Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Skinz

OnlyOneOf - SkinzIf you followed The Bias List throughout 2021, you’ll know how much I adore OnlyOneOf’s libidO. The track felt like a confident shot across the bow, melding experimental artistry with taut songcraft. Unfortunately, the group faced a tumultuous year that prevented them from capitalizing on this momentum. The second part of their Instinct series was pushed back, forcing us to wait nearly a year to see how the guys would follow up their most daring single yet.

New track Skinz borrows many of the features that made libidO so great, but struggles to find an equally engaging melody. If anything, it illustrates just how fine the line is between noisy nonsense and engaging pop song. Much of Skinz leans toward the former, but atmosphere and sheer verve pull it across the line. I’ll be honest. On first listen, my disappointment was palpable. But, it’s surprising how quickly the track improves with further plays. It misses much of the melodic tension I hoped for — replaced with a generous dose of mutterings and grunts — but the prickly instrumental proves compelling on its own.

Skinz‘s harsh, industrial production lurches forward in the best way. It’s like an angry beast struggling to break free of its shackles. I love the rugged synth textures that rumble through the verses and chorus. The sound is combative but never obnoxious, and successfully harnesses the sense of aural claustrophobia that has characterized OnlyOneOf’s Instinct series. The descending vocal hook is also effective, even if it’s less potent than libidO‘s similar refrain. It’s all a little messier this time around, which is interesting given how much time the agency had to get this comeback together. But with some time, Skinz‘s charms pull into focus. As a continuation of their musical brand, I’d call it a tentative success with the chance to grow into a real sleeper hit.

Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


18 thoughts on “Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Skinz

  1. Doubling down on the slinkiness of Libido, updated with a more contemporary sound a la an NCT-type. I think its a good move to hew closer to a kpop sound with this one.

    Their agency is overtly full of angst and woe. Other agencies hide their problems and issues. It feels more authentically messy rock and roll for better or worse. The kind where you didn’t know if this member or that member would show up or quit or get fired or develop a horrible addiction. I hope for the guys sake it all turns out OK for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is not a song you casually enjoy but it’s a song you experience.
    I think the production is masterful (would actually say better than libidO) and it immediately reminded me of Jpegmafia with the industrial hip hop style it goes for.
    The hooks could be better but i honestly think this is a 9/10

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Was wondering where you would land on this! Reactions are already leaning towards polarized and I’ve seen multiple comparisons to “Sticker”. I’m not in loved with it, but I didn’t have an intense negative reaction to it either. The highlight melody snippet communicated to me enough that it would be a very experimental track, so I’m not shocked by it’s sound. It’s no libidO, but I do find it to be a surprising ear worm. It’s the track most often stuck in my head from the album despite being my least re-listened to so far. The b-sides are GREAT though, I’m looking forward to which if any makes a Buried Treasure spot.

    I really do wonder how much their label’s drama affected how they were able to prepare for this comeback. There’s a definite rushed quality to it despite the length of time. Promotion leading up to it was minimal and messy, and the MV feels more constrained by money and time than past ones.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I think the common thread is the reaction to it? Not that they sound similar. But who knows. I find this way more successful than “Sticker” as well, but the most common reaction when the song first dropped on Twitter were people calling it OOO’s “sticker era”.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like this. There’s been a lot of talk recently about “experimental” tracks within kpop, but I feel like this one of the few that really fits the bill. It takes that industrial electronic production style and tense, sensual atmosphere of Libido and pushes it to a far more off-kilter direction than I ever expected. It’s definitely not your typical song and I expect it to be rather polarizing but personally, I love it…9-9.25 for me. (My third 9 of the year already lol)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Huhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmm. I don’t know. It certainly works as a follow-up to “Libido”, but I can’t tell if it’s a bold, forward-facing sequel or a less-satisfying, trend-chasing prequel. I certainly like the industrial sound better than that the flute in a song already mentioned above, but is it going to grow on me? I guess we will see – I didn’t like Libido at first but it grew on me after watching stages.

    The MV was disappointing after how well “Libido” balanced choreo and narrative – the pseudo-home video + app ui elements + camera as an additional character are all trends that can look cheap at least as often as they’re endearing and tossing all three together here after the lovely, indie film look of “Libido” didn’t work for me.

    To end on a high note, however, b-side “gaslighting” immediately stands out to me, and the other two b-sides are pretty good too. As a fan of slinky ambient R&B I actually quite liked the under-promoted “Produced by [myself]” from last summer and this feels like a more ambitious step forward from those tracks without the disjointed elements of “skinz”.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m not sure I get the comparisons with Sticker other than that this is also an unsettling, disorienting song that people don’t know what to make of. I thought Sticker was super boring, obnoxious, and borderline unlistenable (and I made myself listen to it more than once). This song gets better the more I listen to it and has so many textures that weirdly come together. It’s definitely one of the more interesting songs I’ve heard in Kpop lately, even if it doesn’t top libidO for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like it. I love the industrial synth textures. It’s not libidO or angel tier for me yet but it’s still solid.

    What I don’t like is the MV, it feels randomly thrown together.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The two songs are not the same! Sticker was deconstructed ghost salsa, which I enjoyed. Skinz is rumbling Midwest goth-night dirty synthwave with sad angel vocals which I also enjoy. That video, though. Boy, was that thrown together. A fan-made video out of old footage would have been better.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’m so enraged with 8D I can barely listen to this. I sort of like it I guess. At least it sounds better than the obnoxious mix played during their first stage, which for some reason came the day before the actual comeback. THAT sounded like someone dropping a box of nails on a buzzsaw while a radio played somewhere in the distance.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I find it amusing seeing people use the term ‘Sticker era’ for polarising tracks. Man I can’t believe that song . I can see why in terms of reactions but in terms of approach and quality, ‘skinz’ is definitely a lot more uh… polished.

    For a song that is essentially built on the same sounds, ‘skinz’ is a pretty good sequel to ‘libidO’ (not perfect but still). Hoping I will love the song a lot more as time goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

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