After starving us Golden Child fans for more than a year, Woolim entertainment have finally come to their senses, providing a quick follow up to last years excellent Wannabe in the form of repackaged track Without You. Re-boot was my favourite album of 2019, and thankfully its strength is only amplified thanks to the addition of two new tracks. Although essentially Wannabe part 2, Without You carves out its own identity, presenting an even more sparse arrangement and more sensual vocal delivery.
Without You‘s opening moments are home to some of the most sparse arrangement we have heard all year, forcing the members vocals to carry the segment. Much like Wannabe, it’s an extremely promising and unique arrangement and provides an ideal canvas to shine light on each members talents. The vocal delivery here is much more sultry and understated than what you would expect from Golden Child, relying more on atmosphere than melody. However, the introduction of more aggressive synths at around 0:48 move the track into more dramatic territory. The dramatic nature of the pre-chorus acts as a wonderful contrast to the falsetto led hook, which glides along over a bed of warbling synths and decent vocal layering.
Although the vocals during the hook border on shrill, I can appreciate the artistry. It’s a deadly simple hook, but one of the most instantly addicting earworms of the year. What I love most about the track though, is that even though it transforms from understated to dynamic, its excellent use of empty space throughout allows it to feel as though it’s in constant motion. The soundscape is even more unique than it’s predecessors which I expect will greatly help its long term appeal. Although it’s not as dynamic or impactful as Wannabe, the track unveils a more sophisticated side to the group not seen before. However, as much as I like Without You, I still have a few key issues with the track.
Although it’s sparse arrangement is unique, it results in a track that feels less impactful than it should. GOT7 sidestepped this issue in their track You Calling My Name with one of the best hooks of their career, and although Without You‘s hook is good, it is a bit too one not for my liking. This translates over to the post chorus dance-break, which although more refined than the one in Wannabe, lacks the impact the former had. It almost feels over refined, even though I get that they were aiming for a more effortless and cool concept this time around. But even with these issues, Without You is a strong comeback from Golden Child, and one that I imagine will age as well as its predecessor did.
*Also if you want a great throwback to Golden Childs 2018 sound, have a listen to the other repackage track, the excellent I Love You Crazy. It’s pop with a capital P and one of my favourite tracks of the year so far.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10