I felt a little conflicted when OnlyOneOf’s series of solo singles ‘Underground Idol‘ was first announced. I mean, I’d rather have some full-group comebacks. But so far, the project is shaping up nicely. We have a narrative through-line, engaging music and the kind of sonic world-building the group has always excelled at. Just one month after member Yoojung kicked us off with Begin, KB takes the baton (and ups the tempo) for Be Free.
While I enjoyed Yoojung’s solo, the song leaned a little heavily on mood for my taste. Be Free is also quite moody, but deepens the funk with an exciting bassline and generous supply of rhythm guitar. This is as shamelessly dance-adjacent as we’ve heard from the group in some time, and I like it! The instrumental is groovy and full of life and – perhaps most importantly – grows as Be Free goes on. It doesn’t feel divided into pre-ordained K-pop segments. It just bops along with a natural flow, confident and fresh.
If I had my druthers (I always do!), I’d wish for a stronger melody. Be Free is one killer chorus away from absolute excellence. The energy of the production elevates the hooks, but it’s clear which element was given the most attention. However, I love KB’s performance. His voice is more malleable than expected, imbuing different moments with different tones and textures. This goes a long way toward making Be Free work. Add a standout instrumental break at the climax and this is easily one of the month’s strongest comebacks.