"… I want to make those happy, instead of hurting them, who support me and trust me … From now on my story starts all over again."
Wonho for TeenVogue
After a break in the entertainment industry of almost ten months Wonho, earlier from Monsta X, made a heartbreaking and intimate comeback with the pre-release MV "Losing You". I'll spare you the gruesome details of the scandal that led to his departure from Monsta X, but luckily his comeback marks a change in the industry that allows him to start over after some pretty tough allegations. One can only imagine what he went through professionally, socially and emotionally after so much drama, but “Losing You” feels incredibly personal and alludes to his deep commitment to and from fans.
Right from the start, the visual elements in the MV have a "Eyes, nose, lips" (Taeyang) Feeling – black and white, distant looks and camera footage soaked in rain, which is not surprising given the theme of the song. While these scenes are all slightly stereotypical and perhaps even predictable, they effectively provide a strong thematic foundation for the lyrics and music. Most would likely refer to the helpless feeling of mentally staring out a window or sitting alone in the shower while the water relentlessly overflows.
In the second verse, however, the scene changes to a car dimly lit by red lights while Wonho sings about a "fast car with no brakes" and the "rush I long for". In the final chorus, the car returns with wonho, both in front of the headlights and in the car, seemingly confronted with its former self. This is remarkable in that Wonho has expressed in recent interviews that the old Wonho from Monsta X is still the current Wonho, just with new experiences and more mature. However, the MV suggests a rebirth or a rewrite of himself rather than developing a new chapter in his career.
In addition to the images and the message of the song, there is the gentle structure guided by a piano. The gradual progression of the choir, composed of vocal chops and synthetic strings, is subtle but effective. As you step back and hear the full texture of the song, the song steadily builds up from the first verse, peaking in the first post-chorus, and dropping off sharply in the last chorus. That may sound strange, but it fits the MV in the sense that the final chorus is when the MV comes to a head. Wonho screams and looks into the headlights of a mysterious car before the final chorus returns, and the MV merges with Wonho, who is on stage looking into a crowd.
One of the most interesting sections of music is the post-chorus. The chorus and verse are well written and beautiful in their simplicity, but the post chorus is an interesting and eye-catching shift that creates tension. The length of the song is short, but the voice doesn't break up until the end of the phrase, making it sound unstable until the chorus comes back. It also makes the build more impactful down to the final chorus, fades and leaves the song ending a bit unsolved (for all the music theory nerds out there: it may actually end on an open fifth rather than a stable tonic or dominant chord of what I can do say it.) This is particularly dreadful when Wonho looks upon a faceless crowd, a possibly indefinite future ahead.
Save the best for last, the lyrics are the star here. Given Wonho's increasing involvement in composing and producing along with a near-army of literally award-winning songwriters, this is no surprise. What is surprising, however, is Wonho's decision to debut with an all-English song. Even during his time in Monsta X, he wasn't known for being the greatest English voice actor (check out almost all of the tour vlogs in America, English interviews, or that goofy live from Minhyuk and Wonho, who plays tricks on the other members with Google Translate.)
With K-pop growing globally and the accumulation of larger numbers of international monbebe, this decision seems like a conscious move for Wonho and his company Highline entertainment’S Part. Coming back from the scandal can be overwhelmingly difficult for any public figure, especially idols who are considered role models and representative members of society.
Apart from that, the lyrics are poetic and expressive. "Losing me is better than losing you" is the main mantra, which is a demonstrative phrase in itself, but through other texts like "I would go to war for you" and "Don't you know that I would die?" Will you be supplemented if I knew you could do it? "The lyrics are sharp, complex and beautiful in a way that draws your heart. Coupled with his experiences over the past ten months, it reads for his fans like a love song within a love song that stayed by his side despite the Media storm of assumptions and claims that are likely beyond his control. While he is open to the outside world, his recent interviews show how grateful he is to have new opportunities to keep making music, connecting with fans, giving happiness and being Exchange positive energy with Monbebe. Wenee (his own new fandom name.)
While it looks like the old wonho is no more, he assures fans and listeners that he's writing a new chapter – one with a more mature demeanor that can make up its own story and display its own unique charms. It looks like this era starts off with an intimate whisper rather than a bang, and after the year he's had, maybe that's for the best.
(TeenVogue, YouTube, Forbes, Rolling Stone, Vlive, images via Highline Entertainment)