Song Review: Wonho – Lose

When Wonho made his solo debut last September, I had no idea what to expect. But with Open Mind, he set off on a synth-driven sound that fit him like a glove, while capitalized on K-pop’s burgeoning trends. It was released only days before Taemin’s Criminal, and the two songs have always been tied together in my mind. Despite trading synths for guitar, new single Lose feels like it belongs in that same sonic family. And, by leaning into a deeper, darker groove it pushes Wonho’s style in even more dynamic directions.

I feel like I’ve been writing about “groove” all week, but that’s only because K-pop seems to have finally rediscovered it. Despite a languid, moody opener, Lose is a slave to its rhythm as soon as that chugging guitar drops in. Insistent kick gives the track a throbbing pulse, and Lose is wise to build upon that energy as it goes on. The soundscape grows more expansive as strings add additional texture. Then, an extra rhythm guitar riff joins for the final chorus.

I’ve always loved songs that snowball like this. Not only does this structure keep Lose engaging throughout, it also gives it a clear arc to follow. Rather than sputter and rebound and stop again, Lose is working from a specific vision of what it needs to be, and every element helps contribute to that. This single-mindedness is brought to life by Wonho’s expressive performance. To be completely honest, he’s not an artist I had much anticipation for. But he’s delivered fantastic singles twice now. In this case, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

32 thoughts on “Song Review: Wonho – Lose

  1. Really happy to see Wonho getting good, consistent, and frequent comebacks. Him having to leave MONSTA X was a real shame for all parties involved, and I’m glad – and grateful, considering the quality music he’s releasing – that it didn’t spell the end of his journey in the music industry. I also didn’t really know what to expect from him as a soloist – while striking out on your own after being in a group may get you some name recognition and a built-in fanbase, I think that it’s a double-edged sword in terms of having to forge your own musical identity, quality, and style – but he has yet to disappoint! Definitely looking forward even more to what he does in the future.

    (Also, as an aside, I was wondering if you ever listened to MONSTA X’s “Can’t Hold My Heart”? It was an English release – which I usually avoid because English lyrics in the K-pop industry can sometimes be…well…- but the lyrics actually make sense, and, well, I just really enjoyed the song! No worries if you haven’t heard it or if you did and just weren’t impressed with it, though.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • i don’t know how they do it but monsta x have entirely sidestepped the English Track with Awkard Lyrics phase – i highly recommend that entire album if you haven’t listened to it already (especially middle of the night), not an awkward lyric in the mix! also they really sound fluent. 😮 I speak japanese and their japanese is crazy good in their jp tracks, too.. that’s a global superstar, I guess!

      Liked by 2 people

      • !! I’ll have to give a listen to the whole English album, then, as well as their Japanese releases, (I’m a Japanese major, although I’m far from fluent, LOL). Thank you for the recommendations!


  2. I like Open Mind a bit more, but I am so so glad to see him continue this type of sound cause he does it really well. February bringing us so many good songs, other months will have a hard time topping it.


  3. You Know, from Golden Child’s Breathe to ONF’s Beautiful Beautiful to SHINee’s I Really Want You and now this. I just realized how awesome it is when Nick rates a song 9 or above, the positive aura which he radiates and the way how he describes the songs just make me feel a strong sense of joy.

    Liked by 6 people

    • “”

      The album sounds pretty weak…..not gonna lie. All of them have at least one weak aspect. Vocal Processing in I’m The One to The Mid-temponess of Time Of Love, Take Me Home and Celebrate to whatever the frick The Leaders has.

      Last Year, there was a song named To The Beat, and it pretty much loved by everyone. The Leaders almost sounds like that. Honestly, I don’t get the appeal, both of them sound so tinny.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I still can’t get over the increasing disappointment I am feeling currently…. The whole album seems to harness the weak side of ATEEZ’s music.


        • Interesting. I also am not too hyped about the b-sides, BUT I actually really like the title track. It sounds like a war chant and paired with their amazing performance capabilities- it hits pretty well.

          Hopefully the b sides sound better to be upon full release than they do now.


