A K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. 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.
OnlyOneOf’s libidO just gets better with each listen. To me, it’s the most musically visceral K-pop track in recent memory. There’s an almost unbearable level of tension within the production and arrangement. In a brilliant bit of sequencing, the next song on the album releases that tension immediately. Instinct carries an equal amount of texture, but its breezy nature feels like a much-earned exhalation.
In general, I worry about how the demands of streaming has affected song production. With so many pop songs forcing themselves to fit within a tight three-minute running time, the music isn’t always given a chance to breathe. At just over two minutes in length, Instinct seems as if it might play more like an interlude than an actual song. But, it accomplishes quite a bit within that narrow frame.
Opening with a dramatic guitar strum, the instrumental is quickly joined by percussion and sweeps of exciting synths. The production builds as the first verse unfolds and segues into the chorus. The backing vocals here are immensely satisfying, adding an extra shot of rhythm to the already-funky brew. Then, ninety-seconds in, Instinct pauses for a vocal showcase that acts as both a breather and a brilliant climax. The whole thing is groovy as hell, and may please those who found libidO to be too intense. I think both songs work best when paired together, showing off OnlyOneOf’s versatility.