Review

Song Review: ONEWE – Universe

ONEWE - Universe
A few days ago, ONEWE covered Infinite’s The Chaser and (obviously) scored huge brownie points from me. It also reminded me how much I enjoy the band when they really rock out. Too often, their title tracks settle on a more morose energy. On the plus side, this offers the chance to spotlight the group’s fantastic vocals. But, I’m starting to wish they’d release another title track as upbeat as 2020’s End Of Spring.

New single Universe (너의 우주는) is definitely not that title track. In fact, it doesn’t sound like a typical title track at all. The song is delicate and ponderous — much more suited to a drama’s OST than an idol comeback. It’s relentlessly beautiful, which can be said about pretty much every ONEWE song. But, it’s not doing much for me. Maybe I’m ready to move beyond sentimental balladry as we kick off this new year. Or, perhaps I’ve just reached my limit on emotional ONEWE rock ballads.

With this said, I can’t fault the song’s construction and delivery. It ticks all the boxes you’d hope it would, down to a cathartic guitar solo during the climax. But, the central refrain loops around so often that it gets a bit repetitive by the time Universe has finished. I’m not sure the melody is striking enough to warrant such repetition. It has moments that soar, but feels weighed down by its own structure. Thankfully, the instrumental adds a welcome sense of movement, its piano-led base soon joined by strings and that aforementioned guitar.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

15 thoughts on “Song Review: ONEWE – Universe

  1. I still have a (fading) soft spot for them because of End of Spring, but do you really need five guys in a band to make this kind of song again, and again, and again?

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    • that’s their most generic track. regulus remains their magnum opus but rain to be from last year was amazing, as was the entire mini album it was released on.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. man, why even bother reviewing ballads and slower paced songs if you dislike them all? onewe easily has the best discography out of all the 4th gen boy groups but you wouldn’t know based on their reviews on this site.

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    • I think “dislike them all” is a bit of a stretch. I really liked ONEWE’s debut, for example. That was even more of a ballad than this one.

      Overall, I definitely prefer up-tempo tracks, but there are plenty of ballads I absolutely adore.

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  3. I’m always slightly surprised to see their output fail to connect with you – I’m consistently impressed with their ear for melody and build. Clearly someone on their end is on the same wavelength as me!

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  4. You know how we often say here how the lyrics don’t matter much, that the song being mostly or entirely in a foreign language doesn’t matter much to our enjoyment?

    Yeah, here this song, the lyrics probably matter. I bet it sounds much better to those who know the meaning of each line and the meaning of the song overall. It sounds like a lesser Journey song, and for those of us who sing a lot of Journey (ahem), there is the soaring vocals and the guitar solo, but then there is the deep sentimentality. I think we are missing that point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Semi-related: Take for example, this recent rendition of Journey “Open Arms”. Now, I know Michael K Lee is schmaltzy, with Broadway in his bones and on his resume. And he is born in Brooklyn, so he is a native American English speaker. And then he puts out this rendition which, I mean, what the hell, it totally misses the point of the lyrics. Soaring? Tick. Meaning? Nil pois.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1L2K9e2MQs

      Liked by 2 people

    • ONEWE is basically the only Korean group I’ve specifically noticed the lyrics of. Cosmos is another one that’s hugely elevated by knowing what they’re saying. It’s not the same as, well, understanding them, but lyric videos are better than nothing! I do agree that the loss is pretty noticeable here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like this one and I wasn’t sure I would honestly. I love when the vocalists sing together near the end, sounds really good.

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  6. I am not a ballad person either but Onewe hits differently. I adore Yonghoon’s vocals. Honestly he’s my fave fourth gen vocalist and that includes idol groups as well. There’s something to his voice which captures the emotion of a song so well without trying to force it. The chorus is amazing! 💎 And the MV is really lovely!

    Also Dongmyeong is the perfect lead vocalist! His vocal provides that perfect contrast and I absolutely love that!

    My fave Onewe song is End of Spring followed by Parting and A Book in Memory. But still I really enjoy their other songs – melancholy mood and all because if you just look at the song alone it’s really pretty and executed so well!! ❤️❤️

    They are a group that stick to what they like and are good at. Reliability has its appeal I guess? 😅

    Honestly I don’t mind if they don’t change – they have melody, they sing in the chorus, good lyrics, no shouty words or dada or lala anywhere – just pretty nice music 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I hate ballads with a fiery passion cos they are usually soulless filler tracks but there’s only two groups I can stand them from just because of how talented they are: 2AM and Onewe.

    Yonghoon is the best vocalist in kpop bar none. No I will not take any criticism on this. His voice is just full of emotion and also sounds like an instrument all on its own. Is Universe my favourite Onewe song? Far from it. Is it still a great piece of music? Hell yes. There is just something about how the band can craft a melody and tension. I go to Lucy for their happy upbeat songs and Onewe for the atmospheric brood.

    Funnily enough End of Spring is my least favourite of their songs and it’s your favourite lmao. We just look for different things with the group I guess.

    Also Montage slaps.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m rather disappointed with ONEWE recent output. “Rain To Be” was one of my songs of the year but since then they’ve become a little bit “boring” I feel bad saying that as the craft is there and the voices are sublime but much like Day6 I fear they’re starting to just push out rather weak ballads as singles and losing a lot of the edge that they started out with. I’ll always have time to give each new song a listen though so I’m still holding hope for the next release.

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