John Legend x WENDY - Written In The Stars
I normally have a rule that I don’t review SM STATION tracks, but when SM slapped me in the face with some kind of bizarre alternate reality where somehow we were going to hear a duet from John Legend and WENDY.. How could I even think to resist? Even just on paper it sounds incredible, both in terms of having more Western artists coming to the table for collaborations and in terms of the two artists in question. The teasers leading up to this were nerve-wrackingly fantastical, and I woke up this morning more than eager to dig into this release.
Okay so I think that everybody and their mother expected this collaboration to be one that would melt people into jello with how beautiful the vocal harmonies would be. And even still I managed to find myself swooning uncontrollably. Whoever it was that came up with this collaboration deserves and needs a raise. Like immediately.
The base instrumental acoustic guitar plucks were more on the simplistic, basic side of things, but that’s certainly not a negative for this song. Instead, that gave the song an uncluttered soil that allowed for the gorgeous vocal performance to blossom without ever being threatened or challenged for that focal point. The gentle fade from guitar slaps as the pseudo drum beat over to finger snaps was clean and smooth, and even when the drums eventually did kick in they were kept soft and hushed. I was seriously gushing over the background vocals, too. Every single thing that John Legend or WENDY sang in this track was flawless and the composite of their voices blending together was nirvana incarnate.
On a slightly related note, I’m really happy to see SM letting Red Velvet’s individual members start to shine even brighter. Between this, SEULGI’s features these past few weeks, and an already announced comeback for them, I have high hopes that we’ll see SM start to push and promote Red Velvet much more.
I have to start this part of the review out by saying that I’m really glad with the choice SM made here to not just have a video that took things literally and just showed the night sky over and over again. I actually hadn’t even expected to see John Legend so heavily in the video for whatever reason. But I’m just really glad that it wasn’t the easy route taken, and that this collaboration seemed like a genuine interest to both artists.
The video itself isn’t the craziest high budget one, but it’s one that takes simple ideas and sets and makes use of them. Admittedly it was a little weird to see the same location used that SM already gave to Red Velvet for “Ice Cream Cake,” but they did a really good job with lighting and colors to make it seem and feel different. Both Wendy and John looked great even when they were wearing the simplest of casual clothes, and I’m actually sort of impressed at how much emotional weight this video carries without having to do much of anything. Because honestly, most of this video is just either of these two alone wistfully staring.
While the video was more on the simple side of things, I found myself endeared with it nonetheless. There’s a part of me that was very pleased with the fact that Wendy and John are actually shown together in this video, which for one reason or another I thought they would just have Wendy on her own here. All in all, for an SM STATION song, this video was good.
Never in my early years of K-pop would I have expected to hear of such crazy collaborations between artists on two completely different hemispheres of the planet. To have this happen is exciting, and to have such a wonderful, beautiful piece come out of it only makes it that much better. I can’t say that this will be a song for everybody, but I still think that everybody should give it a listen and support this meeting of worlds, cultures, and talented artists.