Song Review: ONEWE – A Book In Memory

Earlier in the year, ONEWE added an EDM layer to their moody rock sound, delivering the potent End Of Spring. They followed this up with the relatively forgettable Parting. And now, nearly two seasons later, they’re back with a song befitting December. A Book In Memory (기억 속 한 권의 책) slows things down for December. Oddly, this track is sandwiched between more interesting, dynamic material on the group’s latest single album. But, I guess the demands of winter cried out for a ballad.

And really, ONEWE have proven themselves very adept at balladry. If nothing else, A Book In Memory allows the band to spotlight their vocalists. This is a welcome move, and results in a great performance. Yet as swelling and emotional as Memory attempts to be, very little of it resonates with me. That’s mostly due to the melody, which feels surprisingly inert. Apart from the tail end of the chorus, which peaks in wisps of falsetto, the song passes by without much in the way of memorable refrains.

Instead, the verses have an almost conversational structure, deepening the mood but never amounting to much on their own. A post-chorus instrumental break injects a jolt of interest, yet Memory has a hard time crafting the clear build and payoff that is so vital to a great ballad. Instead, the track retains a steady energy throughout. Thankfully, we have ace vocalist Yonghoon as our shepherd through Memory’s ups and downs. His emotive performance is easily the best thing about the song, but that’s hardly a surprise!

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

7 thoughts on “Song Review: ONEWE – A Book In Memory

  1. I will sound very biased here. I really love the song very much. As I said before, I am a sucker for rock bands and ballads a lot. I like the build up from start to finish, and the way they expressed the song really blew me up.

    The arrangement feels off at the first listen, but I suppose you’ll probably get used to it slowly. The climax is good, but not enough to fulfill what makes great ballads great (with park hyoshin’s wildflower for example); I just wish they tinkle with it a little more, but overall it seems fine.

    I like Onewe pursuing this sound, but I’m still hoping they’ll have a title track that has the sounds and energy of their pre-Onewe songs. Rating this a solid 8.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I share similar sentiments. I am happy that this is a showcase for some nice vocals, finally, after hearing about how quality vocals Onewe has and never really hearing it their prior songs, not for lack of talent but for lack of a showcase song.

    But why is the song itself not grabbing me? Its the song itself. The chorus is just barely distinguished melodically from the verse. The instrumental and arrangement and production don’t help to differentiate the two – all are at about the same intensity except for the post chorus instrumental break and the outro. There is no swelling and surging and breaking.

    For example
    0:00 – 0:44 verse keep as is
    0:44-0:45 make something shift more to announce the chorus – another measure or two of beats on the drum and then drop out for a few beats?
    0:45 1:26 chorus – the simplest fix is just to make the vocal louder, especially in the second half
    or (who here has that editing “there, I fixed it” software)
    1:27-1:41 move this whole post chorus break to just before the chorus right after the four beats on the drum. Announce the chorus, build the tension and then slide into the chorus to relieve the tension.

    Another option is for the singer to sing the shit out of the song, and way over-emote. He pulls back when he should lean in. For example, 3:20 to 3:30 he should sound like he is about to break a lung and his heart right there in front of us.

    Rating is may a bit low, possibly low 8’s for me.


  3. I like this song so much. It pulls most of the typical ballad tricks with the instrumental cutting out and then swelling back in and such but honestly between the melody and the lead singer carrying the entire song I don’t really care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is nice, but there really is not anything to write home about.

    If Onewe want to stand out amongst the rock bands, they need to get a signature sound or style for them to stand out. Lucy has their violin, FT.Island has Hongki’s vocals, Nell has their introspective MV and Lyrics. If you ask me one thing that allows Onewe to stand out, I would not be able to name it. Still, they are quite talented, and I hope they reach a signature sound or style soon.


  5. When they made the highlight medley, they introduced the b-sides first (I immediately fell in-love with Eraser) and they set my expectations too high for the title track, which ultimately didn’t exceed, or even match, the impact of the b-sides.

    While a treasure trove of b-sides ultimately benefits my playlist, it’s still regrettable to know that the release’s lead track fails to, well, lead the album in a memorable direction.


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