ONEUS’s ambitious “ONEUS Theatre” project is the gift that keeps on giving. Though these songs aren’t promoted on music shows, the group has delivered two newly-released studio recordings and a cover of Michael Jackson’s Thriller — all in under a month. Every K-pop act is hard-working, but it’s satisfying to see the fruit of ONEUS’s labor so clearly.
Contrasting with last month’s Shut Up 받고 Crazy Hot!, Life Is Beautiful explores the guys’ lighter side. It’s a sunny pop confection, bounding with upbeat energy and melodic heft. As you might expect from the title, the track wears its heart on its sleeve. This results in some cheesy lyrics (“I sing a song like Green Day” is… a choice), but it’s easy to forgive the cringiness when the glossy pop melody is so confident. Extra points for the woodwind breakdowns!
As with any song in this style, pop culture’s most recent comparison is One Direction. The intro’s chugging guitar definitely carries this appeal, but the rest of the track has a more propulsive drive. The pre-chorus is a hazy beauty, delivering sentiment but never forgetting its sharp pop hooks. The shimmering guitar adds great texture as the guys’ vocals take on a sweet, airy quality. This builds toward an ebullient chorus. The melody descends here, but you wouldn’t know it from the cheerful, punchy arrangement. The song wraps you in a musical hug, overcoming its repetitive, simplistic lyrics with the upbeat language of pop. I’m delighted to see ONEUS explore a sound this optimistic. Freed from the concept restraints that often mar proper comebacks, the group has delivered a sure shot of synth-kissed bliss.