Review

Song Review: Woosung (The Rose) – Face

With little attention from the K-pop industry as a whole, idol band The Rose seems to have cultivated a dedicated international fan base — enough for the group to launch tour dates around the world. They may only have a few singles under their belt, but the band has already spawned a solo album from its leader (and lead vocalist) Kim Woosung. Face is an accomplished piece of slightly left-field pop, though it suffers from the same affectations as Woosung’s work with the main group.

It’s hard to be objective about Woosung’s work, because his vibrato-heavy style is a love-it-or-hate-it stylistic choice. Honestly, I can’t quite get over it. He’s got an otherwise incredible tone, but the insistence on ending almost every phrase with that fluttering affectation makes it hard for me to embrace the music. So, you’ve been warned. This site is called The Bias List for a reason.

Trying to put that aside, Face is a cool burst of indie pop with a surprisingly sticky hook. It’s the sound of The Rose filtered through trendy elements of 2019-era K-pop, which would usually be a problem. But, Woosung never leans fully into any one style, and incorporates enough rhythm guitar and funky bass to give Face a more timeless appeal. Plus, the relatively clipped delivery that characterizes much of the track helps minimize that pesky vibrato. While it might not always be to my taste, Woosung’s performance certainly has character, and that unique twist gives Face more appeal than most solo releases of late.

* In a somewhat unrelated note, I’m absolutely in love with the album’s cover. It reminds me of the proudly cheesy images that often dominated pop music of the 70’s and 80’s.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75

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14 thoughts on “Song Review: Woosung (The Rose) – Face

  1. As someone who likes Woosung’s voice and thinks it only adds to the song, this is one of my favorite songs of the year already. I didn’t even know this song was coming out since I don’t follow The Rose but I was so surprised at how good this song was and I’m glad I heard it~ I also like the message of the MV and it kinda changes the meaning of the song in a great way~

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  2. I had to go back and listen to The Rose releases from last year, to compare and contrast.
    So, yeah, interesting affectation to the voice. The difference is that for the band songs, Woosung only sings with that end-of-line-wobble only every other or every third line, and even then it is more obscured or blends in better with the louder band.
    But here in this song, he uses that wobble effect Every Single Line.
    Its a fairly catchy song, but personally I like how he sings with the band better than solo.

    The album cover is almost classic 80’s retro except for the hair, which here is the (apologies) the same damn haircut that every kpop boy band member has these days. Also, the pants would be way tighter pleather.

    https://i0.wp.com/thetangential.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/foreigner.jpg?fit=350%2C250

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  3. i know v little about music but this song sounds like it could have easily been written as a typical the rose rock track? i kind of like it as it is but i keep imagining electric guitars in the place of synths(?) heavier percussion and him singing more throatily and that in-my-head version sounds better than this low-key one

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  4. I’m in love with this release! 10 out of 10. Even though I’m not familiar with his band, he seems like a nice artist.
    I’m glad that I came across the teaser and checked the full song. Totally adore those funky/groovy vibes.
    Gonna listen to “The Rose” then 😉

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  5. Not to exaggerate, but he sounds like a visual kei guy who was tied down, forcibly stripped of eyeliner and hairspray, and then made to sing indie pop-lite. Like, Woosung, it’s ok if you have a shrine for each member of Malice Mizer, but you might be in the wrong style.

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    • We really need a visual kei idol group, don’t we? Some groups are so close to being that anyway. ATEEZ’s styling for their second EP comes immediately to mind.

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      • I feel like the closest k-pop to being visual kei was TVXQ’s Tri-Angle, but I also kind of want to banish Tri-Angle from my memory. Barring that, I would IMMEDIATELY stan a vkei idol group that committed fully to the concept, and, as you said – it’s not that far off from how some kpop groups already style themselves. Just as long as there’s no “trap kei” breakdown, I’m utterly sold on this concept.

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  6. The first comment I tried to make never made it through and, true to form, my opinion has since changed positively, so I’ll just say this. The Rose are gearing up for another US (and possibly international) tour, and I absolutely recommend going to a show. I caught them in Seattle last year and it blew me away, but exchange means I won’t be anywhere near a tour date this time around. They put on a great show, so if you’re around during one of their tour dates, tickets aren’t too crazy. Go where I cannot! You won’t regret it.

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  7. Pingback: Song Review: The Rose – Red | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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