One of K-pop’s most charismatic artists returns with his second album Love Synonym Pt.2: Right for Us. Looking to follow up his strong and impactful solo debut, Wonho succeeds with an excellent title track and an album that showcases his talent and versatility.
Title track “Lose” is one of the most fascinating tracks I’ve ever come across. The album contains both a Korean and English version of the track. One would expect the English version to simply be a faithful translation of the Korean original or vice versa. Much to my surprise, they are actually quite different.
The two versions feature different instrumentals with the Korean version having a heavier bass that makes it a little more dramatic. But the most interesting difference is in the lyrics and the different vibes each song delivers.
The lyrics of the Korean version, co-written by Wonho himself, speak more about a heartbreak. Wonho sings about a painful break up that he is still trying to move on from. He looks back at the relationship, acknowledging he gave it his all and how he does not have any regrets. But knowing he has to move on, if he again starts missing this person, he will have “lost,” thus the title of the song.
Meanwhile, instead of being a pensive reflection of a past relationship, the English version is more about a player that has Wonho willingly wrapped around her little finger. A sort of I know I need to move on, but I can’t help but get drawn back to you. (“I’m stuck in the middle of your maze / But you love to keep the chase, oh why?”) Or even simply, not being able to bear being apart from that person, even if just a night. (“Just wanna watch / You leave tonight / It’s something I can’t do”)
Either way, Wonho “losing” in this version is him essentially giving in to that irresistible significant other, despite his best efforts to control himself and temper those feelings.
Obviously very different meanings. And the small differences in the music also help to really distinguish the two versions from each other. Very different vibes. But both excellent in their own unique ways.
The Korean version is a little more dramatic. And Wonho’s subdued vocals (very different from “Open Mind,” the title track of his debut album) give it a more emotional feel. I think I prefer the Korean version. But again, both are so good.
The English subtitles for the music video on YouTube use the lyrics of the English version. But for anyone who doesn’t understand Korean, I highly suggest reading the translated Korean lyrics to get a more accurate feel for what the song may be trying to convey. And perhaps you can draw your own interpretations of the songs as well.
The rest of the album, meanwhile, has Wonho displaying the same versatility he did with his debut release. After “Lose,” there’s the dreamlike & sultry “Devil” (my next favorite after the title track) and the funky & playful “Best Shot.” “WENEED” is a wonderful romantic love song that also serves as Wonho’s love letter to his fans.
“Ain’t About You,” a collab with American singer Kiiara, is a fun and cheeky back and forth about a less-than-ideal relationship. “Flash” is thematically similar to “Lose.” But the emotional ballad allows Wonho to be much more expressive with the focus solely on his soft and smooth vocals. The album wraps up with the ethereal instrumental “Outro : And” that surely leaves fans and new listeners alike eager for Wonho’s next release.
Overall, another strong album and excellent title track. The effortlessly charismatic Wonho again confidently asserts himself as a talented artist and performer.