Review

Song Review: ONEUS – No Diggity

Lately, I’ve noticed a worrying boy group trend. I like to think of it as “the Road to Kingdom effect”. It’s like a K-pop pissing contest, where comeback tracks have become little more than tools to showcase elaborate, badass performances. This shouldn’t be a bad thing, right? But we’re getting to a point where these are less songs than they are collections of sound effects and set pieces. I suppose this is fine if your only consumption of K-pop involves music videos and television performances. But for someone who loves listening to the songs themselves, this can be quite frustrating. I mean, these two aspects aren’t mutually exclusive.

More and more, I’m noticing ONEUS fall into this trap. They’ve delivered darker, dynamic tracks since debut, but a song like Valkyrie had plenty of melodic meat on its bones. New single No Diggity (반박불가) is all bluster and bombast, with little in the way of inventive melody or structure to compensate. It’s the sound of ONEUS trying to be ATEEZ, but forgetting that ATEEZ always bring the capital “C” choruses.

This is evident from the very first moments of No Diggity, as the verses opt for an unimaginative sing-talk approach. I’ve heard this exact phrasing countless times before, which effectively neuters its overall effect. Distorted rock guitar provides a compelling backdrop, but it’s not until we get to Seoho’s dramatic pre-chorus that the song begins to take flight. He’s a powerful vocalist, and that carries this segment into an ATEEZ-like taunt with aplomb. Unfortunately, this drive is sacrificed in favor or a noisy, charmless drop. No Diggity’s chorus layers distorted vocals on top of distorted synths and strips all semblance of melody. The result is noisy, combative, and ultimately forgettable. The track tries to bring everything together for its anthemic, double-time climax, but by this time it feels like the listener has been engaged in a shouting match with the group for three minutes. It’s kind of exhausting, and not in a satisfying way.

 Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

43 thoughts on “Song Review: ONEUS – No Diggity

  1. It has almost every trope that got worn out last year, and yet I don’t hate it.

    It sounds like ACE if YG were to produce them. Almost ACE level. Almost. Or perhaps Ateez, sure I can hear that alternatively.

    The very YG-like Dat dat da daaaaa drop chorus, and one more time with feeling outro!

    I’ll probably buy it anyway, despite the noisiness, my annual ONEUS purchase. Last year’s was the excellent “Song Written Easily”.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, that prechorus! It’s phenomenal, reminds me of BIGBANG. The vocalist does a great job on it as well, and the rock guitar is one of my favourite musical things, so I’m sold. The drop in comparison is far too empty.

    Still, I can’t say I dislike this. Of all the posturing, blustering boy group releases that we’ve gotten, this is one of my favourites.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The rock guitar elements and prechorus are great, but the song sadly isn’t. Elements of the song and video remind me a little of A.C.E’s Savage, and I’m similarly lukewarm on this

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  4. Man, I was hoping for another To Be or Not to Be type of song. I guess I let my expectations high that I made myself in more disappointed.

    I don’t have any problems with this singing-talking in songs, as long as they do it right. I think Oneus managed to do that, but it’s not really overall engaging. At least they maintained a bit of stability in trying to build up momentum from the start.

    That pre-chorus, goodness I feel like I’m in love! I love how they utilized seoho’s powerful vocals in this part, which makes it more remarkable as it provided more impact and energy towards the chorus.

    The chorus… I am very mixed on this one. It’s not really bad for a noisy one, but it didn’t provide the impact that the pre chorus fed us, and that’s a big minus to me. We had a breather in the verses for a moment, and then the 2nd chorus hit. Goodness, I wish I could forget how messy the 2nd chorus it.

    The bridge until the end was a neat release of the pent up tension we had, but it didn’t feel so satisfying whatsoever and it’s irritating.

    Rating’s about right, but I could give them a 7.5 for effort there!

    Btw nick, golden child’s comeback is nearing! Too bad it’s not sweetune, but let’s hope for the best next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not planning to, since it would have to be a “buried treasure” and I don’t like the song enough to warrant that.

      My overall critique is that it sounds like it was recorded inside a tin can. The mixing and mastering is awful, even if the song on its own is alright.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This song may make its way into my playlist for the pre-chorus alone. Every time they release something I’m more & more impressed with Hwanwoong. The first verse isn’t particularly memorable on its own, but his performance is really excellent. Also, I was really hoping that 2nd verse trap breakdowns would be left in 2020, but apparently that was not to be.

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  6. Yeah if you wanna sell epic it’s gotta be all the way.
    This song is yawn for all the bombast.
    Also I get the Big Bang references but maybe yall are just seeing the green hair and remembering the TOP look- ha

    It’s funny how the kingdom effect is very real yet the Boyz, the main offenders initially, are increasing the quality of their songs. Anyways before I listened to this song, I started reading this review and just listened to the Boyz Stealer instead. That’s a good song. Not really like this one…

    Some of these costume pieces are jus trying a little hard for my taste. And how many boygroups are gonna copy SK Hyunjin’s lion-like long hair and ponytail. Chill…

    Liked by 1 person

    • On the Big Bang reference – I actually hadn’t seen the video when I wrote my comment! I usually pull up another screen while listening because an MV can influence my thoughts on a song a lot.

      Interesting side note: that TOP look sparked my very first kpop crush back in the day.

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      • now that I’ve watched the MV a few times, I can see what you mean. This concept and their styling absolutely evokes Bigbang for me – the weird masks, very out-there hairstyles and colours (green is not that common anymore, is it?) The prechorus vocalist (sorry, I haven’t learned their names) even visually resembles Daesung here. All of this is a good thing for me though, I love this style.

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  7. Nick, is there any newer boy group today that you think could be a future legend? I don’t mean the future BTS, but a group whose music appeals to you like, say, SHINee’s.

