The Rose have been mostly absent from the K-pop industry for a few years now, completing their military service and moving to a new label after filing a lawsuit against their former agency. They managed to release a couple one-off singles during that time and frontman Woosung continued to grow his solo discography. But in a few week’s time, we’ll have a brand new album. Childhood acts as its pre-release teaser.
Over the years, I’ve probably developed a reputation for disliking ballads. But, give me just the right one and the music pierces this jaded soul. Childhood is absolutely gorgeous — the kind of sparsely-produced song where every moment matters. I’m heavily biased toward pop tracks that center around the idea of youth and childhood. Music has always been nostalgia for me, and the theme lends itself so well to melody and performance. It helps that Childhood is accompanied by a beautiful music video, as simple but impactful as the song itself.
You can count me among those who never clicked with Woosung’s vibato-heavy performance style. He’s got such a great, powerful voice, but that technique often came off as distracting ornamentation. He dials this way back for Childhood and the song is so much stronger for it. We get a gradual build, making the eventual power notes all the more striking. His vocal has a penetrating quality, made even more resonant by the simple arrangement underpinning it. Childhood feels almost like something you’d sing around the campfire before having a good cry. Rather than succeed purely on amazing melody or dynamic production, it burrows right down to your soul and hooks you from the inside out.