Only One isn’t the first time EXID’s leader Solji and variety-show-magnet Hani have collaborated as a subunit. Back in 2013, they released a pretty strong dance single called Good Bye under the name Dasoni. I’m not sure why they didn’t revive that moniker for Only One, but at least the sound is somewhat similar. Quite tellingly, the girls are opting not to actively promote this time around. The decision makes sense, because although Only One is a perfectly serviceable modern dance song, it lacks the unique punch of EXID’s own title tracks.
The song opens as an emotive piano ballad before its dance elements begin to creep in. Tentative synths herald the full on house beat that underpins the hook. As a club track, the song feels much more straightforward (even basic?) than most kpop. There’s no attempt at mixing genres or subverting expectations. Only One is all about the melody and lyrics, and in that way is about as bare bones as a pop song can be.
Because of this, the track rises or falls on the strength of its melodic hooks. The verses effectively convey the feeling of mourning a lost lover, their melody pensive and hesitant before transitioning to a nice surging build towards the chorus. They’re easily the strongest aspect of the song. For me, the chorus is just too repetitive and derivative to leave much of a mark. As with many of EXID’s songs, Solji’s powerful voice quite often takes over here, but the sharp high note in the hook grates. Unlike a song like Ah Yeah, the production isn’t dominant or interesting enough to compensate, causing the mix to feel off. Only One would have functioned well as an above average b-side track, but I’ll await EXID’s next comeback for the really good stuff.
Note: The music video below is a shortened version. For the full audio, click here.