As somebody who didn’t follow Produce X 101, consider me among the nonplussed about WOODZ’s breakout year in 2020. Sure, Produce alums pumping out sales isn’t the biggest shock, but I had not heard much about him before, and not only did he have fandom support but he had received year-end critical plaudits as well.
Personally though, I didn’t get much into the hype at the time. There wasn’t anything wrong with what he was doing, I just didn’t find that standout track I thought would be there. Well, “Waiting” solves that issue.
The guitar is what makes “Waiting” go when push comes to shove: it entices the listener at the outset, it provides a steadying rhythm during the verses either through plucks or strums, and takes over during the chorus whether through the acoustic rhythm or the electronic rock that caps it off. Along with a beat, drum interjections, and claps, it has a Latin flair to it but not in the generic way that’s common in pop. It’s a simple formula at is core but one that results in a seamless and addicting sound when paired with an arrangement that demonstrates control over the tension in the song.
WOODZ’s vocals are a star in their own right, as even without the engrossing instrumental, his light and breathy style exhibited here was outstanding. As one can tell from the music video, it’s a dramatic effort and he reflects that (especially when moving into falsetto), effectively providing an aurally pleasing performance but also one that is able to convey the raw emotions of the subject matter, which only enhances the release. Arguably none of what was mentioned so far was even the best part of “Waiting”, as the bridge section from 2:11 to 2:33 really takes off the training wheels and incorporates a bit more spice to the instrumental with further electric guitar riffs.
A single from WOODZ that appealed to my tastes seemed like an inevitability more than anything else, but “Waiting” was something else, combining addictive pop elements with his own sense of genuine artistry that proves a recipe for excellence. Following his musical journey appears to have been a treat for fans thus far and I’m glad it has led him to “Waiting”, which only furthered his intrigue with me going forward.