I was surprised to find out that “FACE” is the solo debut of The Rose‘s Woosung, so I guess it just felt overdue. Honestly, I had no idea what direction he would go in, which was a refreshing feeling. Also refreshing? “FACE” itself, which was understated but silky smooth in all the best ways.
As you know by now, I tend to favor big, bold instrumentals and/or fleshed-out, hook-y choruses and/or songs that are unabashedly pop, which is a preference that makes sense since that’s why this site exists to begin with. Well “FACE” doesn’t contain any of those qualities for most of its duration, and if anything goes more in the opposite direction, yet Woosung and the instrumental make it work.
It’s such a bare bones start to things, but the plucky guitar hints at the funk to come and when the light percussion comes into play the momentum is carried surprisingly nicely. Of course, Woosung’s voice is an important factor as the sparseness of the song allows him to take center stage, and his breathy, loving vocal fits well.
“FACE” essentially peaks with the pre-chorus build before dropping into an anti-chorus of sorts, yet I can’t get enough of it. There’s something so alluring to the combination of that simple bassline that keeps chugging along and Woosung’s gentle but impactful vocals that pierces through the instrumental. Probably the most surprising thing about it was the replayability, as it had me humming the hook at random throughout the day.
This could’ve gone wrong so easily. A bit more of the instrumental trying to do too much, a bit more oversinging from the vocals (and I know he has the ability to opt for this), a bit more busyness during the chorus that dampens the impact of the “I like your face” repetition, and its appeal would’ve taken a long roll downhill. But the balance here is perfect for me and the result comes is a biting song with a funky groove that is executed with a certain individualistic signature (considering the message conveyed) that is uncommon in the Korean mainstream.
TheBiasList had a different view of things in his review, which he admits is due to a personal preference with vocal delivery.