II. Background & Release
After the successful release of its third EP, Kick Back, in March 2021, WayV was originally announced during the annual SM Summit to release its second album in the second half of the year. During this interim period, the group began releasing songs as the first mini-units, featuring pairs of members as WayV Kun & Xiaojun and WayV Ten & YangYang.
However, just before the launch of the third mini-unit, member Lucas went on hiatus and the album release and WayV group activities were halted for nearly two years. Members continued to remain active individually. After Ten completed activities a series for Chinese TV, the group reunited and performed for the first time in over a year with 5 members at the SMTOWN Live concerts in the summer of 2022. Winwin returned from his acting roles and the group relaunched with 6 members, announcing a comeback for later in the year.
The new EP, Phantom, was originally announced for a Dec. 9 release. The album featured a "Phantom of the Opera" concept, however as teasers began, a period of mourning was declared in China, so promotions were halted and the album rescheduled for release. The album debuted on Dec. 28, following weeks of teaser photos, videos and promotional content, and featured 8 songs, including the two previously released mini-unit songs "Back to You" and "Low Low." Frequent NCT collaborators like LDN Noise, Adrian McKinnon, Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens and Deez created songs for the album. It was released in two versions: "Overture" and "Opera," reflecting the album's theme.
The b-side "Diamonds Only" was released as a track video ahead of the title track MV.
As part of the promotional period, the group made its first appearance on the Korean music show "Weekly Idol", as well as conducting interviews for Korean, Chinese, American and international media. The group performed an English version of "Phantom" on Korean music shows, which was a strategy used in the mini-unit releases. This was the group's first live performance on music shows in front of fans, as previous performances occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album was also supported with three additional MVs of b-sides.
|"Phantom"||Pan Yanting||Choi Jin-suk||3:47|
|"Diamonds Only"||Lin Xinye||Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens, Tiyon "TC Mack", Deez||Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens||3:29|
|"Good Life"||Zhou Weijie||Connor McDonough, Riley McDonough, Toby McDonough,||Connor McDonough, Castle||3:13|
|"Broken Life"||Pan Yanting||David Simon, Alyssa Ayaka, Ichinose, ron||Ichinose, minGtion||4:04|
|"Bounce Back"||Pan Yanting||Greg Bonnick, Hayden Chapman, Adrian McKinnon||LDN Noise, Adrian McKinnon||3:38|
|"Try My Luck"||Zhou Weijie||Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens, Michael "TruePopGod" Jimenez, Adrian McKinnon||Mike Daley, Mitchell Owens||3;21|
|"Back to You"||Xiaohan||Chen Min Hao||Chen Min Hao, Li Zhong Hao||4:12|
|"Low Low"||David Wilson, Paris Carney, Ryan Jhun, Sorana||dwilly, Ryan Jhun||dwilly, Ryan Jhun||2:57|
IV. Spotify Playlist
Diamonds Only MV:
Member MV Teasers;
Performance Video - Phantom
Phantom Stage Video from SMCU Winter Palace
Behind the scenes - MV
Behind the Scenes - Diamonds Only and Good Life
Behind the scenes - album jacket
First stage performance - Dec. 28, 2022 - K909
M Countdown - Dec. 29, 2022
Music Core - Jan. 7, 2022
Inkigayo - Jan. 8, 2022
VI. Concept Photos
Phantom was WayV's most successful album, becoming their album with the highest first week sales at 165,411. The album topped the Hanteo charts as well as iTunes charts in 23 different regions, including the worldwide and European charts and #2 on the US charts. It also debuted at #5 on the Circle Album Chart and #1 on the Circle Retail Album Chart. It also ranked #8 in Top Albums Debut in the US and Global on Spotify. Within an hour of release, the entire album charted on the Chinese QQ charts with the title track ranking second on the MV charts and with in the new songs charts. The album passed 170,000 copies sold on the Circle chart and finished the year as one of the top 100 best-selling albums on the Hanteo chart.