Summer is almost upon us, and while Woodz‘s “I hate you” isn’t necessarily a summer bop per se, it certainly reminds me of summers past I spent listening to pop-punk tracks on my iPod. Woodz has had quite the musical career so far, with each of his comebacks exploring different genres and styles of music, further highlighting his range and versatility as an artist. This comes as no surprise to fans of Woodz before Produce X 101, as well as fans of his when he was on the show. Time after time, he had shown us versatility, range, and absolute charisma, and it has been so fun and exciting to see him make the music he wants to make with all of his albums. 

“I hate you” is the title track of his recent album, Colorful Trauma, and it delves into the pop-punk and pop-rock genre. Although pop-punk and pop-rock have slowly been making their way into the Kpop scene, Woodz takes the genres and gives us a twist that is reminiscent of the pop-punk scene back in the early 2000s. This cool, nonchalant atmosphere is similar to the earlier works by Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, and We The Kings.

This is present not only in the song itself, but also in the way the MV is shot, as well as the stylistic choices made in the costumes. The MV opens with the sound of an electric guitar and a shot of the elevator doors opening to reveal Woodz sitting on the floor wearing an inflated suit. This opening is reminiscent of early 2000s MVs, where we would often see the lead singer looking straight at the camera.

The use of quick cuts, high angle, and low angle shots (ah, throwback to the emos on MySpace using those top-down shots for every single photo) also add to the early 2000s pop-punk vibes, further amplifying the feeling of nostalgia for listeners. It additionally allows viewers to stay invested and engaged with the MV, and when paired with the upbeat track, it makes you bop along to the tune, having fun with it like Woodz is. 

Even the costume designs, particularly Woodz’s all-black outfit with a bloody mouth where he wears a black t-shirt with a white coloured neck and sleeve cuffs, are similar to what most artists and fans of the pop-punk scene were wearing in the early 2000s. Woodz’s band members are also dressed in kind, with his bassist donning a spiked mohawk style and fishnets, putting the nostalgia factor at full blast. 

Song-wise, “I hate you” oozes charisma and the very essence of pop-punk is included: the use of the radio vocal effect in the background. It’s fast, upbeat, and has the feeling of liberation throughout the entire three minutes. To follow the atmosphere that the melody has created, the lyrics are also the same, with Woodz singing about how he hates his partner and is ready to get over them. This kind of wildness and carefreeness feels incredibly liberating, but also nostalgic of the past, where most pop-punk groups would sing about love and breakups, and more importantly, getting over the breakups.

The nostalgia factor definitely makes “I hate you” fun to watch, and repeatable. Everything that you would expect to see from an MV from the 2000s is in “I hate you” – well, everything except the really cheesy love story where the lead singer gets the girl and runs away with her that every pop-punk MV in the past seemed to have – but it also merges with the fun, bright, and elaborate concepts that Kpop is known for.

In some sense, “I hate you” contains the essence of Woodz himself: wild, free, playful, and fun, with a twinge of sadness sprinkled here and there. Although “I hate you” is filled with positivity and happiness, ultimately, the song is about finally over getting over a lover. It contains the feeling of masking one’s sadness with overwhelming positivity; the act of stating that you don’t care about someone anymore even though deep down, you still care. “I hate you” is happy, freeing, and it is an MV and song that you will want to go back to because you feel the joy and charisma it exudes, but it also contains that little bit of bittersweetness that everyone feels:

I hate you, I don’t need you

I’ll forget you, Without you

Goodbye my love

I can live well without you (no way, please don’t go)

But I loved you so much

You’ll be fine without me

I know I like you

I don’t need your love

Woodz’s beautiful artistry has allowed audiences to go on so many journeys with him, and with “I hate you,” he has thrown us back into the early 2000s, when emo fringes and top-down MySpace angles were trendy. He once again manages to capture important inner feelings and emotions in his music, and as always, we look forward to hearing more from him.

(YouTube. Lyrics and Images via Stone Music Entertainment)