Song Review: OnlyOneOf – libidO

OnlyOneOf - LibidoThe mysterious artiness surrounding OnlyOneOf can be a bit exhausting. I tend to enjoy their music most when it goes for the pop jugular, marrying an addictive hook to the group’s cool image. New single libidO isn’t exactly ‘straightforward,’ but it feels like the best blend of OnyOneOf’s experimental and commercial sides. Coupled with an eyebrow-raising music video, the song itself is cut from the same cloth as Stray Kid’s daring Side Effects.

Now, I don’t think libidO is quite as “out there” as Side Effects. It conforms to most of pop music’s expectations. But, its blend of percussive elements and warped melodies is quite ear-catching. The instrumental is incredibly funky, propelled by a gurgling bass that transforms into an industrial beat as we enter the chorus. It’s strong and menacing, but not in the generic way peddled by so many boy groups. Even when the song pulls back for an airy bridge, it retains a level of intensity that keeps the momentum going.

libidO’s strongest hook first appears during its pre-chorus – a breathy exclamation that skirts the line between torment and ecstasy. This refrain repeats during the chorus, cutting through layers of competing vocal riffs. I’m actually surprised how well the chorus works. It’s certainly not traditional, forgoing an easy melody for a more sinister structure. I love the vocal effects here, which play with pitching to craft an otherworldly texture. It’s a sound you could get lost in, but it never overplays its hand. libidO is a track stuffed full of great moments, forged together to craft a real knockout comeback.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


25 thoughts on “Song Review: OnlyOneOf – libidO

  1. I really just can’t with them. I already listen to enough pretentious western artists that having it in kpop is just too much


  2. The way I had to put on my reading glasses on to check the rating again lol! Jokes, jokes, I love reading different takes on songs, especially cause I would’ve barely given this a 7 lol. The concept is pretty interesting, tho.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So, wow. I didn’t think kpop would go there, but it did, and I suppose the one who would do this would be this group. Kpop always teases bending gender stereotypes, and then withdraws very quickly to conformity within its own cultural expectations. To be fair, by western standards with WAP and all that, this is basic, but for kpop this is not. Taemin “Move”. That Dalmation video. Siwon’s extended “I’m a Rockstar” on the super shows. The list is very short.

    Are the Korean TV stations still banning dance moves and concepts? Apparently not, as the Mnet music show has all the choreo moves still intact. ‘

    This time the pretension is S. Freud, using initials not Sigmund. Also a name drop for COMMES des GARCONS in the first sentence of video description, because they can.

    Now for the song. Yeah I like the song. Not one to play around the kids. I had to quickly skip past Adam Ant “Strip” on the ipod the other day in the car too. On a related note, Nick, the single entendres in your write-up are great.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I am sure this is one of those songs where everybody is polarized on this title track. Honestly, I loved it one first listen and expected it to be a one-off interesting experiment, but it has held on surprisingly well.
    I have no idea why, but some parts remind me of DRIPPIN’s Reach Out Your Hands, from the big funky bass to the crisp vocal processing. And I think the verses establish that sinister chorus, I love these refrains and I love the intensity. Like Nick said, it’s stuffed with great moments, and that’s why it’s good.

    But I don’t find myself too enamored with tracks like these in the long run, like Girls Generation’s I Got A Boy. It’s excellent, but I just don’t return to it that often, even if every segment acts a highlight. Back is the perfect example in how to do this, It’s idiosyncratic but makes use of icy melodies and a dense, towering instrumental. None of the transitions are abrupt and it never pulls back in tempo or energy, Or Maybe Rising Sun is also a good example. No abrupt transitions and it never pulls back in intensity or tempo. Maybe it will hold up, Maybe it won’t, what I am trying to say is….

    TL;DR: BAE173’s I Loved You has better longevity….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I adore OOO. They have such a cool, sensual vibe and I love their choreography, which is equally sensual. I made sure to listen to the song without the visual first, because given the teasers I assumed the mv was going to be distracting. I wish I had the technical knowledge to explain what I love about the song, but instead I’ll just flail my arms about in delight.

