[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. Open Mind
2. I just
3. Lost In Paradise
4. Losing You - Korean version
5. Interlude: Runway
6. WITH YOU
7. Open Mind - English Version
8. Losing You
As one of the most long-awaited comebacks of 2020, Wonho is back for his first-ever solo promotion after the slurry of scandal that surrounded him. Wonho has already made his poignant return with his pre-release of "Losing You", a beautifully written ballad about the nature of his circumstance and now a solo career. Wonho's re-entry into the music industry has been a long time coming, and I have to say that I have given Love Synonym #1: Right For Me a few full run-throughs and the album is on track to be a contender for AOTY.
Wonho has an impeccable range as he opens Love Synonym #1: Right For Me with "Open Mind" his sultry and sexy title track. The song is EDM-inspired, has amazing progression, and proudly insists that Wonho can and will shine alone on his own. The title is perfect for his release as the song progression climbs and drops into a dancey and enjoyable electronic bass-booming drop. The English version is also included on this album but doesn't do quite the same the original does for me. However, there is still decent lyricism all things considered.
The album has a number of upbeat and slower b-sides. Immediately following "Open Mind" is "I just" a slower pop ballad that gives Wonho's soft side some time to shine. "Lost In Paradise" also follows this trend of softness and is a bubbly and fun, cute concept that actually suits Wonho. I feel that Wonho has a hunky, tough-guy demeanor to locals, but Wenee knows just how soft and sweet Wonho is! "Lost in Paradise" is a great indication of that as you really get to see him explore that cuteness in song.
The interlude track entitled, "Interlude: Runway" is actually phenomenal. The instrumental is so dynamic and cuts the intenseness of the tracks before. The tracklisting of this album was picked carefully for quality and it shows that Wonho wanted to be deliberate with this comeback. "WITH YOU" rounds out the album as the trap, shake-your-butt, song of the album. The bouncing hip hop bass, trap sound really shows that Wonho can take any concept and run with it. Fans who have been waiting patiently for Wonho's return need not be disappointed with this release.
"Open Mind" was chosen as the album's sultry title track and for good reason! Wonho absolutely brought everything he had to the table on this particular comeback and it has paid off for him. The MV showcases all of Wonho's best qualities: visuals, talent, and personality. The MV has dynamic production, thoughtful styling, and interesting concepts and motifs scattered throughout.
I do feel that Wonho exhibits a Taemin sort of energy now that he's back. A sort of energy where the sultry, sexy aspects of his good looks absolutely pair with his other-worldly talent to deliver this smooth, effortless visual performance. Moreover, the song's electro-funk EDM sound pairs well with the dynamic visuals like that of the chained sports car breaking through and speeding away or the recurring symbol of the panther that seems to be inside of Wonho.
The MV is visually stimulating from beginning to end and had no problem capturing my attention for the full duration. Admittedly, the cropped zip-up sweater did have my head reeling a bit. But, jokes aside! This MV and release had secured its spot in the Top 10 Best Releases of this year for me.
MV Score: 9.0
Album Score: 9.3