Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I can already tell that ONF’s Why is going to be a dark horse this October. I liked the song on first listen, but its melody has really sunk its teeth into me over the course of the week. Better yet, the entire mini album is the strongest the guys have sounded since their 2017 debut. Well… that’s not entirely accurate. It’s the strongest they’ve sounded if you subtract Twinkle Twinkle’s dubious interpretation of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” You should never use a nursery rhyme as the basis for your song structure. Seriously. Never again, ONF.
With that said, I’m very happy with this comeback. When it comes to a “buried treasure,” I could have easily featured the propulsive Asteroid, which plays like a semi-sequel to last year’s almighty Complete. But, the song that actually hits me hardest is All Day.
It’s funny. As much as I complain about tropical influences in pop music, my most favorite ONF material draws heavily from the aesthetic. It just works so well with their voices. And although All Day may not bring anything new to the table, it’s a three-minute blast of joy. These days, joy is underrated when it comes to K-pop. Call me cheesy or basic, but I don’t usually get off on dark textures and moody emotion. For me, pop music is like a tonic. I turn to it for energy, and All Day is the exact kind of track that fuels me.
All Day’s chorus is immense, layering the group’s vocals in a way we haven’t heard since their first mini album. It’s followed by an extended chant, fueled by the track’s upbeat, addictive spirit. However, the song’s K.O. moment doesn’t hit until its climax. The instrumental kicks up a percussive frenzy as the central refrain is joined by additional layers of chanting and a sprightly rap verse. It’s the kind of pump-you-up moment that has been hard to find in 2019, and would be amazing to hear performed live. I’d love for ONF’s next title track to be more in this vein.
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