Review

Song Review: Kim Woojin – Ready Now

Kim Woojin - Ready NowWhen a member leaves a K-pop group abruptly, it’s hard to know where they’ll go next. Sometimes the agency shares details about their departure, but more often it’s shrouded in mystery. In Kim Woojin’s case, leaving Stray Kids has opened the door to a solo career. He pre-released the solid Still Dream last month, showcasing his skills as a vocalist and dancer.

I always felt Woojin’s voice was an odd fit for Stray Kids, with material that pushed his tone into a whiny register. He feels much more comfortable in these solo songs, and his performance shines. He’s charismatic enough to carry an entire track, though he needs more idiosyncratic material to truly grasp his place in the crowded K-pop market. Ready Now is enjoyable but lacks impact, and the instrumental is the biggest culprit. It never injects the track with an aural calling card that would make it stand out.

I like Ready Now’s chorus, but the arrangement lacks bite. The melody surges while the instrumental remains stuck in one gear. This results in an odd transition – almost a lack of transition, actually. A wind tunnel of backing vocals offers a sense of lift, but the percussion is way too piddly to emphasize the chorus. This forces Woojin’s voice to do the heavy lifting, and I don’t think the gamble quite pays off. The verses and pre-chorus are stronger, though we’ve heard their tricks a million times before. There are parts of Ready Now that show promise, but as a whole it’s too undercooked.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

8 thoughts on “Song Review: Kim Woojin – Ready Now

  1. Hmmm. Okay so thought his pre release was better than this for sure.

    I also liked this track, but the one thing that got me was the super high pitch of the chorus. I feel like if the chorus was changed a bit, the song would flow a bit better.

    But overall, he still sounds LEAGUES more comfortable here than his tone in skz. This was a good step for him musically. I hope he has some treasure worthy b sides…

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    • I’ve never understood why some fans felt the need to come up with deep, dark reasons for Woojin leaving SKZ – it seemed most likely to me that he wanted to go a different direction musically, and these releases seem to have backed up that theory and proven it to be the right call.

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      • AFAIK, it’s because of Chan’s ambiguous comments on a Vlive that everyone took to be about Woojin leaving, that if true left him looking selfish at the minimum. How it went from that to Woojin being a bully and even probably abusing some of the members is anyone’s guess.

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  2. I like “Still Dream” a lot, musically and visually, but this one doesn’t do it for me. The pieces are all there but they never pull together. The album isn’t up on Apple Music but I remain cautiously optimistic.

    I was partway through a comment about “idol rappers” on the “Game” review and decided to drop it, but I will revive some of it here to note that the random rap verse is a perfect example of the kind of material that gives idol rap a bad name and I wish they hadn’t included it.

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    • I will add that I’ve really been enjoying the stages of this, even if the song hasn’t really grown past “enjoyable but lacks impact”. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I’m pretty sure he’s got the B.B Trippin dancers on his team. I know they’re credited on the MV but I’m not quite at the point where I can recognize dancers consistently, especially in masks.

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    • Oh, his “It’s Live” performance was also delightful, even if he looked like he was wearing a muppet skin top with something someone stole from a Hot Topic in 1998. More importantly, he just looks really happy to be there and gives a great performance even while coming across as endearingly nervous. Yes, that stage is apparently even bigger in person! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo1pRuoHmos

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