Seventeen members have used the buzzword “mixtape” as a way to slowly branch out as soloists. Last time I checked, a digital single doesn’t quite count as a mixtape, but I’ll happily take new music in whatever form it’s offered. After similar efforts from Hoshi, The8, Wonwoo and Mingyu last year, Seventeen’s vocal leader Woozi has made his solo bid with Ruby.
As the group’s chief songwriter, expectations are certainly high for Woozi’s individual work. His 2016 solo Simple remains one of my favorite Seventeen tracks. Ruby swerves pretty far from that bright pop sound, but its rock-fueled energy is very welcome. It would have been easy for Woozi to release another ballad, but I appreciate that he’s challenged a new genre. The best of Seventeen’s output has often borrowed from rock music, and Ruby’s boisterous energy makes a great fit for Woozi’s quiet charisma.
To me, Ruby sounds like a track that fellow K-pop soloist Woodz might covet. It uses rock tropes in a familiar way, drawing upon their inherent sensuality. After a subdued opening, Ruby bursts forth with unrelenting energy. The guitars crunch and squeal – a constant presence. Yet, they never overpower the song. Woozi’s typically-light tone takes on a more menacing attitude. Is that an English-language curse word I hear? My goodness, Woozi! His performance echoes the industrial drive of the instrumental. Similarly, the frantic, aggressive chorus harnesses a palpable sense of exasperation. If anything, I think Ruby could stand to be at least thirty seconds longer. I appreciate its brevity, but there are a few missed opportunities for further development.
Woozi and Woodz… yes please.
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“Woozi’s typically-light tone takes on a more menacing attitude.” and “My goodness, Woozi!” – These are the exact two things that I felt when hearing this!
I was stunned because I was expecting a gentle song with a few high notes, that sorta thing and then the song started 🔥! It was extemely fast and flowing! I agree it felt kinda short when it ended but I think it was so fast paced and continuous it made up for the length! I loved the instrumental too! Bass boosted headphones just made it even better!
I promised myself that in 2022 I will start paying more attention to soloists and solo covers and Woozi seems to have given a dynamic start to this plan! 😀
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Totally agree! I loved Spider and I enjoyed this release but extending it could have added a little extra something. makes me wonder how the rest of svt’s solo ‘mixtapes’ will turn out.
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My thoughts exactly! I loved the song but it’s so short that it feels like there’s something missing. A bit longer, there could have been a perfect build.
my comment on this song on other social media was probably the most controversial one, and I think it might be the same on this blog haha.
I’m very surprised that nick liked this song, given that it comes off like any trashy derivative 00s pop punk song. come on, the chords? the lyrics?
I usually love when kpop brings in rock influences — txt’s lovesong and seventeen’s own clap were some of my favourite songs of the groups (not to mention skz’s awaken which is incredibly basic, so i clearly don’t mind if the rock song’s derivative), but i think that ruby’s positives can’t overcome how uninspired it is as a song 😩
i love the bridge though (that and the piano are the only original parts of the song imo), and for all my complains here, I’m but a fan of derivative uninspired rock songs, so I’m still going to add this to my spotify playlist 😔
Is this where we say that good things come in small packages? If you subtract the symphonic opening , the whole song is only 2:15.
All kidding aside, yes, it rocks. But it could breathe a bit more, and use another minute of some kind of awesome break, or awesome outro one more time with feeling kick it up double time double kicking bass drums or something. Or maybe even a key change!
This gives me the opportunity to post a recent live version Metallica “Battery” again. For those who love or like hard rock, this is required viewing. The sound guy on the set must have had fun that day. How does one mic this?
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I think what could have taken this from great to legendary is another final chorus with explosive raw vocals after the guitar solo and the piano comes in, which would have wrapped this up more satisfyingly for me. I do think it’s way too short, though I really do like every second of it otherwise. I did not expect Woozi to tackle something like this, but I’m loving this experimentation and for me he really sells this. It’s so interesting and lovely to see the members branching out with their own musical preferences and influences through projects like these (and the unofficial releases too, like with Jeonghan/Vernon/DK/Dino who all had some new solo stuff in 2021 as well).
I dunno. It rocks in that kind of slick Broadway musical way. And im not feeling it on the first couple of listens. As a half-assed Seventeen enjoyer, I think they tend to sneak toward that when they’re not frosting the rock with electronics or histrionics.
First time commenting, though I’ve been a regular visitor for around two years, mostly because I just want to gush about the song (and my gripes with it) somewhere LOL
Your “My goodness, Woozi!” echoes my exact sentiments watching this music video first thing in the morning. I don’t know whether it was the “sh*t” (plus the alluded curse word), or just the general vibe of the track (aggressive, as you said, and almost…wild?) but I never expected Woozi to release a song like this.
Side note: the lyrics. I was worried that they would be…subpar (because K-pop has a history of bad English lyrics), but this was decent. Some lines have syllables that fit a little awkwardly, in my opinion, but I appreciate the work that Woozi must have put in to pronounce the words properly. (Also, the “sh*t this is red too” is kinda cheesy but I love it all the same. I didn’t realize it was referring to the coke zero in the previous line until I started scrolling through Twitter.)
