Review

Buried Treasure: ONF – My Genesis (Übermensch)

ONF - My GenesisA 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.


I love how ONF’s concept has simply become “we make good music.” I don’t say that as some flippant meme. The quality of their music is literally referenced in every press release surrounding their promotions. In addition to images and concepts, these articles almost always make time to spotlight the behind-the-scenes talent that crafts ONF’s sound. This is gratifying, because producer Hwang Hyun deserves all the praise you can lavish upon him.

He’s single-handedly transformed ONF into one of the most daring boy groups of this generation. His songs have a spark of adventure that sets them apart, and that’s particularly evident on My Genesis (Übermensch). I’m not sure I’d go so far to call this song “prog pop,” but it definitely doesn’t tick the expected K-pop boxes.

My Genesis melds rock-infused funk with jazz. I’ve never been a huge fan of jarring tempo and energy shifts within dance tracks, but I’ll make an exception here. With that said, I would have been just as happy with an entire song that draws upon crunchy rock guitar and brisk, groovy percussion. Those moments make up My Genesis’s highlights, and in this regard the track bounds from strength to strength.

After a jazzy flourish, ONF’s vocals storm in at once, supported by a killer guitar riff. The track revisits jazz for the pre-chorus, setting up a thrilling hook that brings everything together with splashes of brass and barreling guitar. As if this wasn’t enough, My Genesis unveils an equally catchy post-chorus chant underlined by quirky synth. This off-kilter arrangement continues into the second verse and chorus, but the track goes full-on rock bombast for its explosive bridge and instrumental break. Searing electric guitar announces the climax, and the song’s tension erupts into a frenzied finale. The fact that this is all stuffed into a tight three minute package speaks to the level of talent and experience on display. I completely understand why Ugly Dance was chosen as City Of ONF’s title track, but My Genesis would have made for knockout promotions.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5


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17 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: ONF – My Genesis (Übermensch)

  1. Oh yeah! I love this so much, My Genesis is literally everything I wanted from an ONF Repackage Title, It’s rhythmic in the best way possible. Has a distinct identity and makes use of a killer blend of my favorite ONF element (electric guitar) and a totally unique flourish (Jazz).

    It all comes to create a knock out track, with bombastic vocals and an excellent instrumental. Man! I love Ugly Dance but it just feels too simplistic for an ONF track. This ties ONF’s daring nature and sense of adventure perfectly!

    But anyways…ONF has clearly sound tracked the first few months of 2021! They are on a roll man, I just love them and Hwang Hyun so much!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Serious props to the composer. Keep the melody essentially the same, swap out the instrumental. This is in the style of the early 2010’s bonkers kpop – okay I will say it, I Got a Boy. The jazz section seems a different melody, but it nearly the same or close enough to continue the expected melodic line laid out by the first phrases but swung and sung in a softer jazzy “popular song” style.

    It also reminds me of Whose Line is it anyway, the regular Make up a song in the style of _______ skit. When the musician can break down and insert characteristic elements from various eras into a new composition, the characteristics easily identifiable as being ____ style. (For example, this compilation ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPkmlhg8r3k)

    The opening here sounds like old timey 30’s jazz, the verse sounds like contemporary boy band with hard rock flourishes, the “jazz section” sounds more 60’s and after (or so), there is a plonkety plonk synth of 80’s in there starting about 0:55, the horn section from various eras, some classic guitar solo flares.

    But do I like it? … I think I admire the song more than like it. I have Great Admiration. But in the fullness of song craft, to me it is more of a curiosity. I don’t know how often will I return to listen to it, which is my usual go-to for gauging like-love-flove-ness.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yeah this song is a banger. I am very happy they are having comebacks more consistently, but now I hope we have at least one more comeback from them this year. Even if it was just a single I would be satisfied. Their music is too good to only be around once or maybe twice a year 😩

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad we already got 3 music videos from ONF this year! Just like with Shinee’s Atlantis, the repackage made a strong album so much better!

    Like

  5. I don’t know. The verses remind of SHINee’s Atlantis at times (?).

    Anyway, the jazzy undertones along with the electric guitar was so good. ONF’s repackage is one of the best ever along with equally strong titles. I especially loved the climax along with the electric guitar.

    Like

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