Review

Song Review: SuperM – One (Monster & Infinity)

The road to SuperM’s first full-length album has been paved by two pre-release singles: the high-octane, polarizing 100 and the EXO-meets-NCT Tiger Inside. Both did a good job showcasing the grandeur that fuels the SuperM project, but now that we’ve arrived at the album’s official title track, it feels like the time to really throw down the gauntlet. One (Monster & Infinity) is described as a hybrid remix track, which means it borrows elements of two separate songs and forges them together to create a greater whole. SM Entertainment has taken this approach before, resulting in SHINee’s legendary Sherlock (Clue + Note). I consider Sherlock to be one of the top five K-pop songs of all time, which puts tremendous pressure upon One. I mean, the song was never going to fully live up to my expectations.

Rather than infuse every moment with bombast, One chooses to dole out its drama strategically. It’s a solid example of the SM sound, if not quite as overwhelmingly awesome as I had hoped. But, the song is still pretty “out there” compared to the Western pop music it may try to compete with. Its opening verse is almost impossibly cheesy, as the guys rattle off lame boasts over the rubbery bass that provides the backbone to the instrumental. It’s not a particularly galvanized start, but One quickly gathers steam as the pre-chorus unfolds. A bed of ascending vocals sets us on the right path, suggesting more exciting things to come.

On first listen, One’s chorus instantly reminded me of NCT 127’s Limitless. It has the same towering appeal, fueled by tightly layered vocals that create a wall-of-sound effect. This refrain is easily the song’s most potent moment – larger than life in a way that befits its silly subject matter. The melody sinks its teeth further into your memory with each listen, and is especially effective when paired with the sci-fi synth line that becomes more prominent as we reach One’s climax. I only wish the entire track carried this same energy. Its verses don’t amount to much at all, and drag down the momentousness of the chorus.

A song like Sherlock found a way to compel across its entire running time, never once dipping in energy. One spends too much time idling on the way to its knockout moments. This uneven approach prevents it from becoming absolutely legendary, even as it hits some very high points. Still, SuperM have quickly cobbled together a strong, unified discography that feels like a well-deserved K-pop victory lap.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


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31 thoughts on “Song Review: SuperM – One (Monster & Infinity)

  1. Honestly I feel cheated on and rewarded at the same time. The track is amazing and all but it was so close to being perfect. The chorus, the buildup, the everything. The only problem are the verses. And now some might say its the instrumental, but I think it’s the performances. I believe the rappers should have stepped up their game and spit some bars instead of acting like edgy 13 year olds. In the track it seems like the Taeyong from Simon Says and Kick It was gone. The Mark from Jopping….vanished. The vocalists did the best they could, but some spit-fire high adrenaline rapping would have elevated the verses quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s both the instrumental and the performance. The instrumental is not that great, but could’ve been saved by a great performance. The performance is not that great, but could’ve been backed by a more interesting instrumental.

      Unfortunately, since both are kind of ‘meh’ it adds up to ‘double meh’.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I question how this is rated lower than 100… Same with Tiger Inside. It will always remain a source of banter on your blog I think 😂.

    Great killer chorus with the verses leaving much desire for improvement. The rapping should’ve either been spread out throughout the track or they should’ve introduced something more to jolt some interest. The rapping in the first verse went on a stanza longer than what is usual in Kpop and I think they should’ve injected extra umpah after the first half of the rapping.

    The finale and climax of the last 30 – 40 seconds is amazing. I wished the dance break went on a few seconds longer tbh. All in all, it’s a song that makes me crave for more and desire something better. I question it’s longevity. No doubt the megawatt chorus will have me coming back constantly for the next few days. But after that, the verses might cause me to just skip to the chorus.

    I’m still irked with the lack of Korean in their title tracks. It’s a minor quibble but leaves me confused as to whether this is Kpop or other. Only indication is the quirkiness and SMesque essence of the music

    Good news! After a few days of ladida it’s now an 8.75. Just can’t get over the dance break, those icy synths and that extraterrestrial chorus. It has immensely grown on my. I wish I could edit my previous comment cos rating it an 8 made me look like some grumpy hag.

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  3. Quick question, is the rating out of 5 stars at the bottom of your review used for rating your review or the song itself? I don’t want to create offense by accidentally rating your reviews 3 star or something when you write smashing reviews but there’s no indication as to what it’s for. Your previous polling system showed what it was for but not this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is as if they took every interesting NCT song ever, blendered it all up together, and separated off the parts that makes those songs unique.

    Except for one thing: The walking with the queso cheesy lyrics have resurfaced. Sweet baby hey zeus these lyrics are horrible.

    At least for “100” they were all mushy and mispronounced so you couldn’t really hear them. But alas in this song the diction is better so you can actually hear the line. This once again makes me wonder if in general kpop lyrics are this bad in Korean and we all just don’t know it.

