By now, Woodz has more than staked out his claim as an all-rounder idol — he can sing, rap, dance, write and compose his own music, and lay on the charm with his visuals.
Although the solo artist and member of Korean-Chinese boy group UNIQ and the now-dissolved Produce X 101 group X1 has gone through a series of growing pains over the course of his now almost seven-year musical career, he continues to mature and prove that his talent is undeniable, and should never be overlooked.
In his latest title track, “Waiting,” from his third mini album, Only Lovers Left, Woodz (also known as Cho Seung-youn) unsurprisingly extends the all-rounder image he has already cultivated for himself even further. As a standalone song, “Waiting” feels like Woodz’s own self-actualization, as it demonstrates his knack for experimenting with genre and blending whichever he chooses with his now signature Western-infused sound. Despite a deceptively upbeat mix of electric, acoustic, and bass guitar riffs, “Waiting” is lyrically potent as ever, painting the picture of a love that has driven Woodz to the point of insanity:
Oh, why you make me crazy
Why are you doing this to me?
Make me bleed yeah
I’m so insane
I try to erase you but you make me cry cry cry
The MV for “Waiting” takes that already-vivid image of Woodz’s frenzied tendencies to the next level, not only thanks to a dark and mysterious storyline and abundance of raw, frantic visuals, but predominantly by the aid of Woodz himself. Throughout the MV, his striking but never overdone facial expressions and convincing acting moments breathe a new life and meaning into both the track’s and MV’s poignant storyline.
From the outset of the MV, Woodz is distinctly playing a character. It’s him, but it’s not him. The MV begins with complete darkness, then the sudden ticking of a clock, and a long-haired Woodz who opens his eyes as soon as the ticking stops. The next scene flashes “Waiting” in neon red letters while the camera pans over a blurry background of ripped-up photos — presumably of a girl, and the subject of his love-turned-obsession-turned-hysteria.
As the non-linear plot points of the MV continue, including Woodz ignoring mysterious calls and revealing the startling image of a wall taped up with a strange collection of photographs and memorabilia, his acting grounds the mystery surrounding the plot, drawing viewers in with his frenetic yet alluring facial expressions made to convey his character’s fear and delusions.
Aside from Woodz’s own petrifying presence on screen, the song’s meaning is enhanced and expanded upon by hectic, jolting visuals that turn the MV into something of a psychological thriller. Scenes are cut quickly and jarringly, with few lasting even beyond a single second. Much of the MV cuts back and forth between what are presumably flashbacks (or delusions) to Woodz on one hand tracking down and stalking the woman he used to love, and on the other hiding from perhaps that same woman, who now stalks the hallways outside where he holes himself up.
Midway through the MV, these visuals become more visceral, as Woodz’s blurred vision, representing his further collapse into hysteria, is illustrated through multiple points of views. Again, Woodz acting takes the cake here, but so do the varied camera angles and shots, which portray blurriness from both on the outside looking in (Woodz himself is blurred) and from the inside looking out (Woodz’s own vision is blurred, which we see as if from his perspective).
The same effect carries throughout the shots that are outside of the MV’s main storyline, including scenes of Woodz standing under a spotlight and belting the lyrics of the song, which occasionally feature quick cuts of double or even triple vision images of Woodz himself.
In the final moments of the MV, the mystery of the plot reaches a climax when the girl roaming the hallways shows up outside Woodz’s door, leaving him hiding in utter fear as the door handle rattles. Just when it seems like the door may burst open and the mystery will be solved, the MV takes its ambiguous storyline one step further, suddenly flashing to an angelic, glowing image of the girl, hinting that she is already dead.
As the chorus hauntingly carries on through this scene, stripped of the layers of instrumentation that previously gave “Waiting” its deceptively upbeat feel, the suspense rises all the way until the outro. When the track cuts out, Woodz walks off-camera out of his apartment and into the hallway, and a startling gun shot rings. Who is met with the gunshot — whether it’s the girl or Woodz himself — and why, are fittingly left to viewers’ interpretation. However, this final moment, which technically happens outside of the actual song, rounds out its dismal and even more despairing meaning.
Despite the MV ending in utter darkness, “Waiting” does have a light. It’s a proof point that as an actor, singer, producer, idol, all-rounder, artist — you name it — Woodz is teeming with undeniable talent. As captivating as the storyline of “Waiting” is on its own, it’s hard to imagine it coming to life without anyone but Cho Seung-youn at its forefront. It’s a sign of how far he’s come, and of the promise of an even more captivating future that’s surely coming next.