Review

Song Review: Wonho – Blue

Wonho - BlueWithout being a massive, in-the-know fan, I’m consistently surprised at how different Wonho’s solo work has sounded from the bulk of Monsta X’s discography. When it comes to title tracks, he’s opted for a much softer sound, making me curious how he felt performing the harder-edged material that came to define his former group’s singles run. Whatever his thoughts on the matter, he’s clearly in control of his style and we’re all the better for it. The one-two punch of Open Mind and Lose effortlessly wove global influences into a sleek dance pop package that fit Wonho as snugly as those tight shirts he loves wearing.

For new single Blue, he’s moved even further into pop territory. This is easily the brightest, lightest title track he’s delivered yet. That’s both an asset and a liability. On one hand, the bubblegum funk sound matches his airy tone well. Yet, both the vocals and production are so lightweight that they threaten to diffuse into wisps of cotton candy. Blue would have benefitted greatly from a grittier performance to counter its sweetness. A climactic synth breakdown brings some texture, but I would love to hear it dispersed more evenly throughout the track.

Melodically, Blue opts for a wordy, fast-moving chorus that rushes forth like a waterfall of hooks. This technique was used recently in Katy Perry’s Never Really Over to similar effect. I’m fond of the structure, though its pinwheeling nature only adds to Blue’s ephemeral nature. The song is too jaunty and amiable to dislike, but I fear how it will age.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

23 thoughts on “Song Review: Wonho – Blue

  1. After Lose I had very high expectations on this, but I’m not too sold on it sadly…
    (The balance restored itself quickly as I’m still dazzled by LOONA’s Japanese debut!)

    The synth breakdown is definitely the best part. More of that please!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s had to grow on me all day but I think this camp pastiche of americana jock culture has sucked me in. it’s like if Ken was made real and had to sing something to Barbie – this is a compliment LOL

    I need to give the rest of the mini a listen but I am all but certain the live stages of this will sell the song fully to me.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. The fact that Wonho has taken part in composing this track got me intrigued, and man did he not disappoint (past title tracks were not composed by the man himself). It’s a nice song! Even if this song conceptually feels so different from the last two releases, the sound itself doesn’t feel so left field, but rather he just takes on a much brighter palette that’s a lot more obvious.

    I do agree that the longevity of “Blue” will be tested greatly against time compared to other K-pop releases because the song is quite sweet.

    One thing’s certain though: Wonho is now becoming one of the strongest idol soloists (both musically and literally).

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Meh. I liked Open Mind and absolutely adored Lose, but this is a little too lightweight for me. The dark simmer and smolder of Lose is what really hooked me, and this just feels a little bland and washed-out. I still think Wonho is a promising soloist, but I wish he dug his teeth in a little more on this one.

    To reiterate what others are saying, Loona’s Japan debut was a real treasure, especially after the last few comebacks. Nick, I know you only review some Japanese releases, but I hope you’ll look into this one, as I think it’s up your alley!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With Taemin, Zico, and Baekhyun all gone off to war I had been thinking for a minute about who my new fav male soloist would be. The frontrunners were WOODZ, Wonho, and Ha Sungwoon. I thought Wonho would be the clear winner if he was able to deliver one more Open Mind or Lose level release. Unfortunately, he didnt. Looks like my new fav soloist is…Ha Sungwoon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In addition to the ones on your list, I will add to my own short list Kim Sung Kyu just back from service. His “Hush” from March is just lovely.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvaqF6Kvjpc

      Also Heo Young Saeng “Mi Casa Su Casa” from a few weeks ago which is better than the title may lead you to believe. The vocal arrangement is lovely, the way the sung harmonies waft in and out on a breeze.
      (Nick didn’t review it.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been meaning to dive deeper into Sungkyu discog considering the praise I’ve seen him recieve. Hush is one of my favorite releases so it’s long overdue. I had never heard of Heo Young Saeng before though. The song was really good, I’ll definitely have to check him out more

        Like

        • I’ve been listening to KSK a lot lately as he just goes full on straight ahead pop star and sticks the landing. And then his songs are strong enough that his own group (Infinite) later cover them. I love this one (60 sec) because he looks like everyone’s idea of a pop star out of central casting, plus there is the hot chick on bass. It’s clear he loves singing his heart out, and I love to sing along.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhUlAdcJtuU

          Heo Young Saeng hails from SS501 later SS301. May I suggest this funky gem as as starting point.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUOQ3fKyZwY

          Like

    • If Blue lived up to those shorts, I’d be talking #2 song of the year. Right behind Lalisa if it matched the bandanna by way of schlager singer hot pants outfit Lisa was wearing.

      Like

  6. On this we agree, this track needed some umph, just a little, however it is catchy and light, I liked that. I’m not sure how fans will take to this new direction of Wonho, he seems to somehow rebrand or may be in the process of rebranding himself. This could be a good thing or not good depending upon the fan and if they are looking at his talents or only at his physique.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I suppose this is what Wonho thinks of as “bright theme” for him. I am just going to try very hard not to overthink this one. … … Are those sequined shorts?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This may be the only Wonho song I’ve liked. I hated Open Mind for some reason. I knew he wouldn’t be able to get through an mv without taking off his shirt. I must be one of the few people who wish he would just stay fully clothed. He’s altogether too impressed with himself.

    Like

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