ONEUS seem to be waffling between aggressive, shout-along title tracks (ie: this spring’s Bring It On) and softer sounds. New single Same Scent catches them in a more reserved state, harnessing a groovy beat and tropical synths that revisit the sound of their 2020 track A Song Written Easily. Given my own bias, the whole production reminds me strongly of Golden Child’s excellent Burn It From last year. It’s a comparison that both benefits and blunts Same Scent’s allure.
Same Scent is a testament to the importance of a producer’s game plan. You can either create a song from the ground up, crafting melody and hooks before constructing the instrumental to support them. Or, you can flesh out your instrumental before finding vocal melodies to place over the top. I suspect Same Scent took the latter approach, and this is an important distinction. The song is all about its groove, and might feel more like a series of ad-libs without the instrumental leading the way. This is where Same Scent differs from a song like Burn It. The style and mood are there, but it lacks the commanding chorus and sense of structural momentum that would free it from the confines of its production.
Still, a sterling instrumental (and in K-pop’s case, a dynamic performance) can go a long way toward selling a song. The wall of synth that opens the track is ultra-familiar, but no less potent. It forges Same Scent’s beat-drop hook and acts as a satisfying centerpiece. And while there aren’t many contrasting melodies sewn within these resounding beats, Same Scent succeeds in painting a mood. ONEUS wring everything they can from the material, bringing the sultry energy the song demands. It has a hypnotic quality that will likely benefit from repeated listens.