  4. I love that Wonho has stuck with this musical direction and is being consistent with it. He’s steadily carving a spot for himself in the k-pop soloist category, and I couldn’t be happier. I only wish that the strings in the final chorus and outro were louder! They’re so good, but I hardly noticed them during my first listen.


  5. The song works both ways: a) As a sonically darker progression from Open Mind, and b) An instant, slick ear-worm that you wanna repeat over and over (I know I am). Plus the song also seems to build on that synth-thing till the last verse, and that’s so cool.

    As I wait anxiously for Ateez’s comeback (I love that chorus in the performance review, very sports anthem-ish, but dear god what’s with those trap verses), this was an absolutely fantastic outing. Gonna check out the album now! As the kid’s say — “We stan a consistent king.”


  6. Since he got compared last time the thing I immediately thought of when watching the video was how it tied so neatly as a theme to Sunmi’s Tail – while not a Catwoman riff it certainly shares the idea of a toxic love that’s hard to escape/let go of.

    In any case, I was REALLY impressed with this and his vocals live?? hoo! –


  7. i literally watched the MV when it dropped and was going through the album when i got the notification for this review – how in the world did you review it so fast! 😂

    as a monbebe i’m glad you liked Wanted and both of wonho’s title tracks so far! maybe there’s a buried treasure in this album…? 👀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You know, when knowing that Wonho would release newer music as a soloist, I was hesitant at first. But now, I am a happy passenger!

    “Lose” feels like the perfect encapsulation of K-pop this past week, stretching itself into the rhythmic backbone which grooves with a dynamic dancefloor pulse, to the dark, brooding atmosphere which takes itself on both sides. It’s taut and exciting, and feels like the perfect song to cap off the incredible February.

    Now, I find it Lose’s production to be it’s most charming prospect, how it builds to exciting blasts of chugging guitar and driving percussion just feels super satisfying to my funky-loving self. The Way how it holds itself together is just incredible, aligning itself properly to deliver it’s great dance stomp which it greatly desires. Then we have that climax, those additional strings create a sense of drama that expands the awesomeness of the track. This all comes together with an extra element of rhythm guitar which packs an impactful wallop, it’s absolutely fabulous!

    Wonho adds a feeling of looseness to the track, his vocals are nimble but he has a desperate tone which adds a ton of dynamic explosiveness. Wonho can certainly cement himself as one of K-pop’s greatest soloists, And I am totally excited for his future!

    My Rating would be a 9 also!

    Onto a review on SHINee’s I Really Want You!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s only been two songs but I am living for this consistency. I think Starship and Wonho have a deal-the fewer shirts he wears, the better the song he has and at this rate my man is going to be straight-up shirtless next comeback (wouldn’t be the first time) and I think it is a price we are all willing to pay. I’m glad that Wonho is able to prove himself as a musician beyond his role of just being the buff guy from Monsta X. Honestly, this is one of the few sounds that Wonho could have pursued to stay constant with his previous image with Monsta X while also remaining mature and on-trend and it suits him really well.
    This is a good song to put on in the middle of the night to just space out to-it’s very consuming and smothering in that sense (I mean this in a good way) so nines for me as well

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was surprised by how much I liked this, since I can’t seem to make it all the way through Open Mind. I don’t have an open mind, I guess. I’m also probably one of the few people who would prefer he keep his damn shirt on for god’s sake.


  11. Am I the only one that thinks this is a bit underbaked production wise? The vocals are so flat. And I love Open Mind so it’s not that I dislike Wonho, I just don’t like the vocals and it is turning me off the song, which is a shame.


    • The song feels a little too empty for my tastes and his delivery a little too..muffled? restrained? For that reason I would not rate it a 9, but I do really like it overall. It’s also great to see him do well with a concept that suits him. I’m happy to see it!


  12. This is awesome, new millennium electropop at its very best. And ATEEZ Take Me Home seems to sound like another exciting gem. Probably the best week of the last 5 years with so many great songs back to back.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Nick, I was just wondering if you were going to review IM’s God Damn sometime? It was released about a week ago, and I would love to hear your thoughts!


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