Album Review] WOLF (1st Mini Album) – Woosung (The Rose)

As mentioned during the week, I announced that I would be reviewing Woosung’s debut mini-album. And that is where we find ourselves today. Woosung is the main vocalist of The Rose and made his solo debut with FACE on the 25th of July. FACE is the title track featured on his first mini-album, titled as WOLF. During the week, The Rose also made their comeback with RED. If you want another song that shows off Woosung’s voice, as I will reiterate throughout this album review, then I highly recommend the band’s newest track! While you are there, check out the rest of the band and their other tracks (which I have linked in that review as well).

WOLF Album Cover

1. Wolf – One thing that I really want to hear when it comes to new releases is something that really amazes me in some way. The fact is that I am amazed about a lot of things, so it doesn’t have to be a major detail or aspect of the track. Well, Woosung kicks off the album with a track that pretty much satisfied the above. It is a pity that the song is only an introductory track as there is such a strong aesthetic vibe to it that would have been epic as part of a full track. On the other hand, the track would have been repetitive. I like how the verses and choruses contrast, bringing together acoustic and electronic instrumentation. The combination works well. The chorus was full of that aesthetic, while the verses felt paced, like how you expect a pack of wolves to circle around you. The best part would have to be when Woosung utters the song’s title, Wolf. It is creepy and goes well with the modern twist of the chorus. (9/10)

2. Moon – There is no doubt that Woosung’s vocals are on full display on this album. Moon manages to take this up a notch for me. There is something about his vocals that are so alluring. It might be as simple as the melody being able to highlight the strengths of his vocals. Or it could be the raspy nature that gives the song texture. And texture was needed. It started off as a minimalistic instrumental and it built up from there. But it was relatively plain and without the texture, the track would not have been as good. I also like how he doesn’t hold back lyric-wise for this track. While it isn’t as explicit as some other tracks, the ‘Bitch’ is rather striking, and you can tell by his tone that he is disapproving of his former lover. Overall, Moon was a pretty cool track. (9/10)

3. FACE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for FACE. (10/10)

4. Lonely – The final song on this mini-album is Lonely. It takes more of that typical approach for main vocalists, as the track is a ballad. But I am not complaining. We get to hear various styles of Woosung’s vocals throughout the album. And I did not know that I needed to hear a heartbreaking side of the artist. I really like the song’s melody. I also like how the instrumental didn’t really develop into something more. It is an odd predicament. But think about it, not building up almost felt like the song was trying to portray a sense of hopelessness, which was the direction in which his vocals and lyrics were trying to showcase. It makes perfect sense and pulled off well. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

WOLF Teaser Image

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[Review] RED – The Rose

The Rose is back with a brand new single, RED. We last saw them through their promotions for She’s In The Rain, which was released back in October of last year. For some, The Rose may be a group whom they haven’t heard of before. The group is a four-member band, who have previously released Sorry and Baby in the past. Out of the four members (Woosung, Dojoon, Hajoon and Jaehyeong), you might recognize the leader of the group, Woosung, who very recently made his solo debut with Face and the mini-album, WOLF (album review coming your way).

RED is a short 3-minute track, going for a chilled electronic band genre. As much as I want to say that this is a unique sound so that it complements the rest of The Rose’s discography, the electronic band genre is something that has been around for some time already. And it doesn’t help that I wanted more from the instrumental. It isn’t something that strikes me as bold or special standalone. It could have used something extra to make the chorus a lot more prominent or defined, for example. Something like the post-chorus instrumental breaks, which had a pulse of energy to make it one of the better moments of the track. But an instrumental like this can end up becoming a blank canvas. And it sure seems like this was the intended effect. Woosung’s raspy vocals help give the track definition, painting a picture on the blank canvas into something that is light in nature and refreshing, which I find fitting for the Summery season. It is odd to say this, but the vocals really compensated for the flaws in the instrumentation.  And together, the pairing is so good!

The music video shows the members have a little more fun than usual. If memory serves me right, their past music videos have been heavy on the more negative emotions. So, it is definitely a different side of the group that I haven’t seen before. Like you can’t go wrong with some fun in Summer. I also like the simplicity of the music video. It matches the easygoing tone of the song. The emphasis on RED was very minimal and I am not too sure what to think about that. Surely, a red theme music video would be appropriate. But it doesn’t feel right for a Summer video or a song like this.

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

[Review] FACE – Woosung (The Rose)

There are two solo debuts today to cover. The first is by Woosung, the leader and lead vocalist of The Rose. We last saw Woosung through The Rose’s promotions for She’s In The Rain last year. As this is a solo debut, it will be interesting to see what music Woosung will release, given that his band does tend to go for a unique sound in KPOP already. When I saw his teasers, I thought they were very striking, lifting my expectations for the release. His solo track is titled FACE and is featured on the mini-album, WOLF.

I described the teaser images as striking. And that is the very same word that I would use to describe the song. It is a bold track, without the epic flairs and extremely upbeat atmosphere. Instead, he uses a very minimalistic yet groovy instrumentation that really highlights his vocal work. His vocals are husky and raspy throughout and the best way to really showcase these qualities is if there was no music at all. It wouldn’t be too much fo a song that way, so a minimalistic instrumental would be the next best option.  I also really like how punchy the vocals are. The ‘I like your face‘ line in the chorus is a great example of this. And by being punchy, it helps with the memorable side of it. Overall, I think the better way of describing the song is that it is smart. Woosung, who composed and produced the track, played towards his strengths well.

The song carries a simple message: that regardless of a person’s face, they deserve respect. Which makes total sense, given that Woosung is declaring his love for your face. The music video features a number of people, with close up of their faces and other body parts that he references during the music video. And I like how he didn’t use your typical models. I find Woosung to be quite alluring in this video. But I think my favourite shots of him has to be during those darkened scenes, where it seems like he is on a high because of the faces. It is a bit intriguing both visually and metaphorically.

