Whether purposefully or not, the Produce 101 franchise has resulted in a trend of soloists and duos. K-pop’s idol scene has long favored groups, and most of its performers are best suited to that configuration. It takes a special something to be a compelling soloist. Not every idol is cut out for it, and that’s not a bad thing. With this in mind, I’m kind of baffled that TOP Media is pushing ex-X1 member Kim Wooseok towards a solo career rather than using his newfound popularity to reignite his group UP10TION.
Even as an UP10TION fan, I never once thought: “boy, Kim Wooseok really needs a solo album.” That’s not a dig, even though it may sound like one. He’s a polished performer, more than capable of carrying a song on his own. But, I’ve never sensed any individual perspective when it comes to his role within the group. So, it’s not surprising that his debut track Red Moon (적월 (赤月)) ends up as generic boy group fare, despite an attempt to go theatrical with the instrumentation. It will sell based on his name recognition, but the song is quite faceless.
There’s potential in this concept. Symphonic and rock influences are always welcome in K-pop. But, the song comes off as more of a performance piece than a full entity unto itself. The melody is inert, and no amount of fantastical instrumentation can paint over that. I love the electric guitar that takes over the second verse, but much of the track is driven by irritating trap beats that instantly cheapen the effect. If Red Moon had strictly stuck to orchestra and guitar, it might have had a larger-than-life appeal. As it stands, the production feels canned, masking a performance and song that are largely forgettable.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!