Song Review: OnlyOneOf – mOnO (Unknown Ballad 2.3)

OnlyOneOf - mOnOAfter the excellence of recent comeback libidO, I was in the process of laminating my OnlyOneOf stan card, only to be interrupted by an unexpected message from 8D Creative:

8D: By the way, Love (the group’s leader) is leaving OnlyOneOf. Just thought you should know.
Me: What?!? Wh-
8D: Yep, he’s out as of this moment, and we’re not telling you why.
Me: But he was just…
8D: Please don’t speculate! In fact, just forget this ever happened.
Me: Uh…?
8D: And the group is prepping for a comeback.
Me: Um… good?
8D: But it’s not a real comeback. Just some random ballad.
Me: But you said…
8D: Enjoy!

Ok, that was obviously a dramatization, but it crystallizes just how yanked around OnlyOneOf’s fans feel right now. As a longtime K-pop listener, I’ve grown pretty numb to line-up changes. It comes with the territory. But, there’s something fishy going on this time, and it’s totally marred the group’s momentum.

These issues aside, new track mOnO would make a decent b-side. It’s a synth-fueled ballad with a beat – expressive and atmospheric. Maybe it’s a pre-release for a proper comeback? Or, maybe it’s just a stopgap. Either way, it offers a peek at how awesome these guys are. Musically, it feels like something you’d find on the second half of an ONF album – all icy electronics and sentimental refrains. The track never builds to much, preferring to cycle around its gentle production. A climactic key change adds lift to the final chorus. Otherwise, mOnO is simply a pleasant exercise in fan service.

But, you know what would be even better fan service? A little transparency and an awesome follow-up to libidO.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

17 thoughts on “Song Review: OnlyOneOf – mOnO (Unknown Ballad 2.3)

  1. That was me the other day (sans the card). “This morning, Dongjun and Taeseung decided they don’t feel like being idols anymore. Or something. GHOST9 will continue as 7. Also, comeback! Did we mention it’s gonna be an album this time?”

    And that’s why I always say you shouldn’t mention the number of members in the name. TOO made a great move on that front before inevitably losing their first member. (😒)

    I still haven’t really gotten used to the whole “members leaving” thingy, honestly. Like, that’s something that happens to *other* groups, not *mine.*

    …and then I get Hanbin and Ikon. And Hwall leaving TBZ. And Wonho. And Hongbin. And now perhaps Lucas (never been particularly fond of the guy, but if he leaves it means my prophecy about the wheels beginning to come off the NCT project is coming true, and I don’t wanna be proven right, no. I’m a born pessimist for pete’s sake. You don’t wanna prove me right)

    Hell, I’m not even over Kyungmin leaving the (undebuted, unpromoted, forgotten) Japanese Big Hit group, and it doesn’t even formally exist yet.

    BTW, the unexpected dialogue makes for a nice change, Nick. Sometimes you sound so… sanitized, let’s say. (Which is fine. Your style. Not criticizing; just observing.) I like seeing some personality seep out from time to time.

    …farty brass loops…

    Liked by 6 people

  2. There has got to be other things going on at that agency because this artfully titled Unknown 2.3 release does not come accompanied in the youtube description with a lengthy artful homage to (let’s see, flips through old school lit book) Goethe’s Faust.
    Faust seems appropriate here, somehow.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. I am a huge OOO simp and I just saw this as a stopgap. It feels like a filler so whatever the hell is going on behind the scences has more time to be sorted out. The video is literally a photoshoot montage and there’s no btec philosophy ramblings in the description so it feels extremely hastily done.

    8D have previous for being weird, Mill got thrown in hiatus for “breaking a company rule” and came back with shaved hair and iirc they never confirmed what happened.

    And to think all they had to do was to say “Love is leaving to personal reasons, we thank him for his time in the group and wish him well in the future” and not even have to truly reveal the reasons why. But their dumb assets couldn’t even do that.

    I’m going to distract myself with the libidO dance version and look at my mans Rie.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t describe how furious I am with 8D. Members leaving for personal reasons isn’t uncommon, but the speed at which they’ve erased Love and his disappearance at the height of their popularity without even a goodbye letter (and they started blocking user on Cafe Daum or wherever for deigning to send him good wishes) smacks of forced dismissal for reasons unknown. Even without a proper announcement, if they had just waited a while, let the boys start doing their vlives again, matters might have smoothed out. As it is the boys look listless and dazed and the photoshoots look shabby. The song lyrics are sad, so I guess 8D at least let them express SOMETHING. I never expected to be gutted by something I would have rolled my eyes at a year ago.grrr


  5. Besides for 8D being terrible at their job, I have personally been having a new-found appreciation for OnlyOneOf and when it comes to ONF, They’ve only rised for me this year…and I hope WM will give them frequent comebacks in the years coming on!

    These Both have made my favorite songs of the year so far! Beautiful Beautiful and Libido are absolutely fantastic and hearkens back to an ambitious K-pop era while simultaneously placing themselves in today’s modern era. They’re just timeless…..

    Ballads are not usually my thing, but when it comes to ONF, I love their ballads! OnlyOneOf’s polished, airy tones do the job and I really, really an pleased with the song.
    Now if OnlyOneOf would make the excellent follow up to Libido, Best 2019 Rookie Group..just straight on, I don’t care about the rules.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.