Since their re-debut last year, ONEWE have been returning with a quarter of their first studio length album. Their debut single, Reminisce About All, was featured on their 1st single album, 1/4. Their next comeback, Regulus, featured on their 2nd single album, 2/4. Earlier this year, ONEWE collaborated with label-mate Hwasa (from Mamamoo) with Q, which was the only track on their 3rd single album, 3/4. And now, the band is now back with their first studio album, appropriately named as One. The lead single from the album is titled End Of Spring and the focus of today’s review.
One thing that ONEWE has definitely established with their released singles is that they are capable of different sounds. And End Of Spring just adds to their variety. This is their most energetic sound yet and I would describe it as an exciting combination between the band sound with a club beat. There is such an even balance of both in this song that makes the song very pleasant. They could have gone heavy handed with the club beat or dominated with a rock sound, effectively snuffing out the other sound. But you can really hear both strongly in End Of Spring. Usually, I would say the guitars would be the highlight of the instrumental, especially when riffs are used. But in End Of Spring, I think the drums are the real winner as that adds to the song’s excitement and definitely gets things rolling along. Their vocal work is fairly good aspect of the song. I feel like they could have gone above and beyond with the vocal component of the song, but what we got was still quite good. The melodies which carry their voices is pleasant. The pre-chorus was probably the strongest part of the song, with Yonghoon’s vocalisation leading right into that energetic chorus. Dong Myeong also sounds nice during the verses and his harmonisation moment with Cya, who managed to insert a rap sequence into the song, which was probably a decent way to channel some energy in this song. Overall, it is a very good song and I would definitely go back for more.
What the music video for End Of Spring does right is that they mimicked the ideal club feel by bring a lot of people in. I have seen music videos for similar songs feature just the members performing and this doesn’t look as fun as it could have been. Here, you can tell that the atmosphere is exciting like the song and feels lively, which is what you definitely want alongside a song like this. I do wonder what the desert scenes are for, as the first half of the video was quite heavy on this. I assume this is connected to the lyrics somehow. Eagle eye fans may have noticed some familiar faces in the crowd. ONEUS (their labelmate and brother group) and AleXa (a soloist from a company that works very closely with RBW, the entertainment company that ONEWE is signed to). Great to see this closeness between members and artists even on screen. I think the video could have stepped up with something a little more exciting that coloured gas. Maybe fireworks that could have given some explosiveness to the atmosphere of the video. But the video does go well with the song and it definitely has me coming back for more (just like the song!).
Song – 8.5/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.3/10
Since ONEWE’s last comeback with Regulus in August 2019, we have not heard too much from the band. The only thing I do remember coming from the band since their last comeback was their cover of MAMAMOO’s Hip, which they performed a number of time on the live stage. Today, the band returns with their 3rd single, Q. It features their Hwasa from MAMAMOO, their senior label-mate. I just dug up some information that Q is a pre-release single for their upcoming album, which will be released some time in the future. So keep your eyes peeled for ONEWE’s impending comeback.
As a band, ONEWE is quite rare in the KPOP industry. So to hear some R&B with actual instrumentation in Q is probably the rarest of rare treats, especially with the current synths and dance music environment. At first glance, the song does fall on the dry side. But with the many listens that I need to write a review, I am slowly warming up to the song. Overall, the song felt very restrained, which is where my initial ‘dry’ reaction to the song came from. But as I listened on, I felt the restrained feel of the song was definitely a charm, rather than a flaw. The use of actual instrumentation really makes the song feel warm, a feeling that would not possibly be achieved if it was artificial. The instrumental itself enables the singers to use a lower tone. This means that they showed off a huskier and raspier tone in their voices, which compliments very neatly with Hwasa’s widely known husky voice. That high note in the background was a memorable part, as well. There is a really neat melody and ‘ga’ hook in the chorus, which I find to be catching on. The song gets very interesting at the bridge, with the vocals going with a slightly different melody and the guitar solo brings a bossa nova feel to the song.
The video seems to reflect well with the lyrics. Based on the lyrics, it seems like the guys are in love with partner (who is played by Hwasa) and vice versa. But it is not a good relationship. The guys question why their lover acts differently every time they meet up, while Hwasa’s lyrics basically shows us that she is fed up. In the video, we see Hwasa putting make up on, making an effort with a very pained and depressed facial expression. We then see the members experience some ‘pain’ as she puts make up on. After Hwasa finishes, she throws things around the room in anger. Both of these represents how bad their relationship has gotten, but they don’t know how they got to that point.
