[Album Review] ONLY LOVERS LEFT (3rd Mini Album) – WOODZ

WOODZ is nominated for Best Male Soloist and Rising Star in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support WOODZ by clicking here to vote for WOODZ!

The next album on the reviewing block for today is WOODZ’s third mini-album, ONLY LOVERS LEFT, which was released in early October 2021. The album features two title tracks, WAITING and Kiss of Fire (which I have not reviewed yet as there is no music video for it). And in addition to those two tracks, there are another four tracks on this mini-album. As a quick summary of this album review, ONLY LOVERS LEFT is another high caliber album from WOODZ and definitely follows the likes of his previous album releases. Have a listen to the track below and see if you think the same!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT Album Cover

1. Multiply – Starting off ONLY LOVERS LEFT is a rather pleasant song in the form of Multiply. The instrumentation for this track is pretty typical with its lo-fi beats and acoustic guitar (which provided the song with a relatively brighter and summery feel) and this typicalness did drain my attention. However, the pre-chorus featured a brief addition of classical instrumentation, which helped enhance the background. But I didn’t think it was enough to totally compensate that typical energy. Overall, I would say Multiply is a nice starter to the mini-album. (7.5/10)

2. Thinkin Bout You Thinkin Bout You is more vibrant and upbeat than the previous song, but continues that consistent pleasantness. Because of the enhanced vibrancy and upbeatness, I am more drawn to Thinkin Bout You, which finds it influences in both the pop and EDM genres. I like the punchy hooks, driving up the memorability of the song. I also really enjoyed his vocals throughout the song. In addition to his already strong vocals, he presents with a range of delivery methods including breathy vocals and falsettos that helps makes this song complete. (9/10)

3. Sour Candy – We enter retro territory with Sour Candy. While this isn’t anything new, I really like how WOODZ showcases himself in this song and how concentrated the 70s influences got in the song. You could tell from listening to Sour Candy that he was totally in the mindset of the retro influences, and that he was having a ball recording this song. That all translated to fun energy that made Sour Candy so much more appealing to listen to. We are also treated to some rapping from the soloist in this song, which came at the right time and added additional fun energy to the song. It was hard to turn away from this song, and so it is my pick as a hidden gem on this mini-album. (10/10)

4. Kiss of Fire (Title Track)Kiss of Fire is a title track, but it never got the music video or promotional treatment like WAITING did. It did get a live clip, but that made it no different to Chaser, which was a side track. Anyhow, Kiss of Fire is another song that showcases WOODZ in a spectacular fashion and I can see why Kiss of Fire was selected as a title track. His vocals are on full display and the melodies/hooks of Kiss of Fire are quite memorable. The rapping was also a nice addition to the song. But what really sells me the song is the groovy touch of the instrumental, especially in the chorus, which makes this song so sleek. (9/10)

5. ChaserChaser was a blast to have on repeat! What I really liked about Chaser is how WOODZ went all out in the song. While this sounds like he went to the extreme with Chaser, this was not he case. He simply just put his all into the song. Chaser takes on a rock instrumental background, but there is a groovy touch within it that reminds me of some of the King of Pop’s (Michael Jackson) earlier hits. I don’t have much else to say about Chaser, but it was definitely a highlight on this album. (10/10)

6. WAITING (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for WAITING. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

ONLY LOVERS LEFT Teaser Image

[Review] WAITING – WOODZ

Also making his comeback yesterday is WOODZ, with his new single WAITING. The new single is featured on his third mini-album, Only Lovers Left, which was also released yesterday. This comeback follows his comeback, Feel Like, from March of this year.

WAITING is rock-influenced pop track that really pulls you in. Since it has been a few days since the song was released, I have had many opportunities to listen to WAITING. And each time, it has been a likeable experience. The instrumentation was good, but not as epic as it could have been. While the rock influences were really good, I feel that the song’s arrangement could have taken more of a rock sound (you know, full on band instrumentation, electrifying electric guitars etc.), rather than just a rock influence. This would have taken WAITING to the next level for me. But the background aside, everything else was great! The vocals are a constantly solid element throughout. Time and time again, I have enjoyed WOODZ’s vocals, as the soloist just knows how to captivate. In WAITING, WOODZ puts a lot of his own style into the delivery of the lyrics, which instantly gives the song a lot of character and individuality. This definitely helps takes the song to the next level as it avoids any doubt of the song being generic or plain, especially if the instrumentation might come off that way. I also find this vocals to be sleek throughout this track, which really helps balance out the song. I think WAITING needs a bit more rapping in it. I feel the energy of a profound rap sequence would slide in very nicely into this song and fit the overall dynamic. We do get a brief few seconds of rapping in the second verse, but more (and something energising) would make it even better. Overall, WAITING is solid release from WOODZ.

