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.
In the midst of their ONEUS Theatre project, ONEUS also released the Japanese version of their spring single Black Mirror. I don’t often listen to J-pop re-recordings of Korean songs, but occasionally they’ll come paired with a new b-side. That’s the case here, and Only One is definitely worth a listen! In fact, I’m a little angry that it’s buried so deep in their discography. I nearly missed it until a kind Bias List reader brought it to my attention.
My love for Only One is no surprise. Its brisk, propulsive sound will always appeal to me. And even when the track lulls for a couple ill-advised breakdowns during the second verse, it always rights itself without trouble. Over the past year, I’ve been so happy to see ONEUS’s music increase focus on the guys’ vocals. The group has some incredible performers, with Seoho especially sticking out for me in 2021. Only One’s powerful energy allows the guys to really belt out the chorus, which bolsters the track’s intensity.
Melodically, Only One feels composed of scraps from other tracks. SHINee is obviously a huge influence, but I can hear echoes of a few notable idol discographies. This gives the song a workmanlike quality, but thankfully the producers have drawn from the best inspirations! Only One’s blistering dance beat moves at such a pace that there’s no time to focus on any shortcomings. Huge slabs of synth push the instrumental forward, occasionally swelling to create a dizzying flurry. The song is like one long climax, and will have you quickly reaching for the ‘repeat’ button.