Review

Buried Treasure: ONF – Geppeto

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.


ONF’s newest mini album didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. That’s partially my bad for putting expectations on it, but after the group’s buzzy Road to Kingdom cover of It’s Raining, I really wanted them to fully embrace that funky sound. I think they’re perfectly poised to inherit the energy of SHINee’s 2013-era electro-funk. There’s a massive gap in the market for this style, and ONF have the talent to pull it off. Instead, Spin Off is mostly just current boy group trends as heard through ONF’s musical prism. Apart from the excellent New World, it feels like their least ambitious album.

Within this context, Geppeto is the closest to funk that we get. It’s the only new track on the album that’s purely uptempo, though it does meander a bit in its second verse. Rather than harness a bombastic sound, Geppeto’s groove stakes its claim on well-worn deep house influences, augmenting them with plenty of rhythm guitar. ONF’s incredible vocal blend is used generously throughout the track, and gives it a unique character that helps sell its weaker moments.

I find the “you’re my Geppeto, but I’m not Pinocchio… anymore” hook to be quite lame and grating, but it’s preceded by a much stronger chorus that feels light and airy while pushing forward with an edgy drive. Producer Hwang Hyun brings in electric guitar for the track’s climax. It’s a tease that doesn’t go far enough, but it’s proof that all the right ingredients are here. ONF just need to harness them in a less trendy, more aggressive way.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

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12 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: ONF – Geppeto

  1. I agree, Geppetto is one of my most favorite tracks from SPIN OFF, the other one being “Good Good” (I just love the playful melody its hook has!). Geppetto has this mysterious vibe to it that I can’t quite put my finger on exactly, but I disagree with you on the “you are my Geppetto, but I’m not Pinocchio anymore” line. It is my favorite line in the track, sort of like a breather after the chorus. The way it was delivered also has this desperate/melancholic tone to it, and from what I can infer, it may be a symbolism/reference to their “The We Must Love” Road to Kingdom performance where they’re marionettes controlled by Oh My Girl Yooa. Here, they’re stating that they’re not puppets anymore. While they acknowledge their “Geppetto,” or their creator/maker, they’re stating that they’re not his/her Pinnocchio’s anymore, meaning, they’re free from the creator’s grasp, i.e., paving their own path, etc. It’s a powerful statement for me, making Geppetto a solid track sonically and metaphorically. 9/10.

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    • See, for me the metaphor feels really clunky and heavy-handed. But, that’s why I barely listen to English-language pop music anymore. I’m way too picky when it comes to lyrics.

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  2. When I first heard the track, my mind instantly said “there’s a 75% chance that nick might like this”. Now, it is a buried treasure!

    As much as I love sukhumvit swimming, I have to say that I really enjoyed gepetto more than it. Though I like the whole album’s laid back approach, I perceived that it didn’t really showed their whole potential.

    Gepetto is strong, but not strong enough. But it stands out from all tracks in the album. I appreciate them taking an experimental approach, yet they could have done that in a more impressive and solid way.

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  3. Why do I feel like our tastes are starting to differ. :((( I actually liked Sukhumvit Swimming and liked this one the least out of the album haha.

    Good Good deserved better.

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    • Wow, shocked that spell/grammar check didn’t catch that one! I’d like to think that it was some kind of unconscious slip, but “inherent” doesn’t even mean anything interesting (or intelligible) in that context.

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  4. I like Sukhwhatev Swimming better. This one sounds to me like it is trying too hard. For those of us in the US above a certain age, NSync claimed the puppet metaphor for all time, so it sounds clunky to me too. (“Bye Bye Bye” ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-KmOd3i7s )

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