Song – 9/10 Music Video – 8/10 Overall Rating – 8.6/10
It is time for the Sunday album review. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had endeavoured to get this up by midnight (my time). And since it was a single album, it made things a lot more achievable. ONEWE returned the previous week with Regulus and their second single album, 2/4. And as expected, we can expect the third and fourth quarters in the future. In the meantime, let’s have a closer inspection of the tracks on tier second single album.
1. Love Me (내가 처음 만져본 강아지) – The very first thing that popped into my mind when I first listened to the song was that the very first second reminded me of AKMU. And if some past experience is something to go by, it means Love Me will be a pretty nice track. The track has a decent level of brightness that offsets the moodiness and darkness the group opted for their title track. It is also a new side to the band, which I think they should do for a title track. The vocals were fantastic, and I thought the instrumental was fantastically done (that guitar solo section for the bridge is perfect). It is a niche that should be done more in KPOP, as I feel the song manages to form a connection in a unique manner. Upon further research, the song is about a dog. And as a person who enjoys the company of dogs, I think the song is perfect for me. (10/10)
3. Feeling Good (2019 Version) – Before ONEWE was ONEWE, the band was known as MAS and they released the single Feeling Good back in 2016. It is nice to know that the band is still with their roots and this shows in the 2019 version of Feeling Good. The original version is something I would describe as jazzy. It is also notable bright and totally something I did not expect from the group. The 2019 version loses that jazzy feel, opting for a solid band feel. The chorus feels amped up, which is a good thing. It does maintain that brightness. Despite the changes, both tracks remain pleasant throughout. The vocal work and rapping were also commendable. The bridge does change up the song in an odd manner and I am not too sure what to think of that part as of yet. (8/10)
Making their return to the stage for the first time ever is ONEWE. For those who do not know, ONEWE is a band from RBW Entertainment (ONEUS, VROMANCE and MAMAMOO also come from the same company) and was formerly known as MAS. They made their re-debuted as ONEWE in May of this year with Reminisce About All. Since their release, the band made their Japanese debut with the Japanese version of the same title track. And now, the group has returned with Regulus and the single album, 2/4.
I have described a number of songs in the past as being in ‘neutral gear’. But I think Regulus finds its place on top of that category. For the majority of the nostalgic rock song, it was very slow-moving. The chorus only added a little momentum but it wasn’t enough for my tastes. We did get that much-needed climax through the ‘guitar dominant’ bridge section, but I wished they had built up to it in a more explicit fashion. They might have intended another Reminisce About All climax but I think they left it a little too late this time around. Minus the instrumentation, I think the song does make up for its flaw. The track manages to showcase more of the members, while Reminisce About All was skewed towards one member (from memory). Everyone sounded quite nice. We also got some rapping in this song. While I am not a fan of that crunchy autotune placed on the vocals just before the rapping, it does give the song some much-needed texture. Overall, Regulus was a fair song to add to ONEWE’s discography.
There is no doubt that this is a moody track. Regulus, for those who don’t know, is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Hence, in that case, for us to see Regulus, it has been dark. And essentially, the members are singing about being able to see light (their lover) while in the dark. Therefore, it made total sense for the music video to be shot with a grey filter, with the day sky transforming to the night sky. I think the video would have been a little more effective if they shot it during the Winter months or when it was naturally darker. Apart from that, their presence really made the video feel more compelling. And while it was just scenes of them playing their instruments, I have to admit that it was worth watching.
Song – 8/10 Music Video – 8.5/10 Overall Rating – 8.2/10
To continue and end the focus on the band theme I started yesterday is an album review. Initially, I was going to review one of ONEWE’s b-side singles but I realized that there were music videos accompanying each. So instead of picking just one, I opted for an album review where I could focus on the songs and transfer the music videos to an upcoming ‘Missed Music Video’ post. 1/4 is the band’s debut single album and I am guessing there will be a few more quarters heading our way. The single features 3 songs in total and a remix of the first song (which I have, again, decided not to include in the final review score).