I really like the dark and eerie atmosphere of this music video. Like the song, this makes the music video quite captivating for me. For the storyline in this music video, I think it is clear that there are two versions of WOODZ, both of whom are addicted to his lover (the girl we see at the door). There are a few theories floating about, though I want to suggest a different one that I don’t think I have seen yet. The first version of WOODZ (dressed in white) is the version that is driven insane by his lover. He is haunted by her presence, but cannot stop thinking about her. It drives him to the point where he would even contemplate taking his own life. The second version of WOODZ (dressed in black) is addicted to her, follows her and is obsessed to the point where he would take creepy pictures of her. Either versions end up dead. The first version is killed at the end of the video (the gun shot scared me!) by the girl, whom is waiting off screen. We see the second version lying down in the hallway mid-way in the video, with the female character walking away. I assume that she also approached the door in a similar fashion to the ending, but with this version of WOODZ, he was willing to open the door straight away due to his obsession, while the first version was more hesitant about it. A sad ending either way. What I really need to commend WOODZ on throughout this video is his acting. Nothing felt exaggerated or over the top, especially all those ‘going insane’ scenes, which actors tend to overdo. Again, it was all captivating and amazing to watch.

The performance is the least captivating part of this comeback. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. WOODZ doesn’t really participate in the choreography, so he can focus on the live aspect of his performance. He kind does his own during the first chorus, follows the dancers moves in a manner that enables him to continue to sing live and have the dancers mould around him for the rest of the performance.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Album Review] SET (1st Single Album) – WOODZ

Surprise! Another album review this weekend. I felt like I was cheating the system by reviewing just one single album today. So I thought, why not review another single album! Luckily, WOODZ also released a single album around the same time as the album I had just reviewed. WOODZ’s single album is titled SET and features the title track FEEL LIKE. It is, too, his first single album since his solo debut. It also follows the release of Woops, which I had reviewed late last year. The songs on Woops faired quite well, so I couldn’t wait to sit down and write out my thoughts for the new side tracks on this single album, so continue reading on if you want to know what I thought about SET.

SET Album Cover

1. FEEL LIKE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for FEEL LIKE. (8.5/10)

2. Touché (ft. Moon) – WOODZ brings out his vocals in Touché. It is one of the highlights of the track for me. I also like the lines in which he finishes off with spoken delivery, which were really smooth and gives the song that depth of dynamism. Aside from the soloist’s vocals, Touché is a sensual R&B track with Latin-influences. Interestingly, the Latin influences don’t really become that prevalent until Moon (the featuring artist) comes into play towards the end of the song. But you can definitely feel those influences bubbling away in the background, waiting for it emerge as a centrepiece. In addition to WOODZ, Moon’s voice is stunning in this song. And their harmonies at the end were really captivating. Overall, Touché was a breathtaking song. (10/10)

3. Rebound Rebound also taps into the R&B genre. But I feel Rebound is a highly concentrated steamy number that promises a very alluring and captivating performance when the time comes for one. It is also a song sung in English from start to end. Rebound without a doubt showcases his vocals. It not only compliments the sensual nature and pace of the song, but also really emphasise his falsetto vocals. And if you enjoy them, I recommend that you check out WOODZ’s Accident from his first mini-album, which also involves some unique instrumentation. Here Rebound stays more traditional, but definitely captivates. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

SET Teaser Image

[Review] Feel Like – WOODZ

Also making his comeback this past Monday was WOODZ, with his new single Feel Like. I was super excited upon hearing the news of WOODZ’s impending return, as he is one of the solo artists to really stand out last year with his solo releases. His 2020 releases include his return to solo promotions with Love Me Harder (and his first mini-album Equal) and then the release of Bump Bump and the mini-album WOOPS! in November of last year. Feel Like is featured on his first single album, titled Set.