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  8. So I was a LITTLE disappointed ngl. But there are parts of the song I absolutely love.

    Love- PRECHORUS. It slays.

    Love- the outro. It does intensity right.

    Like- the attempted concept…I really admire their outfits and what they were going for. They are quite the visuals. Could have been better executed with the song.

    Like- Leedo’s rap was cool and the bow wow makes me laugh.

    Like- the lyrics when read without the song. It’s basically like you jelly aren’t you? Too bad you can’t have her. Cuz she’s with me. It makes me laugh 😆.

    Not a fan- the chorus. It sounded like god’s menu to me…but not half as impactful.

    Not a fan- the opening started off shouty and not very strong. Same with a lot of the verses. They just didn’t have anything that actually stood out to me.

    Overall, I wished they stuck with the come back home and to be or not to be vibe. I know the theme is still there because all the rose petals in the mv represented blood- but I wished the mv was more eerie and elegant like I have known them for. Oh well. I’ll cross my fingers for next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for pointing out the lyrics- I looked them up and.. I kinda love it. I have a weakness for ‘it’s us against the world’ songs and ‘I’ll protect you’ songs and this is basically both. Appreciate that the lyrics aren’ t just ‘look how cool we are’

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      • Yeah I am glad I decided to look them up too because they were more interesting than I expected them to be. Leedo’s rap even referenced Adam and Eve, which intrigued me. At the moment, everything about the song has grown on me despite its imperfections. We love a grower!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Right? Though I had a good chuckle when he said the serpent was ruining paradise with his ‘bad vibes’. Same here, it grew on me a lot!

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  9. Would you be able to find time to review Rewind and Incomplete? I feel like they are quite nice. No Diggity rambles on quite a bit, tho I think I’d like it if I’m already pumped up doing some workout or something. Not the best song technicality wise. Could be worse like 808 tho…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Couldn’t agree more on the “the Road to Kingdom effect” bit. This trend should’ve died with the show. RBW producers did Oneus dirty by providing them with a title song that doesn’t let them fully capitalise on their vocal skills. It’s definitely my least favourite title song of Oneus. The best and the worst part is Seoho’s pre-chorus since its excellence only highlights how lacking the whole song is. Chorus is really tiring to listen to.

    I love Oneus with my whole heart and I know my luke warm feelings towards the song are half on RBW producers and half on me – I had a Thought once about them doing a musical-like number such as History – Dreamer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM5GpSPGk-Y), and as it often is with the ideas that Resonate with you on every level this thought has not left my brain ever since and contaminates every title song of theirs that is Not It with a tint of disappointment. Seeing the direction RBW is taking I might have to learn to live with that hhh

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  11. All this review had reminded me of, is how much I love ATEEZ….

    But anyways, I just really wished ONEUS didn’t succumb to this, when are you gonna go back to those classic Valkyrie bangers which used to define your debut years?

    Sad…

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    • All this review had reminded me of, is how much I love ATEEZ….

      But anyways, I just really wished ONEUS didn’t succumb to this, when are you gonna go back to those classic Valkyrie bangers which used to define your debut years?

      Sad…

      CALLING ALL GOLDENNESS! CALLING ALL GOLDENNESS!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Goldenness reporting for duty!

        Burn It sounds very different from what I’d expect after seeing the zombies. I am not sold on the first part, but that sing-along postchorus (wooaa-ooaa-oaa) might redeem it.

        My favourite out of these so far is Cool Cool, it sounds amazing. Breathe is your favourite? That one also sounds good to me.

        This is the first time that one of their darker concepts has really sparked my interest – the songs just sound great, and uptempo enough for me.

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        • This sounds like such a consistent and great album! My favorite is Burn It, not breathe, though I want them to pursue Breathe as a style!

          My ranking for now:
          1. Burn It – 9+
          2. Breathe – 9+
          3. Track 4 – 9+
          4. Cool Cool – 9+
          5. Milky Way – 8.25-8.5

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oooh interesting!
            I would go with
            1. Cool Cool
            2. Burn It
            3. Breathe
            4. (Track 4)
            5. Milky Way

            I also agree that Milky Way sounds the least interesting for now. I’m super curious to see how our opinions will change (or not, haha)

            Liked by 2 people

  12. I hate it how picky people can be when it comes to certain groups…such as Oneus’s comeback….It hurts me that yes you may see resemblance from other groups…but Oneus to me has so much protentional that i love this theme of dark and chilling music…I’m a Tomoon and Army but my oneus heart is saying i love them for no matter what they show or have…i just wish people wouldn’t hate on them because of the hairstyle or their clothes!!! that are similar!!! like everyone has a mullet in kpop mostly…so let’s just be happy and let oneus have their fun…and yes i could care less what anyone says their devil album is lit!!!

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  13. I’m amused at the number of ACE comparisons because the first thing I was reminded of as soon as the music video started was Favorite Boys and Savage, but not as good lmao. That might sound harsh but I argue it takes a certain flair to pull off that specific bombastic style and ONEUS aren’t quite there.

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  14. I like Oneus because they a group that tried various concept. I’m a tomoon itself but i don’t think this era fit them the most. I think lit era that fit them the most but this is the best era for tomoon and Oneus because they get many achievements with this era and I’ll be looking forward for various concepts and more achievements for Oneus

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  15. Realmente me molesta que compares a ONEUS con otros grupos.
    Además ellos innovan en sus conceptos musicales y MV, algo muy difícil de hacer cuando ya tienes una historia descrito como es el caso del uso de la historia mitológica que ONEUS retoma para sus conceptos. Se que ellos no manejarán otro tipi de ritmo musical, es lo que más me gusta de ellos,ya que pueden provar una gran variedad de ellos

    Like

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