Five months after his debut EP Equal, Woodz (real name Cho Seung-youn) returns with his sophomore EP, Woops!, which sees the solo star branch into different musical directions. Woodz has had a rocky career, to put it lightly. After a rather unsuccessful run as a member of Uniq, he appeared on Show Me the Money 5, adapted the stage name Luizy and released a few solo tracks to only mediocre success. After his appearance in idol survival show Produce X 101 earned him a spot in X1, it seemed like Woodz finally found success. However, the group disbanded a few months into their debut due to the manipulation controversy surrounding the Produce series.
The show, however, was the revival Woodz’s career badly needed and he gained a number of fans. This was reflected in the success of his debut EP, Equal, which became the best-selling album of all former X1 members’ releases. Woodz’s biggest draw is his musical talent; he is a skilled songwriter and producer and is involved in every step of his music’s production.
As the follow-up to his raw and dark debut, Woops! is vastly different, yet strong and uplifting, proving his talent as a producer and writer through musical versatility and diversity. Lyrically, Woodz tackles several issues about love and self-development, themes that were also prominent in Equal.
Woops! kicks off with the impactful “Trigger”, an experimental mixture of a bunch of music genres. The song contains elements of R&B, Jazz, Hip-hop, country over a 808’s beat with a striking guitar riff towards the end. The opening is as country as it can get with the obligatory “Yeehaw” not missing. What initially may sound messy works surprisingly well with all styles blending together to create a catchy, striking, and unique opening track thanks to the amazing production.
The thief came on his own feet
Couldn’t hide from me
Now locked and loaded
Pull the trigger
Lyrically, the song depicts an inner conflict through the metaphoric use of a thief who has to be caught with Woodz encouraging to pull the trigger and be bold. This might be a depiction of his growth towards becoming stronger and more self-confident.
In the anthemic and energetic lead single, which could be the soundtrack to a coming-of-age film, Woodz utilizes the words “Bump Bump” as an onomatopoeia to sing about the rocky, back and forth relationship with his lover. A mixture of skate punk and pop, the song’s arrangement and lyrics evoke a sense of positivity and optimism in the chaos. The dynamics of the relationship are conveyed well through the sparse and short lyrics:
We keep fighting
Why are you doing this to me?
We meet to fight
I know you love me
The fighting has become a routine that Woodz doesn’t seem to take too seriously. The arrangement of the song plays into the chaotic depiction of the relationship; the verses are filled with Woodz light vocals while the chorus kicks in with drums, creating contrast and further giving the song a rollercoaster-like, youthful character. The bridge, in which Woodz solely sings “love hurts,” encapsulates the message of the song well: love hurts, but they keep working through it. Woodz has manifold demonstrated his vocal skills, and they once again come into their own in “Bump Bump”, which benefits from his wide range and high timbre.
After these two upbeat tracks the album sees a musical and atmospheric shift towards soothing and calmer tracks, in which Woodz explores several themes such as the love for his fans, his loneliness, and longing. This is encapsulated in the beautiful R&B track “Thank you”, an ode to his fans in which he expresses his gratitude for the support he receives and promises to repay it. Woodz’s vocals glide over the light guitar beat, creating a warm and genuine track. His falsetto stands out towards the end, giving the song a poignant finish.
The other tracks “On my Own”, “Sweater,” and “Tide” continue the warm and soft-tempo ambiance of the album. Woodz fully showcases his vocal abilities creating sentimental tracks about love and loneliness. “Sweater,” is a fully English collaboration with Jamie, that perfectly fits the impending winter season:
Memories I have lost
Don’t make it go away, away
Till I find the way back home
A cozy and sentimental track, it deals with one’s longing for your lover. The despair and emotion, that resonates in Woodz’s voice is perfectly complemented by Jamie’s warm vocals. The simplistic beat, guided by just a bit of guitar adds to the atmosphere of the song and highlights the two artists’ singing skills.
With Woops! Woodz has released an emotional, uplifting, and youthful album. In addition to the immaculate and organic production, it is the versatility that pulls this album together. Woodz takes a new approach experimenting with different styles and singing about diverse topics, that are important to him. He does not commit to one certain direction for cohesiveness conceiving an album that feels relatable and highlights his artistic growths. Woodz is young and at the very beginning of his solo career, so there is plenty of room for exploration and evolvement, something that he is already good at.
(Youtube, Images and Lyrics from Yuehua Entertainment)