Way back in the day, when I was a Kpop newbie, I was super hesitant to buy albums. I didn’t need the clutter and I didn’t want to spend my precious few coins on cds when I exclusively listen to music through streaming services. Then I met my future bride in person for the first time and she gifted me with the NCT U debut single. It was at that moment that I realized the magic of the picture books and boyfriend cards that Kpop merch is so good at. These are not the jewel cases and inserts of my youth. These are soooo much better.
Since that time I’ve gone from ‘I only need all of the Sewoon, the Rose, and Nu’est albums’ to ‘oh my God if I don’t buy everything, how will they all eat?’
Needless to say, my collection has grown considerably since 2017 and the cost savings from all of this ‘don’t leave your house’ business has meant that I feel a bit freer to support even more artists through purchasing new releases and back-catalog in a way I might not of even a few months ago. I, as any good community member might do, prefer to support smaller businesses if the cost is at all comparable and I have the flexibility to do so. Because of this, I like to order albums through Choice Musica in LA and have them shipped out. They do a wonderful job and usually have all of the pre-orders and newer albums that I’m looking for, but older stuff is often unavailable so I troll Amazon and pick up what my little heart desires through Prime with two-day shipping – or a bit longer if it’s coming straight from Korea.
This pandemic and the impacts it’s had on international shipping has put a bit of a damper on this well-honed process. Choice has seen huge delays in when they receive releases from overseas and as they move in and out of strict stay at home orders in California, they have had some major breaks in shipping from their own warehouse as they work to keep their staff safe. It’s taking months for folks to receive their purchases – and while it’s nobody’s fault but COVID, it’s still a big bummer. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, Kpop is my de-stressor and in this, the hardest time in my career, it’s really frustrating to also lose my happy place.
BUT, I got a magical little email last night that brightened my weekend considerably. The newest Golden Child and Woodz albums (I pre-ordered them) both finally shipped from Cali and I shall have them in a few short days. I. Am. Stoked. I’ve talked about Golcha here before, no secret that I love them and everything about the musical direction they’ve taken. But Woodz. I haven’t talked about Woodz in a long damn time aside from a brief mention of his friendship with Eden last week. This hesitation was because the poor fella was on Produce X 101 part of the project group X1. I needed to see how it all shook out in order to decide if I was happy for him.
Woodz is young, 24, but he has been in the industry for many, many years as a trainee and then an idol having debuted in 2014 with Uniq. He has every ‘it’ factor and talent that a man can have and yet he’s struggled to achieve the level of recognition he so desperately wants. It’s like he can’t catch a break, the fates just haven’t been on his side.
Until they were.
Love Me Harder, Woodz
While the Produce scandal meant that X1 was no more, many of the former members were able to slip out of the incident and into their own groups or solo careers fairly unscathed and with the boon of now being recognizable household names. Woodz, thank the heavens, falls nicely into that category. His solo release was slower than some of the others to come out, but as his YouTube channel shares, he put his everything into the album and crafted it to perfection. It is, hands down, one of my favorite releases this year. From start to finish, the songs are clever, catchy, interesting, and unique.
And he’s got a couple of great features…because everyone loves Woodz. He’s an artist’s artist. He puts in the time, does it all because he loves it, and doesn’t stop until it’s perfect. I want this to be the moment he recognizes that the world truly is his for the taking.
Waikiki, Woodz (ft. Colde)
I am soooo excited to open the mailbox in a few days.