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.
When writing about ONEUS’s To Be Or Not To Be, I remarked how the song’s fragmented approach made it difficult to build upon its strengths. That was also the case with their Road To Kingdom track Come Back Home, and to a lesser extent b-side Airplane. But, I still want to feature Airplane on this blog because I think its strengths outweigh its setbacks.
One thing I do love about ONEUS’s new mini album is its prominent use of guitar flourishes and textures. Across the five songs, we hear a variety of guitar approaches, and it lends the tracks a real consistency. In Airplane, guitar is used in two prominent ways. First, we hear brilliant electric guitar flourishes throughout the verses and at the tail end of the chorus. These add great atmosphere and drama to an otherwise standard K-pop melody, and continue to elevate the track as we predictably go half-time for the second verse.
Guitar is also used as a crunchy backbone to the propulsive chorus. This feels like a more conventional use of the instrument in K-pop, but it’s nonetheless effective. It helps that this hook has a punchy drive that warrants a more aggressive instrumental. As far as vocals go, I’ve always felt that Seoho is ONEUS’s not-so-secret weapon, and he kicks off the first two choruses with aplomb. As we continue, Airplane takes us into a fun, rhythmic bridge that climaxes in a Seoho power note before Leedo unexpectedly intros the final chorus. It’s a nice little switch-up that gives the finale an extra wallop.