WOODZ delivers what I had hoped for. Feel Like channels the aesthetic that we got through some of his best side tracks of 2020. Such tracks include Lift Up (from Equal) and Trigger (from WOOPS!). Though, Feel Like differs in its own way when it comes to it musically. The start of the song and the body of the first verse feels like a R&B dance track. It is sleek, moody and very alluring. The bass is very present and really sets the tone of the song from the get-go. I really like the use of the drums for the pre-chorus segment. They come crashing in and adds a layer of texture to the song that helps make it more dynamic. The chorus brings in electric guitar solos that just sound so good. They are the star attraction of the song. While his vocals are really smooth and sleek like the electric guitar solos in the chorus (and pretty much the whole song), I wished there was more of a hook in this section. This would have transformed the song and enhance it to a new level. The delivery of the rapping in the second verse in combination with the instrumentation reminds me of one of SHINHWA’s song (I believe the song I am thinking of is Sniper). The rapping in Sniper was quite cool and has left a great impression on me. So WOODZ going down that route and opting for something similar was very fulfilling. Similarly, I thought the bridge (and in hindsight, the entirety of the song) had Taemin-like vibes, which is another really cool artist to pay homage to. Still, despite all of this, WOODZ retains his own colour. Overall, Feel Like is a really good song that shows off the strengths of WOODZ.

The highlight to the music video for Feel Like is WOODZ’s captivating charisma. The dark tone of the video sets the atmosphere, which I found fitting for the sleek nature of his vocals. While at times it was hard to see what was going on, WOODZ managed to shine with his alluring appeal and charisma. Most of it stems from his solo choreography and movement. In addition to all of that, I really like the post-production editing of the music video. The way the dancers made their entrance into the video and how we see WOODZ gets zapped back into reality at the end of the video. That was all pretty cool. Not entirely sure what the story in this video is, though. All I understood that he was zapped into and out of an alternate world.

The choreography for this comeback is really cool. Once again, it fits in with the sleekness of the song. In addition to matching up with the song’s vibe, Feel Like showcases more of the performance side of the soloist. That charisma and energy from the music video comes through and I really enjoyed the smoothness of the moves during the chorus.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Special] 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Winners Announcement

Welcome to the announcement post of the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. During the month of December in 2020, I opened up a survey for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Over 1800 of you voted during the month of December, a number that I did not expect to see! I am sure that you all are excited and are awaiting to see which artist has clinched victory in each category. I have definitely made you wait long enough 🙂

Like the previous years, I will announce the winners using GIFs and images. I have also announced the runners up for each category as Honourable Mentions below the GIFs. In addition to that, I have included the KPOPREVIEWED Choice, which is my personal pick for each category.

Unlike previous years, however, all of the winners of the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards (including the End of Year Charts and Best Song of 2020 Award) is included in this very one post! Towards the bottom of each post, you will see some page numbers. You can click on these page numbers to navigate to different award categories and the End of Year Charts. Here is a quick guide to the page numbers:

Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

Artist Caregories

The following categories are all fan-voted categories for the artists that were active during the eligible period of December 2019 to November 2020.

Best New Male Group

Nominees:
BDC
CRAVITY
DRIPPIN’

Nominees:
MCND
TOO
TREASURE

Honourable Mention: TREASURE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: TREASURE


Best New Female Group

Nominees:
aespa
BLACKSWAN
cignature

Nominees:
SECRET NUMBER
WEEEKLY
woo!ah!

Honourable Mention: WEEEKLY
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WEEEKLY


Best New Male Soloist

Nominees:
Han Seung Woo (VICTON)
Kim Woo Seok (UP10TION)

Lee Eun Sang
Wonho
WOODZ

Honourable Mention: Wonho
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WOODZ


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees:
Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

Ryu Sujeong (Lovelyz)
Solar (Mamamoo)
YooA (Oh My Girl)

Honourable Mention: Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: YooA (Oh My Girl)


Rising Star of 2020

Nominees:
EVERGLOW
Golden Child
ONEUS

Nominees:
ONF
The Boyz
VICTON

Honourable Mention: EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: The Boyz


Most Underrated Group of 2020

Nominees:
A.C.E
APRIL
ASTRO

Nominees:
Dream Catcher
ONEUS
VERIVERY

Honourable Mention: Dream Catcher
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ONEUS


Best Vocals

Nominees:
AKMU
DAY6
IU

Nominees:
Lee Hi
Ong Seong Woo
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Taeyeon (SNSD)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best Rapper

Nominees:
Dami (Dream Catcher)
Han Ji Sung (Stray Kids)
Jessi

Nominees:
Jooheon (MONSTA X)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)
Wooseok (Pentagon)

Honourable Mention: Han Jisung (Stray Kids)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Jooheon (MONSTA X)


Best Band

Nominees: CN BLUE, DAY6, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

Nominees:
CN BLUE
DAY6

IZ
N.Flying
ONEWE

Honourable Mention: CN BLUE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best CO-ED Group

