After Kim Woojin’s abrupt departure from Stray Kids in late 2019, the rumor mill went into action and he became the number one enemy of many an ardent fan. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about the tabloid side of K-pop. If the guy did something wrong (as alleged on twitter), I hope justice will be served. But, it’s so hard to get to the truth these days, with overzealous tweeters jumping to conclusions. Either way, it’s probably not a great idea for Woojin’s team to use this controversy to fuel his solo career.
Whatever the case, I’m here to focus on the music. After a year and a half of hiatus, Woojin is ready to debut as a soloist. Still Dream is billed as a “pre-debut,” but the song gives us an idea of what to expect from his eventual album. And based upon his work with Stray Kids, the song is nothing like I would have anticipated.
From music to video to performance, Woojin makes a convincing move into Taemin territory. Still Dream isn’t original or groundbreaking in any way, but its anthemic sound and pleasant melody captured my attention. Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of Woojin’s vocals. It always felt like they were at odds with Stray Kids’ overall style. But, he sounds reinvigorated here, free to stretch his voice in more dramatic ways. Egged on by resounding percussion and majestic synths, he gives a hearty performance that matches the intensity of the arrangement. Had this track been less generic in sound and structure, we could be talking about a major highlight. As it stands, Still Dream leaves me curious for more.