There weren’t any choreography scenes in the music video and there hasn’t been a showcase video uploaded (if there was one in the first place). So I guess we have to see what the stage performance looks like when it comes to the promotions (if he does go on a promotional run for this release).

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Review] She’s In The Rain – The Rose

The Rose is officially back with their latest song which proves that Autumn is in full swing across South Korea.  The title track, She’s In The Rain, is featured on the band’s 2nd mini-album, Dawn.  We last saw them on stage with their awesome perfect sounding song, Baby.

When you listen to She’s In The Rain, you can’t help but think about how fitting it is for Autumn. More specifically, a rainy Autumn’s day (with a small breeze that makes the leaves fly about). It starts off quite plain. Nothing too special with its sound and rather typical for an Autumn release. What they did a good job with at the start and throughout the rest of the song was channelling their emotions. You can hear the sorrow in their voices, which I thought was quite cool, considering the plainness. The song then built up to more of that band feel I think we all expected at the start with. And this wasn’t too plain as it brings the rock element into the ballad song. A burst of energy that won’t remain forgotten. What I also like about the song is the English. For a moment, I thought the song was more in English and less in Korean. But it is the way they scattered the English throughout the song, which made it very interesting. On top of that, since I can see a few people mentioning it in the comments on YouTube as well, the transition from ‘She’s In the Rain‘ to ‘We’re in the Rain‘ in the final chorus was very nice and subtle. Overall, She’s In The Rain is a fairly good song.

Once again, The Rose unveils an aesthetically pleasing music video to compliment the song, which really works wonders. I thought the black and white images were cool. The scenes with the girl and the photographer were nice as well, which went hand-in-hand with the lyrics of the song. The slight colour presence was also fitting for the song. It didn’t make the video feel too flashy or standout too much. Instead, it opts for a somewhat monotone look and appeal.

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

[Album Review] Void (1st Mini Album) – The Rose

The Rose probably is high up there on the list of underrated artists that need recognition fast for their talent. This is especially since after their latest comeback with Baby (link below). They have a unique sound that is unheard of on the KPOP platform, which makes them stand out. So, it only makes sense to have a closer look at their very first mini-album, right? Well, that is what we are doing today! Also featured on the mini-album are their two past title tracks, which I have very brief comments regarding them in the review below (since I have not done a review for them).

Void Album Cover

1..Candy (So Good) – What really draws my attention to most of The Rose’s songs is the British Pop and indie feel, which they were first known for. It is extremely unique in both the KPOP and Korean music scene. Candy features really husky yet nice and interesting vocals. It is the literal icing on the cake for this song. As for the song, I thought the song would have built up but it remained relatively consistent. While I have mentioned this being an issue for past songs, this is a key charm of this tracks. Its only main flaw is its shortness. (9/10) 

2. Baby (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Baby. (9.6/10)

3. I.L.Y. – What this song is a beautiful ballad. It starts off extremely slow (which works really well) and then the introduction of the drums (and some energy) into the ballad really gave it a fresh breath of life. The chorus was also extremely nice with harmonies throughout the chorus giving the song that beauty to making it beautiful.  (9/10)

4. SorrySorry was released back in August 2017. It features an awesome opener (which is also the start of the choruses) that really grabs your attention from the get-go. Their vocals were also a defining moment of the song with the huskiness on display (but not as much as in the first track). I found the chorus to be a great section of the song to just ‘rock’ along with. Since its release in August, I found that I would continually come back to this song. Even until this day, I haven’t grown tired of it, which shows its longevity and quality. (10/10)

5. Like We Used To (좋았는데)Like We Used To was released in October. Unfortunately, out of all the tracks that they have released thus far, this one is the least interesting (in my point of view). The instrumental does stand out as there were plenty of good moments within the song (despite the depressing lyrics). The vocals, on the other hand, were lacking and just plain. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Void Album Teaser

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[Review] Baby – The Rose

One of the aims of this site is to introduce some of the audience to new groups whom they might not have heard of. And I think many of you all may enjoy the songs that The Rose put out. Just, they have been around for a year now and I somehow forgot about them (whoops). Please accept my many apologies. The Rose is a 4-member band under J&Star Company. They debuted last year with Sorry and returned in October with Like We Used To. This comeback features their title track, Baby and their first mini-album, Void.

I really like this alternative/indie rock sound that they have going on in the song. It isn’t that head-banging type of music but it isn’t a slow rock type of song. Instead, it is in between the two, offering both within the same song. Usually, when it comes to bands in KPOP, we focus on the guitarists or vocalists. The drumming this song was awesome, giving the song some suspense without needing to peak anywhere along the way. It only took me one listen to become amazed. Surely, their vocals were awesome. The main attraction (and the reason why I am quickly typing this up) is the launch into the final chorus, which felt so well done. That retro keyboard synth type sound that felt completely misplaced in the entire song, yet still managing to fit in a way to keep the song engaging. It was unexpecting but overall, it a unique touch. Baby, along with their other tracks (I’ve linked them above), manage to fall into my style of music, making them a group that I am always excited to listen to.

The music video is quite interesting. It seems like the main vocalist lost his girlfriend somehow (whether it was a breakup or some other circumstance), with her disappearing throughout the start of the video. The rest of the scenes have him revisiting the places he associates with her to try to see her again. Clearly, he is drunk and not that sane in the video. It is quite captivating to watch. The music definitely enhances the video, pairing nicely with each other. I really like the introduction of the flashy band scene, which makes sense as they are rocking it out during that final chorus/instrumental part. It looked awesome, cool and amazing!

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10