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.
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.