Nominees:
AKMU
CHECKMATE
K-TRIGERS ZERO
KARD

Honourable Mention: AKMU
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: KARD


Best Subunit

Nominees:
BTOB 4U
End of Day
Moonbin & Sanha

Nominees:
NCT 127
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
WJSN CHOCOME

Honourable Mention: NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT 127


Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Kang Daniel, Ong Seong Woo, Taemin (SHINee), Zico

Nominees:
Baekhyun (EXO)
Chen (EXO)
Kang Daniel

Nominees:
Ong Seong Woo
Taemin (SHINee)
Zico

Honourable Mention: Taemin (SHINee)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Kang Daniel


Best Female Soloist

Nominees:
Chungha
Hwasa (Mamamoo)
IU

Nominees:
Jeon Somi
Sunmi
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Hwasa (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees:
A.C.E
AB6IX
ASTRO
ATEEZ
BTS
Golden Child

GOT7
MONSTA X
NCT
NU’EST
ONEUS
ONF
Pentagon

SEVENTEEN
SF9
Stray Kids
The Boyz
TXT
VERIVERY
VICTON

Honourable Mention: BTS, Stray Kids
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT, SEVENTEEN, Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees:
APRIL
BLACKPINK
BVNDIT
Cherry Bullet
CLC
Dream Catcher

EVERGLOW
fromis_9
(G)I-DLE
GFriend
ITZY
IZ*ONE
LOONA

Lovelyz
Mamamoo
Oh My Girl
Red Velvet
TWICE
Weki Meki
WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention: BLACKPINK, EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ITZY, LOONA, Oh My Girl


Select the page numbers below (just above the comments section) to go to the award categories you want to see the most!
Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

[Album Review] Woops (2nd Mini Album) – WOODZ

WOODZ is nominated for Best New Male Solo in the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support WOODZ and your other favourite artists.

Next up on the album review list is WOODZ’s Woops, which features his latest title track Bump Bump. WOODZ restarted his solo career earlier this year with an awesome title track and mini-album. With such praise, it was a pity I didn’t pay attention to his earlier solo works. But I won’t make the mistake for his future releases, such as this one. For more about this mini-album and to see if he replicates the same level of impressiveness, continue reading below.

Woops Album Cover

1. Trigger – The country rock influence at the start of Trigger was a complete surprise. It will either reel you in (which was the case of me) or it will deter you from listening to the album. Sadly, there is no in between given its individualistic charm. Surprisingly, WOODZ fits the sound really well (though I will admit I hate the dragged out ‘Yee-Haw’ he does). As the song progresses, we get more of a rock influence coming into play, which really amped up the song for me and gave it more of an interesting note. I also love the energy that comes from the final moments of the song. (10/10)

2. Bump Bump (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Bump Bump. (10/10)

3. On My Own – With both his title tracks in mind, On My Own is definitely quite a change up. Vocally, I really enjoyed On My Own. WOODZ really shows off his vocals here, with his voice portraying fragility and emotions extremely well, over an instrumental that primarily centers around acoustic guitars. He also manages to show both of these elements in his rapping. I just wished he didn’t sing in his usual tone, which felt ill-fitting for this song. But everything else he did was amazing. (8/10)

4. Thanks ToThanks To opt for tropical influences for its instrumentation. It definitely enables Thanks To to go down two routes. The verses felt pretty chill, while the choruses a bit of an upbeat kick. Either route was fine and I liked how the song managed to find a balance between the two. I liked how he also didn’t sing in his usual tone for this song. The way he sang complimented the chilled and relaxing vibes of the song. (8/10)

5. Sweater (ft. Jamie)Sweater warms up the listener up with this old school Winter vibes. The way the guitar sounds and that distant bell in the instrumentation helps bring those Winter vibes to life. WOODZ, once again, showcases his vocals in such a soothing manner. Jamie, who is already an established vocalist, joins in to help convey the warmth of the song. They also gives us some really beautiful harmonies that just makes the song better. (9/10)

6. Tide Tide is a soothing ballad that captivates with a mix of classical and band instrumentation. The instrumentation is a nice mix and a really paced backdrop of this song. It also shows more of vocalist WOODZ, which he has already showcased throughout this mini-album. But Tide does more than just that. I mean, check out that stunning high note at the end of the song. It definitely felt like a signature on a contract. A final statement to prove to whoever doubted that he couldn’t sing. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

Woops Teaser Image

[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