1..Ring On My Ears (귀걸이가 나를 때리게) – Ring On My Ears starts off as a slow rock ballad that opens up the debut single album in a very fashionable sense. They could have had an opening track that showed off their band work by using an energetic rock vibe. But they kept it in line with the title track. The energy in this track is subdued and doesn’t pick up until it gets to the chorus, which is where the song ends up going for a classic rock vibe. The pre-chorus build-up is quite nice and is my pick for the best moments of the track because it felt like a very strong section. The vocals were good. However, I found it interesting they opted for autotuned vocals, which adds a rough texture to the song. A remix of the song is present as Track 4 of the album, giving the song an electronic touch. The chorus ends up being more explosive, which I think was a smart changeup. Based solely on the original version of the track, I thought it was a well-produced opener to the group and album. (9/10)
3. 0 & 4 (공과 사) – 0 & 4 is a laidback track that has a little fun mixed within its production, showcasing that the band isn’t all serious as their previous tracks have demonstrated. I find this track to be very nice after a long day, especially when you need to do some wrapping up of the day’s activities. It is light and pleasant, making it perfect for such activities. The vocals were nice and light as well. The rapping was a much-appreciated inclusion, as it felt like a missing element on this album (I know there was a rapping sequence in the first song but it felt like it could be passed off as a vocal sequence instead). As for the meaning of the track, it seems 0 & 4 is a play on ‘private and business life’ due to its similar pronunciation in the Korean language, based on a translation that I found. Overall, I thought it was a nice track to end with. (8/10)
It is a new week and we have a new group kicking off the many releases of this week. ONEWE, formerly known as MAS, is a brand new band under RBW Entertainment, which is also the company of Mamamoo, VROMANCE and ONEUS (who also made their earlier debut this year). ONEWE is a five-member band consisting of Yonghoon, Harin, Kanghyun, Dongmyeong and Cya. Previously, the group was part of The Unit: Idol Reboot Program, with Dongmyeong being the highest representative of the group, ranking in 16th place. Today, they released their first single-album, 1/4, and the title track, Reminisce About All.
I think if you want to be part of RBW, you need a lineup that boasts great vocals as this is evident by the band’s labelmates. ONEWE seems to be the perfect addition. I was drawn to the song within the opening seconds of the track. The vocals were captivating and I enjoyed how it built along with the song. The harmonies between the two singers in the group were probably one of my favourite parts of the song. But that is the vocal side of the song. Now, let’s move onto the instrumental. Not often do I think a ballad has the capability of being dynamic in nature. But dynamic is probably Reminisce About All most accurate descriptive term. The song starts off as a ballad. A simple piano and violins. Paired with the vocals, I think this was a breathtaking section of the song. Slowly, they added more instruments. The guitar crept up on me and I didn’t notice the moment it was added to the song. The drums were the most prominent addition, coming in during the peak of the track. This order of instrumentation is different from other bands and I think this is a pretty unique way to start. Overall, I found the song to be very aesthetically pleasing and appealing to my affinity of ballads.
The golden brown colour in this video is extremely suitable for the tone of the track. Since it is a song about reminiscing, a reflective atmosphere was desired. But using the golden colour tone, stillness in the video and slow camera movements, this reflective set up ended up being very aesthetically pleasing as well. There isn’t much to the video besides the fact the members are positioned in a circle and they are simply performing. But altogether, it was a well thought out video.
Song – 9.5/10 Music Video – 10/10 Overall Rating – 9.7/10
We return to ROOKIE WEEK today with a release from ONEUS and ONEWE, whom are debuting as two different groups under RBW Entertainment. ONEUS is a 6-member group made up of Ravn, Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong and Xion. ONEWE is a 5-member boy band made up of Yonghoon, Harin, Kanghyun, Dongmyeong and Cya. Some of the members may look familiar as some of them partipcated in Produce 101 Season 2, The Unit and MIXNINE. A few days ago, they dropped a single together (the first release of their debut project), titled as Last Song, which I am sure will not be their last song.
I like this song for its simplicity and pleasantness. Last Song leans towards what I think we could expect from ONEWE but it could go either way as a band track or a dance track. I think the best way of describing this song is that it eases you into their sound, rather than going all out with a power dance or band track, which is a great way to give us an opportunity to learn about them and their sound. While the song is nice, it does lack some things. I would like to have heard some more powerful vocals and raps that could have given us a little taster to what is to come but what we got here goes back to that pleasant feeling. When they sing together (or at least some of the members), it showcased union and I thought was rather nice. I feel like the song could have been a little more memorable, as this is a critical factor in newly debut groups. But overall, I wouldn’t mind putting this song on every now and then and listening to it.
The music video shows that the song could have been a dance or band track. There is a small snippet of choreography, as seen through their ‘practising’ on the stage. The rest of the video shows the members road to their debut. Through busking activities and ‘flash mobs’, the group is given multiple opportunities to get their name out there and I hope it pays off. There are also some solo shots of each of the members outside, shot almost like a photoshoot and it looks like they are looking forward to the future, which fits in with their debut project. Not technically a video that I would go back to but it was fitting for the song.
Song – 7.5/10 Music Video – 7/10 Overall Rating – 7.3/10