Buried Treasure: Lucy – One By One

Lucy - One By OneA 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.

Though only four songs in length, Lucy’s new album is their strongest body of work yet. And, it nudges the group in a few new directions. The most notable aspect of Gatcha! is its heavy use of electronic elements. As someone who prefers their rock music laced with a heavy dose of synth, this is a very welcome development.

One By One is the most striking example of this transformation. For this track, it’s as if Lucy got sucked into the Tron universe (which is a movie I’d totally pay to see, by the way!). Vocoder and other studio effects feature prominently, and the band is re-formed into a groovy synth-pop unit. I imagine this will be the most polarizing song on the album, but I absolutely adore it.

One By One has a shimmering retro sound, pulsing along plucked guitar, icy tugs of violin and a brilliant bass-driven breakdown. Sangyeop and Gwangil’s voices are warped in dramatic ways, giving the track an evocative sense of texture. Midway through, this builds toward an aggressive climax. Though I’m hardly an expert on vocoder use, artists usually modulate the power in their vocal to avoid risking too much distortion. Here, Sangyeop belts with full force, resulting in a jarring peak. It’s not an entirely pleasant sound, but I think that’s point. The shot of emotion works incredibly well and compliments One By One’s rise-and-fall structure.

Elsewhere, the vocals are chopped into rhythmic flourishes. The track moves toward a fake-out climax that utilizes empty space to build tension before settling back into its groove. In fact, the whole song pushes and pulls at expectations, making its surging moments all the more welcome. This is brilliant stuff.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10



7 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Lucy – One By One

  1. Coming from LUCY, this kind of experimentation was pretty unexpected, but I know as I listen to the single more I’ll grow familiar with every twist and love the song more for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve come to the realization that Lucy will CERTAINLY rack up an incredible modern discography, their arrangements and sense of ambition is one of their most exciting aspects and I can’t wait to see what they offer in the future.

    Anyways, “One By One” is most likely one of their best songs! Sangyeop’s rich tone is emotionally affecting, and I love how the vocoder gives his voice a jagged feeling but never fully overpowers to the point that it feels annoying. And then there is the yechan’s violin and wonsang’s bass hitting with full force and driving the track with such panache! GOD! And the fact that not even this is my favorite song on the album….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hearing this for the first time gave me so much to think about that i will probably keep listening to it on repeat for some time to capture everything.

    It really feels like Lucy took some of the great elements of their sound, such as the solo time for the violin, the ethereal soundscape, a sense of constant movement forwards and threw it in a blender together with Justice/Daft Punk eletronica (which is a favorite genre of mine). And it definitely couldn’t have turned out better.

    I love it so much that i could see it going to the top places of my K-Pop ranking eventually, going toe to toe with Flare and Snooze.


  4. Man, that electro throb in the chorus is great! This gives me teen adventure of a lifetime in the city movie. Sounds like it was plucked right of the soundtrack, with a few twists of its own with the vocoder (man, when it’s this purposeful it’s amazing.)


  5. This song and the other two are an extraordinary well polished kitchen sink of contemporary tricks over pleasing vocals, and somehow it seems to work. Or fool us. Or both. Probably both.

    I get the feeling that really though there is only half a hook, souped up with that bag of tricks. Also, for a band, where the hell is the band? I mean, how does a band play this live as a band? What do the other three guys do when it is just the singer and synths and none of them? Just because it is mostly synth pop, doesn’t mean at some point they don’t have to do it live. Just ask the Pet Shop Boys. Or these guys.


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