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.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!