While their sibling group ONEUS releases a series of heavily-promoted mini albums, ONEWE has received a more subdued roll-out. I guess this makes sense. When it comes to K-pop, dance groups are an easier sell than rock bands. Still, it’s a shame that we didn’t get to hear the gorgeous Reminisce About All performed on weekly music shows last May. As the second of a four-part series, Regulus (야행성) promises to have more of a music show push, though I don’t think it’s the right song to establish ONEWE’s name with the general public.
As anyone who’s watched these guys on variety shows would know, ONEWE are an engaging group of goofy personalities — at their best when their music matches their jovial energy. I understood the idea of debuting with a ballad, as it acted as a great spotlight for frontman Yonghoon’s vocals, but Regulus is more of a head-scratcher. I’m honestly surprised at how mopey its sound is. As someone who went through middle school during the epicenter of the 90’s grunge rock explosion, I’m well-acquainted with the ‘mopey aesthetic.’ It’s even nostalgic, in a way. But, it’s an odd fit for ONEWE.
With a vocalist as amazing as Yonghoon, I’m also surprised that Regulus spends so much time trading between rapper Cya and lead vocal Dongmyeong. That’s not to say that either of these performers are untalented, but relegating Yonghoon’s incredibly engaging vocals to the song’s chorus feels like a missed opportunity — especially when they’re replaced with a large amount of autotuned rap during the verses. Regulus has a great hook, but without the right connective material to tie everything together, it kind of fizzles. Even more frustratingly, we get peeks at the astonishing track this could have been — most notably during Regulus’s pensive, pitch-perfect bridge. I hate to be so biased on The Bias List, but dang… just let Yonghoon do his thing without interruption. And get rid of those murky vocal effects while you’re at it!
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