ONEUS’s Devil proved to be a polarizing comeback. While the album was super strong, its title track jettisoned much of the group’s usual charm for a harder blast of boy group posturing. But at the very end of No Diggity‘s music video, fans were treated to a teaser of funky bass. That flourish turned out to be the beginning of a reinvention, hinting at the buoyant, upbeat Black Mirror.
This track sees ONEUS revisiting the funk sounds of last year’s BBUSYEO over a more fleshed-out structure. Black Mirror’s video teasers hinted at Michael Jackson-esque imagery, but the song is more in keeping with modern dance music trends. Right from the start, its chugging bass guitar forms a meaty backbone. Bright synths and rhythm guitar join the fray, crafting a brisk setting that’s light on its feet and energizing. Black Mirror’s melody is at its best when leaning into this structure. Its clipped pre-chorus brings a healthy dose of drive to the track, while the second half of its chorus takes advantage of the instrumental’s disco influences.
In this way, Black Mirror is cut from similar cloth as JO1’s mighty Born to be Wild. However, there are a few choices that keep it from feeling quite as euphoric. My biggest gripe stems from the first half of its chorus. This drop into a slinky, stripped-back rhythm is becoming increasingly formulaic in K-pop, and its charms have started to wear thin. I wish that Black Mirror opted to build during this segment rather than pull back, delivering a more compelling hook than the whistle-like riff we get. Even so, the song is executed with enough panache to compensate, and before you know it we’re swept into another standout moment.