Korea’s mandatory military conscription seems like it’s hitting K-pop especially hard at the moment, with soloist WOODZ the latest to announce an impending hiatus. Before he fulfils his service, he’s gifted fans with a pair of new songs. It’s easy to think of this work as an extension of his excellent album OO-LI, fully embracing the rock side of his sound.
In fact, I’m not sure if WOODZ has ever leaned this far into his rock star persona. While Amnesia begins as a solemn ballad, by the time we hit the chorus it’s a full alt-rock banger. Even the music video has a strong, mid-90’s aesthetic that places him alongside genres as unexpected as grunge and alternative metal. It’s a refreshing sound and image to project in today’s K-pop landscape, and I’m curious to see if he continues down this route after returning from the military.
As a song, I don’t love Amnesia as much as the genre trappings it’s wrapped in. My favorite segment is actually verse one, which almost reminds me of a Kim Jong-wan-penned Sung Kyu solo track or even a great DAY6 single. The melodies are at their strongest here before the track goes full bore with its guitars. From this point, Amnesia is pure catharsis. Melody is sacrificed in favor of a series of emotive cries. This is enjoyable in its own way, but not necessarily what I flock to WOODZ’s music for. Even so, the song’s rawness is compelling and WOODZ remains one of the industry’s most interesting artists. He’ll be missed during this hiatus period.