ONEUS made a splash when they debuted with the incredible Valkyrie this January. Their follow-up single Twilight has grown on me a lot, and the guys have proven to be reliable conduits for solid mini albums, but I fear that they offered their strongest punch right off the bat. A fantastic debut is important, but not if you have trouble living up to it with subsequent releases. New single Lit (가자) has a welcome sense of ambition, but like its title, the song is held back by its swaggy trap persona.
Lit’s foundation in Eastern musical influences makes for an ear-catching calling card. This blend has been tackled by idol groups before — most notably Topp Dogg’s Arario back in 2014. Like that track, Lit mashes together hip-hop production and traditional instrumentation. It’s a good idea in theory, but Lit doesn’t really do anything interesting with the hybrid. The spoken-word moments, sprinkled judiciously throughout the track, feel too close to parody, while the more hard-hitting rap doesn’t seem like a natural match for the group.
Lit flourishes when it takes a more melodic approach. Though its chorus is overly repetitive and oddly dull, there are hints of potential that poke through. Seoho’s line is a standout, and previews the song’s excellent bridge that follows a very Bigbang-esque EDM break. Lit needs more of the energy from this final minute, but its insistence on skeletal trap percussion holds it back from becoming something bigger. What we end up with is an experiment that works in fits and starts, but it’s easily the most scattershot of ONEUS’ singles. Hopefully the guys can stop the downward slide with their next release.