Most of UNB’s members are well-known for skills in hip-hop and dance, so a ballad release could have been a disaster. A song like last week’s Sense (or “Feeling,” as it’s now being translated) seems to be a better match on paper, yet Only One’s standout melody makes it the stronger of the two title tracks.
Ballads aren’t often promoted by idol groups. By their very nature, most don’t offer the same kind of opportunity for eye-catching performances as a dance or hip-hop track. But in a year where many uptempo releases are being sabotaged by the need to conform to current trends, there’s something very refreshing about Only One’s quiet classicism. It is a boy band ballad through and through, from the pensive verses to that gentle crest of a chorus. The guys sound great — especially A.C.E’s Chan, who has become one of the group’s main vocalists aside U-Kiss’s Jun.
Only One’s instrumental remains hushed through much of the song, but the building synth and filtered electric guitar combine with a resounding punctuation of drums to create a gorgeous, atmospheric soundscape. If the song has a flaw, it would be its overall lack of ambition. It misses the opportunity to build towards the explosive climax that constantly seems to be lurking around the corner. When the melody fades out for its soft coda, it feels as if there was still more to give. Music survival competitions are known for their confetti drop moments. Only One didn’t need to go that cheesy and expected, but a bit more pay-off would have been appreciated. Still, this is a song that will likely stand the test of time, even if it doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of 2018’s most momentous comebacks.
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