[Special] The Unit: Idol Rebooting Project Song Reviews – Part 1

Please note these special posts are designed to be long and may require some time to read (if you plan on reading the entire post). To help shorten the length, the music video will be inserted as hyperlinked titles, so feel free to click the title of each section to watch the video. 

The Unit was a survival program by KBS (Korean Broadcasting Station) to help reboot the unsung and little-known KPOP acts of the industry (i.e. to give some groups and singers that second chance of debuting). The show was hosted by Rain and aired from October 2017 to February 2018.

With the impending debut of both the final lineup of the male (UNB) and female (UNI.T) groups (i.e. the end goal of all the contestants), I thought it would be nice to take some time to look back on the competition. This is a 3 part weekly special, which I will be looking at the performances and songs that emerged from the show.

This week’s (the 1st part) post focuses on the initial songs of the show, which introduced all the contestants involved and the Top 2 songs of the Fourth Mission: Digital Single Releases for both female and male sides of the competition.

My Turn – (The Uni+ – All Artists)

My Turn was a great opener to the entire show. While it didn’t have what it takes in terms of catchiness to rival Pick Me (from both seasons of Produce 101), the song was still pretty decent to listen to. The song was structured to have males perform/sing in the first verse/chorus, while females got the second verse/chorus. A shared intro and the final part of the song was performed together. Following the 2017 trend, the song took on the tropical house genre and became surprisingly addictive. The female rappers did a pretty good job with their section, with a rap sequence required at the point to keep the song from getting too dry. The only part of the song which irked me was the connection between the male and female’s section (i.e. the rewinding section). It felt awkward. But other than that, good song.

Last One – (The Uni+B – Male Artists)

While they did only use some of the members in this particular song, the male members chosen did a good job at carrying both the vocal and rapping sections. The only section that had me looking the other way (as they say) is the chanting that formed the chorus “Last One One One“. It just didn’t work with the rest of the track. The bridge did feature an instrumental break. And while it was decent, it was rather short and I wanted more of it to build up to the final chorus. The choreography was quite intense, which I think matched the equally intense song.

Shine – (The Uni+G – Female Artists)

I feel like the girls got the short end of the stick with some of their songs. Shine just felt childish and doesn’t feel like it met the same standard as My Turn or Last One. The EDM that featured in both previous songs was also featured in this song. It is just the cutesy sound backfired big time. The music video also felt cringy as they had to spell the word Shine, making it feel more like a children’s program. Their outfits also looked bland and boring in comparison to what they wore in the My Turn video.

All Day – Hojung (HOTSHOT), Jun (UKISS), Chan (A.C.E), Jin Hansol, Dongmyung (MAS) & Hangyul (IM)

All Day was the winning track on the men’s side of the 4th mission (Digital Single Release). And I can definitely see why. The song opens up with the hook and Hangyul’s raps at the start were also good. This sets the track up to be one good track. The vocals were okay but the rappers were the ones that I felt carried the track over the finish line. The chorus featured a good drop, while the bridge was awesome. Their music video was well produced (one of the perks of winning the mission was a music video for their track), which showcased an edgy vibe suitable for the song. The accompanying choreography was also quite intense and teasing for some of the fans.

Question – Euijin (BIGFLO), Lee Geon (MADTOWN), Donghyun (BOYFRIEND), Giseok (IM), Daewon (MADTOWN), Ungjae (IMFACT), Jungha (BEATWIN)

Question took out second place in the 4th mission on the men’s side. To me, this song had potential. But it could have used some finetuning to make it more impactful. Each section worked well on its own but the way they made all the sections to connect together seemed a little messy and jagged, resulting in the song not flowing as well. Despite this, the song did feature a classy sounding instrumental and the electric guitar in the bridge was a likeable element of the song. The vocals were good but once again, the rappers stood out of the pack. I assumed earning second place resulted in a limited production of the music video. The video could have been so much better with multiple sets rather than a concrete setting. The choreography was good but the moves during the EDM bridge felt sluggish.

Always – NC.A, Shin Jihoon, Jiwon (SPICA), Yunjeong (Laboum), Lee Hyunjoo, Lee Joohyun, Serri (Dal Shabet)

Always is the winning track from the 4th Mission on the female side of the competition. I mentioned previously that the girls stood on the wrong footing with their introductory song. Always is on a whole new level, with the cutesy concept done right. It is a catchy song. The members all sound good but they could have benefited with much clearer vocals. It isn’t a musically complicated song but it was still good. I really liked the stripped start to the final chorus, which changes up the song. Both the music video and choreography were sweet but they could have been more interesting.

Cherry On Top – Euijin (Sonamoo), Semmi (Matilda), Lee Borim, Haein (Laboum), Yoomin (Melody Day), Yena (G-reyish)

Cherry On Top is the second position track from the 4th mission on the female side of the competition. And out of all the songs on today’s post, it is the best track out of the six. There are many catchy moments in this track including ‘Cherry On Top’, ‘Ta-lop” and “For For Your Love“. What also makes this track speak on such a higher scale was the minimalistic instrumental. I also like how they gradually joined in for the final moments of the song. I also like the mature concept that they used in the music video and choreography. The setting of the video sets to the tone, which compliments the song. The choreography also had a sexy element to it but in no way was it excessive.

Part Two will be posted next Wednesday, so keep an eye out for it!

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