Woollim Entertainment is my favorite K-pop agency, and one of the things I like most about them is that they carve out a signature sound for their artists. This sound usually counters trends, opting for a more classic pop approach. But now that the agency has been sucked into the Produce 101 orbit, I fear that their new generation of artists is starting to lose that idiosyncratic appeal. New girl group Rocket Punch’s debut album was as generic as generic gets, and the agency’s just-released W Project 4 follows suit.
W Project was initially used to introduce members of Golden Child, and that group ended up having a very different sound than their pre-debut material. Perhaps that will be the case here. 1’ 1” (1분1초) cobbles together most of Woollim’s Produce X 101 trainees — along with “hidden” trainee Lee Sungjun — for a showcase before their presumed debut. I really hope Woollim doesn’t feel like they need to move too fast with this. They just debuted Rocket Punch and still need to solidify Golden Child (who have been on an unforgivable ten-month hiatus…).
For its first minute, 1’ 1” shows promise. Opening with a warped vocal effect, the track presents a steady, moody build that really gets going as percussion and guitar join the fray. Unfortunately, this is all undercut by an ugly instrumental drop that takes the place of a chorus. The song is described as a “future” dance track, and I guess this momentum-killing synth riff is what makes it “future.” If so, I think we all need to take a step back into the past. I get that 1’ 1” is designed to showcase choreography as much as vocals, but the song comes across as being half-formed — like an early draft in need of major revision. That would be my advice to Woollim. Give these guys some time to gel as a group, and invest in a composer with a distinctive voice to give them material that stands out.
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Oh hmm, I agree that the drop is pretty loud and unsubtle, but for me the pre-chorus at :56 is almost robust enough to act as chorus, with the drop as a post-chorus. There was a good amount of melody, and nice harmonies, to carry the song to the end.
But yes, the first verse is the strongest and most original, and it gets generic in the second verse for sure.
Well, this track perfectly matches (and perfectly proves) what you wrote about the “Produce 101 Industry”. And it’s so depressing it comes from Woollim, marking the latest step beyond in its continuous path of decay started from Hoya’s departure and no more fixed ever after.
With YG involved in so many issues and scandals, SM forced to create a “supergroup” to event try to deal with BTS’ overpower and other big brands coming and going in terms of sales and popularity, Woollim could really have the chance to bring its awareness back to the golden years of INFINITE, but – uhm – what it have been doing for the last year IMHO is really annoying.
Not to mention Golden Child’s hiatus, Rocket Punch project is definitely nonsense, Lovelyz are no longer either meat nor fish, L himself didn’t renew his contract and left the agency, and now what? A discount clone of Wanna One playing a discount clone of the worst Wanna One’s b-sides.
If it won’t work, it’s going to be a serious problem for Woollim.
If it will, it’s going to be a more serious problem for K-Pop.
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Can’t argue with your other points much but how do you consider Lovelyz “neither meat nor fish”? I think they’ve found a pretty solid niche for themselves with their own identity and “slot” in the industry and seem to be doing well enough in it. If anything they could stand to experiment with their sound a little more/take some risks, but for now they have both a stable sound and a stable fandom.
I thought very much the same. Builds builds builds to the chorus and then … typical kpop boy band song.
Whoever sings second, I love his timbre, but I dont seem to hear him again. Did they bury him in the rap line?
There is a lot of seventeen styling here in both the dance and the vocal styling, which makes sense because these boys would be coming of age under the seventeen influences. Seventeen just do both a lot better.
Speaking of produce 101, kyuhyun just did a cover of Energetic on king of masked singer (as “Jinie”).
You’re absolutely right. The guy is Yunseong, and he raps at 0:35
wow this is fucking shit. you’re being too nice.
Don’t have much to say with regards to this song but,, Woollim pls grant us the gift of a Golden Child comeback (preferably with the same concept they’ve had thus far, thank you) because I don’t need this grayscale moodiness in my life.
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You have no idea how hard it was not to just make this entire review a screed against Woollim’s lack of Golden Child promotion.
So… I’ll do it here in the comments! Haha
They’re now in their 313th day without a comeback (but who’s counting, right?), which is longer than Lovelyz’ infamous 2016-17 hiatus and any of Infinite’s pre-2016 hiatuses. Plus, this is happening way earlier in Golcha’s career, at the exact time they should be building their fan base.
I don’t know… I’m so invested in this group — probably more than any other of this “new” K-pop generation. Yeah, I’m pissed that we haven’t gotten new music for almost a year, but I’m more worried about what this is doing to their momentum. To make a “same debut year” comparison, The Boyz have had three (!) promoted comebacks in the time that Golcha has been on hiatus. Even Lovelyz has had two! It’s just so frustrating. And communication from Woollim is nonexistent.
Rant over. If you want more, go to my twitter account. I post about this way too often. I probably sound insane.
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I was thinking of your Twitter when I wrote that comment! Honestly if no one else is willing to scream about The Golcha Injustice, I appreciate you doing it. It’s worth screaming about, even if nothing happens.
I will Third the motion that Golden Child is missed. I had Lady Damdida Let Me and Genie on repeat for a long while earlier this year.
There aren’t too many other bands in that lite FM pop niche in kpop these years, so they do fill a need.
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