I love the orchestra at the beginning, plus the piano at the end to change things up and wind the song down. The softness of the strings makes that first cymbal (I think?) all the more surprising, and I love it. The electric guitar is exciting as well (here’s to hoping Woozi performs it live; unlikely but I can dream), and just overall the instrumental is incredible.
Of course, Woozi sounds great too. As someone who half-expected this to be a ballad (a genre I generally dislike, except for Simple and a few others), I was pleasantly surprised. We’d heard “aggressiveness” in Woozi before (Bring It w/ Hoshi), but this is different. For one, this is a solo (and to be honest, Hoshi shouts most of the passion into Bring It), but also Ruby has a more laid-back, self-assured confidence to it that works very well.
My main gripe with this song is its shortness, as expected. It’s basically two and a half choruses + some extra lines. To be fair, the chorus is quite long and I enjoy it a lot, but some stellar verses could have made this one of my favorite songs. This repetitiveness might drag down its longevity, so I might have a less charitable view of this song in a few weeks. We’ll see.
(Also since I dunno when I’ll be commenting again, I just wanted to say thank you, Nick! As someone who started by listening to exclusively BTS, your blog helps me expand my playlist–especially since we have similar tastes. Your reviews never pander towards fandoms, but you almost always find something positive to say–with the exception of the Universe releases, perhaps–and I appreciate that a lot.)
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Co-signed for Irideae’s final comment! I also started by exclusively listening to BTS and also branched out from there, and this blog has been a really, really important guide and influence in helping me to do that. (You might say it paved the way!)
I love reading when I agree and I even love reading when I disagree, which is a rare treat. Thank you for everything!
Thank you so much! And welcome to the comments section 🙂
Agreed, this site is the ultimate (and comprehensive!) k-pop and k-pop adjacent guide, i owe a lot of my knowledge of K-pop to Nick :).
I’m always amazed at how much bg information i get from what are technically song reviews. Lucky for us you decided to take this up as passion project, Nick :D.
My absolute favourite musicians and performers of 2021 were Woodz and DPR Ian, so I was always going to love this. But man oh man I really loved this.
Woozi famously learned music because his English teacher tried to teach him through pop songs, so “English class quickly became like a music lesson” (https://twitter.com/nutjereon/status/833503088749146112). I guess those lessons ended up teaching him English after all!
I can see the Woodz comparison, but imo Woodz tackles this type of style a bit better. The wordy type of song can work really well, like Luna by Oneus, but it needs time and expanse to flourish and this song just cuts off and feels like a blue baller.
But I give +10000 points for not another ballad. The interesting thing about all these SVT solos is how each of them seem to be taking a different style and I like that they are branching out.
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Yeah this song does feel a bit stuffed at times. The track it reminds me of most would be Woodz’s “Feel Like” which in contrast really lets the instrumental do a lot of the heavy lifting but I think it’s better because of it.
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This is the best kpop song of today. It starts out slow and orchestral and then Woozi kicks open the door with a rock guitar. And he sounds amazing.
Seventeen’s starting to creep in my bias list now uh-oh.
Also why does the song give me “Kiwi” by Harry Styles vibes so much?
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I’m a little surprised to be honest that you didn’t mention the vocal processing since you mention it on almost every other HYBE artist song. I usually agree with you on the overuse of vocal processing (even when they’re bands I love). Was it because you thought it added to song as a whole or that it worked for this song? It threw me off a little, to be honest.
The whole thing feels a bit distorted, so that extra filtering doesn’t really bother me in this context. Plus, Woozi’s personality still comes out in the vocal.
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This is such a fun little track! Woozi is such an artist, and this is just another highlight under his belt. Agree with your points though.
This is starkly different from his previous solos/projects in a good way. I enjoyed it a lot!
Parts of this also reminded me of Woodz. I like it because it was so unexpected and assertive and it rocks. The stress on some of the words is odd, as if he was trying to shoehorn in some that don’t quite scan but boy is he good at English.
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I. Love. This.
Not what I usually listen to at all, and I don’t even like Woozi, but for some reason I love this. It’s probably all in his performance, I guess. I know Woodz sounds quite a bit like this, but his songs don’t hit the same🤔
I wish it was longer though.
Anyone know more songs like this one (in any language)?
The chorus felt a bit indistinct from the prechorus but hey, we got a great orchestral intro, along with cool rock, and a thundering instrumental, and a catchy hook, and AWESOME FILTERED VOCAL!! My only criticism would be that it’s too short.
Definitely not what I expected from Woozi! I will echo the sentiment that it feels too short, and the phrasing of some of the English lyrics feels a little odd (which of course only bothers me because I understand it), but other than that I like it! I will also add that I’m always a fan of idols swearing haha.
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I can’t believe I missed this by an entire year!
I love that he chose to go rock instead of doing a ballad.
“My goodness” indeed.. I love it!!