    I assume the pretentious descriptions on their videos originate with Jaden Jeong, who is busy creating an extensive (and unintelligible) universe for them like he did with Loona. I watched a video of Mill playing with slime and one of Yoojung assembling a lego Hedwig. They are more geeky and goofy than anything. I guess since I’m invested enough to be watching Vlogs and such I can call myself a lyOn.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Woah. “Eyebrow-raising video” is right. I honestly have no idea what I think of this song. I don’t think I actually listened to it. I’m thinking about… other things.

    I mean when they dropped the teaser images like a month ago I noticed they were very, very risque for kpop, and I was intrigued. But suffice it to say my expectations were surpassed.

    I think I’m gonna watch the live stage for the choreo and then maybe lay down for a little bit.

    Liked by 6 people

      • To be fair, most of those reactors would probably respond to a leaf falling from a tree branch with stunned silence and/or overblown hysteria. They tend to be a dramatic bunch…

        Liked by 13 people

        • That’s half the fun, although I was startled to watch one reactor literally shriek her way though Woodz’ Feel Like. I like Woodz too, but damn. I have my solid reactors: Form of Therapy, The Safe Cave, React to the K, Jeff Avenue, Jordan Orme, most of whom have some background in music, dance, or video. So far only The Safe Cave has reacted to libidO, Her thumbnail for it says “Art, but make it horny” and it makes me laugh every time I see it.

          Liked by 6 people

  7. Absolutely 100% love every single thing about this. I don’t have anything intelligent or coherent to say except that it far exceeded my already high expectations for this group.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. It’s not for me, but they’re breaking some kpop boundaries it seems. It’s interesting to me that you mention Side Effects as the more ‘out there’ of the two – I personally find that song easier to listen to! Maybe because this one is relatively low-tempo for that sensual energy and I tend to prefer the high-tempo, loud stuff.


    • Yeah I love “Side Effects” (maybe my favorite SK song) but I don’t see it as “out there” at all. I understand it is polarizing but I don’t really understand why… it makes me feel like I am at a weird underground club in Europe. Is that not what everyone else is into? lol.

      For me Side Effects is certainly a 9+ while Libido is like…. I don’t know for sure yet because the visuals distracted me so much I cannot remember the song at all, but also I feel like if the song was really good it’d be memorable anyway. It’s maybe a low 8, high 7? Not my favorite but not bad?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right? The only thing that might feel ‘out there’ to me is the voice over reading a list of side effects over the drop- aside from that it doesn’t seem that far out. Maybe I’m biased because I love Side Effects so much?

        Liked by 2 people

      • I mean… it makes some weird rhythmic choices and the yelling can be a bit jarring, I suppose? I’m in the same boat as you, though. It’s a great song, but I don’t consider it to be anything completely out of left field.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Same. I really love the song’s rhythmic structure (it’s actually my type of music; it has a slight Peter Gabriel-esque tone to it). However, I dislike the lyrics so much that it kind of hampers my listening experience, lols. Also, I don’t quite enjoy the vocals.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This song already proves that the first quarter of 2021 is definitely better than the first quarter of 2020. It’s a bit too early to compare both years but honestly I’ve been LOVING almost everything 2021 kpop has to offer. It’s been GREAT!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. …Okay. Onlyoneof have always been an artsy group but, wow. This is the first time i felt blown away by their mysterious sound.

    I dig the vocal effect for the libido at the second part of the chorus. I’ll keep coming back for the song for that, and i guess i’ll see how much it would bury itself into my mind. I need time to processes this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i have to say thank you SO much for the side effects comparison in the first paragraph, because when i got this review in my email, i read that paragraph before i had listened to the song and stopped reading to go listen because that is HIGH praise. i heard the comparison immediately and loooooove this song, OOO knocked it out of the park with this one!! i really hope this is their big moment! now i have to decide if this is my new favorite OOO song or if it’s still the masterpiece dora maar…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. 10 out of 10 love this song so much, it will definitely be on my 2021 favourite sing list
    These boys don’t deserve the hate they are getting for the MV, just because they show BL elements doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate or queer baiting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh the queerbaiting accusations, lord almighty. And the concern trolling about them being coerced. Thankfully the behind the scenes videos are out and they all seem to be having a great time and have no trouble saying they’re playing couples. A lot of queer reactors have been very supportive and appreciative of their intentions. The haters can suck it.

      Liked by 1 person

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