Like water for mankind, Wendy’s solo record is a solid foundation for what hopes to be a steady solo career.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐤 - 𝐕𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐦𝐞 𝟏: 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐲 𝐖𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐑𝐞𝐝 𝐕𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐭
One of the best vocalists in Korea right now, Wendy possesses an immaculate vocal range, both melodically and stylistically. Her immense potential was reasonably realized, as she was the first member of Red Velvet to get her solo debut record. It was beyond exciting for me to see what she could possibly produce, and now that it's here:
“So, how is the record?” “Good, good! Amazing, in fact.”
Pop ballad is definitely Wendy’s strongest suit, and it shows, Wendy’s vocals are absolutely amazing, though hindered by a bit of mixing problems, e.g. the vocals getting shadowed in the chorus of the title track, Wendy is scarily consistent in every song. Ballads, downtempo pop songs are often criticized for its blandness or lack of engagement, but looking at the tracklist, I truly cannot name one song that I felt was significantly inferior. And honestly, I couldn't care less, I absolutely love ballads. Every song is well-structured, not anything out of the ordinary, but it is the best out of the ordinary, giving this refreshing aesthetic.
When The Rain Stops starts the EP well with an explosive vocal performance by Wendy (made me cry), followed up by an acoustic pop song which just so happens to be the title track, Like Water. It's a nice blending of the soft and touching vocals, reminiscing of I by Taeyeon, with a very lush instrumental, reminiscent of above the time by IU. Why Can't You Love Me speeds up the pace a little bit, adding a bit of rhythm and blues, which is perhaps the most pop-sounding song on here. The Road is a soft rock ballad, perhaps the weakest of them all, but it is by no means a bad song. Instrumental fits amazingly well with Wendy's vocals, especially in the final chorus. The record ends with Best Friend, a slow jazz song, very fluffy and wholesome, concluding on a high note.
Although every song might sound similar at first, after several glances, the EP provides a surprisingly wide range of diversity, and Wendy's vocals end up being the glue that ties it all up to create a cohesive experience. I keep coming back to this, and it sounds better and better each listen.
Instrumentations are adequate but not alluring, playing their complementary role well, as Wendy shines brightly throughout the 19-minute run. Seulgi shares the spotlight in the last song as a feature, which like the tip of a fishing bait, is beguiling, further gaining steam for a Seulgi solo debut that should happen in the foreseeable future.
The record is obviously not innovative or whatever, nor is it stylistically eye-catching for many, but For me, the record is exactly what I hoped for. Great and calming tunes that I can spin at anytime. For Wendy, it is a testimony that although often accompanied by four other members in her music, Wendy is competent enough to hold her own in a record runtime.
Now, with that being said, what comes next is going to be the real challenge for Ms. Seungwan. We’ve seen Taeyeon, another solo act that came from a successful girl group, falling into mediocrity after a couple of releases, simply because the style that she and her team was going for was profitable, yet the music itself was getting more and more bland. Right up until her 2020 release What Do I Call You, a slight but much-needed switch up, which was a great and refreshing listen. I love Wendy, I love this record, and I hope she can use this as a solid foundation, reach out of her comfort zones and provide us with excitement each time she returns with the microphone.