Han Seungwoo has had a whirlwind year. After ranking third in 2019’s Produce X 101, his immediate future seemed to be set as leader of project group X1. Yet after only one single, the group was disbanded and he returned to his original group Victon, who had since risen from the ashes thanks to Produce’s reliable popularity boost. Given his increased profile, it only made sense that he’d also branch out to a solo career. He’s certainly got the pipes for it.
Unfortunately, I haven’t connected with much of Victon’s music, and Seungwoo’s solo debut Sacrifice isn’t going to change that. It’s the exact kind of moody boy group mush that makes my eyes glaze over in boredom. Seungwoo’s always-strong vocals elevate the material, especially during the chorus, but I’m just not a fan of the lumbering, trap-r&b production. There’s no funk to it, just the same low-key groove all the way through. This isn’t to say that Sacrifice needed to be some upbeat, intensely rhythmic track. It’s obviously aiming for a darker sound. But, I think you can accomplish this through more dynamic production – something that feels a little less canned.
While Sacrifice’s verses are quite forgettable, the chorus offers a welcome sense of melodic growth, as Seungwoo is given the chance to stretch his vocals. That plonky production doesn’t embrace the refrain’s natural drama, but at least we get a brief change in tone. Seungwoo rattles off a few nice ad-libs toward Sacrifice’s conclusion, making me curious what he could do if given a less restrictive arrangement.
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I am going to be perfectly honest here, basic boy band sung by a soloist, I could only get through about two minutes, twice, before I clicked away to shinier things. I finally listened to the full thing just now, and my opinion has not changed.
Sigh. Another one of these huh.
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Yet another time when I marvel at how Nick can find a way to write three whole paragraphs about a song, while the rest of us struggle to form one full sentence.
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The struggle is real.
I will totally admit the vast majority of Victon’s music is pretty generic from a musical standpoint, and none of their title tracks containe any wow factor either. Yet still I always find myself going back to their discography. The thing is I dont look to Victon’s for epically ambitious music. I look to them for a sense of peace and familiarity. Their music is not particuarlly somber nor often extreamly bright or boisterous (at least recently), and in that sense it can fit a wide array of moods. The B-sides from their continuous album remain some of my most replayed songs of 2020. Not because they are musically amazing but because I always find them comforting, and sometimes thats what you need.
I dont know maybe its really the members themselves, they are exceptionally endearing. After everything they’ve been through in the past few years it kind of makes sense to me that they would know how to sound so sincerly relatable, through music that might otherwise prove forgettable. True to form I think Seungwoo does that here too. When it comes to Victon it’s not the music that gets me, it’s just them.
To be honest, I can’t actually get the marketing plan behind this project.
Let’s sum up its main pillars: you have a boy group whose awareness is basically zero despite 3 years of career; you try to make it “the new Nu’Est” by exposing 2 members in Produce X 101, one of whom gets his way to victory and enters X1 final roster; you take advantage of this rebound of popularity by bringing new life (but no particular new style, unlike what happened to Nu’Est) to the whole group; GUESS WHAT?! It works, and the group even starts winning music shows; then you think time has come to make your old winner of Produce X 101 debut as a solo artist with exactly the same *nothing* in terms of artistic production of any other talent show contestant whose fame has quickly melt away after the end of the spotlight (including ex Wanna One – apart from Kang Daniel – and ex Produce 101).
And my question is: why should it work too?
I don’t think I have an answer, so I’m really interested to find out what is going to happen for what concerns sales, streamings and video views.
The bit at 1:20 kind of killed the momentum I had going for the song. It reminds me a bit of Howling from earlier this year.
I was so excited for this project because Seungwoo wrote lyrics for all of the songs and even got to compose! It’s everything a fan could want when one of their favorites goes solo. And THEN I saw a Monotree member helped produce one of the b-sides! Wow, amazing.
And then I wake up to…this. Serviceable with no unique identity. Of all of the post X1 projects it’s obvious Seungyoun/WOODZ is the only one with a musical identity and idea of how he wants to move forward.
I just got through the whole mini album and the songs he participated in composing (Fever, Reply, forest) aren’t exactly unique but are enjoyable! I Want It (the one headed by GDLO) is the stand out to no shock of my own. I think the album is worth a listen to at least.
I’m honestly disappointed at this actually. The song felt like I have heard it multiple times, but isn’t that like the whole boy group discography nowadays?
I love the melody though, I’ll give it that. The verses were very forgettable and rather weak, and the chorus was okay but it felt less impactful.
It’s surprising, as victon’s title tracks weren’t like that (well, to me that is). *sigh* I probably need to listen to the whole album to see if there’s anything more interesting than this.
But even with that, he’ll still be successful.
For me, the album feels like one straight line without any real highlights. But, I was never the target audience for this sound, so I’m probably not the best person to judge its charm (or lack thereof)
After listening to the album a few times (somehow I felt like I regretted that), I have to say there’s nothing special on the others, as they felt too predictable and generic. I like the melody, and I think that’s what made the songs add more color to the somehow lackluster instrumental.
The album has potential though, and it’s pretty enjoyable after a few listens. But as a debut album, this is too weak for its own good.