[ALBUM REVIEW] Wendy's solo debut with Like Water is one long musical fairy tale come to life

Red Velvet's Wendy has officially released her album 'Like Water', bringing much-needed respite to the music industry.
[ALBUM REVIEW] Wendy's solo debut with Like Water is one long musical fairy tale come to life
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Wendy has officially dropped her solo debut with the album 'Like Water' and as the name suggests, it flows beautifully, taking up the shape that Wendy's voice lends it. There is an operatic feel that continuously reached a crescendo with every song and is ultimately resolved with the utmost grace and harmony. The album feels very rightfully like a drama OST and it is this quality that stands testimony to the album's innate storytelling ability.

Wendy starts off strong with 'When This Rain Stops' where she puts her vocal power into full display, backed with the slightest yet steady piano melody. There is very little scope for her to rest throughout the song which delivers a sense of urgency to the narrative. The lyrics seem heavily influenced by her own personal experience in the past year when she struggled with recovery in an atmosphere of uncertainty. However, the spotlight is on her own ability to embrace the pause and the fact that anyone else in the dark right now, can do the same just as well. Wendy has one of the most mature and flawless vocals in the industry, both South Korean and global and she has proved her mettle once again. 

'Like Water'; has a strange familiarity in its tune which sounds like something we've all heard before but as soon as you try to put your finger on it, it disappears into ether. Wendy sings with deliberate ease in this song, putting little to no strain on her voice even when she's taking on high notes. This particular artistic choice further justifies the name of the song. What starts off as a folk-pop melody transforms almost into an alt-rock ballad where once again, the focus is entirely on Wendy's vocals. Finally, it comes to a closure with an acoustic feel.

'Why Can't You Love Me' is the brightest song on this album as Wendy very lovingly longs for affection from her beloved. The analogy of water stays consistent as she speaks of melting from the warmth of their love. The music has a dream-pop vibe complemented perfectly by the jazz/R&B-inspired vocals that Wendy lends to the song. Once again, this is something you'd hear playing in a movie. The tune sounds familiar and yet, novel. It is clear that Wendy was not trying to do anything experimental with this album. Rather, she poured out her soul into the making of this album and as such, it is a perfect representation of what her original sound is. This is Wendy at her purest and it is beautiful.

By the time we get to listen to 'The Road', the album seems to start feeling like it's one long coherent piece rather than made up of several individual songs. 'The Road' is reminiscent of the first song on this album, 'When This Rain Stops' and explores the feeling of longing for the past while also maintaining a distance from the same. What once was intimate is now alienated and yet, the familiarity lingers, haunting those spaces. 

Finally, we get the beautiful homage to Wendy and Seulgi's friendship through 'Best Friend ft. Seulgi'. Once again, Wendy takes the center stage in the first half, passing it on to Seulgi in the second while the instrumentals only serve as a steady accompaniment. While ARMYs have 'Friends' by Jimin and V, Reveluvs finally have their own version with 'Best Friends'. What makes this song stand out is the unbelievably incredible harmonisation the two indulge in, which is nothing short of a blessing to the ears.

Overall, while this album might not be anything revolutionary, it is an absolute gift to the music industry at large and that is exactly why this release is so significant. Wendy is back better than ever before and she is ready to carve a path that is uniquely her own. There is something magical in this album that makes you want to listen to it on repeat because as soon as it ends, it leaves a void that's way too hard to be filled with anything or anyone else. Instead of showing us a new side to her musicality, she builds on the side we have been longing for. Wendy's power as a soloist is celebrated throughout the album and we can only imagine what she could have in store for us next.

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Which one is your favourite track from 'Like Water'? Share your thoughts with Pinkvilla in the comments section down below!

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