Back in August, Wonho warned us not to hesitate. Now, we’re being told not to regret. Honestly, I’m into these self-help guidelines as long as the music is good. And so far, Wonho’s singles run has been super consistent. Highlights like Open Mind, Lose and Crazy cast him as a reliable purveyor of polished dance pop. This seems to be the realm where he flourishes most, making the alt-rock turn of new single Don’t Regret a potential landmine.
When writing about Wonho’s music, I’ve often mentioned how his vocal tone lacks extra grit or power that might elevate his material. Great production has been a boon to his work, but on a slower track like Don’t Regret I crave a more textured performance that meets the angst of the guitar. To be fair, I’m not sure Wonho is that kind of performer. That doesn’t mean he’s not talented or ambitious. We all have our niche, and the fact that he co-writes most of his material means he’s probably well aware of his strengths and how to leverage them. His vocals are satisfying, especially when stacked for the cathartic chorus. But rather than the slinky beats we’ve become accustomed to, Don’t Regret takes a more leaden approach.
Sentiment is the star here, funneled across a rock-infused instrumental that gives way to a rousing refrain. The song has anthemic heft, but never grows above a dull roar. It needs louder guitars, more resonant percussion and a vocal arrangement that swings for the rafters. The melody is pleasant and effective, but it’s wrapped in a package that feels overly cautious.