    There. I did it. I did the expected rant for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least I can say all the Chinese lyrics from EXO-M hardly rhymes at all. I think in korean more often they are just generic / meaningless.

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    • You and Nick both are great at articulating vague feelings I have about songs. I prefer 100 exactly because the cheesy lyrics don’t stand out that much- here they are too clear for their own good.

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  5. God the lyrics in that first verse we’re so cheesy and cringey. The second verse is actually way nicer, although still quite generic. I’m guessing that’s how it is in Korean tracks too but, if that’s the case, I prefer to continue to live in ignorance.

    Lyrics are not necessarily kpop’s best attributes (an especially not SM’s) but hell why didn’t SM hire a English-speaking lyricist with some sense for this song?

    I just can’t deal with this song’s rap verses either. Mark, Taeyong and Lucas have brought better things to the table (let us remember Mark’s rap verse in Jopping) but this feels pretty amateur.

    Anyways, I actually like “One”. The chorus just sells the song for me. Any SM-esque chorus will most likely win me over, even if the verses are weak.

    I’m still claiming “Tiger Inside” as the best title track out of their three released for this album.

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    • Wow, they should’ve just released Infinity instead honestly. It maintains One’s chorus will fixing or lacking many of One’s mistakes. The lyrics are also ways less cheesy than One’s

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  6. I personally feel like most of SuperM’s singles all just sound like NCT ft. Taemin and Baekhyun for an occasional bridge/power note. (Yes, Kai is there but he blends in with the NCT sound). I don’t think their music has an “SM sound”. If SHINee or Super Junior released a track that sounded like this, it would be hella weird. It’s just an “NCT sound”. I really liked Jopping but every single they’ve released since has just sounded like it could be an NCT track, and I’m not a huge fan of NCT’s musical style in recent years, so it’s been a constant letdown after Jopping.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m only occasionally an NCT fan, and Limitless was never for me. No surprise then that this is not for me, either. I do really enjoy that prechorus and chorus (I just always love Baekhyuns singing) but those awful verses just take too long.

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  8. I heard the live version on the Ellen show first & was disappointed, but after hearing the studio version I think it’s a great song. I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Marvel motif in the choruses! It’s SO EPIC, & honestly what sold me on the song as a whole.
    They’ve mentioned in interviews that this album has better synergy between all the members, & I really hear that on this song. It feels more like a group performance instead of seven individual performances, but it still highlights each member. Ten also finally took his place as their third vocalist, which I personally am really excited about since I love his voice. The vocalists make this song. The pre-chorus is probably my favorite part, but the bridge & ad libs are also great. I haven’t listened to the whole album, but I’m really happy & surprised to have so many songs to listen to.

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  9. Wow we are getting so much SuperM in such a short time (perhaps because enlistment is fast approaching for the eldest members?).

    My thoughts:
    – The pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge are strong, the verses are weaker than I’d expect from them. The characteristic flows of Mark and Taeyong aren’t as present here as they are in SuperM’s other work.
    – Lucas and Ten got more exposure this time around, woot woot!
    – I didn’t really catch much of the lyrics (maybe a blessing, rip) so they haven’t bothered me yet. I mean, “Jopping” was pretty silly, not sure if this songs cheese can top that.
    – The instrumental is just a little too busy at times, I think, sometimes overwhelming me or drawing focus in the wrong way.

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  10. Having listened to all three now I’m pretty convinced by this and I think it’s greater than the sum of its parts. The only faults I find with it are the first verse and Taeyong rapping in English. The first time I heard the first verse I was almost snarling, expecting another dud like Tiger or even 100, but when that buildup came and then the chorus, I was completely sold.

    I think the second verse is very competent with Kai and Baekhyun and would be perfectly fitting if only we had some slick “oh you think you big boy throwing three stacks” moment with Mark or at least they’d made Taeyong rap in Korean. Taeyong’s rapping (and perhaps his performance style in all, I’d say) is an acquired taste, even in Korean, and he’s not yet fluent enough to deliver it with a good flow in English, so that threatened to disrupt the whole thing until Taemin rescued it.

    Now, about the parts, I say the remix works better than either song by itself because, while Infinity is a great song, the lack of pre-chorus is felt after listening to this one, and the beautiful pre-chorus in Monster leads nowhere, meaning the chorus is severely lacking, much like it happened with Jopping.

    For the record, I think the verse lyrics aren’t really an issue unless you insist on watching the MV with subtitles or something. For all I know, everyone but Lucas is singing in Indonesian; I can’t even pick up the lyrics.

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  11. I’m shocked. This is the sound i never knew i needed. For the past few months SF9’s ‘Summer Breeze’ was my top song of the year, but i can easily see this taking the cake. The final 30 seconds gave me chills, similar to the feelings i felt when i first heard ‘Miroh’.

    Im very satisfied with SuperM’s music right now and really hope they can continue to provide songs with such power. Although I didn’t enjoy all the songs on the album, im glad they chose the right songs to promote.

    Like

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