So much of K-pop is about style, but some groups put extra effort into establishing their aesthetics and lore. This approach paid off for girl group LOONA, and now their creative director Jaden Jeong has set his sights on OnlyOneOf. I can’t say the group’s music has done much for me so far, but the guys definitely have a unique flair. Unfortunately, that flair has resulted in a delayed music video, with Sage‘s visual component finally dropping over two days after its scheduled release due to technical issues.
Sage (구원) itself is a lot more interesting than OnlyOneOf’s pair of spring title tracks. It takes a more distinctively K-pop route, foregoing Western trends in favor of dark, edgy dance pop. The gurgling bass that fuels Sage‘s verses feels like it’s been ripped straight from an NCT track, augmented with evocative splashes of synth and (of course) persistent trap beats. This is a familiar brew, but gets the job done with enough flair to stand out.
In contrast, the track’s chorus isn’t quite as striking as I would’ve hoped. The instrumental grows fiercer, joined by filtered chants and resounding bursts of electronics, but the melody seems to play second fiddle to the bombast. It’s almost as if the actual chorus had been extracted and all we’re left with is the underlying vocal ad-libs that would usually support a more robust refrain. This results in an energetic, but unmemorable, hook. I think this approach may play better in the long run than it does now, but it’s hard not to feel like this is a bit of a missed opportunity. Still, progress is progress, and I much prefer Sage over both Savanna and Time Leap.
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