Review

Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Zurui Onna (ズルい女)

OnlyOneOf - Zurui OnnaHalfway through their solo Underground Idol series, OnlyOneOf have reunited as a full group for their first original Japanese single. I imagine Zurui Onna as an interlude. Or, maybe it’s just another excuse for the guys to dance around with their shirts off. Whatever the case, it’s an inauspicious move into a market that should be ripe for their daring lore and high-concept releases.

J-pop is too vast and diverse to funnel into a few keywords, but Zurui Onna has a very specific sound that K-pop idols often pursue when breaking into the Japanese market. It’s more lyrical and melodic, but in a way that’s almost understated. The focus isn’t placed upon one big centerpiece or memorable point move. The melody stretches and glides, just out of reach. The song is catchy enough, but I wouldn’t call it hooky. It’s like a beautiful vase sitting on the shelf. You can look, but don’t touch.

This is all to say that Zurui Onna is… fine. It’s not a particularly interesting OnlyOneOf song, nor does it harness any of their most idiosyncratic attributes (shirtlessness aside, of course). It’s nice to hear their individual voices more clearly, and the instrumental offers a satisfying sense of build and payoff. But, too much of the song plays like a straight line, weaving safely along J-pop tropes without the thrilling bumps in the road that characterize the group’s best work. It’s also a bit slow and reserved for a dance track. For me, Zurui Onna should have been built around the cool, muted saxophone that emerges during its dance break. That’s the kind of beguiling hallmark I always love to hear from OnlyOneOf.

**EDIT: it’s come to my attention that this is actually a cover of a 90’s song! This doesn’t change my feelings about OnlyOneOf’s version, but it definitely explains its slightly old-fashioned style.

Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

8 thoughts on “Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Zurui Onna (ズルい女)

  1. This song is just amazing. While it certainly doesn’t have the technical supremacy J-pop tracks ought to possess. In my opinion, this one is transcending those technicalities with the group’s soothing vocals, the alternative R&B-jazz fusion blend is impeccable and I think it fits perfectly with the rich alternative music scene in Japan, so much that I think this song just stands out from even the major Japanese releases this year. I’m really biased for OnlyOneOf, and I hate to say it but we’ll never get another revolutionary alternative music group adjacent to the pop scene in Asia anytime soon.

    Albeit being a rendition of the popular Sharam Q, this song built upon the strengths of the OG and transcends the message to a dreamy, nirvana state. This is just a very good song. High 8s or even 9 for me.

    At this point, OOO will be my personal Artist of the Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’m in a funny spot with this song. I can’t stop listening to it. But I’m currently midst my first true full immersion in the OOO discography and world. I also have “Angel” on constant replay too. I’ve had my eyes on and ears on them the past couple years, but the whole group is clicking with me these days.

    I fully agree that the saxophone should be omnipresent.
    But I find the melody and performance very alluring. I do love very lyrical j-pop so it appeals to me, absolutely.

    Sure there are more exciting, experimental songs in OOO’s discography, but they pull this one off so smoothly.

    Like

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