Though January’s No Diggity left many of us scratching our heads, ONEUS have gone on to have a very fruitful 2021. If you count their ONEUS Theatre tracks, they’ve released a whopping five singles in Korea, blitzing the industry with a variety of sounds. Over the past few weeks, I’ve lamented the lack of new ideas within idol comebacks. Perhaps the guys heard my plea, because Luna’s mix of icy synthwave and traditional Korean elements feels novel.
ONEUS have explored traditional instrumentation before, most notably in 2019’s Lit. That song is a firm fan favorite, but doesn’t have enough melody to fully capture my heart. Luna (월하미인 (月下美人 : LUNA)) improves upon the formula with a knockout chorus. Better yet, the song twists and pulls at this refrain for maximum effect. It knows how strong its hook is and doles out the goods sparingly. I love how the instrumental moves between smooth synthwave and punchier exclamations, drawing out two contrasting sides of the chorus.
Luna’s weak points arrive during its inconsistent verses. The subdued performance that opens the track is very atmospheric and smooth. The pre-chorus weaves in traditional sounds to great effect, building interest without shifting momentum. In theory, the second verse rap should be amazing. But, I wish the instrumental didn’t lurch backwards during this segment and the vocal melody that follows. A driving second verse would have offered an extra shot of excitement. Still, this is a relatively small critique for a song that’s very strong overall. By the time Luna builds to its dynamic climax, it’s hard not to get swept up in its compelling vision.