A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I wouldn’t call Woodz’s new album consistently fantastic, but I’d call it “consistently great” – and that’s nothing to sneeze at. He’s blossomed into one of the most reliable K-pop performers of this era, and I love how much he’s embracing rock sounds. Coming on the heels of the last year’s Only Lovers Left, Colorful Trauma has a lot to live up to. I think I may end up mashing the two mini albums together on a playlist, creating a re-ordered, eleven track work that’ll be stuffed with highlights.
Speaking of highlights, none of the tracks on Colorful Trauma approach a “9” rating for me. Instead, the whole album feels like one long mid-8’s experience. Again, this is nothing to sneeze at. Many K-pop acts wish they could be this consistent! If I had to pick one standout, it would probably be Better and Better (with Hijack coming a close second).
I really like Woodz’s vocals on this track. He brings a ton of character and emotion to the melody, which dips and crests to offer plenty of movement. The rock influences are still omnipresent, but they’re given a more anthemic sheen. The verses kick things off with a welcome dose of rhythm, further developing into a percussive pre-chorus that builds toward Better and Better’s cathartic chorus. Then, we hit the standout bridge. Woodz’s power notes are to die for here. At times, his performance reminds me of tracks from G.Soul’s 2015 debut mini – a vocal showcase if ever there was one. But, Woodz has even more grit in his voice, making his tone quite captivating.